Updated: May 27, 2022
Continuing my series of posts on keeping up the languages I speak, this one is dedicated to all things Italian. Here's what I listened to, watched, read and did this week in italiano.
There's been a bit of trial and error with Italian podcasts, and some have fallen by the wayside over the last months. Newly discovered and now the first thing I listen to on Italian Thursdays during my morning walk with the Beagle is:
Corriere Daily. 15-minute podcast every day on people, places and events. A mix of reports and a weekly ‘Ammazzacaffè’ by the columnist Massimo Gramellni, as well as a ‘Severgnini risponde ai vostri vocali’ feature every Sunday with the journalist and author Beppe Severgnini answering audio messages sent in by listeners.
Song/Artist of the Week
I lived in Rome for 4 years in the early noughties and so had plenty of time and opportunities to explore la musica italiana. One of the gems I discovered was Ivano Fossati, an amazing singer/songwriter whose lyrics are pure poetry. I was lucky to see him live at the Auditorium Parco della Musica and still have wonderful memories of that evening. My song of the week is:
C'è Tempo, by Ivano Fossati. Released in 2003 on his 'Lampo Viaggiatore' album, the song reflects on life, being present and making the most of it before the cycle comes to an inevitable end. Beautifully sung and orchestrated, you can see one of his performances here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1xOUFi9VRo
I wish I could spend more time being a couch potato because I really can't get enough of the Italian series I'm watching at the moment. Based on the books by Elena Ferrante, which I now want to read, it's a hugely compelling story, brilliantly cast and I love it! It is of course:
My Brilliant Friend/L'amica geniale – It's the kind of coming-of-age story that just draws you in: two young girls that grow up together in a Neapolitan rione, facing all the challenges of the time and place. I find myself rooting for the two protagonists every step of the way and balking at the injustices they face. Good to have subtitles as most of it is in Neapolitan, but I'm quite enjoying attempting to understand the dialect and really impressed with the quality of subtitling on this series.
When I lived in Rome, I discovered many female Italian writers, such as Elsa Morante, Maria Venturi and Margaret Mazzantini. The book I'm reading at the moment is from another on my list of favourites:
L'Intruso, by Carla Cerati – a novel about the conflicted relationship between an adult woman and her elderly father, and the dilemma of duty to one’s parents. I love Carla Cerati’s books, which delve into the depths of human psychology. She was also a celebrated photographer. She sadly died in 2016.
If I have time, I try to scan a few Italian online news sites, e.g.
https://easyitaliannews.com/, as the name suggests, this one is for intermediate level speakers.
Working out, language exchange, qualsiasi cosa...
As I've written on my other language posts, I make unashamed use of the free content on YouTube and mostly manage to do a daily 7-10 minute cross-training or calisthenics workout, followed by a 20-30 minute yoga session. This Thursday's was:
LUMOWELL – Benessere 360. Esercizi per dimagrire e tonificare le braccia. An animated, 6-minute workout for arms, which you can do with or without weights, depending on your level.
Yoga con Celeste – Yoga Flow. Lezione completa per il Mattino. A 25-minute slow flow to stretch the spine and open the hips. Just what the yogi ordered today!
Even though I reached C2 (native level) when I lived in Italy, my speaking fluency has diminished since I returned to the UK. It's a very strange thing, but I've found that Italian and Spanish seem to run along the same circuit in my brain and they are constantly competing for dominance! As a result, I often mix them up and, because of their similarities, I don't realise until someone points it out. It's infuriating! Luckily, I've very recently found an Italian conversation partner on the MyLanguageExchange platform (https://mylanguageexchange.com/) (Ciao Maria!). We haven't yet established a regular call but our first session was encouraging and apparently I now have a Spanish accent when I speak Italian..!
Word of the week
While listening to the Corriere Daily podcast, I noticed that they used the term ‘Woke community’ in English. This got me wondering how to translate this very British/American term. According to ilpost.it ‘“Woke” non è davvero traducibile in italiano’ (https://www.ilpost.it/2021/11/12/woke-significato/) and infatti a brief foray online would seem to confirm that Italians haven’t (yet) come up with a satisfactory equivalent (see https://www.repubblica.it/esteri/2021/01/22/news/woke_la_nuova_parola_d_ordine_dei_progressisti_ecco_cosa_vuol_dire-283739495/and https://dizionaripiu.zanichelli.it/cultura-e-attualita/wordwatch/woke/).
Any linguist out there seen any Italian translations for this word? Or are you up for the challenge to translate the ‘untranslatable’…?
Let me know what you've been doing in Italian and please share this post with anyone you think would enjoy it. A presto!