We’ve been in Italy for about 6 weeks now and about 2 weeks ago we thought it was about time we started to learn the Italian language! As Australians learning another language has not been high on our list of priories – at school Simon and I did a little French but thats about it. I wonder if it is because Australia is so far from any other countries that we don’t spend the time to learn other languages. We know that our children were not exposed to very many foreign languages at school either. At the most they might have a term of Indonesian and then in High School language becomes elective – if the specialist teachers are available! This has at least been our experience of LOTE (languages Other Than English) in Australia.
So we have a lovely Italian language tutor (Ilaria) coming to our house twice a week to teach us Italian as a family, for an hour and a half at a time. As expected the kids malleable brains are picking it up much faster than the adults! Tash has also started singing lessons and the boys are doing basketball, both of which means that they are exposed on a regular basis to Italian in situations where they have to try to understand whats going on 🙂
Simon and I muddle along trying to use Google Translate (which is not the best for a few reasons), plus we try to remember what our teacher told us to say in particular situations – and then we need to decide if particular words are masculine or feminine, which can change the word you use… The one big and glaring thing that we have all noticed is that in Australia we are not taught grammar any where near as thoroughly as they are here in Europe! In fact it has been quite embarrassing to have our tutor talk about propositions, articles and conjunctions when we didn’t fully understand them! Tash even said she felt she’s learnt more about grammar in the last couple of Italian lessons than all her English classes in Australia…
What this has demonstrated to me is that to learn other languages well, it is important to have a very good grasp of the grammar rules. So if you would love to learn how to speak French, Italian, Spanish or German I would suggest that you learn English grammar first – your language lessons will be that much easier – trust me 🙂
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