Speaking Italian

Old Feb 24th, 2016, 05:32 AM
  #101  
 
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StCirq,

Of course no. I never speak in passé simple - that is why when I wrote it here, I said it looks fun and I added old words (fi, marri) because it just looks like ... nearly medieval. Passé simple is still alive in writing, subjonctif imparfait is about dead...

an interesting link with a schema of the different 'temps'
http://www.ralentirtravaux.com/lettr...mode_temps.php

W (not B).
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Old Feb 24th, 2016, 06:37 AM
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ssander : the passé simple indicates an action (usually brief) that began and ended in the past, just like in Spanish, but it is seldom used in the spoken language.
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Old Feb 24th, 2016, 06:54 AM
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I think some people, and I'm one, learn better if I understand the structure of a language. Others learn better aurally. I tried to learn some Polish using a traditional grammar-and-vocabulary book and also DuoLingo, which introduces conversation with very little grammatical explanation. I found I couldn't remember the phrases unless I checked the book to see what parts of speech and inflections they were using.
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Old Feb 24th, 2016, 06:58 AM
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The equivalent to <i>passé simple</i> or <i>preterito</i> in Italian is the <i>passato remoto</i>, which is not very much used in northern or central Italy. It's used in speech when recounting something that happened long ago, as the "remoto" would indicate, such as, "Giulio Cesare fu assassinato dai nemici", or is over and done with, such as, "Andai a Milano all'età di due anni". History teachers use it all the time when lecturing, and politicians use it when making speeches, but I rarely hear people use it in normal conversation. (There's one very formal lady in our town who uses it a lot, but to balance her out, there's one guy who gives the "tu" to everybody.)

I've been told the passato remoto is overused in some parts of southern Italy, for anything that's been finished, as in, "Feci il pranzo due ore fa." I haven't spent much time in southern Italy, so that's hearsay.
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Old Feb 24th, 2016, 07:10 AM
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I just listened to the video of Colin Firth, and I would say his Italian, including the accent, is not bad at all. I've heard much worse. I'd like to hear the English of those who said his accent is atrocious!

No person who learns a language as an adult can completely get rid of a foreign accent. Even if their mother tongue is a language that's very similar, they'll still have an accent. Pope Francis, for example, speaks Italian very fluently. His native tongue is Spanish, though, and he definitely has an accent, even though Spanish pronunciation is very close to Italian.

I can hear other people's accents, but I just can't get rid of my own. I've noticed that accents are harder to detect when people are singing, and I've wondered if singing Italian sentences for practice would help me get rid of the accent.
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Old Feb 24th, 2016, 07:33 AM
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Bv
Nope. Singing doesn't improve accent.
Celine Dion sings in perfect French and speaks with an invredible thick Quebec accent.
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Old Feb 24th, 2016, 08:32 AM
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<<Is the passé simple the equivalent of the preterite tense in Spanish? In high school Spanish we were taught that this is used for action that began and ended in the past at a specific time

I have noticed that my daughter-in-law (for whom Spanish is a first language) uses it regularly with my 2-year-old grandson...so I assume it is fairly common in conversational Spanish..>>

insofar as it's the same "part of speech" ssander, though with a different name and used far more frequently in spoken Spanish than in spoken French, as your anecdote demonstrates. I was very surprised when I found it taught relatively early by Michel Thomas in his Spanish course [he even has a little rhyme to help one remember the endings!] whereas I've rarely used it in Italian and only then when I'm trying to write a "high-flown" piece.

<<I've been told the passato remoto is overused in some parts of southern Italy, for anything that's been finished, as in, "Feci il pranzo due ore fa." I haven't spent much time in southern Italy, so that's hearsay.>>

bvl - I'll be on the look out for it in Sicily, that's for sure.
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Old Feb 24th, 2016, 10:54 AM
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bvlenci, on the subject of carrying accents from one's native language, I have an accent speaking French, although most French speakers think it is something other than American, i.e. Belgian, Scandinavian or something else. Interestingly, now that I am learning Italian, Italian speakers tell me I have a French accent in that language. Frankly I think it's all in the "R"! LOL
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Old Feb 24th, 2016, 12:45 PM
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Frankly I think it's all in the "R"! LOL>>

Shellio, I don't think that it's just about the way you pronounce the R, IMO it's more about where in your mouth the sound comes from. I know that my mouth shape changes depending on which language I'm speaking - for English and indeed German it comes from much further back in the mouth, [though with German you have to work the lips and tongue harder than you do for English] whereas for French, Spanish and Italian it's further forward, and particularly for Italian I feel that I have to speak with the whole of my face, not just with my lips and tongue.

Does that make sense? IME how you say the R is just a part of this process [though perhaps I would say that as I can't roll my Rs for toffee - I think it's something to do with the length of your tongue!]

I'm sure that however hard we try we're going to have an accent when we speak a foreign language - just as even the best foreign speakers of english almost always do.
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Old Feb 24th, 2016, 12:54 PM
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I've told to have a belgian accent when I speak french,a german accent when I speak english, a french accent when I speak dutch and a horrible accent when I speak german.

I am nowhere 'safe'.
I love most accents except of course the one from my region and my in-laws'region.

My preferred ones are Marseillais (which I tend to acquire if I'm on too many pastis) or Quebec for French, Italian speaking english, french speaking german. The most complicated to understand are Koreans speaking english, imo worse than Australians, but not by far ;-)

The best accent I've ever heard was a guy from Congo, I think, who had emigrated to Quebec : the mix of these accents was too much for me. Never been able to listen to the guy (he was a priest actually...).
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Old Feb 24th, 2016, 12:59 PM
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lol, What, have you tried Russian?

The British have a tendency to " characterise" different languages, in a fairly arbitrary way - French is romantic, Italian musical, german guttural , etc, etc.

Do any other nations do this?
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Old Feb 24th, 2016, 01:06 PM
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<i> Nope. Singing doesn't improve accent.
Celine Dion sings in perfect French and speaks with an invredible thick Quebec accent. </i>

I was thinking of trying to sing sentences like, "Did you remember to get the car inspected?", or, "I'm just running out to the store." Only as practice, you understand, when no one's listening.

Annhig, through six years of intensive Spanish study, and three years of Italian study, I could never roll an "r" to save my life. Then one day, I was angry at my husband, and giving him a good telling off, and those "rr"s just rrrolled rrright off my tongue. I've never had a problem since. You probably know that you don't roll a single "r", you just kind of flip it. (One mark of a Roman accent is that they double their single consonants: "Sono rromana.")

When I was learning Spanish in high school, the teacher made us say, "Erre con erre barril, erre con erre cigarro. Allá en el ferrocarril, rápido corren los carros." It didn't help.
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Old Feb 24th, 2016, 01:08 PM
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Spassiba !

I've been told I have a good accent in Polish - too bad I know about 25 words... It might be because I have never seen Polish written, I'm told words here and there by polish colleagues. (So far beer, dog, cement mixer, headache, wine, turn left, happy new year and one swearword ... very useful)
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Old Feb 24th, 2016, 01:19 PM
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So you can say, "Happy New Year! I knew I shouldn't mix beer and wine, now I have a %$&&* headache like the inside of a cement mixer. I need some of the tail of the dog that bit me!
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Old Feb 24th, 2016, 01:22 PM
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Or is it the "hair of the dog that bit me"? I'm forgetting my English!
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Old Feb 24th, 2016, 01:44 PM
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Annhig, through six years of intensive Spanish study, and three years of Italian study, I could never roll an "r" to save my life. Then one day, I was angry at my husband, and giving him a good telling off, and those "rr"s just rrrolled rrright off my tongue. I've never had a problem since. >>

bvl - can I borrow your husband?

it's the "hair of the dog" though why I have no idea.

whathello - that's an impressive list. My Polish is limited to "Dwa piwa prosze." or "two beers please".
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Old Feb 24th, 2016, 01:48 PM
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I can roll an "r" with the best of them and have perfected the French "rhhhh" - it's no problem, just different from an American "r." I love sounds. I think maybe it's my musical background that helps me, but I can imitate virtually any sound on earth, except some Asian tonal ones.

I forget English, too bvlenci. I find myself these days asking my spouse "what's the word for...." in English all too frequently. I no longer dream in English, either. It's really funny how the brain works
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Old Feb 25th, 2016, 01:01 AM
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Annhig, can't you get angry at your own husband?

I find myself using the wrong words when I'm speaking English, like "throw the trash in the chest" (cestino=basket, used also for trash bin), or "stamp (stampare = print) your boarding card".

I get embarrassed when an Italian asks me to translate something and I can't remember the English word.

Another very strange thing is that I find myself reverting to the British words for things. My parents were Irish, and I first learned the British names for many things. These words may be the ones most deeply planted in my brain, but it's probably reinforced by the fact that the English I see here is more likely the British form. In hotels, you'll see a sign for the lift, not the elevator.
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Old Feb 25th, 2016, 01:31 AM
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Bvlebci
You got me my first laugh of the day !
Thanks

'R' has to be learnt for us frenxhspeaking in order to speak Flemish. Theirs is much more pronounced. Like some old people used to do in france in some places like Burrrrrgundy.
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Old Feb 25th, 2016, 02:00 AM
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bvlenci wrote...

<em>When I was learning Spanish in high school, the teacher made us say, "Erre con erre barril, erre con erre cigarro. Allá en el ferrocarril, rápido corren los carros." It didn't help.</em>

In my HS Spanish class we sang a very short Christmas song to practice rolling our Rs (to the tune of Alouette):

Arre borriquito, arre borriquito,
Arre borriquito, arre a Belem

I just googled it, and apparently there is a different song of the same name out there. Our teacher probably just gave us something she made up.

I can roll my Rs quite well most of the time, but some preceeding sounds make it more difficult for me.

ssander
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