from sommelier to Italian tutor

April 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

Learning Italian from RosettaStone and textbooks helps get the grammar down, but I found with Spanish that it can make you sound pretty formal in how you’re speaking to people. That’s good in some cases, but in cultures like Italy, it can also make you seem pretty stuffy & formal.

Enter Grant, my new friend from sommelier-ing week, who also happens to speak fluent Italian. He’s becoming sort of a blog mentor at this point. Not bad for a 22 year old to already have such rich life experience!

Grant offered to help me out with some of the more conversational stuff, so I met up with him and practiced with some questions I had prepared. He also helped me learn how to phrase those correctly.

Come ti chiami? (what’s your name) sono Grant. I’m Grant

Di dove sei? (where are you from?) Sono di Nuevo York ma non la citta. I’m from NY but not the city

Quanti anni hai? (how old are you?) venti due anni. 22 years old.

Che fai? (what do you do?) Sono un studante di molti cose. I’m studying many things.

Here he also taught me a phrase I’ll likely hear in Italy a lot. Che cosa fai qui? (what brings you here). I said I wanted a witty reply other than “I’m here on vacation”, so he taught me: per provare L’Italiana (to try out living like an Italian) and mi piace mangiare e bere spesso e bene (I’d like to eat and drink often and well).

Aside from school & his family I also asked him Che voi fare con la vita? (what do you want to do with your life?) He started with an answer about enjoying art & wine as well as having a family but then went on to share an Italian phrase: crescere fino che mi giro la testa. (I want to grow until I lose my mind). I’d say that’s a great goal.

Trying to have a conversation in Italian made me realize how much Spanish I’ve actually learned to speak. It was really hard to recall what I’ve learned this week since it is so basic. I think I may still be a bit far from having a conversation, but I was happy that I could understand a good bit.

Hopefully between now and May I can learn even more to be able to talk with the Italianos.

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