No time for pontificating today. And I’m in too much of a rush to be witty.
I have to teach at ten, you see, which means putting on a shirt and combing my hair.
But before that, there’s my weekly hour of conversation practice in Turkish, which I try not to miss. I’ve been doing those for around two years now, more than ninety lessons in total!
Though I used to know that language well as a youth, I hadn’t spoken it for something like a quarter of a century when, in September 2018, a Turkish teacher happened to wander through the door of our school looking for work.
Try as I might, I was unable to say more than a few words to her in her language. I don’t think she really believed me when I said that I could, in theory, speak it.
That happens with languages. If you don’t use them, they don’t disappear. But they can become very hard to access when you need them again. Language is basically a habit, or rather a complex mess of habits which together enable you to communicate. But like any habit that’s fallen out of use, you need the right ‘cue’ to revive your learned behaviour.
After such a long time without any practice at all, I was pretty blocked, you can imagine. So during the first lesson or two I could barely say a word, which was frustrating. But I enjoyed myself anyway.
The ‘feeling blocked’ thing passes quickly, though the frustration doesn’t. However good you get at a language, it’s human nature to want to be able to say more, or say it more fluently and effortlessly.
Recently I’ve been doing Spanish conversation, and that’s not a language I’ve ever studied, except for a bit of Duolingo earlier this year (we were planning a holiday in Spain, which didn’t happen because of the virus.)
Even knowing very little of the language, the routine of weekly conversation with a native speaker has made a difference fairly quickly. You only need to say “Buenos días. ¿Qué tal?” at the same day/time each week for a few months for it to become pretty much second nature.
“Muy bien!”, “Muchas gracias!”, “Hasta la próxima vez!”
I still find it difficult to say much beyond the basics, but one of the advantages of knowing Italian is that understanding spoken Spanish comes fairly quickly. IF you practice.
Spanish is Friday, too. So I have Turkish at 09.00, (teaching) English at 10.00, paying the rent and bills for the school, because it’s the end of the month, Spanish at 15.00, and then, thank goodness, it’ll be the weekend! Perhaps the last one of the summer…
So as I said, no time for pontificating, gotta rush!
Here’s the link to Episode 21 in our free, 30-part series of articles with audio, ‘La storia di Roma‘:
It’s not as dry as it sounds. There’s an explanation of what philosophy actually was, for the Romans. And some stuff on Stoics, and the story of one of their main guys, Seneca, and how he came to a sticky end. Stoically.
All 21 articles published so far can be found here.
If you’re new to the club, be aware that emails like this one, with links to new materials, are not all there is. Don’t worry, you don’t have to spend your Friday reading/listening to an advanced-level article about the Romans’ attitude to philosophy.
The club website, OnlineItalianClub.com, has thousands of pages of free materials for learning Italian. Just click around in the website menu and you’ll surely find something useful.
Also, there are the three ‘easy news’ bulletins we publish each and every week over at EasyItalianNews.com.
Both the club website and the ‘easy’ news bulletins are entirely free, and can be accessed by anyone, no registration or password required.
How come? Well, we finance the free materials, which anyone can use, through the sale of ebooks and online Italian lessons. Our ecommerce shop is EasyReaders.org.
Why not browse the Catalog page, to see if there’s anything there that would help you progress with your Italian?
Weekly conversation practice with an experienced native-speaker teacher, for example…
A lunedì, allora.