Saturday, November 08, 2008

Really? A new post?

Yes. I am putting on a new post. I'm home on a saturday night, reading about Caravaggio's paintings, and I figured I'd say hi to the rest of the world...well, at least the world that cares to look my blog.
I'm amazed at cultural differences. I used to think that learning a language meant you just translated word for word, and "voila!" you had the language down pat...well, that was my thought pre-mission. I took more that 4 years of French, bombed the AP test, and then took a crack at Spanish for a year. Needless to say the french helped the spanish, but it was a mess of hyphens and question marks when I'd have to ask a question.
Then I went on my mission, and I learned missionary language, which consisted of lots of gospel conversation (so the gospel words were down-pat) and a pretty good idea of how to repeat the discussions (basically an introduction to some real italian with past remote, etc.). I learned some fun idiomatic phrases, but basically if I looked at a newspaper I might as well have been trying to read arabic (which in some ways would have been more satisfying, since their written language is much prettier).
In any case, you learn quickly that you haven't mastered didly squat when you get home and you have to read I promessi sposi or Verga or Primo Levi or Calvino and you realize that wasn't the language you learned on your mission....
So... my point is...the more I learn Italian the more I realize I know so little about the language. Language is not's words that relate to a culture. And the less you understand a culture, the less you're gonna speak a language. At least speak it without sounding like a total foreigner. So...there you go. I'm done now. That's my two cents on the subject......on that note, why is it a "penny for your thoughts," but you put your "two cents in?" ......Somebody's makin a penny.

1 comment:

jonhintze said...

Michael Scott: "That doesn't even mean anything. Those are just words."