Tuesday, September 30, 2008
For several weeks now, I've been mostly living in earphones, attempting to learn enough Italian to communicate with my deceased husband's family in Italy. Besides CD's Buongiorno Italia also provides a reading supplement. I've completed all the exercises in the book but find myself strangely tongue-tied when asked to "say something in Italian."
Do I treat the listener to an "ordering a meal" dialog (lots of meal-ordering, and direction-asking in this little book) or do I describe the house that Geraldine wants to buy near Orvieto?
Sometimes I create imaginary conversations as I busy myself with other things. Inevitably, however, I lurch off into Spanish. I don't know a lot of Spanish, just enough to confuse others.
The dialogs on Buongiorno Italia, however, aside from the repetitiveness of their topics, are marvelous aids in determining where to use "da" or "di, " or "ci" and "si," and the like. Hear a phrase often enough and the association of when to use what slides into a conversation more easily. Those phrases remind me of the "embedded" reporters during the Iraq war save that this reporter resides inside my head.
If all goes as planned, we leave this Sunday. On my return, I'll report on the efficacy of Buongiorno Italia and my success in attempting to communicate in Italian.