I am now on my third week of learning Italian, and I have to say, things are not going as smoothly as I had hoped. I had honestly forgotten how difficult it was to learn another language (and, yes, I do see the irony being a second language teacher…), and I underestimated my ability to remember words after having used them for short amounts of time. I thought, given I knew French which is similar in many ways to Italian, that I would have an easier time learning this language. Although I understand nouns are feminine and masculine, and many of the possessive pronouns can be similar (i.e. nous – noi), it does not change the fact that I really do not know Italian. I understand now that I need to change my strategy, I need to put more focus on the daily work of Italian, and I need to understand the importance of continual repetition for the language to sink it.
I need a better plan.
That is why I added a calendar to my most previous blog posting. This calendar will help me develop a more solid plan for specific goals and time frames for this assignment. It will help me plan out what I need to accomplish by when, as well as put this information out there for all to see. That makes me responsible and accountable for my learning (thank you to Benny Lewis’ blog for the idea).
Already on this calendar are my due dates for the assignments that will be the basic building blocks for my adventure into Italian. They are:
- The completion of all 66 Duolingo lessons (6 lessons a week for the rest of the semester).
- The addition of Italian words throughout my house (10 new words a week)
- Bi-weekly vlogs, which I will use both to express myself in Italian and to orally explain what I would normally have written.
- The elaboration of a description of my home, written and then spoken orally on this blog.
- Italian conversation dates that I have planned to undertake with my husband, no matter how painfully difficult or awkward they may be (they will be filmed for your enjoyment… you are welcome).
I will continue to add goals and assignments throughout the semester (i.e. taking part of Twitter in Italian, hopefully sharing resources or practice with fellow Italian learner Ashley Murray, etc.).
Now an explanation of these chosen assignments are necessary for all to truly understand what they entail. I have already explained my work with Duolingo in a previous blog posting, but I have set goals for the amount of lessons I want to complete every week in this calendar. My second assignment refers primarily to an inspiration from a TEDblog which encouraged translating every day household items into the language of choice, and using those terms daily. I loved the idea, and decided to post at least 10 new household words in Italian throughout my house by every Saturday of this term. I had completely forgotten before reading this blog that I had in fact used post-its in the past to help me along with my language development. I lived in Quebec for a year for my second year of University, and it was to improve my overall use of French. Although I consider French to be my first language, I have always had difficulty with masculine and feminine nouns (so if you are learning French and are having difficulty with these, Amy Singh, don’t worry; we all do!). So, when I was in Quebec, working on my language, I filled my dorm room with pink and blue post-its: pink for feminine nouns that I would mess up, and blue for masculine nouns. This greatly helped me with this aspect of French grammar, and I hope to see the same success with this post-it assignment for Italian. Here are the examples from this week:
If you are unable to read the words, they are the following:
- Divano – Sofa
- Ottomana – Ottoman
- Mensola – Shelf
- Mazzo di fiori – Bouquet of flowers
- Candela – Candle
- Tavolina da caffè – Coffee table
- Cornice – Picture frame
- Film – Movie
- Globo – Globe
- Album di ritagli – Scrapbook (yes… you see correctly, it is a scrapbook from a trip to Italy)
One of my fellow EC&I 831 peers is also learning Italian, and has done a wonderful job with her blogs up to this point. Ashley Murray has actually decided to vlog her experience. This is a completely engaging way to learn many aspects of the Italian language, and she has inspired me to incorporate some of the same things in my learning as well. Therefore, every two weeks on Sunday, I will take part in a vlog, practicing both my oral speech and my vlogging abilities.
At the end of the semester, I plan to use the words I learn throughout the four months of study to write a brief explanation of my house in Italian (I chose this because of the post-its I will have hopefully accumulated by that time). I will then present this explanation orally, checking off two aspects of language learning.
Finally, for my fifth assignment, I want to work on my oral speech and my recall of new Italian words. To accomplish this task, I vow to use the household words I learn weekly in the conversations I plan to have with my husband throughout this semester (as he is learning Italian as well). In these conversations, I will also use the words I learn in Duolingo.
I feel much more comfortable with this plan, and I feel as though I can learn more with this set-up.