Monday, October 20, 2014

Frequently Asked Questions: Part 3

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 17 days…showoff.