Ciao ALCE (again)
Wednesday, July 11th, 2012
Well, my language skills improved a lot but I still have difficulty following the dialog in a movie or on a TV show. I have found a significant change in my progress with the language. Before it seemed that I could always speak Italian better than I could understand it. It made sense to me. At least when I was speaking, I knew all of the words that I was using, if I ran out I would guess or maybe just invent a word. Now that has changed. I can understand the spoken language better than I can speak. It seems to be some kind of tipping point. That point is where I know or guess at without much thought about 65 -70% of the words that I hear so I can get at least a good sense of what is being said. But when I try to express a similar thought I am missing that 30-35% of the words. Also I can read books written in Italian reasonably well now without having to look up so many in a dictionary. In fact I brought 6 books back with me since it is hard to find books written in Italian here.
I did find that 12 weeks of school without a break was a bit much to bite off. My head is so full of grammar, vocabulary and “mode di dire” (ways of saying things) that I can barely keep it upright. I was fortunate to have much of those 12 weeks with dream teams of teachers. The first 4 were with Davide and Franceschina. I don’t remember which of them was for the two hours of grammar and which for the 2 hours of conversation each day. Then the final 3 weeks I had the other dream team of Franceschina and Claudia. A real bonus for me was that in the final 3 weeks there were several days when I was the ONLY student in the class. So I had essentially 4 hours of private lessons on those days with great teachers.
I’m not sure if I said this before , but there are are two teachers names Francesca at the school. The taller one everyone calls Francesca and for the shorter (just over 5 feet tall) we all use the diminutive so she is Franceschina. She is a terrific and dedicated teacher and I learned a great deal from her.
I also had Marilena as one of my conversation teacher for 3 or 4 weeks and for a week as a tutor beyond the regular classes. She’s also quite a good teacher and does a great job at explaining things. She has a lively personality and good sense of humor.
So now I need to keep working on the language. I can watch videos from RAI via the web. Complete TV shows of all sorts. I can listen to the radio – also via the web. I have several books to read. And of course I will return for some additional instruction sometime. I’d like to go this fall but haven’t decided yet.
And there were other students. Ellie is from Hong Kong and went to ALCE because she stumbled across my blog and liked what I had written about the city and the school. The south of the border contingent. The two brothers from Mexico who look about 16 but are in their early twenties with the girl from Brazil. Just a sampling. The diversity of countries of origin is quite amazing.