Learning Italian

…or imparare l’italiano. To travel alone in Italy, I thought it would be in my interests to learn some Italian. In October last year I signed up for an absolute beginners course at the Dante Alighieri school.

It all started out as fun and games; …come si chiama? Mi chiamo Andrea. …Come stai? Sto bene grazie. Within a few weeks though, we start to encounter a bit more challenge. It turns out the conjugation of verbs is required, along with knowing what infinitives and indeterminate articles are.

Now where I come from, at the school I attended, in the era I was a child, we did not spend too much time on grammar. I have a loose grasp on verbs and nouns but it all gets a bit hazy once I get to adverbs and adjectives. So I now find myself learning two subjects at my Italian class, grammar and Italian and running to keep up. It is now my third term and continues to get harder and harder and we are still in the present tense.

Sometimes I get frustrated and think I am in the wrong class. I am buried in Essere, Stare and Avere; are, ere and ire and possibly no closer to asking for a toilet, using public transport or finding a hot meal. Then I’ll have a breakthrough and realise I could tell someone a simple story about me, such as …i miei genitori hanno un cane con tre zampe.

3 legged dog


and I could ask how much for the bananas, …quanti costano le banane?


It’s all forming very slowly, I need to have pazienza e perseveranza.  I spoke to a woman at school who has been learning for 8 years! Wanting to be fluent by October might be just a bit much to hope for.  Having said that, I have a great motivator.

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