Hey, I’m Brigitte. I am called Brigitte. Benvenuto. Buongiorno.
As a continuing quest for me to do something new for myself every week — an adventure — from tiny to big and bold, this week I took my first Italian class. I’ll be doing this once a week for the next five weeks. I’m sure I’ll be fluent by the end of it.
It’s not easy, learning a new language. I am in awe of those who come to our great, beautiful country (USA) and learn our language. Our language, full of slang, words that sound the same and are spelled differently, the way some of us drop r’s, insert another syllable into a one-syllable word. The way we get lazy with our language, slur our words together or just butcher it. We’re all guilty of it.
I am in awe of those who speak more than one language. Words, gestures, accents all mean something when we are communicating, speaking to each other. Italian is such a gorgeous and romantic language. It just sounds sexy, don’t you think? When you speak it, you can’t help but feel it.
I watched the instructor as she spoke Italian and once we kind of learned how to introduce ourselves in Italian, she would answer back. Her eyes would widen, her smile big and bright. Her face would light up, she’d extend a hand or slightly bow as she addressed us. She’d move around the room and gesture with her hands. Her whole body was in it. Bella!
She obviously loves sharing her love of this language. She lived in Italy for over twenty years and raised two sons there. She has a slight Long Island accent but her Italian, perfecto — from rolling her r’s to stressing a syllable or word, as she says Hard! It’s not only fun learning but a treat watching her watch us absorb it.
From what I understand the way in which you accent/stress a syllable of a word can make the difference in someone understanding what you saying or not. It’s week one and I’m still trying to get the phonetics down. We pronounced the Italian alphabet (there’s 21 letters in it and it uses five additional letters in words of foreign origin).
Their a is an ah, e is an a, i is an e, o an o and u, an ooh. And they are spoken sharply and clearly. Sound it out to see what I mean. That’s why they seem so passionate about everything — Italians speak with all their facial muscles and with much gusto — spelled exactly the same in Italian but said like GOO-STO! with your hand raising up and your mouth pursed out.
Fato — Fatto
I know this isn’t much of a post and those of you who are bilingual, especially those who speak Italian can probably point out many mistakes here. But I’m learning and it’s fun and who knows? Maybe by the time I visit a few of the twenty regions that make up Italy (each of them having a capital — are you impressed with my knowledge?), I can at least order some food or ask where the bathroom is.
Or where the Chianti is which is pronounced/spelled exactly the same as it is here in the United States. Only they say it with a smile and much aplomb before they even drink any.
Oh yeah, and I can roll the hell out of my R’s.
Try some Pavarotti.
(I’d recommend during a summer thunderstorm cooking something Italian whilst sipping an Italian wine. Not to be too specific or anything.)
Do you know/speak another language? Can you translate the subtitles above? Do like spaghetti? What’s your favorite romantic language and why?