Thursday, July 30, 2009

Italiano, per favore

I read the first book in the Harry Potter series and loved it. Then I didn't read any of the others.

When I was a small child I went to Italy three times, and loved it. Haven't been back since.

When I was at university I studied Italian for a year, and loved it. Never used it since.

Do we detect a pattern here? Am I saving all the things I like for another life? What on earth is the matter with me?

So, having belatedly realised that this is what I do, over and over, I'm trying to change the pattern - - in fact, never mind trying, I'm jolly well going to change it!

So, at the end of August I'm going to Italy, with Stephen and Silverback, and I'm really looking forward to it. And therefore it seemed a good idea to re-learn my Italian.

I bought a couple of cds and they were quite useful for brushing up on tourist vocabulary. Of course, I learned Italian when Hadrian was still building his Wall, so my course didn't cover "Is there wifi in this hotel, and is it included in the price?"

Then I found a free cd in a newspaper, and it was an introductory course from Michel Thomas.

I'd heard his name, but didn't know anything about him, or about the Michel Thomas Method.

His story is fascinating - the link above tells you more - but basically he was a Polish Jew, brilliant at languages, moved to France to escape Nazi persecution, - changing his name to Michel Thomas - and fought in the French resistance. All his family died in Auschwitz. After the war he moved to America and started a language school, and published many cds teaching different languages.

As soon as I listened to the first cd I knew this was what I wanted. He explains the grammar as you go along, in his calm voice with its indeterminate accent, and everything's very relaxed - he insists that you mustn't try hard to remember it all - he says that is up to the teacher, not the learner. He's working with two "students" who tend to make the same mistakes that you do, and he corrects them.

He builds the language from the bottom up - - suddenly he gives you a long sentence to say, and, to your astonishment, you find that you can say it.

So I bought the eight-hour foundation course on Amazon, and I'm loving it. Of course, it helps that I learned Italian before as it keeps coming back to me, but even so I know that this method would work for me in other languages.

Michel Thomas died in 2005, and I feel rather privileged that he's teaching me Italian. Perfetto. Benissimo.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michel Thomas lied.

9:39 pm  
Anonymous ruth said...

Are you building up to reading the other Harry Potter books? in Italian?

9:50 pm  
Blogger rhymeswithplague said...

This begs to be said and I apologize in advance for saying it:

Your Ollie. An only child, I presume?

10:04 pm  
Blogger Daphne said...

Anonymous - -I wonder who you are? And how you're so sure? My main area of interest is that his language method works.
Ruth - - possibilmente!
Bob - - Of course!!!

10:35 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I started a few months back doing some reading in French and found it very difficult, but rewarding. My Dad was born in Bologna, Italy, and he taught me a lot of the language, but I use it less and less now...which is a shame. Good luck with your studies. I stopped over from Honey's blog.

11:35 pm  
Blogger Jennytc said...

I must check if he did one for German. I did German at 'O' level and would love to bush up on it and take it further. Good luck with it anyway.

11:13 am  

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