No Bells and Whistles?

Just a drawing of a trophy, and I had to click on it to elicit a congratulations. Pathetic. That is the sorry state of my “COVID Italian.”

Permit me to place this in context. In order to make a (not so) brief stint at home during a global pandemic more interesting, I decided to learn a foreign language, as did many of you. Is it because I couldn’t be bothered with making sourdough bread? Perhaps.

A few months ago if someone asked me if I spoke Italian, I’d say that I know “restaurant Italian.” I can order off a menu in any restaurant in Italy. I can find the bathroom (Dov’e il bagno) and say good evening “Buonasera.” Also thanks, you’re welcome, how much is that beautiful leather purse, and please excuse me.

Now I’ve passed all five levels of Duolingo Italian and can’t speak with an Italian to save my life. Not that I don’t know the words. I can read some Italian, and now will be able to continue to test myself on verb tenses and I’ve also found libretti of some of my favorite operas to try (not to sing, only read). I’ve still much to study in the various verb tenses and personalizations.

Duolingo is a perfectly good way to go, and I’d feel comfortable traveling to Italy with a dictionary in hand, but then again I’ve been able to get by in Florence and Rome many times before. I’ll keep at it. My husband took up Spanish for business purposes and spent ten times as much as I did per month for a personal tutor via Zoom on BaseLang. His Spanish is way better than my Italian.

Yesterday I passed all five levels and one of the phrases I had to decipher was “You’re my only hope.” So, of course, I made light of it and asked my husband, Aiutami, Obiwan, sei la mia unica speranza.” That’s “Help me, Obiwan, you’re my only hope.”

In the meantime I’m polishing some very rusty French (Merci, Madame) while thanking my second high school teacher for my first two years on the subject, but not my real first high school teacher in a backward high school, Monsieur, as his class was abysmal.

After I bastardize the French and Italian languages a bit more, I may take up Latin. Or Greek. Or sourdough. Baking in general. So much for my COVID education. Possa la forza essere con voi. (May the force be with you), Dee


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