Italian Lessons in the Car
The same day I returned from a trip for work, after spending all night on airplanes and in airports, Ryan and I had a four hour drive planned up to Northern Italy. The drive was to begin around 8pm, and conclude around midnight. Not looking forward to driving late at night with a sleeping passenger, Ryan began scheming for ideas on how to keep me awake. “aha!” (He said to himself, or, I imagine he probably said to himself) “Kate loooves talking about languages, I’ll keep her awake by asking her to go over some Italian with me.”
An idea was born … and … I’m a sucker. :)
So, on our drives through the Italian countryside, Ryan has been keeping me awake (have I mentioned that I’m a narcoleptic in the car?) with Italian lessons.
In a recent lesson, we talked about how some words are difficult to decipher when you look at them written, but easy when you hear them:
ospedale – “I don’t know,” says Ryan. “Maybe it’s a fish?”
But when you hear it out loud … “oh-sped-ah-lay” – it sort of sounds like “hospital”
elicoter = “el-ee-coh-taire” = helicopter
cina = “chee-na” = China
Likewise, some words sound really complicated, but look very much like the english words:
velocita’ = velocity/speed
zoo = (which sounds like “zoh”) = zoo
Ok, so maybe that’s all funnier when you can hear it out loud, but this one should work regardless. Ryan recently learned the words for the members of the family, so I was asking him questions about who was in his family. (“How many siblings do you have? What is your mother’s name? etc.) But to keep him on his toes, sometimes I asked questions that didn’t really make sense … even if the answer was obvious. (ie. Do your parents have any children?) And that’s when this happened:
Kate: Quanti figli hanno i tuoi genitori? — How many children do your parents have?
Ryan: I miei genitori hanno due figli. — My parents have two children.
Kate: Quanti figli hai? — How many children do you have?
Ryan: ho due figli. — I have two children.
Kate: Oh really? You have two children?
Ryan: No, wait. Hey!
Kate: Ok, ok. Quanti figli vuoi? — How many children do you want?
Ryan: Wait – we’re supposed to be practicing Italian, not discussing our future!