Italian Immersion at Vicenza Elementary School

Vicenza Elementary School

Learning Italian is challenging for me. I have complained about that fact in previous posts, though. Kids learn foreign languages faster than adults. Vicenza Elementary School has a great program that families with elementary-aged kiddos will want to know about. Italian language immersion classrooms are available to students in first through fourth grade.

I enrolled my son in one of the immersion classrooms. Our family has a great experience with this program. My son, while not fluent, has picked up a good deal of Italian. He explains things about Italian culture that no one else in the family knows. Throughout the year, the children have done performances in Italian (and English, too!) The kids had an exchange day with an Italian school and have explored Italian castles on field trips. My son’s teacher is awesome, as well. I definitely would explore this option if you have children in the first through fourth grade.

Grades 1 to 4 each have a one language immersion classroom. In these classrooms, the teachers are fluent in Italian and speak Italian and English throughout the day.  This program is for children that have not been exposed to a foreign language at home or elsewhere. Children must apply for the Italian Immersion Classroom and then school counselors select students using a variety of criteria. Make your request as early as possible, because the classes will only hold so many students.

To learn more about the Italian Immersion Classroom, the Vicenza Elementary School Handbook has information on the program. You can contact the school at DSN 634-7710 or from the United States at 011-39-0444-71-7710.

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Struggling with Italian language

The Italian language is a beautiful sounding language. I mean, I really like the way it sounds when others speak in Italian.

Coming out of my mouth, Italian is ugly. If I think the way I sound is ugly, I know native Italian speakers can barely recognize my words as their language. The rolled arrr’s. The accented third syllable. The c’s that sound different depending on the following letter.  None of it comes together when I open my mouth.

And my vocabulary…we won’t even go there.

The other day, a service worker of some sort came to my gate to read one of the utility meters. When I tried to tell him that my Italian was not good, he became irate and spoke in understandable English. His exact words were, “You should be speaking Italian in Italy.” I said, “Si.” Then proceeded to burst into tears.

I don’t want to be a foreign language failure. I want  to converse at a basic level in Italian. There is so much to learn, though. My frustration is enough to make me want to quit. It’s too hard.

My enthusiasm for learning Italian was at an all time high last year before I left the states. Now, I force myself to practice now and then.

I am not consistent in my practice or study of Italian, so it is no surprise that my skills are declining and not increasing.

I really do not want to be an ugly American and refuse to learn to speak Italian. I want to be a good neighbor and resident of my town. I know to do this, I need to consistently study and practice my Italian. I just wish I wasn’t so bad at it.

My visions of  small talk with the neighbors in Italian have faded. The most I speak with my neighbors is when I say, “Bon giorno!” as we pass.

Help me motivate myself!


Home Repair Vocabulary…Part 2

I intended to write my post about home repair vocabulary, however another site has a really great post on the topic. Because I am such a beginner at the Italian language, I decided to forgo the Italian dictionary and direct you there.

A great resource for Italian life in general is the website Life In Italy. Ask questions at the forum and someone usually always answers in a most helpful way!

The Learn Italian Section of the website is especially helpful. Some content is in Italian and English. Additionally, content has audio attached to it so you can read and hear the phrases. This will help those of us who need a bit of help with pronunciation.

About Talking to your Landlord is a great article! Scroll down to the bottom for phrases.

Any other tips on talking to your landlord from those living in Italy?


Vocabulary for Shopping in Italy – 10 Phrases to Know

For me, it was  is a bit imposing to walk into retail stores and shop. I had no idea of what the sales people were saying to me or how to respond to him or her. Before you find yourself in one of those situations, memorize these ten basic Italian phrases to use while shopping!

  • Non parlo bene l’italiano. (I don’t speak much Italian.)
  • Guardo solo. (Just looking.)
  • Quanto costa? (What does that cost?)
  • Saldi (Sale)
  • Accettate carte di credito? (Do you accept credit cards?)
  • Ha una taglia piu piccolo? (Do you have a smaller size?)
  • Ha una taglia piu grande? (Do you have a larger size?)
  • Basta cosi. (That is all)
  • Aperto. (Open)
  • Chiuso (Closed)

What are the most helpful phrases you use while you are out shopping in Italy?


Italian Language Classes at Caserma Ederle

Understanding and speaking the language makes life easier while living in Italy.

My skills in Italian need practice.  While I can do basic shopping and order at restaurants; talking with my landlord is a problem. So, I do plan on taking another class in Italian. If you want to take classes, there are several options for learning Italian.

  • Rosetta Stone at home. If you have access to Army Knowledge Online (AKO), you might be able to use the Italian module. Usually only the active-duty service member has access to the language learning section of AKO, but maybe your spouse will log you on so you can practice! Otherwise, you drop a few hundred bucks on the software. I found it helpful, but was too cheap to spend the money to use it all the time.
  • Audio programs available for free through the library. You can check out CD’s from the library and work on your Italian skills.  Army Europe Libraries have free online downloads you can check out. The library limits the time downloads are available, but some you can burn to a CD. My local library in the states had several options like this, so if you are still in the U.S. this is an affordable option.
  • Army Community Services offers a free Italian class for spouses and family members. The class starts once a quarter and only a specific number of students participants. Daniela Morandi teaches these classes. I took this class and enjoyed it. The focus was not strictly on learning Italian, we learned a bunch about the local area and Italian culture. I did learn a bit of  Italian, but I did not spend enough time practicing to get as much from the course as I could have. Contact ACS to sign up.
  • The USO offers Italian classes. These classes are not free, but a friend shared that these classes are a bit more intense than the free classes. The USO offers evening and lunch time options, as well as introductory and intermediate levels. As of spring 2011, these classes cost $140 including text. Angelo Sibilla teaches this course.
  • University of Maryland University College Europe (UMUC) offers Italian I, II and III. UMUC offers an Italian life and culture class, as well. College tuition is $226 per credit hour, according to their website. Visit the education center to enroll.

Buona fortuna per i tuoi studi italiani!


Numbers in Italian

Here are the numbers from one to ten in Italian!

1 = uno

2 = due  (d00 aye)

3 = tre  (tray)

4 = quatro

5 = cinque  (chinquay)

6 = sei (say)

7 = sette (set tae)

8 = otto

9 = nove  (noh vae)

10 = dieci

The parenthesis are my best attempt at explaining how to say these numbers.


Days of the Week, In Italian

Learning the days of the week in Italian is not hard. It is good to have something to reference when you first arrive in Italy, though.

Monday…..Lunedi 

Tuesday…..Martedi

Wednesday…..Mercoledi

Thursday…..Giovedi

Friday…..Venderdi

Saturday….Sabato

Sunday…..Domenica