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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Must Stop Brain Mush!

I have decided to learn to speak Italian. Why? You may ask. Did she meet a tall, dark and handsome stranger from a far away land? Pissshhhh, I hardly even get to leave the house and when I do my dad is pretty much always with me. Is she planning an extended exotic trip to Italy? Sadly, no. Does she have a new career path in mind that speaking another language would help with? Again I say pissshhhh! For pretty much the same reason.

The simple answer is this, the last seven months have been mostly filled with washing soiled jeans and underwear, and doing dirty dishes. Most of my conversations are with my dad, who has a hard time remembering what he just told me, and tells me again. Our main conversations are about the weather and the squirrel who lives in our tree outside the window. Don't get me wrong, I am glad to have this time with Dad. I love him very much. I don't say these things out of contempt, they are just the plain truth of it. 

Which brings me to why. I need something to stimulate my brain to keep it from turning to mush! One day I was messing around on iTunes and found the "App of the Year." It is called DuoLingo. It is a free language learning app. Yup, free. I like free. I downloaded it to my phone and checked it out. It has a very limited number of languages. Again it is FREE! I looked them over and decided Italian would be my attempted language. Why not! I thought to myself. Yes, yes, Spanish probably would have been the wiser, more useful choice. Since, I don't get out much anyway, it really wouldn't do me all that much good either. I'm not sure why Italian appealed to me, it just did.

After I played around on it for a week or so, I texted my two best friends, Dawn and Kelley, and made a pact with them. I would learn Italian, one of them would learn French, the other would learn Spanish or German and one day we would go kidnap our other best friend from high school Kathy, and we would all go tour Europe together. It is happening, Kathy, deal with it! I just got Mary in on it, too, so you are going!!

Anyway, so far it has been fun. Sometimes frustrating, spelling in Italian is tricky, and I can't even spell in English. I'm sure that is no surprise to anyone, though. Thank goodness for spell check or my posts would probably be unreadable. One thing DuoLingo has definitely taught me is how to spell restaurant. See, I just spelled it! WITHOUT spellcheck. Before, I couldn't even come close enough for spell check to figure out what I was trying to spell. Drove me nuts! Now, I can spell it in English and Italian. Ristorante. See.

The hard part for me so far, which I think I'm starting to figure out, is that there are feminine and masculine words. For instance, zucchero, (sugar) is masculine. As a masculine word that begins with z, the proper way to say "the sugar" is "lo zucchero." Now, jacket, is "giacca." It is feminine. So, "the jacket" is "la giacca." See how "the" changed. Oh and it doesn't stop there. There are plurals. "The jackets" becomes "le giacche." "The woman," is "la donna," while "the women" is "le donne." Most feminine words end in the letters "a" or "e," but not always. For instance, elephant. In Italian it is elefante. Ends in an "e" but is masculine. So, the elephant, is "il elefante," plural is "i elefanti."

Verbs, are pretty confusing, too. The verb changes depending on who is doing the action. For instance, eat. "I eat" is "Io mangio," or just "mangio." "You eat" is, "tu mangia," or just "mangia." "We eat," "Noi mangiamo" or just "mangiamo."  "They eat," "loro mangiano," or just "mangiano." See how mangia, or "eat" changes. You don't really even need the the pronoun. It is just as correct to say, "Mangiamo i panini," (we eat the sandwiches) as it is to say "Noi mangiamo i panini."

Oh, and one of the fun things about DuoLingo are some of the sentences. There is a mouse in Italy who is surely dying of diabetes, but becomes quite a tasty snack for many animals. Il topo mangia lo zucchero, e la torta, e beve limonata. ( the mouse eats the sugar, and the cake and drinks lemonade.) Allora, un gatto, o un uccello, o un altro animale, mangia il topo, ogni tempo.  (then a cat, or a bird, or another animal eats the mouse, every time.) E lo zucchero e' importante a ricetti nella italia. (and sugar is important to recipes in Italy.) Every thing seems to need sugar.

Of course I have made sure to learn the most important words of all, gelato di cioccolata. If I ever get to go to Italy, I will for sure be able to ask for chocolate ice cream! I am good to go! Ok, yeah, maybe I should learn the word for bathroom, too.

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