Il punto di svolta (The tipping point)

These days I’m learning Italian.  Why would a septuagenarian take on learning of a new language?   Well, intrepid reader, learning a new language is a stalwart weapon in the fight to keep out the Alzheimer’s. Work the brain to keep it from getting flabby I’m told.  While this is enough of a good reason for my late in life desire to parla Italiano, I have a more personal one.  

At my last visit to my family’s ancestral home of Teramo, Italy, I told my cousins (cugini) there I would be speaking Italian on my next visit.  They encouraged me, and I want to reward them for their faith.

How hard can it be?

I had many false start with books and electronic language courses.  Oh sure, I got their greetings chapters down but no real knowledge of the language.

It was time to pick up the pace, I used inheritance money from my Mom to buy a Rosetta Stone course.  I thought she’d like this idea.

That was over a year ago.  I did lessons five nights a week.  At the halfway mark on the course, I realized I’ve knew words but not how to use them.  Learning refrigerator was frigorifero and vacuum cleaner was aspirapolvere would not help when I need directions to a ristorante?

Step two was Duolingo, a web based learning tool.   It addresses the use of words over just learning of them.  I doubled my efforts with both e-courses, but still sensed I needed more.

Next I enrolled in an Italian for travelers course at Widener’s Exton campus.  Early on, I knew what I needed to learn.  How to say baffling words like “gli” – “the” when used before masculine, plural nouns starting with vowels or “Z” or “S” followed by another consonant.  Got to love the complexity of Italian.

Where am I now?  My desire to speak Italian has gained momentum.  I spend large chunks of my time each day studying; getting frustrated and going back for more.

By reaching my tipping point, I believe my working knowledge will produce full Italian sentences.  I am excited about being where I am and where I’m going.

I sense my tipping point is just ahead of me, and I plan to knock it on its culo.




Digg this     Create a Bookmark     Add to Newsvine

One Response to “Il punto di svolta (The tipping point)”

  1. John Morris Says:

    I left for Italy in August with as much Italian study as I could handle. I could read Italian and get the meaning, but my response to the spoken language was shaky.

    Michael and I hit Italy and we both tried to understand what was being said to us. I could only understand a word or two. I thought I’d be better prepared after all that effort.

    What happened? Seems the Italian we learn from Rosetta Stone, Duolingo, and college courses doesn’t match how Italian actually speak. Italians use a lot of slang; just like we Americans. They also use words that mean the same thing as the ones we learn. It also does not help that they speak so fast.

    In Italy for only days, and I was defeated. I didn’t just struggle with Italian; I was completely unable to communicate. I had failed in my vow to be speaking Italian during my next visit there.

    I have forgiven myself for failing, but I have done only a few hours of Italian studies since I returned.

    I am looking for a better way to learn Italian. Submerging myself somewhere in Italy for a year may do, it but that’s a steep price to pay. I will keep looking for my way of learning Italian.

Leave a Reply