Once I had my iPhone dictionaries, I then began to realise that I needed a more structured approach to learning Italian, and I brought out The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Learning Italian (1st Edition) which I bought from Amazon in 1998. This book almost got tossed out during my big purge and cleanup two years ago, but there was something about it that told me to keep it.
From there I moved to some iPhone apps with spoken Italian words and phrases, a book on Italian grammar, and a book on English grammar for students of Italian, and eventually the Concise Oxford Paravia about which I wrote in an earlier post. If you want to read that post, which is more about prices of books at Borders, search for Paravia in the Search box in the navigation bar above.
Ralph was right on the ball when he suggested that I watch the Italian news on SBS TV, to see what I can learn. This is one of the suggestions in the Complete Idiot’s book. But at this stage, I can’t distinguish any of the words when Italian is spoken at conversational speed. It’s just a string of sounds.
Last night I watched part of an Italian movie on SBS, with subtitles, and once again it sounded foreign to me (that was a joke). The only Italian word I could distinguish was signora. However, I already know enough about the Italian language to recognise that the SBS subtitles were not literal translations of the Italian words spoken. I suspect the sense of the sentences are translated and paraphrased as they might be said by English speaking characters. That’s not much help to me and only confirms that I don’t ever expect to be be able to converse in Italian. But that’s not my aim anyway. All I’m doing is seeing how much Italian I can pick up over the course of 2010.
Some readers might question that I’m using the 1998 version of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Learning Italian on Your Own as the basis of my study course. They could be right. I am not, after all, un perfetto idiota o un completo imbecille. I’m more of a lavori in corso (work in progress).