Thursday, September 07, 2006

Italian Class In the City

For the Fall Semester, I am taking an Italian language class at the city college.

You probably think I have gone nuts to learn another foreign language on top of my stilted Spanish and my unadorned American English. (For those who don’t know as yet, Tagalog is my first language. Can you tell from my accent?) A couple of friends had warned me that I might confuse Spanish and Italian because the languages are too similar and that sameness makes it all the more hard to differentiate. Some suggested French would be a better choice since more countries speak French than Italian and I know at least three people who is a native speaker of French.

I wish I could say I don’t have any choice but to take Italian, of course, I do. Let me tell you my reasons. First, I had taken all the Spanish classes available at the city college - all ten of them. I think this is the farthest I can go schoolwise or I can go back to Casa Hispana and take advanced lessons in conversational Spanish. Just like in all things in life, if you don't use it, you lose it. It a matter of applying what I’ve learned in real life (especially the past tenses and the modismos). Making Spanish words part of my daily vocabulary so my brain can assimilate and retain them. Aside from the Salvadoran who I speak Spanish on the phone with whenever I feel like showing off to friends and coworkers, I apply my modest Spanish by helping the spanish-speaking tourists with directions and recommendations anywhere in the city. I still watch Escandalo TV and Doce Corazones at the gym when I am not tuned in to the Food network or a tennis match at ESPN.

Second, I fell in love with Italy when I spent my birthday in Rome this year. If I am going to extensively travel around Italy in the future, I might as well learn the language. Locals appreciate it more when you try to speak their language and this is from my experience.

The evening classes for Elementary Italian (ITAL1A) are available in the college’s Language Center, which is the Noe Valley campus on Wednesday or Thursday evenings, and in their Downtown campus on Tuesday evenings. I chose the latter because Tuesday nights fit in my schedule well. Before I forget to mention, the Salvadoran is taking the class with me so that gives the class a different twist. He blushes whenever he is called in the class. I've never seen him from that angle. We already missed the third class because of our short getaway to Puerto Vallarta so we need to study to catch up with the class.

So far, I've learned le presentazioni, i saluti, l'alfabeto and i numeri. The way I pronounce chianti and bruschetta will never be the same again.

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