Full Immersion

This Italian learning malarky is taking over my life. I believe in full immersion in anything that I do and I’m the kind of person that if I don’t keep at it every single day I forget things really fast.  I live in England so of course most things are English and you have to work hard to make sure you’re coming across your learner language on a regular basis.

My language exchange group has broken up for the summer, so a bunch of us have migrated over to Whatsapp. So there’s 7 conversations going on already.

I joined Hello Talk this week. I’ve steered clear of the chat apps so far because they take up so much time. But I thought I’d give this one a go. Day one and I’m already having 6 separate conversations. Ironing out my issues with getting ‘sto’ and ‘io sono’ correct (something I was doing fine with but suddenly seems to have slipped) and mastering my sentence structure is coming along nicely thanks to the vigilence of the users there but I am reminded how far I still have to go.

I am rarely corrected on Whatsapp, Facebook or Twitter so I’m guessing readers are just being polite and are understanding what I’m on about. Impatience is a major personality hangup of mine. So 6 months in to my Italian language learning and I just don’t think I’m good enough. I’m also obsessed with getting the grammar right. The basic present tense is fine for holiday ‘conversazione’ but I want to write blogs and comment on important Facebook groups and get it right.

I am a perfectionist and whilst this isn’t a bad trait it can get in the way of your enjoyment of something when all you want is to talk like a native – which of course I will never be – 5 generations removed as I am from my Italian roots. The Italian blood is still obviously there but I don’t find languages easy. I gave up French as soon as I could in school and its been 27 years since I’ve tried a languge again. And here we are.

But I have the added positive trait of being one of those people that if I really want something I don’t stop until I’ve got it. I’m also slightly comforted that in the 42 years my g-g-g-grandfather (that’s bis-bis-bis-nonno to my Italian readers) lived in England he never fully mastered English.


Author: crinkum-crankum

Published author. Scriptwriter. Researcher. Designer. Descendant of Giovanni Battista Falcieri. Volunteer at Newstead Abbey. Byron groupie

2 thoughts on “Full Immersion”

  1. You’re doing so well! This has inspired me to kick my ass back into gear as I get really keen for a couple of months then hit a rut and quit for a while…. only to end up back at ground zero.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so pleased I’ve inspired someone. Do it! 😀 It is hard work. But once I get hooked on something it’s obsessive. And the good thing about learning a language is that you can start using it straight away.

      I drip feed every day so there’s not a day goes by when I’m not listening to or reading something. I have only Italian radio (Radio Venezia which is mild but still Italian), and I converted all my gadgets so even something as simple as adding an app requires me to read the Italian instructions.

      Whatsapp has been a godsend. I have a couple of friends in Venezia and we stay in touch and this way it doesn’t cost a bomb. The language exchange group here in Manchester has been great too. I’m not the most social of people. Italians are. So I am constantly being pushed into social situations and online chats in Italian which, again, is that drip feed.

      When I was in Venice in May, the only English I spoke was with my landlord, who was Italian but my Italian was too slow for long meaningful conversations and his English is great. And because I was using Venezia Autentica for most of my food and drink stops I was constantly coming up against people who spoke no English or who much preferred to speak Italian. So I used all my basic phrases over and over again and the reception I got from the Venexiani was great.

      If money were no object, I would be living in Venice by now. But it comes with a multitude of financial hurdles. If I can do 3 or 6 months out there next year, that’ll be the dream for now. Plans and bucket lists keep me motivated!


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