Monday, October 23, 2006

Learning Italian

As I’m required to take 150 hours of instruction every five years to keep renewing my California teaching certificates (Rant # 47, which I’ll spare you), I’m currently taking a class in Beginning Italian at Foothill College. Since I know lots of French and a little Spanish, Italian is easy for me. The instructor, a native speaker, is quite good. The mix of students has come as a pleasant surprise. Other than difficulties parking, I find the experience very positive—especially having the chance to learn this very beautiful language and to have the mental shake-up that getting into a new language demands.

One of the features of Italian that really impresses me is the sense of style that imbues the pronunciation and the construction of the words. In addition to being euphonic, Italian is molto elegante.

The question and challenge is, how to get the feeling of the language, like the feeling of being in Rome, into a story?

Hmmm...I would imagine having words of love spilling from the lips of a naked man would help.
:) I'm with, Kate.
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Italian is a lovely language to listen to, as is French quite often.

German...well, lets just say it doesn't really sound all that romantic.

Yet somehow there are a lot of Germans born every day, so regardless of how unromantic the language sounds, the Germans themselves can be very romantic.
LOL, the sound of French was what first seduced me to devote several hundred years to studying what was called the "langue et litterature". But I think I'd have switched allegiance to Italian if I'd really heard that language first...

I guess maybe using some of the words is a way to capture the flavor and style... And, after all, as writers, words are what we have to work with...
I think getting the language in is very difficult. It's like trying to get a particular dialect. If you overuse it, it becomes annoying to the reader, but if you use too little, it doesn't sound realistic, or rather, as if the writer forgot to keep using it!
I love Italian. Yes, I think Jasime is right on, it's difficult to get the flavor of a culture without over using the language and irritating your reader.
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