Learning Language and Laughing…


Last Thursday I took my Italian Language examination at level A2, I got 98 out of 100 and I should think so! A2 is not a very high level considering I’ve been here for six years. However, I wanted to go back to lessons and the next level up wasn’t available. The teacher was very helpful, even during the exam. It would have been difficult for anyone to fail.

The first question on the paper was to match up questions and answers. We all dutifully waited to begin and he put on the tape recorder. I looked around the class and everyone was perplexed as the track that was playing seemed to have no relevance at all to question number one. I slowly put up my hand and asked the question.

Chemistry Teacher with Students in Class

‘Teacher, what has this to do with question one?’

‘Oh,’ he said, then laughed. ‘Turn over your page this is question three.’

The exam went on a bit like that,the teacher wandering round the class looking over certain shoulders and coughing, letting his hand point vaguely in the direction of any mistake that might have been made. Farcical really but hey, he was such a nice man. I just have to point out here that I didn’t need any help. As each person finished he marked their papers. I’m not exactly sure why I lost two marks but it appeared to be for missing a lesson during the course.

I think it’s really important to learn the language of the country you choose to live in. In Le Marche there is little English spoken and I see no reason for me to expect them to learn my language. I can understand most of the time now except when the locals start speaking in dialect (dialetto) or when they speak too quickly. Italy has only been speaking Italian for a relatively short time, (I’m sure The Man will comment on this and put us straight as to exactly how long). Previously the different provinces, towns, regions all had languages of their own and today some of the older citizens can still only speak their dialetto. In Petritoli they speak dialetto from Fermo and in Carassai, (a town about 6 kilometres away) they speak Ascoli Piceno dialetto.

The Italian language is derived from the Tuscan dialect, ostensibly from Dante Alighieri. I’m no expert on this so don’t shoot me down if I’ve got it wrong.


Learning a foreign language is not easy when you are older, (the wrong side of 60) but I enjoy the interaction of the classroom and it is so much better to be taught by a real person rather than all this long distance, internet virtual stuff that’s readily available now.

I can’t wait for September, to get stuck into B2 the next level, and hope that by then I haven’t forgotten every single thing I learnt this term. I can get by in most circumstances and everyone understands me and the Italians give plenty of help with corrections, but it is so satisfying to actually format my sentences and verbs correctly, the basic stuff anyway!

Why ‘Laughing’ in the title of this week’s post’?
Well, isn’t it wonderful that laughing is universal. We don’t have to learn how to do it in a foreign language. ‘Smile and the world smiles with you,’ I think that’s the expression.

Boys Telling Secrets

The Man is going to think there’s something up this morning now I’m talking soppy. ☺