Learning Italian

It is amazing how quickly you assimilate back into Puglia after so long away. I feel almost as if we never left the place. we are back in the routine of the place and settled back into the pace of life after months spent surrounded by hundreds of people. Even the smallest places in South East Asia seemed to have loads of people around and personal space is not what they do at all.

However with the settling back comes the frustration of not really being able to communicate with most of the non English speaking locals.

For five months I have sat in various very local bars chatting in English to locals who shared their views on all kinds of news stories and how they saw their life in their own country.  It is now frustrating not to be able to do the same in the country in which I live.

I can have a basic chat and can understand ( non dialect of course)  what they are saying around me but I couldn’t lean against the bar and ask what they think of say MH370 and how much China and America really know about the route it took and the place it crashed. I can’t share the fact that the Vietnamese were worried when we were there that China was putting listening devices off their coast or that a tipsy American serviceman years ago shared with me what really went on deep below the airport at Newquay in Cornwall and why there were hundreds of Americans there.  Oh the frustration.

I have looked at on line sites and bought BBC books etc but need the discipline of a real course to get me going . To that end I have signed up for the Intermediate level Open University course for 2014/5 . Not only will I have paid a considerable amount of money to do the course which is a real incentive but will be driven to meet timelines and complete tasks. No daydreaming out of the window on this course and the blurb says at the end I will be able to hold an everyday conversation on a variety of subjects at the end of my year’s course.

One online course i did sign up to was Italian 101 and their podcast . Trouble is the beginners is too easy and the advanced well too advanced so no real progress there.

One of their tips was to try to mimic actors who speak with an Italian accent in movies and then hold that style of talking when you see an Italian word to pronounce and say it as if you were speaking English with that heavy Italian accent. Now I don’t know about you but I am not one of those people who can tell a joke about a Scotsman, an Irishman and a Welshman and then mimic each accent. Indeed people laugh more at my appalling attempt to do their accents than the punchline at the end which normally falls flat. My South African accent gets muddled with Australian and my imitation of an Italian consists solely of adding an a to the end of every word.

So now to find an actor who imitates an Italian well. Now it is actually not that easy indeed the internet is mainly full of actors that make my attempt  look quite good. The one most people highlight, as indeed I would, as truly awful  is Nicholas Cage in Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

Some are unkind enough to describe his accent as taught to him by Super Mario. One that is far closer to my impersonation of an Italian is Danny Nucci’s in Titanic. He plays the Italian who gets the other ticket in the card game where Leonardo Di Caprio wins his. His great line on boarding the ship is ” I can’a see’a the’a Statue of Liberty already’a . Very’a small’a of’a course’a ” Oh yes I can do that . Go on let’s have the theme

The final one I looked at was Nick Nolte in Lorenzo’s Oil now I haven’t seen the movie but I’m told he also makes my attempt look very professional.

Perhaps I should do it the other way around and watch Italian films with sub titles and what better one to start with than this one

Lovely music as well.

Oh well it’s time to head to the bar now. Wonder how I’ll do? Imagine their surprise next year – Hey come on I can dream can’t I ?


About hereinpuglia

Retired to Puglia after some 40 years in the travel industry working for P&O Lines, British Airways, Alamo rent-a-car,Abercrombie&Kent, owner of Quest Tours and Travel and finally with Thomas Cook North America. Married to Geraldine we now have a small house with too much land near the town of Martina Franca in Puglia. Two kids one married and living in Hong Kong and the other single and living in London. No dogs, no cats no animals.
This entry was posted in Driving in Italy, Expat in Italy, Expat Italy, Italian Living, Puglia, Puglia Beaches, Puglia Cooking, Puglia Food, Puglia Guide, Puglia Lifestyle, Puglia Living, Puglia Travel Information and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Learning Italian

  1. Joella says:

    Have you tried Duolingo. I have an app on my ipad and its quite good.

    • hereinpuglia says:

      No but as the proud owner of a new iPad I will download it now. Probably better for me than playing the scopa card game on it all the time. Thanks for the advice . Cheers Mike

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