If there is one thing I like better than reading the comments on my little blog of madness, it is receiving an e-mail from someone who has read my blog and taken the time to trawl through my
speling spelling mistakes and poor grammar.
Imagine my excitement when I opened and read the following E-Mail, from a lady asking for my advice and help. I was very excited because is not often I get asked to supply advice, normally I supply it whether it is wanted or not, especially after a couple of glasses of wine.
I will call Antonella from London, Mrs X to preserve her identity.
On 13 January 2014 17:07, Antonella wrote:
Name: Mrs X
Comment: Dear Pecora Nera,
What a brave man you are…leaving Uk for Italy, which let’s face it it’s not always sunny and cheerful!
I’m facing a dilemma and I could really do with your advise! My beloved English husband of 8 years keeps on putting learning Italian off. I’m trying my hardest not to take it personally, and while he can mumble the odd word and understand quite well, he says he really doesn’t like learning and he married me because of me and not because I’m Italian. That’s lovely, one’d say, but I can’t help getting frustrated ’cause a) everybody would love to learn Italian b) I’m tired of translating for him when we are in Italy..
My question to you is, do I give up and be happy with my amazing husband the way he is or do I keep on pushing ’till he gives in? Somehow I sense that once we get to spend longer periods it’ll be easier for him to pick up the language…
I’m very sorry about my odd request, but I love your blog and I read that you too struggled with the language…
Thank you for your lovely e mail, I am really glad you enjoy my little blog of madness. I have never done the “agony aunt” bit before, so I thought it would be useful to answer your E mail in 2 parts, I will give you my suggestions and then Mrs Sensible will give you hers.
Pecora Nera suggests.
You are fighting a lost cause. Love him lots, make him cups of tea, always make sure his favourite beer is in the fridge and his comfy slippers are next to the fire.
You might want to teach him the following key phrases,
1) Quanto Costa? (How much is it)
2) Dovè il bagno (Where is the bathroom)
2) Dovè è mia moglia (Where is my wife)
3) Non me piace seppia nera (I don’t like that gross squid cooked in black ink that looks ikky, so please stop making me eat it)
4) Mi piace il vino rosso, vino bianco, grappa etc. (I like red wine, white wine, grappa)
Other than the above, I find that if I speak slowly, a little louder and add a suitable vowel onto the end of an English word, the locals understand me. In the past 6 years my ability to mime has improved greatly. I am sure I could easily win any Christmas game of charades, with one hand tied behind my back.
Mrs Sensible suggests.
I have found a wet wooden pasta spoon is a good way of motivating Pecora Nera.
If your husband is like Pecora Nera and is either pigro (lazy) or incapace, (incapable) simple stop translating for him. When I am fed up with translating, I just stop. Pecora will then stand next to me saying “what?, what?, tell me!, Sorry I missed that, what did he/she say?”
I can now hold a conversation with a friend and manage to blank out his voice. After a while it becomes easy, much easier than trying to force him to learn the language. I have tried to teach him Italian but he even forgets the Italian vowels. Pecora is like a mule, I cannot force him to learn, he picks up words and sentences because he has to.
Obviously he quickly learnt how to order wine, grappa and corretto.
As a last resort, tell your husband he can’t come to Italy next summer unless he takes the language seriously.
I hope Mrs X found our advice useful and remember.
A person who can speak 3 languages is multi lingual
A Person who can speak two languages is bi lingual
A finally, someone who can only speak one language is an Englishman.
PS. I have had so much fun with this post, I have decided to become an agony aunt. So if you have any questions relating to living in Italy. Just send them via my contact form. 😉