If not now, when?

One American woman. Twenty acres and a 1650 farmhouse in Tuscany. Random introspection and hilarity, depending on the day.

17 October 2005

Bad in any language

Okay. Week one of 'the rest of my life' in Italy commences. I've GOT to learn this language.

I'm trying to get over my trepidation about trying to speak on the phone ... it's the hardest thing to do. I do avoid it unless it's absolutely necessary; as it was today when I had to call to get my "caldaia" serviced (think furnace/boiler/radiator thing all in one), and order firewood from "Biondo the Firewood Guy" (who of course knew who I was within seconds of saying 'hello' (this is the benefit of small town life!). Yup, it's life in the small-town countryside: me and the chipmunks are prepping for winter - with the crispy fall days getting shorter and shorter.

As for learning, I feel some days like I've made TONS of progress, and others like I am regressing and will never quite 'get it.' People tell me that just talking to people who are patient will help a lot, which it does. Fratello Guido is wonderful for this, as are some of my new local friends. The other advice is to watch television, which I had been doing a bit while traveling in hotel rooms. So, today, I finally plugged in my TV here at the house.

Let me just say that the sheer badness of Italian television is not describeable; it has to be seen to be truly comprehended. There are only five channels, and they all leave a LOT to be desired. I did know this already. I have, however, developed a bit of an affinity for these goofy 'question and answer' gameshows (kind of the 'who wants to be a millionare' format, but with competitors) -- primarily because they speak slowly and thoughtfully, writing the question and the answer choices on the screen, give you a minute to think about it, then give the right answer (after I've had time to look up suspect words in the dictionary) -- it's learning trivia AND language at the same time!

Every now and again, it's fun when I stumble across an American show that's been dubbed into Italian - when I already know the storyline (Judging Amy or Friends, for example), it's a lot easier to 'get it'. However, most US shows move waaaaaaay too fast for me to really grasp any language learning benefit: though I do have to admit there's not much more hysterical than Will & Grace dubbed into fast-paced flourishes of 'gay-talian'.

When my Q&A gameshow ended tonight, I was greeted with yet another dubbed show. Now, this is the country that gave us the Renaissance, that gave birth to Botticelli, Michelangelo, DaVinci ... where the modern foundation of the Arts was based, yet SOME ITALIAN had the poor taste to decide that "Walker, Texas Ranger" should be dubbed into Italian and played in Prime Time. Yeeks.

The TV also has an 'off' button. Even in the name of learning the language, I just couldn't. Sorry, Chuck.


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