Learning Italiano in Dublino – panino vs panini, who cares?

Ciao ragazzi, come state? Ok anyone could copy that out of a Lonely Planet guide to Italy, but last year I decided to pass the dark winter evenings (well Monday’s anyway) by learning Italian. Per que? Well, a few reasons.

1. I got bored of doing Spanish classes in the Instituto Cervantes.

2. I like Italians and Italy, so it would be nice to be able to speak to them.

3. Because of #1 and #2, I can understand a certain amount of Italian, written and spoken.

4. I want to learn the secret code of all those hand movements.

5. I want to read menus properly and impress people in restaurants (not): espresso, latte, panino, tagliatelle, bruschetta, agnello.

6. I’ve been to more Italian weddings than Irish weddings – thanks Roberto, Giovanni and Laura!

James Richardson and his Gazzetta dello Sport

7. I like calcio, going back to Italia 90 and then the Serie A show on Channel 4 on Saturday mornings with James Richardson. It was so exotic watching a man drink a tiny espresso while reading a pink newspaper on the side of a street.

8. I’d like to know what Luciano Pavorotti is singing about in all those operas.

9. If it means I can eat more Italian food and drink more vino italiano, I’m in.

10. Maybe the Maffia won’t come after me if I speak their lingo.

So after 9 months of classes, what’s the verdict??

Well, I’ve learned a lot. Mainly that my teacher likes giving out to me for getting the past tense verbs wrong. I thought verb tenses would be pretty similar to Spanish, but no the past is more like French, with avoir (avere) and etre (essere). Of course there’s exceptions to the rule and irregularities which make it all very confusing. I’m sorry profesore, will try harder!

My brain is also mixing Spanish and Italian, which I hope is good, but could end up like a spaghetti tongue twister at some stage when I try to unravel the languages in my head. If I don’t know the Italian word I usually blurt out the Spanish word, with an Italian accent. My teacher is never impressed with that. Especially when I do it for the word “AND” (e instead of y!)

Tweeps– check out Roberto Gotta and Gabriele Marcotti for some Italian football tweets.


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