Submitted by Elvia Picco - Oct 13, 2021
What’s romantic, dynamic and culturally important? The Italian language! To speak Italian brings a lifetime of opportunities to investigate Italy’s culture, landscape and history. You can explore Italy's past and present with interest and enthusiasm.
I moved to British Columbia 14 years ago and experienced a wonderful opportunity to revitalize my second language of Italian by belonging to a vivacious informal Italian speaking group. We reconvened in Autunno (in the Fall) to cominciare (begin) our Italian language lessons. We shared cibo (food) and parlato (spoke) Italian.
I first studied Italian over 43 years ago in high school. Our Italian teacher drilled the class in conjugating verbs and learning vocabulary. He encouraged us to speak and write in Italian. We were immersed completely into the Italian culture and geography. I recall my teacher as energetic, creative and made learning Italian fun. He would enjoy sharing his Italian music records in class.
My parents immigrated to Canada (Niagara Falls, ON) in 1957 from the Friuli–Venezia-Giulia region of northeastern Italy. Growing up they spoke to family in their regional dialect of Friulano which was not the standard Italian that I aspired to speak.
We were encouraged to stay connected with our cultural roots and be proud of our family’s Italian heritage. I realized how much of the language I forgot after years of not speaking Italian. When I worked in the restaurant industry near Gemona, Italy in my early 20s, I grappled and struggled with the Italian language.
Currently I am an online student of La Scuola Italiana (The Italian Language School) program provided by the Kelowna Canadian Italian Club. In my second enrolment of an eight week session I continue to imparare (learn) from the other students. The instructor provides correction and clarifies the grammar in a friendly, impactful and encouraging way. “To learn Italian at any level takes courage and commitment. If you continue to practice and put the effort in, you will make a difference in speaking Italian confidently” says Marianna Pezzoli, La Scuola Italiana online instructor.
I am determined, motivated and up to the challenge in learning Italian. I dug out my Italian grammar books, sourced some Italian language podcasts and purchased travel books. It’s fun to also listen to Italian internet radio stations. I make phone calls to elder relatives to practice my Italian. Sometimes our conversations flip between Friulano, Italian and English.
My goal is to become proficient and fluent in speaking and writing in Italian. I have made a personal commitment to study Italian daily to improve my Italian language skills. I want to learn about my heritage and the diverse culture and history of all the regions of Italy.
The Italian language exudes passion and expression. I love listening to it. When I hear people speaking Italian, it makes me feel like I am a casa (at home) with my family again.
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