I recently began to study another language in February with a popular app “Babbel”. I just lay on the couch one day bored out of my brains when I saw an advert pop up selling me their new language app. I always wanted to learn Greek, but it wasn’t available, so I decided upon Italian.
Most people learn languages when they’re moving to another country, to get a few phrases for their holidays or because their work requires they have another language. In my case, I decided simply that this was going to be something to pass the time. I always struggled with language classes at schools. I detested learning them because I was no good at them. Looking back I’m convinced it was a case of language dyslexia mixed with the boredom associated with every hormonal teenager.
I recall reading that Ireland and Greece are the worst countries in Europe for speaking a second language. Ouch! These statistics came to mind when I saw this app, and maybe this could be a reason I decided to learn, to be part of a change?
Everyone looked at me strange when I explained my new adventure because of my active ignorance and disassociation with the country. I’ve been on many holidays, but I’ve never once visited Italy. Other than all those American Mafia movies, I currently know very little of its culture nevermind its language.
Once I started, for some strange reason, I became addicted. With no job and nothing to do all of a sudden, it became an activity to prevent me from slipping into a depression. My whole life, I was a failure at learning another language, and now was my time, 20 years after leaving high school, to prove something to myself.
A New Friend
I met a man from Rome on Skype, who likewise was using the very same app to learn English. Every day we speak both English and Italian to one another. It needs to be said right here and now that if I did not have this option available to me, I might have given up. I cannot stress how important it is to speak with a native of the country whose language you’re learning.
Our first interactions with one another was nothing short of a divine comedy. The explanation for this was that we were both beginners at each others language. Before we even knew each other, we had some preparation but not enough to hold a conversation. Sign language was prevalent, and we used it quite a bit to describe household objects that were necessary to proceed in the conversation. I’d point to the bowl and say “bowl”, and he’d respond to me in Italian the same.
It’s been two months now, and at this stage, we are both having good quality conversation and using less sign language than before. Our capacity to speak each others language is at a level where it’s broken but understandable. We correct each other here and there when needed, and as our verbs had grown alongside our general vocabulary, conversation has become much more manageable.
I’m not stopping there, in any case. With a language that is not benefiting me financially in any way, I’m enrolling in a local school for 12 weeks to further my Italian skills. Yes, I’m crazy, I’m mad, but you know what? I’m having too much fun, so why stop now? Who knows, my next blog post could from my very own Vineyard in the south of Italy in which I describe the difficulty of getting wine stains out of my crispy white shirt?
Must there be a valuable financial reason to everything we do in this world?
Well…If there must be then, I’m having way too much fun to give a monkeys about the answer to that question.
Buona Notte a tutti.