As you can imagine, there are huge chunks of communication that I unintentionally miss out on. One of my new year’s resolutions has been to put more time aside for learning Italian and while so far, I have been keeping up my end of the bargain, the concrete extent to what I can verbally understand is still somewhere around, “Il ragazzo mangia la mela nella piatto.”
Translation: The boy eats the apple on the plate. Not bad, right? I didn’t even use google translate for that one.
Over the past year and a half, I’ve learned a few extra words from my beautiful Italian environment. My food vocabulary is fairly intact as I spend some time roaming the grocery store and checking out all of the strange ingredients I probably would not find at home. Like a whole rooster to roast. Or a nice package of cow intestines to boil. Or maybe just some fresh lychee nuts to crack open.
I’ve also learned some interesting new vocabulary words from the kiddos I work with after school. Below are some of my favorite and completely random words along with some other witticism because, well, kids are funny. Sometimes. Sometimes they’re crazy.
“Come si dice parabola in Inglese Morgan?” I know what you’re thinking. Because what you’re thinking right now is what I was thinking when asked this question. It’s a math curved based off the formula of slope, right? But why would a second grader be asking me what a parabola is? My go to response: “I don’t know, why don’t you draw me a picture?”
Results: a parabola is a car antenna. Bet you never would have guessed.
Now sometimes, instead of directly asking me what a word is called in English, my kiddos will tell me what it’s called in Italian and wait for me to supply them with the English word. One of the magical thing about kiddos is that they think teachers are geniuses. And so, while the rest of Italy has figured out my vocabulary is on par with a four year old, my second graders think I’m fluent in every language.
In a recent conversation with a third grade student, I was inquiring about her weekend. She told me she went out to eat at a restaurant. Cue in the next logical question of what she ate at the restaurant.
“Ah, in Italy we say: pizza.”
Yea? The words that are the same in Italian and English are my absolute favorite. For one, we all get excited for these language bridges that can know be qualified under the “known” list but secondly, it’s just entertaining. I mean, pizza has got to be one of, if not the most widely recognized Italian word across the world. But since some of my students don’t know that, I get to be the lucky educator to deliver the good news.
And, for the sake of fun, here are some other Italian words that are the same in English: zucchini, lasagna, kiwi, lychee nut, banana, mango, avocado and pasta. See? Look at all of the Italian you already know without even studying.
Until the next language bridge,