Foreign Language Word of the Day: Day 4

So, here are the words for Day 4!

Italiano – Parola del Giorno: avvelenare

to poison/pollute/contaminate

Español – Palabra del Día: invertir

to invert/invest/reverse/(spend or devote) time

Kannada – I Dinada Padaa: maaradu

to sell (Be careful with this, because for some people, this word sounds like maaDadu, which means to do or to make)

Foreign Language Word of the Day: Day 3

Day 3!

Italiano – Parola del Giorno: sbagliare

to make a mistake/err/miss (as in a question on a test)/get wrong

As a reflexive: sbagliarsi – to be in the wrong

Español – Palabra del Día: adivinar

to guess/discern/perceive/intuit/foresee/foretell/predict

As a reflexive: adivinarse – to be visible/be made out

Kannada – I Dinada Padaa: jaaradu

to slip/slide (intransitive)

Watching Films and Other Media in Other Languages

Since I was a little kid, it always fascinated me to watch films that my family had at home in other languages. After watching the film, I would immediately want to go to, “Setup,” and change language, and put subtitles. Now, I find it an invaluable source to watch familiar films in Spanish to practice my listening skills, which I find the hardest thing to do in my Spanish class, because the speakers on the audio tracks speak so fast.

I definitely think that films should be available in other languages for this reason, more so than they are now, anyway. You get French and Spanish on most US films, but little else (I think I saw Italian once). I actually watched Frozen in Latin American Spanish yesterday, and I found that I could understand maybe 65% of what was said (and that’s being a bit generous). As of now, I’ve yet to find a site that provides films in multiple languages. I imagine such a site would charge monthly fees in much the way that Netflix does, and it doesn’t seem like it’s that out the question for such a service to exist. Many foreign language teachers often have to go out of their way to find films in the language they teach. To watch a film in the target language would be an invaluable learning tool, because not only do learners enjoy watching a familiar film, but they also learn by doing so.

Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and Hindi learners have perhaps some of the greatest resources when it comes to media in the target language. J-Pop, K-Pop, C-Pop (yes, that’s a thing), and Bollywood songs are ubiquitous, as you can buy them on iTunes or download them off the internet, due to the genres’ immense global popularity. They also have access to a number of dramas, as many sites let you watch dramas for free, or sometimes paid when they’re higher quality and have more options. The thing about dramas, especially Korean and Indian dramas, despite their very specific situations, contain most of the words you need to have a functional knowledge of the language. This is also the case with the infamous telenovela of Latin American countries. Bollywood movies are also very accessible, and in some Indian grocery stores, there is an entire section full of Indian movies in many different Indian languages. Sadly, not many animated movies are dubbed in Hindi, because many people in India  know English, and animated movies are not very popular.

However, overall, your options are pretty limited when it comes to finding movies or TV shows in a language such as say, Russian or Portuguese. You can find a lot of Disney movie songs in other languages, but not always the movie itself. You’re not going to be able to get Aladdin in Russian very easily in the US, unless you import it.

If anyone finds a site that shows films in other languages, please post it in the comments!

Foreign Language Word of the Day: Day 2

So, here are the words for Day 2!

Italiano – Parola del Giorno: sorgere

to rise (like the sunrise), come up, or arise – intransitive

Español – Palabra del Día: clavar

to nail, hammer in, pound, or stab

As a reflexive verb: clavarse – (in Mexico and Cuba) to steal or snatch, (colloquially in Mexico only) to devote oneself to (the form for this usage would be clavarse en), (also colloquially  in Mexico)  to fall for (as in to fall in love with, so the form would be clavarse con)

Kannada – I Dinada Padaa: ijadu

to swim

Foreign Language Word of the Day: Day 1

Starting today, I’m going to try and post one word of the day for each language that I can speak, aside from English. So, here are the words for Day 1!

Italiano – Parola del Giorno: ringraziare

to thank (somebody) for (something) – transitive verb

Español – Palabra del Día: soltar (o -> ue)

to let go/drop/loose (transitive)

Note: This is the verb used in the Castilian Spanish version of, “Let It Go!”

Kannada – I Dinada Padaa: haaradu

to fly/spill

My Experience in Learning Italian

It was really in the summer before 8th grade that I actually started learning Italian, but for whatever reason, I stopped until the second semester of 10th grade. I was going through my documents, cleaning out unwanted junk, and saw all my old Italian notes, which I decided to look at. I thought to myself, “Hey, this looks pretty similar to Spanish, and I’m sort of familiar with it.” And with that, I started researching all the grammar topics and compiling the vocabulary lists that now make up Scoprendo l’italiano!. The cultural information was added quite a bit later, after I went to Italy for a second time. In Rome and Florence (not so much Bologna), I got to practice a lot of spoken Italian, because neither my parents nor my brother spoke a word of Italian. It was a pretty fun experience, with people correcting my sentences every now and then. I was complimented on my relatively good Florentine accent (which is the accent taught to most foreign learners of the language), especially considering I had been self-taught. One waiter at a restaurant in Pisa asked me why I was even learning Italian, because he thought it was useless outside of Italy. I’ll admit, even though I’m very much a believer in practical application, I learned Italian largely for fun. I mean, that’s not to say I didn’t have practical uses for it. In fact, it helped me out on my SAT and Spanish, because it expanded my understanding of both English and Spanish by building my vocabulary.

Despite getting as far as I did in Italian, I realize that I still have a long way to go. I took a practice test for the AP Italian Language and Culture Test (for multiple choice), and saw how little vocabulary I actually knew. I was nowhere near having that amount of knowledge. Of course, now I’m trying to read more texts in Italian to improve my vocabulary and contextual experiences with the language.

However, I also have the problem of getting speaking practice. I’ve tried to get sessions with Italian speakers through a bunch of different language exchange sites: Polyglot Club, italki, Interpals (which I’m still trying out), and WeSpeke (which I’ve gotten a couple of audio/video calls on). But it’s not really enough, because the AP Exam has very specific situations, such as telling stories, describing a photograph, or something else. Obviously, I’m not planning on taking the exam, but I am continuing to study Italian to keep myself in practice. Hopefully, one day, I can study abroad, or spend an extended period of time in Italy.

Some of the resources I found really useful for practicing were the WordReference Dictionary, which helps with finding all sorts of words and Duolingo, the famous language-learning application. Hopefully, this post helps anyone looking to practice Italian!