Thursday, April 26, 2007

Things I've learned (while studying Italian)

1. Be brave! To learn another language you must speak and not be afraid to make mistakes. You cannot embarrass easily.

2. Move your mouth. Being from the south and Texas in particular, I've discovered I have a very lazy mouth. (hello.. thats why we drawwwwl) Italians pronounce every letter and really work their mouths. Exercises are recommended.

3. I cannot pronounce the "gli" sound very well. Don't ask me what it sounds like, I can't do it. It's HARD!

4. I have a very hard time distinguishing between double consonants and single ones. And believe me they can mean VERY DIFFERENT THINGS! Please see #2.

5. Mixing up French, Spanish and Italian in your brain, does not a good communicator make. GEEZ

6. Dialect? That is different from proper Italian?? All non-English speaking sounds sound Italian to me. hehe I am hoping the more I learn, the better I will get at distinguishing.

7. I am not "flowery" enough in my descriptions and speech. Italians can make even the simplest sentence complicated and long. Which in itself is admirable and lovely to hear, but can lead to difficulties when trying to determine subjects and verbs. hehe

8. If you throw the remote on the floor in frustration - it will break! (even on carpet) There is a price to pay for breaking the volume control - its called actually walking up to the system and doing it MANUALLY! ugh - the trials. *sigh*

Currently, I am using podcasts from with supplemental workbooks from Berlitz and Italian for Dummies. Though it is not natural for Stefano to speak anything but English with me, we are trying to have more "lessons" on the phone several times a week. Mostly this consists of me reading stuff, Stef correcting my pronunciation, and helping me diagram the sentence.

For those of you who are working on or have learned Italian - how does this program sound? Any tips or suggestions on other resources? Maybe by the time I move at the end of the year (hopefully) I will at least have a grasp of the language and ability to communicate. Lord knows how long it will take to understand cultural nuances. hehe

more later...


JennDZ said...

Hmm that's tough I have not used either of those resources, so I am not sure.
But I totally agree with your list!
Especially mixing up French, Spanish and Italian!
I used to think Spanish was hard! ugh!

J.Doe said...

I think the problems pronouncing the gli sound and telling the difference between double consonants is common to all English speakers. At least it id to me and the English-speaking people I've spoken too.
I think your program sounds good,but don't beat yourself up if you can't pronounce these sounds right. You will be understood in Italian. From that and you other words it will be obvious that you are a foreigner so if you go to Italy the people there will probably cut you some pronunciation slack.

Cherrye said...

I am proud of you doing all of this studying before you get there! I tried a little bit, but I wasn't a good student. I am a "little" better here, only because I have to be. I am stuck on the grammar now...yuck! Good luck. Let me know how these things work for you.

scribbit said...

Absolutely no advice to give you. All my years of French have flown out the door after living with a Spanish-speaker for the last 15 years.

I can't remember some of the most basic conjugations because of him, though I can understand very simple dialogue. It was cool, while we were in Guatemala last fall he would chat with the locals, loving the practice it gave him, and I could understand pretty much everything they were saying.

And I'll remember that about the remote :)

Cynthia Rae said...

Stick with it girls and for heaven sake, stop throwing things. It is a hard language to learn. After two years (plus) I STILL don't speak it as well as I should (blame that on my always-english-speaking-husband). Just know that when you get here, it will be eaiser to pick up (NOT EASY just easier).

Best of luck!

chris & erin said...

I love the! just stuck the RSS feed on my google homepage. - we've thought about even getting some series for kids on DVD - b/c they make up songs and everything. We just will make sure no one comes over while we're watching Muzzy :)

american girl in italy said...

I just found learnitalianpod (thanks to you) and am very happy to say I can understand what they are saying! haha Seriously though, all that you are doing is a great start, but once you get here, (at least for me) it is a whole new ballgame. I was lost for a long time. haha I never studied though... I also have a lazy tongue, so italian was difficult for me! BUt, hey! I survived, and I can now speak (not perfectly, but I can hold my own) The embarressment factor was huge. You will survive! :OD