Polski & Italiano (+ Latin) Episode II: StringerBell Strikes Back

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StringerBell
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Re: Polski & Italiano (+ Latin) Episode II: StringerBell Strikes Back

Postby StringerBell » Sun Dec 08, 2019 3:36 pm

I got lost in a rabbit hole reading various Italian Quora questions and responses this morning for about 2 hours. I'm surprised by how easy and pleasurable the experience was; I was able to read a lot of text fairly quickly and with very good comprehension. What a different experience compared to reading novels! With novels (without a parallel text), I feel like I'm lost in a frustrating fog of kind-of-understanding but not really.

I'm trying to pay more attention to how I read. I instinctively read fast in Italian without mentally pronouncing words unless I force myself to slow down and do it. I'm focusing on hearing an inner voice when I read.

What I love about reading on Quora is the huge range of topics; it's impossible to get bored.

I also posted a comment in Italian! I have been very reluctant for a long time to publicly post anything in Italian. I'm just now slowly starting to post things here and there. I posted a message on the Patreon board of Podcast Italiano, which in the past I would have done in English. I know that posting things on sites related to language learning are likely to be encouraging rather than critical, so it feels safe. But posting on Italian Quora, man that was a little intimidating. I think a part of my Output Challenge starting in January will involve posting/sending messages.

My in-laws should arrive this evening. I'm hoping this year goes better than last year in terms of my ability to speak Italian. I'm trying to have no expectations about my abilities as a way to avoid shutting down in response to not meeting them.
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Re: Polski & Italiano (+ Latin) Episode II: StringerBell Strikes Back

Postby garyb » Sun Dec 08, 2019 7:30 pm

Posting on Quora is brave, congrats! I have seen quite a few non-native speakers posting on the Spanish and Italian sections, so it does seem somewhat "normal" and less intimidating than many forums. Still, not by much!

I do find with Quora that the same or very similar questions come up time and time again, as there are incentives to post questions that will get the most answers regardless of quality. Plus many of the Italian top answers are from the one guy. But hey, repetition is good and if I ever need to move to Milan I'll have a great idea of how much money one needs to live comfortably there ;). I also try to avoid questions and answers translated from the English site, as they're less culturally interesting and the translations often feel unnatural.

Despite my criticisms it's a very useful resource that's getting much more Italian input into my life since it's easy to read on the move or when I have a spare few minutes of time that I'd otherwise waste. And I should take inspiration from your example and try to contribute too!
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Re: Polski & Italiano (+ Latin) Episode II: StringerBell Strikes Back

Postby eido » Sun Dec 08, 2019 8:30 pm

The Spanish Quora has a wide array of topics... though I'm sure we're interested in different things.

A couple nights ago I managed to read like a 7 or 8 paragraph essay someone wrote as an answer to some question I can't remember the gist of... but it was about sexual assault and it was very enlightening because it brought a new perspective to the table, not only from the person's individual standpoint that they offered, but from a culturally significant one as well.

I actually like reading en español more because while sometimes the subject matter covered can repeat, there's enough curious and emotionally open people out there willing to share their experience to renew and refresh well-trod ground.

Speaking of culture, this website is fantastic. It's a microcosm of a bigger world you may never get to see, and the types of questions that get asked, how people respond, and how people react to those responses are indicative of wider cultural patterns. Because it's only a tiny piece of the pie, you don't get to experience 3D authenticity, but it's surely a good stand-in, with the richness it provides in such small slices.

I wonder, are there any other websites that provide cultural context in the same way? Surely we've got forums whose members will write in your target language, but I don't know if that's quite the same... Maybe I'm overthinking this ;)
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Re: Polski & Italiano (+ Latin) Episode II: StringerBell Strikes Back

Postby StringerBell » Wed Dec 11, 2019 4:33 pm

Sit Rep: So far, so good.

My in-laws arrived a few days ago. Since they speak no English, I have been speaking to them in Italian. I switch back and forth between Italian and English with my husband, depending on what I need to say. Knowing that I can switch to English eliminates the frustration of not being able to say certain things due to a lack of active vocabulary or not being able to use certain grammatical/verb constructions.

I feel like I'm making a massive amount of mistakes with terrible pronunciation, but I got feedback that I'm actually not doing as bad as I think, so I don't really know how to gauge how I'm speaking. Certain things are really easy to say, others I struggle with but somehow manage to say something that's at least understandable.

One thing that has definitely improved is my use of passato prossimo vs. imperfetto. Before I was just randomly choosing between these verb tenses but now I seem to be mostly using the right one.

I've been incorporating a few expressions that I picked up from the novel I just finished. When the main character said that he really liked something, he'd say, "mi piace da morire", which I've been using here and there.
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Re: Polski & Italiano (+ Latin) Episode II: StringerBell Strikes Back

Postby StringerBell » Thu Dec 12, 2019 3:34 pm

So last night I attempted to explain in Italian the rules of baseball to my in-laws in Italian. It quickly turned x-rated after I drew a baseball bat that looked more like a dildo, then proceeded to refer to my drawing while saying "balls" instead of ball. I rarely call anything cool (figo) for fear of accidentally saying "figa", which I've done in the past. I guess now I need to stay away from baseball, too!
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Re: Polski & Italiano (+ Latin) Episode II: StringerBell Strikes Back

Postby StringerBell » Sat Dec 14, 2019 3:51 pm

Note to self:

non ci siamo = a colloquial idiomatic expression that means "it's no good" (literally: we're not there). I heard this in a Trip Therapy video my MIL was showing me where the main guy (an Italian) ate yak-cheese pizza in Butan - he made a face and said, "non ci siamo" to indicate that it sucked. It can be used with anything, not just food.

non starci dietro = I can't keep up (literally: I'm not behind it)
Non riesco a starci dietro a loro / Non ci sto dietro a loro = I can't keep up with them

Throughout the day, really useful things like this come up and I think I should make note of them as a reminder to try to use them myself.
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Re: Polski & Italiano (+ Latin) Episode II: StringerBell Strikes Back

Postby reineke » Sat Dec 14, 2019 11:29 pm

"Stare dietro a" can mean be behind, follow, be on someone's case (to obtain sth), romantically pursue someone...

You are seemingly trying to internalize this expression as starci dietro a which may lead to some confusion.

You could say non riesco a starci dietro, non riesco a stare dietro a loro, non riesco a stargli dietro, non gli sto dietro depending on what you want to say, what has previously been expressed etc.
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StringerBell
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Re: Polski & Italiano (+ Latin) Episode II: StringerBell Strikes Back

Postby StringerBell » Sun Dec 15, 2019 2:22 am

reineke wrote:You are seemingly trying to internalize this expression as starci dietro a which may lead to some confusion.


I have no idea what you are saying here, so I must be missing something. I was making a note to myself about using the expression "non starci dietro" meaning "I can't keep up". What mistake did I make?
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Re: Polski & Italiano (+ Latin) Episode II: StringerBell Strikes Back

Postby StringerBell » Thu Dec 19, 2019 4:28 pm

Italian continues to frustrate me. I can communicate basic/practical things easily, but I am incapable of story-telling or discussing more interesting topics in depth. The more I try to do it, the more trouble I get into due to lack of complex grammar/active vocabulary. There seems to be an inverse relationship between how much I try to talk and how good I am at it. I am very envious of people who just start talking more and then get better at it. However, at least I'm not getting depressed about my lack of speaking skills, so that's something.

I've been waffling about committing to an Output Challenge for Italian. On one hand, I know I can't get better without doing the actual thing I want to get better at. On the other hand, experience has shown that I don't seem to respond to getting better at talking by doing more talking, the way others seem to. So it just might be that I'm at (or very close to) to best I can hope to do. I'm a little worried that doing an Output Challenge might lead me to get frustrated when I see that I don't improve after a really huge and prolonged effort.

Facciamo una toccata e fuga = let's do this thing really quickly (like run into the supermarket for something super fast) I came across this in my reading and I've been trying to use it the past few days. It literally translates to touch-and-go or hit-and-run, but it's used to mean: let's get in and out really quickly.

I've been binge-watching the first seasons of Lucifer (in Italian) with in-laws in the evening. We discovered that accessing Netflix using an Italian VPN gave us access to Italian dubbing and subtitles for seasons 1-3, both of which aren't available in US. The subtitles are as accurate as I've ever seen in Italian - there's a few words here and there that are off, but for the most part they match pretty well.
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Re: Polski & Italiano (+ Latin) Episode II: StringerBell Strikes Back

Postby StringerBell » Fri Dec 20, 2019 5:30 pm

I have recently been investigating the Flashcard feature in my Kindle; apparently every time I click on a word, it gets saved to a master vocabulary-building list. Kindle automatically also saves examples were the word appears across multiple books. I've got about 400 words on my list. Interestingly, even words that have appeared multiple times across various books are still unknown to me because I didn't make an attempt to learn them.

I decided to start making physical flashcards for some of these words. On the back, I write the definition and several example sentences and I've been flipping through them throughout the day. I only have about 10 done so far, because the process of making the cards is time-consuming. Going through the cards is a quick process. Unfortunately, my experience with Anki has taught me that I don't remember words long term very well using this strategy; I need to use the words actively. So I'm thinking I might adjust what I was planning to do for Output Challenge; rather than just responding to prompts, I'd generate sentences that use words from this list, hopefully killing 2 birds with one stone. If this doesn't work, I'm really at a loss as to how I can improve my vocabulary.
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