I pinguini e’ cattivi!

Today in class we learned about subject and object
pronouns. So far, so good. Finally, my Spanish is
serving me well instead of messing me up. We had a
test this morning, and I got every answer right –
then, during break, the teacher told me that I was
doing very well. The embarassing part of that is that
I couldn’t understand what she was saying. Mostly, I
think it’s because I have trouble hearing in our
classroom, which has a vicious echo and, when the
window is open, much noise from traffic in the Piazza

I worked today with one girl in class to compose a
little dialogue as if one of us worked in a travel
agency and the other was travelling. First we had to
act as though we were travelling to some place (I was
going to Montreal, where she is from); then we had to
switch roles, and the agent had to try and talk the
person out of going to some place. We chose Alaska,
and I tried to dissuade her from taking the trip by
talking about the mean, ferocious, and dangerous
penguins, and the mountains of ice and snow, and the
lack of food or hotels. We thought it was very funny,
and most everyone else did, too.

I am facing the prospect of an English-free weekend,
as all of my roommates will be gone tomorrow evening.
In some ways, I think this will be very good for me —
my listening comprehension is increasingly greatly,
but my ability to speak still sucks. Part of the
problem is that I want a certain clarity when I speak,
and it’s hard for me to achieve that with my limited
vocabulary. So I stammer and stutter and eventually
stop talking. This has been the problem that I’ve had
in Spanish, too. I hate not knowing how to describe
what I want to describe. Drives me insane — the verb
for which, in Italian, is impazzire.

Anyway, I think it will be, for the most part, a good
weekend. I’m going to try to go to the Duomo museum
tomorrow, and maybe San Miniato on Sunday — but we’ll
see, I may only make it to one place. Also in the
plans: much reading, much relaxing, much sleeping in.
And a trip to the Anglo-American used bookstore for a
copy of “The Agony and the Ecstasy.”

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4 Responses to I pinguini e’ cattivi!

  1. egretplume says:

    I speak about three words of Spanish. When I visited my linguist friend in Spain, I could barely communicate with her husband, who spoke about three words of English. However, after we’d had a bottle of wine, we communicated much better, and knew more words. The linguist was laughing so hard she was crying at our mutually horrible grammar/pronunciation, but we did actually converse. The linguist said that because we were both very fluent speakers in our own languages, we had a fear of being incorrect, so we froze up. The wine of course overcame our inhibitions and we went ahead and talked despite bad pronunciation and grammar, and had a great time.

    Not that I’m suggesting you should wander Italy alone, drunk, and inarticulate πŸ™‚

    I’m really enjoying reading about your trip, btw. Thanks for doing all this writing.

  2. kepkanation says:

    I don’t know, I kind of like the drunken-around-Florence theory. I may have to look into it. πŸ˜‰ I’m thinking it migt actually be a popular American passtime here. Heh.

  3. starstraf says:

    FYI – the remodeling at Pizza Hut is done now. They serves wings now also

  4. kepkanation says:

    It’s funny, we talked about Pizza Hut in class today, and I had pizza (real Italian pizza, not the American version that I also love) for lunch.

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