Learning Italian - è fantastico!

If you're looking for a new form of mental exercise this year, learning a new language is a brilliant option - and Italian is so much fun!

by Carol Muskoron

I don't know if this is a mid-life crisis but last year I suddenly felt that life was slipping away and that there were a lot of things I hadn't done. The top two regrets were that I never learnt to play the piano and that I haven't learnt a language other than English. I think I'm happy to limp along playing Grade 1 Christmas carols for the rest of my life, but the language thing hurt.


And so I dug out a Learn Italian CD I'd bought on a Italian holiday a few years ago and started listening to it - and oh, Italian sang to me! It reached into my heart and soul and fed it. My kids thought it was hilarious that I was wandering around saying 'Buon giorno' and 'Come sta?' and 'Le patatine fritte, per favore' (which may sound like a poem but means 'Chips, please'). But I let them laugh. I meant business.


I signed up to a Rosetta Stone online Italian course for a trial period, and it was such a brilliant learning companion. It's very visual - you are shown pictures like the ones in children's early learning board books - and word, by word, by word the language sinks in. When you have completed a certain level, you get a pop up on the screen that says you can book an online half an hour session with an Italian speaking teacher who will test you on what you have learnt. Once I'd booked my chat I was nervous - someone was actually going to expect me to speak Italian! But the nerves turned out to be a good thing - they kept me on my mettle. And I quickly learnt a new phrase: 'Non lo so' - meaning 'I don't know'!


Rosetta Stone came with an app which remembered your progress and was addictive - and my daughter, who was doing A level French, said that was all well and good but that I should buy an Italian grammar book. With a heavy heart I gave in - I'd liked the idea of the language just seeping into me via Rosetta Stone. But actually the grammar book was a revelation - it's amazing to understand the rules behind the words you're learning.


This year I'm going deeper than 'Chips please'. My daughter said to use every opportunity I can to learn Italian. I have a verb app on my ipod touch which I use constantly. I'm watching tons of Italian films (such hardship to watch Cinema Paradiso over and over again!). I'm discovering wonderful Italian singers like Andrea Bocelli (OMG he is amazing!) and I go to my local Italian cafe lots and lots (another great hardship!). The other day I heard an Italian say, 'Lo metta nella borsa per favore' and I understood it!!!! He was asking someone to put something in a bag. It is such a kick learning a new language. It takes patience and it's hard but my brain loves learning again. It makes me feel young! And on that high note, let's have Signor Bocelli sing us out of this lovely Italian blog with La Voce del Silenzio (the voice of silence). Andrea Bocelli is doing a gig in his hometown in Tuscany this summer and I might just have to have a weekend break to Tuscany to see him and get in some extra Italian speaking practise. Take it away Andrea...

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About The Authors

Carla  Griscti

Carla Griscti

Editorial assistant on allaboutyou; Music lover, travel bee and food fanatic.

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Emma Marsden

Emma Marsden

Food consultant of All About You, loves creating something out of nothing and decluttering.

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Bernadette  Fallon

Bernadette Fallon

Editor of All About You; an online journalist with a fetish for glossy magazines.

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Adrienne  Wyper

Adrienne Wyper

Deputy editor of All About You. I love cycling, cooking and creating

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Carol  Muskoron

Carol Muskoron

Associate editor of All About You, loves life (mostly) and one-pan recipes (always).

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