drp9341's Living in Europe (Now) Italian Immersion (formerly) 2 year Polish immersion Log!

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drp9341
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Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2016 1:21 pm
Location: NY, USA
Languages: Native: English (US)
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B2+: Portuguese
B2: French, Polish
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Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=5978
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Re: drp9341's 2 year Polish Immersion & advanced Spanish + Portuguese + Italian

Postby drp9341 » Tue Aug 13, 2019 11:30 am

Axon wrote:Congratulations on your exam performance! Do you know when you'll get the results? I'd love to read that detailed breakdown of the exam, and I'm sure many others would too!


Here's the practice video. The real exam was much longer, and the consecutive interpreting was much easier, (They spoke for 15 seconds max, so it was much easier to remember names, dates, times, and locations.)

In the practice exam, the Spanish speaker had a slight Carribean accent. On the actual exam, the speakers had very neutral accents. They may have been actors. Only one speaker had a very slight hint of a Colombian Accent.

I'm still waiting for the results, but it wasn't that hard of an exam, to be honest. If you can watch the news in Spanish and understand everything more or less, then you can pass this exam, (given that you can speak pretty fluently.)

The exam is geared for Native speakers of Spanish who are fluent in English since the Lawyers and Judges are the ones who speak eloquently. The Spanish speakers are generally witnesses and aren't giving flowery speeches about the nature of our civic duty to offer everyone a fair trial. The documents that are written in Spanish that must be sight-translated into English would be text messages, e-mails, etc. The documents that are written in English that must be translated into Spanish are legal documents usually.

It's a per diem job unless you decide to take it further. So it is great to have when you're in college or grad school. If you have any more questions feel free to send me a DM.


Back in Poland
So It's Tuesday afternoon. I've been in Poland since Friday morning. I've had a really good time, and I've been hanging out with people pretty much non-stop. I'm really surprised with my Polish. Here's a simple break down.
1. My listening comprehension has improved a lot.
2. My active vocabulary has shrunk considerably, but it is coming back extremely quickly.
3. My fluency is great. I can speak as quickly as I like, and I don't hesitate unless I don't know a word.
4. I'm pretty sure I'm better at explaining complex subjects now than I was before.

When I decide to take Polish seriously again, I'll just keep doing Anki. My level is a pretty solid B2, although I feel silly saying that since I've forgotten some simple words, (like the word for "spoon"). Funnily enough, I might forget the nominative form of a noun, but know how to say it in the other cases.

One big thing, which despite being purely subjective, is the fact that Polish has become a lot less weird for me. I don't feel much of a strain mentally when speaking, and I'm almost plateauing in the sense that I feel like everyday conversations don't challenge me much grammatically. To take it to a C level, I would have to fill in all the holes in my vocabulary and start exposing my self to more formal language and literature.

Refreshing Italian
I'm lazily refreshing Italian by watching the series "Romanzo Criminale" again. I finished the first season yesterday afternoon. "Er Romano" can be tricky. There are lots of expressions that I don't understand, and I often put on subtitles. I understand like 95% of the dialogue, but sometimes they say things that leave me scratching my head.

Next week I'll be in Italy, and my internet service will be limited for a while. This may be my last post for a few weeks :D However, I will keep you updated regarding my language projects and updates this year. I'm very happy I've been keeping this log. It's nice to look back and see how far I've progressed! It's crazy to think that two years ago I could hardly speak Polish!!!!
7 x

Lawyer&Mom
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Re: drp9341's 2 year Polish Immersion & advanced Spanish + Portuguese + Italian

Postby Lawyer&Mom » Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:40 pm

drp9341 wrote:
Can anyone who speaks an asian, or any indo-european language comment on whether they have their experience is the same?


I spontaneously translate a lot of children’s books to my kids in both French and German. Read a sentence in one language then immediately say it again in English. French is usually easier, German word order can really throw off your translation. But its so hard to avoid the obscure English cognates with French. Once your brain sees an English word, any English word, it doesn’t want to let go. (It’s so proud of itself! Why keep working, we already won!) Now since I actually want to teach my kids obscure English cognates, it’s probably a feature, not a bug. But I could see it being a real problem if you were striving for clarity.
4 x

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drp9341
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Languages: Native: English (US)
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B2: French, Polish
A1: Russian, German
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=5978
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Re: drp9341's 2 year Polish Immersion & advanced Spanish + Portuguese + Italian

Postby drp9341 » Sun Oct 13, 2019 2:40 pm

Update after two months in Italy!

Updates on my Italian:
The first month I was here, I was using Italian practically all the time. Everything from binge-watching Netflix, searching for things on the internet, and virtually all of my social interactions were in Italian. I didn't really feel my Italian improving that much, to be honest. However, at the end of this first month, I went back and listened to an Italian audiobook that I had previously listened to, and noticed that I was able to understand it effortlessly. One night at around the one month point when I was hanging out in the Piazza, I made a joke about being a foreigner or something, and one guy hanging out with us was confused, and when my friends (who were equally confused that this guy hadn't noticed I was a foreigner,) explained to him I was American, he said he couldn't hear I wasn't Italian. That was the first time I was mistaken for a native speaker.


I had to stay at my friend's place for 2 weeks when I was switching apartments, and me him and his brother, (who is also a very good friend of mine,) started a game: For every 5 times they correct my Italian, I buy them a beer. For every 5 times I correct their Italian they buy me a beer. His mother even joined in and corrected me a few times. It was a great way to get them to correct me, (and also a great way to figure out if they were speaking correctly or not, since sometimes I would say that they made a mistake with a subjunctive or something, and then after arguing over it for a minute or two, we would look it up.

This game is fantastic. Everyone now plays it with me, even in the WhatsApp group.

However, I started working as an English teacher, at a school with a bunch of other native English speakers, so I speak English all day at work, (for the most part.) I often have students translate a word into Italian if an English word comes up and I realize I don't know the Italian translation. And in between teaching hours when I'm grading or preparing, I sit with the secretaries and they speak to me in Italian if there's no one around.

In terms of studying, I'm really just watching lots of Netflix dubbed into Italian, and looking up words. I read Italian books for around an hour a day on my commute to work, and I have been watching Alessandro Barbero's historical lectures for like an hour a day as well (I definitely recommend him)

In terms of how good my Italian is, I guess it depends on the day and the topic. Sometimes a topic comes up, (like managing a vineyard) and I realize that I have to really pay attention. I'm also keeping a list on my phone of all the new words and expressions I hear. The hardest thing at this point, (in terms of speaking correctly,) is adjective/noun/verb agreement in terms of gender. If I'm not paying attention I hear myself mess it up. It's strange. Another factor that contributes to this is my grandparents' "dialect/accent." In my grandparents village they say things like "I zucchini" and "I diti." Also, they never use "gli" it become " l' " so "Gli Occhi" becomes 'l'occhi."

Also, there's a lot of "educated" vocabulary that I don't feel confident using. Words like "Eccome" "Persino" etc. I can use these words correctly if I stop and think, but I tend to speak more simply just because it's easier. I think writing will help, but I haven't really written anything in the last two months, (compare the writing quality of this posts to former posts!)

In terms of my accent, I think it's normally pretty close to a native speaker. However, this really varies depending on... 1) how badly I'm stuttering that day. and 2.) How "fluent" I feel in general. Some days I'm just more eloquent than others. On days that I'm "at my best" I've been told that I don't really have an accent, and other days people will ask me if I'm American and how long I've been in Italy. One student who I had to explain how the computers worked to in Italian one day a few days later asked me if I'm American because "My English is so fluent" hhahaha. I have no idea. Accent really is a secondary goal, as I know as soon as I leave Italy, my accent will become much worse.

I use Portuguese, Spanish, and Polish with native speakers I know either through friends or through work, so those languages are being more or less maintained. My Polish is getting slightly rusty, but it's still good enough, and my Spanish is pretty weird now, but it will come back quickly.

I might get an Italian tutor next month when I am sure I can afford it, but I'm not sure it's really worth paying money to have someone teach me the subjunctive and other random things that no one uses outside of school.


That's about all! I'll check back in again soon! Best of luck to you all in all of your language endeavors!
14 x

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drp9341
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Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=5978
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Re: drp9341's Living in Europe (Now) Italian Immersion (formerly) 2 year Polish immersion Log!

Postby drp9341 » Wed Oct 16, 2019 7:22 pm

Today I realized that I make some errors with prepositions and sometimes need to pause when I'm telling stories. I would like to be able to tell stories as well as I can in English. I'm going to start writing stories online, probably on iTalki notebook or lang8.

I like to write, but I often don't have anything to write about. Could anyone recommend a site with some writing prompts?

My storytelling abilities are not nearly as good as they are in English. In English I am great at "talking." In Italian, I am pretty good at telling stories, but I am not nearly as good as in English. This is annoying and I would like to fix it. In English, I heard lots of people telling stories growing up, and I learned that way. In Italy, I hear people telling stories all the time, but Italian is a heritage language. I don't have to same linguistic flexibility or subtle understanding of words and shades of nuance like I do in English.

Any recommendations? I watch historical lectures, read for ~1 hour per day, watch Youtubers who talk about Politics and Philosophy and speak Italian all the time except while at work. I think it's just a matter of "Italian isn't my native language." However, I would like to improve this as much as I can by the end of this year.

Also, my English is getting worse. I am being serious when I say this. I do not speak English at all except for some small chit-chat with other teachers, and on the phone with my parents like once a week. I think my limited use of English is negatively influencing my Italian. My Italian will never be better than my English, so I need to maintain my English at a high level. Even as I'm writing this though, English isn't flowing like it normally does. When I search for something to say Italian comes to my mind.

Obviously this will remedy itself after a week or two back in America, but it's weird. I feel stupider in a way! I am hearing and reading advanced Italian, and speaking colloquial Italian all day, but I don't have the command over it the way I have command over English. Now I'm losing my command over English, and I'm getting better at Italian but I don't want to end up speaking both "OKAY." That would be quite absurd.

I also fear that by neglecting English, I will limit my ability to advance my Italian. Has anyone ever experienced anything similar?
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iguanamon
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Re: drp9341's Living in Europe (Now) Italian Immersion (formerly) 2 year Polish immersion Log!

Postby iguanamon » Wed Oct 16, 2019 8:48 pm

Prepositions, yeah, they can be bears. Storytelling- we quickly discover our limitations in a language when we try to tell stories. I like your idea about writing. Writing a story will definitely help with telling a story.

There are plenty of sites online with writing prompts. Just search them and peruse a few. Here's an example: 41 good writing prompts.

As to English degradation, well, you can seek out more opportunities to speak locally or electronically, start reading a book in English, (maybe with an Italian translation you can read afterwards?), use some of those writing prompts to write in English too. Is there an Irish pub in town or nearby? Just some ideas. When I lived in Puerto Rico, in San Juan, it was hard for me to avoid English. The most I ever experienced what you are dealing with right now was when I spent a month in São Paulo, Brazil. There were few native-speakers there and I wasn't looking for them.

Glad to see you are doing so well in Italy!
1 x

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drp9341
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Languages: Native: English (US)
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Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=5978
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Re: drp9341's Living in Europe (Now) Italian Immersion (formerly) 2 year Polish immersion Log!

Postby drp9341 » Fri Nov 29, 2019 10:44 am

iguanamon wrote:Prepositions, yeah, they can be bears. Storytelling- we quickly discover our limitations in a language when we try to tell stories. I like your idea about writing. Writing a story will definitely help with telling a story.

There are plenty of sites online with writing prompts. Just search them and peruse a few. Here's an example: 41 good writing prompts.

As to English degradation, well, you can seek out more opportunities to speak locally or electronically, start reading a book in English, (maybe with an Italian translation you can read afterwards?), use some of those writing prompts to write in English too. Is there an Irish pub in town or nearby? Just some ideas. When I lived in Puerto Rico, in San Juan, it was hard for me to avoid English. The most I ever experienced what you are dealing with right now was when I spent a month in São Paulo, Brazil. There were few native-speakers there and I wasn't looking for them.

Glad to see you are doing so well in Italy!


Thanks, Iguanamon!

I'm really enjoying life over in Italy. It has been exceedingly normal, which to me is something quite new. I work every day, and I go out for a few hours to sit around with friends as often as I can. I have a few different yet overlapping social circles in addition to my main group of friends, which allows me to hear different Italian. The Lucchese accent is not similar to the Fiorentino accent at all. It's quite similar to the Pisa accent, but there are differences. The four main accents I interact with are: Lucchese, Pisano, Livornese, "countryside Lucchese" (I don't want to say the name of the area since it's a very very small town.) The one I hear the least is Livornese, but my grandparents' accent has some elements of Livornese in it, even if they technically are from the Provincia of Lucca.

In Italian, these minor variations in accent make a difference. The English school I'm working at now has me speak Italian more than English. They (without asking me lol,) set up my schedule so that I do all the lessons, scheduling, and exams for old people and complete beginners.

Last night my friend and her two other friends went out for a few drinks. One of her friends is from New Zealand - who's half Lucchese (the exact same situation as me in fact) and has been living here for two years. Her Italian is super good. I've met her a few times before, but I always spoke to her in English before last night, since we were such a small group, (and it was QUIET). I realized how good her Italian really is. Her accent is good enough that people from Pisa ask if she's Lucchese, and her friend was joking that she corrects "the 3 errors she makes each week." She's a super cool girl and has been living here for three years. At one point I said something sarcastic in English, and me and her both started laughing while the two Italian girls sort of smiled / half understood. I said to her, "This is what I mean! I don't know how to do these little things in Italian. I'm way funnier and quick-witted in English!" She said the same thing, about how she still doesn't have that same ability to play with words and be as funny in Italian as in English, (despite the fact that it would take me a while to get my Italian as good as hers, probably at least another year of being here.)

This brings me to my main point. Here are the 3 main things I want to improve upon while here - my so-called priorities.
1. Storytelling/jokes
2. Learning nuances between words.
3. Prepositions


In order to get better at storytelling, I need to understand the nuances between "synonyms" better. I also need to expand my already quite large repertoire of idiomatic expressions.

Here is what I plan on doing in addition to what I have already been doing...
1. Take classes twice a week with my former grammar-nazi Calabrese iTalki tutor back - to help with prepositions and grammar (hopefully he's still teaching.)
2. Dissect late-night TV shows, (I'm gonna need to look for recommendations.)
3. Start messaging my friends more asking them to try to explain the difference between words and expressions. Funnily enough, the person who is best at explaining things like this has the worst English out of all of them.
4. Start writing and getting corrections (thanks for the prompts Iguanamon!)

I got hired for the Spanish court interpreter's job, so I think I will be going back to America in February or March, so I don't have much time left in Italy. I would love to stay longer but I can't turn down this job offer. If it doesn't work out, I can always come back. Let's see how much I can improve in the time I have left!
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MamaPata
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Re: drp9341's Living in Europe (Now) Italian Immersion (formerly) 2 year Polish immersion Log!

Postby MamaPata » Sat Nov 30, 2019 4:11 pm

Congratulations on the job!
1 x
Corrections appreciated.


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