speaking in a foreign tongue


Kicking around in the iTunes store about 11 weeks ago, I came upon My Daily Phrase Italian (one of many language programs by Radio Lingua). And so “step by step, day by day, phrase by phrase,” I have been learning and relearning a few words. I have been learning to speak Italian from Mark, who speaks English with a Scottish accent. Interestingly enough, I now find myself speaking English with a Scottish accent on occasion. When I was a child I spent much of my time with my grandfather, and so back then I spoke English with an Italian accent. For example, I would ask the waitress to cut my toast “corn to corn” because I wouldn’t eat bread unless it was cut at an angle, from corner to corner.

At any rate, I now know how to say “Sto imparando l’italiano. Non parlo molto. Parli inglese?” a group of phrases which make my mother laugh every time I say them. (I’m learning Italian. I don’t speak much. Do you speak English?) After 11 weeks, I know quite a few other phrases and words too (but none of the phrases and words I heard my grandfather say under his breath). I have got to work it a little more, but I find myself beginning to think in Italian every so often, and also at times when I fumble for an Italian word, I find I come up with the French equivalent. It’s been awhile since I’ve studied French so it is quite fun to relearn bits of that as I go along too.

Learning Italian has also brought me a new awareness of the musicality of a language, which in turn benefits my creative writing. I find that opening myself up to new things has always benefited my endeavors in some way. Designing for a dance company and viewing modern dance performances added a fluidity to my design work which had not been apparent before. It also challenged me to create collages of photos, work that I have not done for some time, but have been thinking of experimenting with again.

But now I must get back to the business of writing copy for a business. In between, I’ll keep learning Italian “step by step, day by day, phrase by phrase,” and continue to experiment with new techniques in writing, design, and photography.

Tutto per oggi! Ciao!