Monday, May 04, 2009

Lunedi Lunacy

My friend Marco has taken me to task for not speaking Italian - and he has a point. You'd think after almost 2 years here I would be more fluent than I am but sadly I seem to be one of those people that just doesn't have an ear for language.

The guys at Monty Python had it right! That's how language was taught when I was a high school student back in the middle of the last century. We followed the good old British method - an native English speaker taught you another language. They also probably taught you math or history. And all languages where taught if though they were Latin - dead! Reading and writing would suffice you really didn't have to learn to speak those languages! (Read phrase in italics with a slightly curled upper lip.) After all you spoke English and even in strange foreign countries - like Quebec - they would understand you if you spoke loudly and slowly enough.

04 maggio - San Ciriaco di Gerusalemme


sageweb said...

That is very funny...that is how foreign language was taught in my school.

AMOROMA said...

I am part of your language club... I have been here 22 months and I am still struggling to chat with the taxi driver. However, I can tell him in Italian where I want to go. This summer I will be taking a month long intensive course.

yellowdog granny said...

oh brings back that year of high school latin..I was sooo bad..but it was asskissing for my priest..told him id take it so i could understand latin..he laughed like crazy and said ...yeah, right..

i collect dictionary's...have a huge italian dictionary..huge...the size of a library edition dictionary..
oh..i found just the right thing for you and lauren today when i went to the library book sale...u r going to potz when u get have to find a good box to ship them in..

Sling said...

I took 4 years of Spanish,which does virtually no good when traveling in Mexico...Dialects and all that.
I'll probably never get to Spain.

more cowbell said...

Are you kidding, that's STILL how they teach kids foreign language here. It's useless.

I did well with German when I lived there, and was pretty fluent, but Hungarian - that is one difficult language. After 6 years I spoke about like a preschooler ... and was the most fluent American adult around! Pathetic. My kids were fluent though, and attended Hungarian schools. The advantage of starting young.

Do Nicky and Nora speak any Italian?

more cowbell said...
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Jacques said...

I was lucky enough to get dumped during my first extended stay after college in a Catholic boarding house in Veneto (Treviso), where English speakers were few and far between. That was full emersion like an evangilistic baptismal font.

I think it is definitely a case of having a predispostion for languages or not. I was speaking more during my first trip to Italy after having attended (in a state university) only two quarters of college Italian, while a close friend, after she graduating from the same school with a degree in Italian literature, which required 4 years of the language (starting with the same courses I took) can't hardly speak Italian at all. Now when we meet, she has difficulty maintaining even simple conversations with my wife, who speaks more English picked up than my friend's Italian.