Verb enthusiasts unite!

Buongiorno! Come stai? 

I personally am molte bene as I am on my way to Calgary to visit my brother, sister-in-law, and a couple of adorable nephews. Normally, the eight-hour drive would kill me, but not today. Today, I get to spend a good portion of this drive learning Italian.

Now, I would be lying if I said I studied Italian for the entire drive. However, it was nice to actually be able to sit down, without distractions, and get through some of the more difficult Duolingo lessons so far. They focused on verbs. More and more verbs.

Now, I am not one of those verb-haters. Actually, I love learning verbs. Verb conjugation has always been a keen interest of mine, and I shine with joy and happiness when I teach French verb conjugation to my students. The fact that there are rules (and, yes, the not-so-few exceptions to those rules) makes learning verb conjugation quite enjoyable. I love being able to apply the knowledge and rules of how to conjugate a group of verbs to a particular new one without having to use an online verb conjugation tool. Furthermore, Italian verb conjugation is very similar to French verb conjugation. There are six general pronouns (Io, Tu, Lui/Lei, Noi, Voi, Loro in Italian as compared to Je, Tu, Il/Elle, Nous, Vous, Ils/Elles in French), all of which have specified endings for the verb type. Therefore, both languages are very comparable in this regard, and these comparisons have helped me understand more easily Italian verb conjugation.

That being said, it is still no easy task. Learning verb conjugation is time-consuming, and to do it well, I feel personally as though I need to be thorough. I need to learn the conjugation for all the pronouns and for each verb, as can be seen in the photos of my notes below. I mentioned my notes in last week’s first vlog, but I have since added more verbs and verb conjugations. You can see in these notes that in black is Italian, and the verb meaning translation in English is purple, and in French is green. Sometimes I find the French to be more helpful in understanding the conjugation and the differences between the verbs (i.e. Sapere and Conoscere in Italian versus Savoir and Connaître in French, which are used similarly but are not synonymous in either language, while in English the translation for both words is Know). I find it useful to know the translation in both languages.

In the end, I did not have much improvement this week (up 2% fluency according to Duolingo), but I feel very confident in verbs. I go back to the struggle between quality and quantity, and how fluent I personally find myself (this also was a large portion of last week’s reflection). I hope future lessons go by quicker than these verb ones, but I will not sacrifice my understanding of the content for speed. I achieved my goal of continuing to use Duolingo consistently, for which I am proud.

That being said, I did join Mango Languages this week upon Ashley Murray‘s suggestion. I was disappointed when I did the quick test and was only placed at Unit 1: Chapter 3. However, then I realized that it is three chapters more than I would have been placed a month ago, which is looking at the glass half full, right? It was also much more based on listening to Italian rather than reading it, typing it, and saying it, which are Duolingo’s main foci thus far. It will be a good supplement to the Duolingo lessons I will be continuing to complete throughout the rest of the semester.

Mango placement


I also had a very brief conversation in Italian with my husband, as per my calendar of Italian activities. I was inspired to simply record our conversation rather than video it by my colleagues Lance Pollard and Adam Scott Williams who have been doing a podcast for their project. In these types of recordings, you do really focus on what the person is saying and how they are pronouncing their words. Since my goal for these conversations is to improve my pronunciation of Italian words, I found the simple recording of my voice (and that of my husband) to be more efficient in achieving this goal. Click on the following link the slideshow presentation created with the recording of our conversation, as well as the English script translation: Conversation 1 explained

Thoughts? I won’t lie, it was a little awkward. We do not yet have the ability to speak Italian freely with one another, so we had to choose a ‘topic’ for our discussion. We decided to make it about ordering food in a restaurant, as that is a common feat to achieve when travelling and speaking a foreign language. We did have to write a script together before having our conversation, as ‘winging it’ is not yet a possibility (although we did add in come sta and motle bene on the fly):


I was unsure of sharing this yet, but in reading and watching other colleagues’ blogs and vlogs this week, I came across Sarah Wandy’s experience in learning guitar. She showed us the pain she is going through in learning guitar (demonstrated by her raw finger tips), and that made me realize that there will always be pain in learning something new, be it physical or psychological. I may not be comfortable with my pronunciation, but I will continue to share my vlogs and my Italian conversations on this website so I can receive any sort of feedback on what I have learned thus far. So if you have any comments, suggestions, or ideas of any sort, please let me know! Furthermore, if you have any suggestions for applicable ‘situations’ my husband and I should try for our next Italian conversation (I guess we can’t always be ordering at a restaurant), please let me know!

Finally, here are my 10 words for the week. As mentioned, I am on my way to Calgary, so my car has been attacked by Italian post-its:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

  1. Il parabrezza windshield
  2. Il lampeggiatore d’emergenzahazard lights 
  3. L’aria condizionataair conditioning 
  4. Il volumevolume
  5. Il volantesteering wheel 
  6. Il sfiatovent
  7. Il sbrinatoredefroster
  8. Il crusc0ttodashboard
  9. La radio radio 
  10. Il vano portaoggettiglove compartment

(Italian is in purple while English is in green).

If you have any suggestions, comments on my pronunciation, or ideas for further language development, please do not hesitate to leave me a message! Enjoy reading week! Arrivederci! 



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4 Responses to Verb enthusiasts unite!

  1. asingh2 says:

    Ok- I’m totally in awe of your progress this week. I’m feeling like I’ve stagnated in my growth and understanding! It was a really busy week, and I wasn’t always as focused on my lessons as I have been previously.

    I really liked your conjugation list- and I may start one of my own, I think the process of writing it as well as being able to refer back to it would help me with keeping the verbs straight!

    Also- I enjoyed the scripting of the conversation, I have noticed with my french conversations with a friend during the week, we get through a few sentences, and then I lose the conversation and don’t understand what she’s saying any longer! However- the script has given me an idea to have a ‘topic’ to discuss in french weekly so I may have more than two sentences in me before the conversation fails!

    Thanks for sharing your progress- great work!


  2. Sarah Wandy says:

    I hesitate to share my guitar playing videos because I also feel that I’m not learning as much content as I would like. However, like you, I’ve decided not to rush through and instead become more competent in the skills I have acquired first. Thanks for sharing!


  3. I also love learning verb conjugations. I think it’s because it reminds me of a mathematical formula. I am impressed with your conversational ability already, i dont speak Italian but I could understand your first vlog!


  4. Pingback: What a few months, a few apps, and some time can achieve | E. Therrien

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