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Italian Language class!

So, after three RS Tours, I decided to sign DH and I up for a beginning Italian language class. I am so glad I did because it's a lot of fun; and, as we all know fun has not been very available lately. I think that being an older learner has advantages (patience,) but also disadvantages (not being so quick on the draw.) We are determined to learn - having been to Italy three times now with RS (Sicily was our third and favorite tour) we want to be able to talk with the locals. We want to show them respect by learning how to converse with them, particularly in the countryside. We know that English is spoken in all the larger cities but we want to go beyond. We may want to eventually move there. We know that if we do we will never be considered locals, we will alway be "the Americans down the street" and we're ok with that.
I know so many folks who during these trying times have been wringing their hands thinking "what are we going to do?" " what is to become of us?" I understand. I also understand that being proactive and finding things to do, like language classes, are a great mood booster. It appears that I am a dozen years behind most of my friends on the forum so I don't anticipate a vaccine for at least a month. It's ok. I can stay in and practice my Italian.

Ciao! Mi Chiamo Elisabeta! Come si chiama?

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4936 posts

Salve, Elisabeta! Mi chiamo Jane. Mi piacciono moltissimo L'Italia e la sua lingua. Vorrei andare in Italia quest'anno. Magari!

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720 posts

Поздравляю! Я ещё изучаю иностранный язык. (Congratulations! I am also learning a foreign language.)

Studying Russian is keeping me sane. Every lesson is a mini travel experience.

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154 posts

Buona sera Diana!

Buona sera Corina! Spero che ti stia divertendo tanto quanto noi!

Buona sera Jane! Ricordo di aver letto il tuo diario de viaggio a Village Italy e di aver riso della tu descrizione del ritorno in albergo dopo i pasti serali. Ah ah!

Buona sera Eef! Congratulazioni per i tuoi studi! (Good evening, Eef. Congratulations on your studies!)

Thank you for participating! This is so much more fun than playing Mah Jongg with the bots!.

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4936 posts

Elisabeta: Non mi ho ricordato questo episodio; allora ho cercato la storia, e credo che l'ho trovata:

We wandered back to the hotel rather late. The included wine may have had something to do with that....

Che buonissimo viaggio!

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116 posts

Salve, Elisabeta! Mi chiamo Carolyn.

I love your post and completely agree about being proactive and wanting to show respect. We adore Italy are itching to return to Sicily as soon as possible. Although I'm a long, long, long way off from being able to hold any sort of conversation in either language, I'm trying to learn - at this point, I'm mainly working on pronunciation and vocab. We hope to someday spend significant amounts of time in Italy and Germany, and are using this time at home to prepare. My DH is much better with languages, while my strong point is research - so at the moment, we're trying to divide and conquer.

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11 posts

Buona sera,
My wife and I are hoping to return to Italy in the fall or next year. I am also trying to learn the Italian language. I was never very good at foreign languages-took French in high school fifty years ago-we did audio learning with reel to reel tapes-I am still traumatized by my teacher's bursts of laughter after I spoke. I have also tried to learn Spanish for mission trips I have taken to Central America and Cuba but despite my study I can't seem to engage in the most simple conversation.
But I know foreign travel is more enriched when you have some grasp of the language so I will give it another go.
I am taking Italian on Duolingo and I enjoy the lessons which are engaging and fun.
The app allows you to practice vocabulary, comprehension and pronunciation. I believe I am getting better at reading Italian. Speaking and understanding spoken Italian is a challenge but I am making progress.
I would be interested in other people's strategies for learning Italian.
Continua a viaggiare
Mi chiamo Larry

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2319 posts

Ciao Elisabeta, sono Caterina!

The first time I went to Sicily, I had to rely on my dusty French to speak with my cousins. I began studying to improve my French. Then I found the Italian Institute in San Francisco and began taking their series of 10-week classes: beginner, intermediate, advanced, and eventually their literature classes. (Currently, their classes are online.)

I would be interested in other people's strategies for learning Italian.

Still, I wasn't getting as much conversation time as I wanted. I found a native-Italian language partner on and we've been chatting together (45 minutes in English, 45 in Italian) for years. We've become friends and met up in her home town of Rome a few years ago. Then came "the big test" as my trip continued to Sicily where I met up with my cousins again and was able to converse with them in Italian! Now we stay in touch via WhatsApp - in Italian.

Since the pandemic, I've signed up with a 2nd language partner, one living here in California - which simplifies the time difference.

You can find conversation partners - at any level and in many countries (and languages) - who are hoping to improve their English, in exchange for helping you with your Italian. Who knows, you may also find a new friend to meet up with in your travels to Italy!

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For those who are reading books in Italian, but still rely heavily (as I do) on a dictionary, I've found a book that is both practical and relevant.

In Other Words
by Jhumpa Lahiri, Ann Goldstein (Translator)

The book is practical because the original Italian is on each left-hand page and the translated English is on each right-hand page. (You can also simply read the full book in English, from the right-hand pages.)

It is relevant to us, as Italian learners, because "In Other Words is at heart a love story—of a long and sometimes difficult courtship, and a passion that verges on obsession: that of a writer for another language.* [...] "In Other Words, an autobiographical work written in Italian, investigates the process of learning to express oneself in another language, and describes the journey of a writer seeking a new voice." (Full synopsis here.)

I'm in the early chapters of reading it, and love being able to "cheat" and find the words I don't know on the right-side pages. My one caution, since this author is not a native Italian speaker, is that she may not always write the way an Italian native would. (I've only confirmed one instance of that with my native speaker friends.) Still, it's an easy way to improve vocabulary and I feel her sense of the challenge of mastering this beautiful language!

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27422 posts

That sounds like an absolutely GREAT way to practice and have fun at the same time, CWsocial

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154 posts

Salve Carolyn!
I too am a long way from being able to hold more than a short conversation. It took me quite a while to work out the above responses, particularly to Jane's comment. I go back and forth from our class handouts, my RS Italian phrase book and, in a pinch, Google Translate. Piacere!

Buon giorno Larry!
I agree that speaking and understanding spoken Italian is a challenge. Good for you for making progress! I had never experienced a Zoom class before this and I am surprised by how much I enjoy it. After our first class DH told me I was brave to be the first volunteer to try a short posted conversation with the instructor regarding meeting/greeting. I told him that someone has to go first in order to break the ice for the others. Sure enough, our second class had more attendees volunteer to try short conversations. We also had a few break out groups (in threes) so people started to get more comfortable trying pronunciations. E is, continua a viaggiare!

Ciao Caterina!
What wonderful suggestions these are! I will definitely check out "In Other Words" and somewhere down the road will look into Our first two lessons covered basic greetings, numbers (1 - 20,) alphabet and pronunciation, singular and plural, gender and number and basic menu skills. The collective groan that went up after I mentioned the pistachio torta in Palermo gave me such a palpable longing for Italy that I think that doing this is probably going to prevent me from hitting the "pandemic wall" that we are hearing so much about. Turn anxiety and fear into something productive. Fight off ennui with education. E davvero una bella lingua!

Salve Nigel!

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26 posts

Another way to enjoy In Other Words is via an audiobook app. (I use Overdrive to borrow audiobooks from 5 Bay Area library systems.) The book is read through in English, then in Italian. This lacks the immediacy of the left page/right page scheme, but I found that I was able to retain enough detail of the English version to fill in any unfamiliar Italian words. The Italian narration is clear and easy to understand.

I wish that more books could be available in this format.

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6501 posts

liz, you inspired me. I am now on Day 76 of DuoLingo Italian lessons. It makes me feel I was accomplishing something in COVID times.

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154 posts

Thank you Anne and John for your suggestions! I will look into them as I am open to all possibilities. As for you, Stan from the Heartland, I am taken aback by your compliment in the very best way, and I am so glad I could be an inspiration during such a terrible year. It doesn't matter where in life you are - if you can set a goal, no matter how small, it may just give you that push to get you through the hard crap.

An update to our Italian language learning: Our class ended over a month ago, but five of us decided to continue on with our own Italian Social Group. We meet at our usual class time (Mondays at 5:30) and, after the first meeting (which was really about introducing ourselves a bit deeper and trying to decide how to go about doing this) we came up with a plan. We take turns planning the week's lesson - instructor choice. It may be how to get around (trains, buses, rental cars,) it may be how to book a room, how to book a villa, etc. My lesson, you will be pleased to know, will take place in the Dolomites mountains.

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360 posts

Mi chiamo Sr. Fienile dal Tempesta

Come sta? Siamo sopravvissuti al divieto di viaggio del 2020.

Ciao e arrivederci.

I hope my Italian is readable. My Italian friend in Rome tells me to always speak English. When I speak Italian he can't understand me. :-0