As I’ve mentioned in my 2017 Annual Review, I was very close to finishing the Italian course on Duolingo. I finally did it last Sunday!
I got there after a 158-day streak. In the first month I was reviewing the Spanish lessons, while going back to the first lessons of Italian, which I had started on a few years ago, but had dropped in favor of finishing off Spanish (the two had too many similarities that were throwing me off). After that, I was solely dedicated to Italian, so it took me about 4 months go finish the lest lesson and earn the Golden Owl. 🙂
So, can I speak Italian now? Well, not really.
My initial focus has been learning words and building vocabulary. Now I can recognize way more words than I could five months ago. I can also understand some simple sentences, and write a couple of simple sentences. I also understand some basic grammar. I can listen to some spoken Italian and pick out words and context of the conversation. Not nearly enough to have a conversation on my own.
On one hand, Italian shares a lot of similarities with Portuguese and Spanish. On the other hand, it has some nuances that keep throwing me off. For example, there are words that sound and mean exactly the same things across the three languages. Then, there are words that sound and look the same in all three languages, yet, they mean things completely different.
The singular and plurals also throw me off. For example, in Portuguese, Spanish and English, we can easily recognize plural words when we see an “s” at the end (“boy, boys”, “menino, meninos”, “nino, ninos”). In Italian, that’s not the case (“ragazzo, ragazzi”, for “boy, boys”, and “ragazza, ragazze” for “girl, girs”, respectively). That, and verb tenses, are the main things I’m currently struggling with.
My plans moving forward:
- Continue practicing it on Duolingo for a while (maybe a month or two);
- Read articles and at least a book in Italian. Since I’m enjoying sportbike riding at the track, I’ll be reading about and following news on Valentino Rossi.
- Watch videos in Italian. Again, I’ll probably watch videos related to sportbike riding (such as this one), as that’s a topic a really enjoy.
- Watch an Italian movie I’ve seen before: Cinema Paradiso. I’ve watched this movie several years ago and enjoyed it, so now I’ll watch it again, with the original audio and subtitles in Italian.
Once I’m done with those things, I may venture into practicing some conversation, but we’ll see when I get there.