Tag Archives: Learning

Learning Italian

28 Oct

A few years ago, knowing that my dream of traveling to Italy annually was about to begin, I began a two-year search for Italian classes. I wasn’t looking for academic credits, or a class filled with grade conscious students; rather, I wanted to join a group of like-minded adults who yearned to improve their knowledge of everything Italian –  the language, food, culture, holidays, nuances, etc. This also meant I needed to find a native Italian teacher, not someone who merely majored in the subject.

Map of the languages and dialects spoken in It...

Map of the languages and dialects spoken in Italy.

Luckily, my search finally led me to a class offered by Casa Italia in Chicago, casaitaliachicago.net.  I must admit, when I first learned of my instructor’s Greek last name, I was a bit disappointed and puzzled, until I learned it was her married name.

Simply put, Giovanna’s classes provide me with more than I had hoped for. Each session is interactive, dynamic, challenging, and filled with great camaraderie. The students, who are now all friends, share similar interests as many have Italian ancestry and connections.  Of most importance, however, is Giovanna’s desire to have us learn and understand what she teaches, not just memorize what is in the textbook.

Italian language

Italian language

My goal in studying Italian was to reach a point where I no longer felt like a tourist in Italy. And while my learning will be a lifelong pursuit, I’m now comfortable conversing with locals who speak no English at all – a great tribute to Giovanna!

I encourage anyone who has an interest in international travel to study a foreign language. The beauty of the Italian language, however, is that it does not always require the spoken word to be understood. So if learning a language is not your thing, or you find it frustrating, the Italians provide another, more simple option for communicating – namely gesturing.

Thanks to the NY Times, here is a fun and easy way to learn some Italian. Click on the link below, hover over each, and practice at your own pace!

gestures

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/07/01/world/europe/A-Short-Lexicon-of-Italian-Gestures.html?smid=fb-share&_r=1&

Ciao,

Judy

 

Buon Appetito…and Immersion!

1 Jun

A few years ago, knowing that my dream of travelling to Italy annually was about to begin, I began a two-year search for Italian classes. I wasn’t looking for academic credits, or a class filled with grade conscious students; rather, I wanted to join a group of like-minded adults who yearned to improve their knowledge of everything Italian –  the language, food, culture, holidays, nuances, etc. This also meant I needed to find a native Italian teacher, not someone who merely majored in the subject. Luckily, my search finally led me to Giovanna Dimetros. I must admit, her Greek last name puzzled me at first, until I learned it was her married name and she’s actually a native of Tuscany. Pictured below are Giovanna (left) and two classmates who hosted a dinner for our class last December at Giovanni’s (right) house. As you can see, we are big on immersion!

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Simply put, Giovanna’s classes provide me with more than I had hoped for. Each session is interactive, dynamic, challenging, and filled with great camaraderie. Of most importance is Giovanna’s desire to have us learn and understand what she teaches, not just memorize.

My goal was to reach a point where I no longer felt like a tourist in Italy, and while my learning will be a lifelong pursuit, I’m now comfortable conversing with locals who speak no English at all – a great tribute to Giovanna!

In our book, Unit 5 is called Buon Appetito, and we learned how to prepare a shopping list, go to market, and make lunch or dinner. Today in Cortona, we did just that. Our list included roasted chicken and turkey, cheeses, tomatoes, basil, bread sticks and vino.

While we order the roasted chicken weekly, our favorite “chicken lady” had a special this week: roasted and boned turkey leg with herbs. No antibiotics or preservatives…just incredible flavors and a heavy dose of fresh sage leaves and dill rolled inside. How does one have the patience to bone a turkey leg????

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We carried everything home and set out our feast. The only thing missing was all of you, and we could have fed all of you! Good for us we like left overs.

Mozzarella fresca e pomodorini

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Grana Padano Parmigiano

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Boned roasted turkey leg (left)  and roasted chicken (right)

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Una vera festa…A true feast!

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Even the constant rain decided to pester others today

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and granted Cortona a rain-free and sometimes even sun-filled day…

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Listening to Andrea Bocelli as I write…Perfetto!

And to my Italian class:

Vorrei che tu fossi qui per andare a fare la spesa con me e gustare un delizioso pranzo. E sto anche usando il passato e il futuro bene!

Ci vediamo a settembre! Ciao, ciao,

Giuditta

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