It has been about a year since we have taken any form of Italian class. And even more disturbing is that it has been five years since I have visited Italy and heard the real deal spoken all around me.
The cliché "Use it or lose it" is so appropriate for languages, as well as in other things in life. And man, we really haven't been using it.
We used to be really good about speaking to each other in Italian for a bit each day.
The basics like "How was your day?", "What time is it?", "What do you want for dinner tonight?"
But as time went on, and with no impending trips on the horizon, Italian got less and less of a starring role in our day and eventually just faded into the sunset.
Now, that we have another trip coming in two months, we are finding ways to brush-up on our Italian.
Though we did forget alot, like weight-training or bike-riding, it comes back easier than if you are learning for the first time.
Like falling off a Vespa and getting right back on- or something like that.
We are reviewing chapters of Ultimate Italian, by Living Language, which was our text book for our Italian class.
We are downloading Podcasts on my Macbook, so that I can listen while I am working on projects.
Some of my favorites, include:
I am also the type of person that puts the TV on for background noise when I am writing and blogging. So, I am having the RAI Italian channel added to our cable package for the next two months.
The hope is that just hearing the Italian spoken word for a few hours a night, might just make us learn by osmosis. I think it is worth the twenty dollar investment to find out- especially if I find a great place to eat, score a digestivo on the house or a make a new Roman friend as a result!
No matter what, I know that the Romans will appreciate whatever Italian we manage to eek out, and won't get offended if our tense or grammar isn't perfetto.
In fact, during our first visit we had ordered drinks at a caffé, in Italian, prior to learning about pluralization. We ordered 'due cappuccino' and the barista made our drinks, placed them on the bar and graciously announced that our 'due cappuccini 'were ready.
We didn't really understand why he did that, until we learned that cappuccini is the correct form when ordering more than one cappuccino.
And though he could have made a huge, overblown scene, he could have not corrected us, or answered us in English (I am sure it was painfully obvious that we were American), he chose instead to help us in a respectful way. I am convinced that this was because we respected him enough to try speaking his language.
So, no matter how bad we speak, how many words we may have forgotten over the last year, how many times we forget to put the adjective after the noun, or how many times we are answered in English- we will still try our best to speak Italian in Rome.
And though we won't speak it perfectly, I am quite certain that we will be more fluent than we were five years ago.
And that's something, right?
Tell me your foreign language stories? The good, the bad and the ugly!