Friday, 30 June 2017

The Italian Job II

My foray into the delectable language of Italy continues apace.  After months of staying at 34% I suddenly had a dramatic leap to 40%.  The main reason for this is that I adjusted the way in which I use the app.

Every day it sends me an email reminding me to do my daily practice. This email presents me a topic to move on to.  Like every good student I obeyed my teacher and did this.  However, I would be in the midst of a revision exercise and come to a complete stop because I couldn’t remember vocabulary. So I decided to trust my instincts and redo units the app told me I’d already completed. 

Now I ignore the instructions from the app’s emails and redo a unit until I’m confident I’ve retained both the vocabulary and the grammar.  If you think about it logically this makes absolute sense. In order for something to go from short term memory it has to be revisited and repeated so it can be stored in the long term.

I find it incredibly easy to read and translate – especially from Italian into English. This is because I can usually guess a word meaning from the spelling. I was absolutely thrilled recently when reading an Italian friend’s posts on Facebook to realise I understood every word of the sentence she had written. I promptly responded in a mix of Italian and English. Still much work to be done but progress indeed.

Translating English into Italian is easy for me too but I’m often hampered by the fact I forget to make verbs, pronouns and nouns agree. But more often than not it is my vocab memory which lets me down. What I find more difficult is speeding up my understanding of spoken Italian. This is because I often mishear words. Clearly, I need to improve my listening skills.

The other skill I find really hard, is the ability to recall words quickly enough to respond when asked a question or when engaged in conversation. This is of course a tricky thing when dealing with an app. The only way I’m going to improve is by immersing myself. So my hope is to go over to Italy early next year for about a week so I can get myself well and truly coated in the lusciousness of the Italian language. After that, frequent visits are definitely in my future.


  1. How about borrowing my Montalbano DVDs and turning off the subtitles... X

    1. It's a definite idea. Will think about it and let you know when I'm next up in your part of the world.