I’m off to Italy tomorrow, where le mucche fanno … qualcosa…
It’s been just a little under two years since I was last in Italy, struggling to find the right words to hold a conversation. It was an interesting experience, not only because I was force-fed three course meals by my relatives, but also because my comprehension of the language was so much stronger than my ability to speak. I had never experienced that before! I felt as though I could understand so much, even conversations about politics, but when it came to responding, all I could use was my terrible broken Italian. I put this down to two things: 1. Since birth I have been surrounded by Italian speakers, even though they never directly spoke Italian to me or made me use it, and 2. my grounding in French.
Hence, I set forth to learn Italian well, and over the last 2 years I feel as though I have moved forward in leaps and bounds. I don’t fell as though I have the cultural linguistic knowledge down-pat (eg. small gap noises, and hand actions), but I can hold conversations and respond without much delay. A big step in language acquisition!
For me, the most fascinating thing for taking this 5 week trip to Italy with Uni, will be to determine just how far I have come with my Italian skills. At least this time I know that when at il bar (coffee house), you pay first, then order! I got that wrong every time!
As well as doing my usual Uni assessments, I will be watching out for and keeping my eye on some quintessential Italian things:
1) How many times someone says , “Mangia! Sei troppo magra!”
2) A count on how many cannoli ingested.
3) How many times I hear the song ‘Pulcino Pio’. Here is a link, and yes, it’s a national hit.
4) Kitsch presepe (nativity sets)
5) Keeping a record of my linguistic blunders. I have a habit of speaking before thinking, so this list may be too long…
Any recommendations of anything else I should be looking out for?
Just to keep you in the know. I’ll only be away for 6 weeks, the shortest amount of time I have ever been overseas. 3 weeks in Prato (near Florence), 2 weeks in Rome, then 1 week in London town to finish up. Even though this is a short time oversees, I will be writing my blog regularly to document any interesting linguistic sightings, so stay tuned!
Ci vediamo presto, Katerina