Saturday, November 3, 2007

Italian Immersion

So last night I was invited to dinner at the apartment of my tutor. She truly is a saint for being so patient with my skills. It was me, her (Monica), her boyfriend Guido, her roomate Domenico and another friend Matteo. The final roomate, Lara, wasnt home.

This has been the first time I have been invited to someones house. I thought it was an Italian thing but turns out its actually a northern Italian thing. The Italians from the South tend to be a bit more hospitable (so I am told). Monica and roomates are all from the South. With that, I encountered another accent to try to decipher on top of the Italian. But it was a fun night and I am very glad I went.

I am rather impressed at how much I did understand. And some of the conversations were a bit more involved than 'where are you from' and 'what do you do'.....for example, do you know how to say guinnea pig in Italian? And why would people who just met me for the first time be interested in explaining this to me? Well, turns out Monica and Guido did some homemade cooking (which was wonderful) and they told me it was an experiment. I explained how we would say that I was their guinea pig. This, of course, brought the need for the dictionary to decipher the difference between a guinnea pig, a rat and a mouse (which some Americans might argue as well if there is any). In the end, they learned a new American saying and I got a good meal.

One of the funnier questions was when they asked me how to say zucchini in English. What joy when they found out it was the same....sigh of relief all around...one less word for all of us to learn!

I am still not good at speaking on command. It seems that I tried more when I only knew the infinitives of verbs. Now that I know to conjugate and several tenses, I am deeply concerned about saying it the right way and tend to tense up in fear of doing it wrong. Interesting phenomenon....one would think that the more I learn, the more I would speak?

So who knows if I will ever be fluent, but I am still having a great time learning and I appreciate meeting Italians who accept me where I am.

2 comments:

Roam2Rome said...

Sounds like a wonderful dinner! Reminds me of similar ones I had 5 years ago :)

Tip: forget you speak English, don't worry how you sound, and dive in.

Pretend you're driving. When you are learning you tend to go super slow, but others are honking behind you, just step on the pedal and go :) The more you practice, the more you'll drive straight :) Languages are pretty much the same way, well, at least that's what helped me...

Enjoy!

Monica said...

Susan your post is so funny!!! I want to invite you again to dinner so I can read more about your impression on us!!! I'm so happy you had a great time with us and that you understood a lot! well, on saturday there's Guido's birthday party! I hope you can come, there will be a lot of people and you could improve your italian as well! ;-)