Speaking Italian

Old Feb 21st, 2016, 06:17 PM
  #61  
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Wow so much good information! I just want to clarify what I said about having no interest in congugating verbs. As I said in my post, when I was learning Spanish, that it was the hardest part for me. I obviously know it's a part of learning a language. Yes, it would be way easier to learn some phrases and be able to communicate what I want. But I would like to be able to put together some sentences on my own instead of just memorizing key phrases. I know that what someone would say to me probably wouldn't be amongst the things that I memorized and we would just stare at each other lol.

On a side note, thanks for those of you that kindly asked questions if certain parts of my post sounded weird. Im just a normal girl trying to figure out things. I've never traveled out of the country and have always wanted to. I just need some guidance, not judgement. I do want to learn the language. I'm not an expert on how to post about these things so I'm sorry if I don't say the right things.
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Old Feb 21st, 2016, 06:23 PM
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Also I know that I'm not going to be perfect and fluent in any of these. My goal is to learn as much as I can. Also, if I can communicate with others and my husband and I can have fun speaking to each other then I'll be a happy girl. I feel like when I say that, I get put into the category of not wanting to learn the language and only wanting to learn "tourist phrases" which isn't what I want. I enjoy learning, but when it comes down to it, when the trip is over, I'll only be able to speak the languages I've learned when I go back because no one where I live speaks anything but English lol. Again, I guess that makes a phrase learning American tourist. ��
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Old Feb 22nd, 2016, 01:31 AM
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I'm not an expert on how to post about these things so I'm sorry if I don't say the right things.>>

Ashley - YOU have no need to apologise. There are some people here only too ready to get on the high horses [me included at times] without thinking too much about the perception of the person to whom their remarks are directed. OTOH many of us are passionate about language learning and there are some good tips here for you, once you have taken the first step of deciding how you are going to embark upon your task.

That is probably the most difficult part - once you've decided what you are going to do, and started to do it, you'll find that it gets easier.

Good luck!
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Old Feb 22nd, 2016, 01:41 AM
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You should sign up for real lessons, then. I don't think any of the online apps or software programs, except maybe Michael Thomas, is worth much. First of all, you have to be devoted to it, do the lessons, repeat them, do the exercises, follow through. A real-live class makes you do that.

Also, I find it curious you think you'll be chatting with your husband in either French or Italian. Perhas, for dun, but as a practical matter, unlikely to happen. My husband and I live in France, and though we both speak French, it took us months and months before we started, even occasionally, to speak French to each other. More often, I'd speak French to him to get him up to speed on it, and he'd respond in English. We do now talk in French a fair amount between ourselves, but mostly when we are around English speakers.

NYCTraveler makes a very good point, too. The French aren't impolite about not understanding - they just don't, because even some fairly fluent French speakers have such god-awful accents or can't make the appropriate distinctions between sounds. We were visiting friends the other day who were saying goodbye to a worker. They asked if he would please send them a bill, but instead of bill (facture), they asked if he would please send them the postman (facteur). He figured it out after a minute or two, but not after some confusion. A class really helps with pronunciation. Bonne chance et tanti auguri!
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Old Feb 22nd, 2016, 02:15 AM
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As a retired public school teacher for 35 years and have taught in a university for the last 13 years, my suggestion is to learn as much as you can. It's a good, positive activity, it could add more depth to your travel experience, and the locals will appreciate your efforts.

After traveling in Italy for the last 35 years, the locals might warm to your attempts at their language and be less apprehensive to a "straniero" - foreigner.

As mentioned above, many people in Roma or Paris will demonstrate some level of English proficiency, but speaking the language, or at least trying, could prove to make better connections...any it may give you some humorous moments laughing about some of the dumb things you will say. On my first trip to Italy in 1980 I certainly said some really dumb things as I stumbled through Italian with meeting my family in Calabria for the first time. We still chuckle about this...dolce ricordi-good memories...

Buon viaggio,
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Old Feb 22nd, 2016, 02:23 AM
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<i>What language are we better off speaking in Paris? </i>

Dutch
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Old Feb 22nd, 2016, 04:22 AM
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>>you have to be devoted to it, do the lessons, repeat them, do the exercises, follow through.<<

My sister has always had an ear for language. She's fluent in French, but she also worked in a French-speaking laboratory for 10 years. She understands Latin and Spanish also, and she claims that helps her when she's in Italy.

I struggle with language. I have the devotion and motivation, but my memory skills are lacking. I don't get enough practice. I've invested thousands of dollars in classes through the years, and I can barely put two sentences together in Italian. My French is abysmal. I know many nouns and verbs, so I can pick up things in conversations here and there, but I struggle with conjugation, verb tense, and pronunciation, and the masculine/feminine case drives my brain nuts.

I'll never forget the time I tried to order bread in Boulangeries Paul on Rue de Seine. The line was long. The young counter woman said to me, "NO English!" and she told me my French was terrible. No smile. I couldn't believe a woman so young would not have a little simple English under her belt. There was a minute when I felt she was lying to me. I've been to Paris many times. I'm very familiar with their manner. I don't let moments like these bother me because I love the city and its culture.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2016, 05:50 AM
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I'll never forget the time I tried to order bread in Boulangeries Paul on Rue de Seine. The line was long. The young counter woman said to me, "NO English!" and she told me my French was terrible. >>

wesley - had a sales assistant been so rude to me I'd have said au revoir and left the shop pronto. Paris is a tourist city and that sort of behaviour is unforgivable, especially as you were trying to speak her language.

I think that those of us who find learning languages relatively easy sometimes find it difficult to put ourselves in the shoes of those who don't. If you can learn nouns and verbs, it's not your memory but something else that's getting in the way. As the other techniques haven't worked for you, I think that I would forget about masculine and feminine [natives get those wrong too] and actually learn some phrases that you can feel comfortable with, and then learn some variations. Also forget about the "tu" form and just concentrate on "vous" - anything to make it easier because that's what you'll use most.

And [I'm sure you do this anyway] if in doubt, smile.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2016, 06:58 AM
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One thing that works for me is to stay in the country in a table-d'hote or similar. Normally you get only French of Italian speakers at the table and you have to speak what the locals do so as to eat.

Tough, but it gets you from courses to speaking
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Old Feb 22nd, 2016, 07:12 AM
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Good point, bilbo. we stayed in a B&B in Paimpol a few years ago where they had a communal breakfast table and none of the other guests or indeed the hosts spoke english. A steep learning curve and great practice.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2016, 07:14 AM
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'since the pronunciation is so different from the spelling'

Sooooo true. I was some months ago shaking hands with colleagues getting into their taxi.
My colleague (english) asked the driver to go to CDG.
he said 'Charles de Gaulle' as he thought was correct, which the driver didn't get.

Being superiorly intelligent (well at least more than an Englishman, for sure - yerk) I translated...

Charles de Gaulle in french would have to be pronounced something like
'Sharl deuh goal'

What the driver heard he would write it in French like
'Tcharwles di gowlle'

Good luck ...

Another example : it took me ages to pronounce 'clown' in english - we use that word but have modified the pronounciation into something you would pronounce 'cloon'.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2016, 07:47 AM
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Another example : it took me ages to pronounce 'clown' in english - we use that word but have modified the pronounciation into something you would pronounce 'cloon'.>>

well more fool you then, whathello.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2016, 09:09 AM
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That's funny, whathello. My husband has recently become fascinated with Clowns Sans Frontières (and I have too), but it took me a couple of weeks of coaching to get him to pronounce it the French way, and I have to agree with him that "cloon" sounds silly (in a clownish way) to our English-speaking ways. To us it sounds like some sort of migratory bird.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2016, 09:21 AM
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It is true that there are some people who simply don't have a mind that picks up other languages.

My best friend and her husband went to Egypt some years ago and at one point went off by himself to buy something - and was unable to get back to the hotel. He had no problem getting a cab but could not tell them where he wanted to go. Called his wife and she reminded him she had given him a card from the hotel - which he showed to the driver - and then got back to the hotel.

The kicker - they were staying at the Nile Hilton. Which apparently to drivers is known as the Nil HilTONE. The driver had asked the husband if that was where he wanted to go - and her husband had said no. Since to him it just was not the name.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2016, 09:30 AM
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More fool for me then : some english guy asked me where was the 'Ibis' hotel in Waterloo (we were in front of it).
I made him repeat 3 times before it hit me... and at the same time her wife saw the hotel.

I had to explain that we use the same word in french for (i supect) the same bird but we pronounce it 'eebiss'.

(not that I've ever used it in a conversation neither in french nor in english).

Words that come from childhood are for me more complicated that brand new ones that you 'just' learn.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2016, 09:50 AM
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I had to explain that we use the same word in french for (i supect) the same bird but we pronounce it 'eebiss'. >>

I've no doubt that I would have made the same mistake - we stayed at a hotel "Ibis" [which we pronounce EYE] about 30 years ago, and have always called it that.

"Eebis" indeed. only a cloon would call it that.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2016, 09:56 AM
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Further to the bird analogies, we have had many flights of migratory birds here in the Périgord over the past few months, with many people remarking on how early they flew south and how early they are flying north, which is kind of like the American hedgehog, marking an early spring (but probably more scientifically accurate). Among others, we've had grues, which the locals call "les oies sauvages," and herons. I had the hardest time understanding when the locals talked about "les hérons." I was envisioning something far more complicated, especially listening to it in an Occitan accent - "les aiérongs..." I kept trying to explain that these were large white birds with long legs who liked to stand in the middle of fields alone, not in groups, and everyone would say "Ce ne sont pas les grues, ce sont les aiérongs," which I took to be a reference to their airborne-ness. No, they're just hérons, just like herons in the USA.

Language is complicated. I read today that the Académie Française recognizes 78 separate dialects of French in France, and I know for a fact that in the Périgord you can go 10 miles down the road and find people who are hard to comprehend, even if you're used to Occitan.

We had an apéro this evening with neighbors who are mainly Occitan speakers, but who try to speak French with us, and we were looking at and discussing some downed telephone lines up on their plâteau. The monsieur said what I understood to be "C'était le vin." (It was the wine? OK, I could get that, around here, but something was off." )Then I realized he meant "C'était le vent." If he had meant it was the wine he would have said "C'était le vingggggg..."

So much to learn every day.

whathello, we have Ibis, too, but it's more like ee-bees arund here. So much of dialect has to do with the elongation, or not, of syllables, and the shortening, or cutting off, of vowels.

I love this stuff.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2016, 10:18 AM
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You learn something every day. I thought "ibis" was pronounced "eebis" also in English.

My daughter, who has severe allergies, once wanted to tell the hotel reception that there was too much dust (polvere) in her room. She actually told them there were too many poor people "poveri" in the room.

Italians have a very strange way of pronouncing English words with a "u" in them. It's sort of between an e as in hem and an ae as in (American pronunciation) ask. When they say "club", it sounds like "cleb". The thing that really amuses me is that Donald Trump usually comes out as Donald Tramp.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2016, 10:26 AM
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I love Italians speaking English...
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Old Feb 22nd, 2016, 12:27 PM
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Like our President? No, he doesn't speak English. Like our Premier? He tries. Mario Draghi?
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