Thursday, October 19, 2006

We are now half-way through the Beginning Italian 1A. In nine weeks, we’ve had two quizzes, finished six laboratory audio and video manuals, and eighty three pages of grammaticali, incontri, attiviti, e vocabulari. I teasingly tell the Salvadoran that the Italian class has become my new job.

When I started taking Spanish lessons years ago, I remember I had to translate my ideas from Tagalog to English to Spanish. It is the other way around when reading instructions in Spanish. The translation used to take a long time, a lengthy process. It was incredibly frustrating to see my more advanced language partners lose their patience and I used to cringe when they end up finishing my sentences for me. (I also had to unlearn lots of Hispanized-Tagalog words because the meaning has evolved a lot differently from the Spanish word it got borrowed from). But we know that this story ended well because I am so eloquent with my Spanish now. (Of course, I'm only kidding. Seriously, I want to get there someday).

What’s amazing was that in the course of learning Spanish, my spoken and written English was revitalized. I don’t know how or why, but it did. Now that I’m learning Italian, I find my Spanish getting even better. I also find it much easier to learn Italian having already learned Spanish. Not only because the two are almost identical in construct but also the learning techniques I acquired from Spanish can be applied to Italian as well. Writing journals, watching movies, listening to music, and keeping notes in index cards can be employed to immerse myself with anything Italian.

There are times when I think Spanish is a more difficult language than Italian and there are times I think it is the other way around. I am discovering that Italian, like the other languages I speak, has its own peculiarities.

The Salvadoran is taking the class with me so I am also discovering things about him. Petty, amusing things. For someone who has a short attention span, he seems to be enjoying, at the same time, doing well at the Italian class. Generally, his interest is destined to be short lived however fascinating the class may be, but not ITAL1A. He still blushes when called by
la professoressa to answer an exercise. While his nose gets bigger when reading the dialogues, I chuckle when I hear his improvised Italian accent. It is kindof sexy!
I don’t think he means to poke fun at other people but he laughs when someone mispronounces the words which is something I share with him. Sometimes I think we only go to class to be entertained.

We'll have another quiz next week.


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