Question three in our Frequently Asked Questions series is “do you speak Italian?”
Well…..it really depends on who you ask. For example, if you asked any of
our Italian friends, they would say no, definitely not. If you ask Ryan, he
would say that he knows all the “locker room talk” – which is not at all
appropriate for every day conversation unless you want to get run out of town.
If you ask me, I would say "sto imparando" which means I’m learning (and since I just wrote
that in Italian, I would also say YES).
The thing is, Italian is really, really hard. One time I heard the word
"proprio" used in a
conversation that I overheard outside my window. In the spirit of learning
Italian, I Google translated it to see what it meant.
The basic definition, I found, is "own". But that's just as a
noun. As a pronoun, it means "its". As an adverb it means
"just", “really”, “exactly”, “proper”, “quite”, “real”, “at all”, and
“jolly”. And as an adjective, don't even get me started. There were 19
different definitions. And then I stopped Google translating things.
There are times when we feel like we know no Italian at all: at the butcher,
for one, or when speaking to someone who speaks in a different dialect that
what we’re used to. Then there are times when we feel practically fluent: when
we go to Austria for example and have no idea how to speak German, and when we
can swear at each other on the tennis court in Steamboat and no one else knows
what we’re saying.
As with anything Italian, learning the language is a process that we are
actively involved in through lessons, countless worksheets of verb drills,
hosting Italian-only dinner parties and making daily trips to the grocery
store….so I guess the answer is si e no.
That’s an easy one.
PS – Here is the infuriating story of a man who learned to speak French in