Language

I think it’s about time I tackled some of the items on my 30 before 30 list, what with time running out and all. I’ve mentioned before that I had completed a few of them and just never got around to posting, because I absolutely suck at life.

I’ll start small with number 4, which was “learn a language”.  I will preface this by saying that I have taken a TON of Spanish throughout my life. From sixth grade (or maybe fifth), right on through high school. The thing is, while I can get by okay with Spanish, it never really stuck. I can understand Dora the Explorer just fine, count high enough, tell you the colors of the rainbow, and ask where the bathroom is, but do you know who else can do all that? My 5 year old niece and pretty much every kid in her class. They start with the language training a lot earlier these days. I know literally just enough Spanish phrasing to be a boring white woman in New York City.  No more, no less.

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I also went into this with a bit of Italian knowledge as well. I heard enough of it growing up that I could recognize phrases, but could’t often respond in kind. As far as what I could say it was mostly just a few words and enough to curse you out – which is really the most important part of any language. If you can’t say “fuck off” to someone in their own language, then really what’s the point? I knew that if I chose Italian as my language to learn that I would have a good system in place with my mom, my aunt, and family overseas; plus it would help me to communicate with family I have in Italy. Traveling to Italy  was also on my list and I am a firm believer in being a traveler and never a tourist, so I thought I should learn enough to get around.

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Well, I am glad to say I did that and more. I took a few college level Italian courses, downloaded some apps, and bought some CD’s & MP3’s to learn what I would need. The apps were especially helpful, as they had extensive dictionaries for those tricky or forgotten words accessible without internet connection. It was really hard at times because, as an adult, my brain just isn’t good at these things anymore. I studied my ass off and, because I was genuinely interested in learning, I was speaking conversational Italian in no time.

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When Nick and I went on our honeymoon I was actually able to converse with people. It’s odd because while my husband can speak Italian, he is self conscious of his accent and therefore refuses. Italian communication was pretty much completely left up to me. Luckily for us, however, most Italians, especially in large cities, speak English. That did not stop me from always attempting to communicate in Italian first; it is, after all, their country and I was just a visitor. I was pretty impressed with myself, to be honest, especially when a native Italian approached me in Venice and asked for directions. I relayed them to him without any issues at all.

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Parlo Italiano, y’all! I’ve kept up with it really well, too. I practice for 10 minutes a day – which is a major accomplishment when you consider how fucking busy I always seem to be. On top of that I try to speak it whenever I get a chance, just to keep myself fresh. Sometimes I will just call my mom for a brief chat, or I will tell my husband about my day in Italian. I have also started speaking to Nikki in Italian, because being multilingual never hurt anyone, and it would give her an advantage to go into school already knowing more than one language.

So check that shit off the list; Un altro obiettivo compiuto!

4 comments

  1. Good for you!!! My family speaks French and it was my first language, but after decades of not practicing, I’ve pretty much lost it, though I can make out a good amount. I’ve had a goal of relearning for so many years. A bunch of half-attempts. I want to try again. This is inspiring.

    1. You should do it!! I leaned though that it only happens if you’re really ready. I had to dedicate a ton of time to get back in the groove but it was so worth it!

      1. Ahh time… to be fair, it was back in the day when I had no phone with apps, just cds to play in the car. There’s def more resources and convenience these days, I’m sure.

      2. There absolutely are. Smartphones bring us the whole world. Making time is always the tricky part.

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