Monday, September 12, 2011

My Free Italian Lesson for You

After a week of Italian, here are some pointers I have learned:

1. Although it seems that all men are named "Louie", "lui" actually means "he".
2. Don't ask me who thought this up, but "she" is pronounced "lay" but spelled "lei".
3. When people try to speak Italian and end most of their words with an "o" - "I-o need the bathroom -o", just about all verbs (at least the ones I've learned so far) do end in "o" if you are taking about yourself. So, I is "Io" which is pronounced "ee-oo" (like in the Farmer in the Dell) and the verbs would be "telefono", "parlo" (talk), or "domo" (sleep).
4. All nouns are masculine or feminine, like in Spanish (not that I knew them in Spanish, either). If the noun ends in "e" or "o" it is usually masculine, so you have to know if you should use "il", "l'" or "lo" and if the noun ends in an "a", it is usually feminine and you add "la" or "l'". Then there are lots of exceptions and that is where I usually glaze over.
5. Pronouncing Italian words is harder than it looks. It is physically impossible for my tongue to get into some of the positions for certain words. I try to write them phonetically and my tongue still won't cooperate especially if I have to say another word after it. "Io ho voglia de una caffe" is pronounced "ee-o o vwa -yah dee un-a caf-faa".
6. Even if you learn to pronounce the basic words, you will not recognize them when an Italian says them to you. You will hear "yoowavdeeunacafa" and you just say "si".
7. To say, nicely, that someone is older, they say "piu grande" and don't even think of asking me to pronounce "piu". I just know that my mouth contorts into a strange shape when I try to say it. It might be "poo-ey", "pwee", or even pyee-oo". I haven't remembered it from one day to the next.
8 Conjugating verbs isn't too hard if you have a cheat sheet. The problem comes when you try to remember what each of those verbs mean. I can conjugate all day but don't make me say something meaningful.

OK, so that's lesson number one - stay tuned next week for more exciting information about the Italian language as I know it.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


  1. Grazie!

    Looks like the weather there is pretty wonderful -- 80s/60s.

    Tell us more about the food -- your food, not Seymour's.

    Can you tell if your legs are getting stronger? How about little Seymour's? Is he looking more buff?


  2. Joseph said to tell you to hang in there
    with the language class and to enjoy your
    visit there. I guess he doesn't have a
    computer because he was asking me if you
    made it there. mary

  3. oh and I think you must have had a little
    wine when you blogged this .. I think the
    song was old macdonald and it went eieio.
    Maybe I've got my songs mixed up, but I was
    cracking up reading this. Thanks for writing. I love reading about your adventure.mary

  4. I no longer speak or write good English or Italian - is that progress :)

  5. Okay, I take it back. Italian is clearly NOTHING like Spanish.

  6. Hahahahahaha! Ah, I love it.

  7. Hang in there, Sue! Reading your trials, I'm losing faith that we will be able to survive there, but we are leaving Monday 9/26. I hope your classes help more than my Lonely Planet phrase book! Sam P.