Intensive Italian for Gamers – Giorno 2

16 mercoledi, gennaio


My addiction and adoration for caffè ☕️ basically means I am fluent in Italian. While there is no truth to that whatsoever, what is actually accurate is that by being an avid coffee drinker I learned today that I know more Italian words (and pronunciation) than I initially thought I did!
cappuccino, espresso, doppio, granita, latte, macchiato, americano

So, this morning I thought I would try out some of my newly acquired knowledge on the barista at Starbucks.

Me (after ordering my drink): “fun fact! Did you know that ‘latte‘ actually means ‘milk’ in Italian? Isn’t that cool?” (It also helps if you imagine my “I-am-a-super-cheerful-early-bird-and-love-the-mornings-face 😁 )
Barista (stares blankly): ‘huh?’ 😶
Me: ‘aren’t languages fun?’
Barista: your drink will be out at the end of the bar.

*Okay, I fabricated that last two sentences, but the first part of the exchange was real. I guess I should have saved sharing my new #nerdalert knowledge for a different audience.

(*Disclaimer – Italian coffee drinkers, before you judge me too much about my visit to Starbucks, please know I am on campus at a small university in the Midwest and finding authentic and perfectly crafted cappuccinos and espresso is not exactly convenient.)

Cosa abbiamo fatto oggi?
As it is the first week of class, the lectures have been centered around housekeeping items, such as reviewing the syllabus, class policies, course calendar, projects, quizzes, etc. We are also learning and practicing introductions, and basic concepts, phrases, and pronunciation. In lecture we did a bit of review with introducing ourselves, and discovered our Italian name, which for me is the same in Spanish, Liliana.

“Mi chiamo Liliana Jones, Jeans-Otranto-Napoli-Empoli-Siena” 

We were also presented with multiple tools to enhance our learning and/or satisfy personal interests, such as the WordReference app for our mobile devices, AppSwift, and RPG Maker.

I laughed a lot today. The energy in the classroom is vibrant and fun, and our professor is always making silly jokes, chuckling, and encouraging us to use Italian whenever we possibly can.

After lecture we moved into our hour of weekly lab and had the opportunity to expand on our basic conversational skills. Il nostro professore gave the input, discussing his origins, showing pictures of his family and hometown, and providing example sentences in the Target Language, after which we had the opportunity to practice a bit with our classmates. After the warm fuzzies of “this is who I am and where I came from” (i.e. this is why you should trust me as an authentic teacher) which almost all World Language teachers do, we learned, and practiced talking about how many anni we have, and we even had time for likes, dislikes, what we may collect, plural v. singular endings, and pronouns. All the while our examples and themes stayed strongly linked to videogioco vocab such as consoles, verbs, and phrases.

(Io) collezino console e giochi!
E tu, che cosa hai?
(Io) ho un PC/un Mac.
(Io) ho una…e (anche) una…
 – Past – (Io) ho avuto…

Mi piacciono + plural noun > Mi piacciono i computer portatili 💻 💻 💻 
Mi piace + singular noun > Mi piace la tecnologia 📱

🎮 lingua + 🇮🇹 cultura: 
I experienced an input overload on words, phrases, and cultural tidbits today! In a good way, though. I have had to choose just three to share today, otherwise I would be here all night writing…which wouldn’t be the worse thing I suppose.

The one thing about selecting which words to include in the lingua and cultura section is that many of the words and phrases I wrote down today are so closely connected to culture, so they really belong in both sections. Which is perfect! Because we all know we cannot teach language without culture 🇮🇹

🥇 Uno – ‘www.’ The pronunciation of ‘double-u‘ just cracks me up. I found myself humming this all-too-familiar set of letters later on that afternoon. 🎶 ‘vu vu vu’ 🎵 I sang as I walked to lab. 🎶 ‘vu vu vu’ 🎵 I hummed as I walked home. 🎶 ‘vu vu vu’ 🎵 my feet pounded out as I walked on the treadmill.

So, the book says “doppia vu“, but I guess when you are reading out a web address you can just say ‘vu vu vu‘ and I am going to do just that. I will probably also be singing most Italian web addresses from now on. #sorrynotsorry

🥈 Due – ‘Bella figura’
The discussion around this concept noted that it can be understood as ‘doing something in public that makes you look good in front of people’. Profe says the opposite of this concept exists in English (‘Brutta figura‘ – when someone makes a poor showing, appears in a bad light, or makes a fool of herself), however ‘Bella Figura‘ does not. We know that not all words can directly translate across languages, and it is important to remember that concepts often cannot either, due to their deep cultural roots. Although it does pain me a little that in American culture we lack a cutesy little phrase to encompass the idea of doing a beautiful deed in the public eye.

🥉 Tre – ‘magari!’ (and of course with a hand gesture) – My understanding of ‘magari‘ is  equivalent to ‘ojalá‘ in Spanish. Which is like ‘let’s hope’, ‘hopefully’, or in a religious sense, ‘God willing’.

👨‍🏫 Simone:
Profe: “I am not stupid in Math, I am just good at other things”
I am in the right place. I hear you loud and clear. He continued on to “joke” 🤔 about still counting on his fingers, well that is no joke for me. Once I was counting in my head and my Grandfather looked at me, quite confused, and asked “do you need to take off your shoes?” Har har har.

👁 osservare:
While there were many amazing items I noted for my own teaching practice, today’s highlight came from a film made in 1982 (before every single one of us was born, except our professor. (See? I can make age-related jokes too 😉) Simone does a really good job off contextualizing concepts in our new Target Language based on our previous experience and knowledge. Take the movie ET for example, most of us have seen that movie, and hopefully most of us like that movie. We were discussing older video game consoles, as well as educational consoles from the 80s and early 90s and, all of a sudden we are watching a clip from ET in Italian, learning about the Speak & Spell toy/learning game, which followed up with a TV commercial in Italian (but of course via YouTube) for the Atari console (I think it was?). Anyway, the realia chosen and the flow of the input, was fun, the class connected with the content, and we were engaging three of our basic language learning skills: listening, reading, and cultural awareness. (A few of us shared our “ET watching experience” in English, which did employ a wee bit of first-week-of-class-bonding).

At the end of lab, if I heard correctly, well our teacher was speaking in English, so I do hope I heard correctly, that we are going to start designing our own avatars on Friday. I’m not gonna lie, I am pretty jazzed about that.

If it’s anything like my Bitmoji, that is going to be a hoot. She gets into all kinds of adventures, all in a very fashionable way of course….(< Simone was right, Avatars are good for practicing using the 3rd person…)



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