Tag Archives: Italian

The Italian Bookshop – first published 11/2/14

I posted a few months ago that I had started to learn to speak Italian. I purchased my textbooks online, but through the Italian Bookshop in Soho. Of course, now I’m on the mailing list, and recently received an invitation to a function that was taking place there yesterday. I didn’t understand most of the e-mail – way too advanced for me, but my Italian friend gave me the gist of it, and agreed to come along with me.

The basis of it was that there were two female journalists, one of whom has written a book called Do You Know Who I Am. More correctly, that’s how it translates into English. The author, who writes for Marie Claire, Vogue and others, was talking about her experiences interviewing various Hollywood stars, and other aspects of her working life. My friend told me that I’d really have enjoyed it had I been able to understand it.

The event ended with wine and nibbles. The manageress of the bookshop started to talk to me in Italian and my friend explained that I am a studentessa.

The manageress said, “Maybe it was too advanced for you, but brava!”

She was right, it was too advanced for me, I understood a few words, but that was it. Good job I had V to translate.

©Susan Shirley 2014


I didn’t write my blog last week, and I apologise for that.  I didn’t plan it that way, but I’d had a tough week at work, had guests staying and it just didn’t happen.  I hate missing deadlines, even self-imposed ones; I think it’s sloppy.  So I really do apologise, but onwards and upwards.

I have a friend who is Italian.  She was born in the UK, has lived here all her life, but her parents are Italian and she is fluent in both English and Italian.  (She also speaks French, which is giving me cause to hate her, quite frankly.  I can get by in French, but am by no means fluent, although it’s been on my “to-do” list for some time.)  Anyway, I digress…

My friend and I were out having a meal the other day, and we got onto the subject of languages.  Probably because we were in an Italian restaurant.  To cut a long story short, she has persuaded me that I should learn Italian.

To be fair, I didn’t need much persuading.  I think it sounds wonderful when to hear people speak Italian, and French, and I really hate being one of those English people who doesn’t speak any of the language when I go abroad.  I want to perfect my French, because I already know quite a lot, but I would like to be able to converse with my friend, and her mother, in Italian.  Besides, I think learning one of those Latin languages helps with the others.  The problem is, I didn’t want to start anything else until I had finished my writing course (which, hopefully, will be June of next year.  I have to finish it by September anyway.)  I have done this before and ended up paying for courses twice because I’ve got “hooked in” to something else.

But start I have.  Only vocabulary at the moment because I downloaded three vocabulary books when I first got my Kindle – French, Italian and Spanish – but hadn’t used them.  So, of course, as I’ve got three books, so I have to learn the same word in all three languages.  The books have all the same words, in the same order.  They start with animals, and then move onto fruit, vegetables, parts of the human body, colours and numbers.

So far, I’ve only had to learn one new French word (all that school-girl French came flooding back), I knew all the others.  I’m only learning one or two words a day, and then I’ll go back and learn some of the phrases in the books in two or three month’s time when I’ve learned all the words.  (That may prove more difficult, although the word in each chapter is the same in all three languages but the phrases are sometimes different…)

Interestingly, my friend and I both said that, when we learned English at school, we didn’t really learn all the grammar in the same way that you are taught it when you learn a foreign language; so hopefully, learning Italian and French will improve my English too.  (I think it’s pretty good, but there is always room for improvement…)

So, for the next year, it will be me reading and learning on my own, until I am ready to knuckle down properly and start in earnest.  How long will it take for me to become fluent in Italian, and French?  Absolutely no idea, so wish me luck, I’m not very patient.

Love and light


©Susan Shirley 2013