The Top 5 Reasons (Excuses) I Don’t Study My Italian Like I Should or
Dante Lead Me from the Inferno of the Conjugated Verb to the Paradiso of a Native Speaker
I confess I don’t spend as much time as I should studying my Italian and these are My Top 5 Excuses.
5. I Have Too Many Italian Language Books
After years of study I have collected a library of Italian language books. With so many I have a hard time deciding which one to focus on.
4. I Want to Know the Reason for the Rules
There’s really no reason why Italians speak like they do. Sometimes there are illogical rules for learning a language and it does no good trying to analyze them. Accept the idiosyncrasies of Italian grammar and syntax and move ahead. Retaining over them is counterproductive to learning any language.
3. Complacency or a Feeling of Quiet Pleasure or Security
I’ve been studying Italian for some time and although I started later in life I’ve been able
to master the language to an upper intermediate level. I manage to make my way around
Italy saying sono perso (I am lost) and getting directions without too much trouble. In fact my Italian family and friends tell me that my “Italian is very good” meaning that I speak in more than the present tense. I don’t define myself as fluent to do so would mean that I have a command of the language as I well as I do English. I take comfort in the fact that there doesn’t seem to be a universally agreed-upon definition of fluency. Depending on your source it is described as anything from being able to order food to the language ability of a native speaker. I am beyond a novice and although I still need to tote a my pocket dictionary around, I can survive in an immersion situation i.e order food, give and receive directions, take a taxi and drive in Italy, make reservations and pay off a parking ticket.
2. Not Enough Time
I never seem to have enough time to study. A pathetic excuse because studying a language today has never be easier. Smart phone apps and internet connectivity make learning a language accessible to everyone any time, any place with as much or as little effort as you want.
1. I Spend Far Too Much Time Making Excuses for Not Studying My Italian
I need to forget about the reasons why I don’t study as much as I should and use the time spent making excuses learning one new word a day in a stimulating way like
- using a new word in a sentence
- looking for grammatical variations of the word
- associate the word with other things
You may not be able to learn as much as you want or hoped for but whatever you learned is more than you knew before.
An American: Will say ‘hello”.
An Italian: Will give you a big hug and a kiss and pat you on the back
I am never happier than when I am in Italy. The food, the wine, the art and design, the landscape and sounds . . . the touch.
As you might have noticed Italians like to touch. They are a tactile society. Everything around them invites them “to feel” both physically and metaphorically. Italy is filled with emotions that cannot be denied. The fabric of history demands it.
Italians in general are a welcoming people with a culture of hospitality. They still shake hands and may touch your shoulder as they escort you through their country. Acquaintances often hug and kiss when they meet. Our Italian family greets us with many baci e abbracci.
As we become more distanced from traditional customs and families become divided we are less likely to experience the emotional power of touch. The spontaneity of touching has become downsized. Touching someone has become a negative action, an intrusion on one’s space, a danger signal. Stranger danger is real but are we overcompensating as a society when we teach our kids not to let anyone including aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents touch them without asking first. We teach are kids not to hug too tightly and that many people don’t want to be hugged. A published study in the Journal of Early Child Development and Care reported that preschoolers in America are more aggressive than their peers in France (another demonstrable country). They’re also touched less. Coincidence? It could be, but research would suggest otherwise.
The risk of loosing the connection of touch, once thought to be unbreakable, is crumbling before our very eyes. A friendly touch has appreciable affirming benefits and it is no more magical than when felt in Italy.
Unique and disparate flavors make for exciting and adventurous eating.
Francesco Carletti, a merchant of Florence, traveled around the world from 1594 to 1602, and wrote about the paste and beverage made from the cacao bean. The Medici, the chefs of Turin and the confectioners of Perugia all found cocoa a favorite ingredient. Curry, not so much. However, accord to About Italian food expert Kyle Phillips, it does appear, often in recipes designed to excite the passions of the diners. So when I saw this recipe for Cupcakes Cacao e Curry con Meringue Italiana (Cocoa, Curry and Italian Meringue Cupcakes) on the Italian recipe blog Sweet Life I knew I had to put it on my recipe radar.
The Italian meringue is the icing on the cake. A hot sugar syrup is whipped into foamy egg whites to create a satiny, stiff, bouffant frosting. These cupcakes look amazing and I plan on this being a featured Fall go to dessert that pairs perfectly with a change of seasons.
We’re always looking for ways to improve our in-flight airtime when traveling to Italy so when we found this post from Quartz news we thought we’d follow Taylor Swift’s advice to keep cruising and shake it off. Frequent flyer wine lovers and those of us who need a take the edge off in-flight glass need never miss a beat with this hackful hint about how to make airline wine taste better. Those insipid little 4 ounce bottles just need to shake it off or in this case shake it up. Wine naturally tastes more alcoholic and bitter in-flight because of the altitude and the dryness of the cabin air. Aerating a glass at 20,000 feet can get messy. A simple way to vastly improve the taste of wine on an airplane. Shake it up. Start by pouring a little wine out of the bottle and into a cup, recap the bottle and shake it for 45 seconds to a minute. According to the article, the acerbic flavors that were there before should have floated away and you’re ready to enjoy your wine and your flight.
Arguably the most popular pasta shape in the world, spaghetti are the strands against which all other pasta is measured. Pasta purists know that the proper combination of durum wheat and water and the extrusion of the pasta through traditional dies create the taste and texture that separates a premium pasta from a sticky glob.
Spaghetti (spaghetto sing.) means”thin string” or “twine” in Italian. Traditionally, most spaghetti was 20 inches long and .07 inches in diameter. Shorter lengths became popular during the latter half of the 20th century and now spaghetti is most commonly packaged in lengths of 10-12 inches. Variations in shape, length and diameter account for over 350 recorded types of pasta. Spaghettini, a variant of spaghetti with a thinner diameter, is perfect for quick sauces that are light so as not to weigh the pasta down.
In Italy Father’s Day is celebrated in March rather than June. Observing the Feast of San Giuseppe (St. Joseph) on March 19th Italians celebrate sainthood and fatherhood with a larger than life Italian doughnut-like pastry known as the zeppole. Regional designations include the fritelle, sfinci or bignè and are generally variations of a fried sweet eggy batter filled with custard, jelly or a cannoli-style pastry cream. Every family has their one and only favorite recipe for this gigantic cream puff said to have originated on the island of Malta.
Zeppole were popularized in Sicily during the Middle Ages when after a severe drought the people prayed to St. Joseph to bring rain and he complied. Apparently there was only one catch – prepare huge quantities of zeppole every year on my feast day and Italians have been licking their fingers ever since.
We usually focus our posts on Northern Italy, Tuscany and Umbria but today we’re going further down the boot to the Italian village of Acciaroli on coast on the Tyrrhenian Sea in the Province of Salerno. One of Italy’s 284 Blue Flag Beaches (an award given for water quality, beaches and marinas) the village may also have found the key to a longer life where 300 of its residents are over 100 years old with impressively low rates of Alzheimer’s and heart diseases.
An ancient maritime village, Acciaroli is also part of “Cittáslow“, a philosophy of municiple living that follows the succession of seasons, respectful of the health of its citizens, the authenticity of artisan products and good food, with places for the spirit, unspoiled landscapes and respect of traditions through the joy of a slow and quiet living.