Travels ahead, so it is time to brush up my minimal Italian language skills.
Last time around I simply put on tapes that I listened to while driving back and forth to work. It was somewhat helpful but I never really attained a comfort level.
This time around, being retired and all, it was time for a different tack. I looked at various programs including the gold standard Rosetta Stone. The latter btw comes under a lot of criticism and does seem rather expensive.
I settled on a program called Rocket Italian.
The company that puts it out is based in New Zealand and is most definitely not the same outfit I see advertising Rocket Loans and Mortgages, although oddly the parent company of that bunch has its HQ at "One Campus Martius Building", named after a historic Rome neighborhood.
Rocket Italian is actually rather fun, featuring a geeky Italian American man and his sultry voiced female counterpart, a native Roman. I keep expecting him to ask her out.
I like that there are various asides explaining not just how Italian conversation goes but to some extent why things are said the way that they are. And after a while I start to add bits of my own back ground.
Ever wonder why Germany has a reputation for constant energy and progress, albeit often in unfortunate directions; while Italy stereotypically is a languid place where the talk is rapid fire but actual activity is glacial?
In German you ask how somebody is by saying "Wie gehts?", literally, "How goes it?".
It Italian you would say "Come stai?". Which means...."How are you standing?".
As to how my standing will actually be in Italy the problem is in some ways beyond the teaching skills of the upbeat Alessandro e Maria. The hard reality is that things I can hear and puzzle out with headphones on and the ability to replay them are going to be another matter entirely in cacophony of Rome. With my 60 year old hearing. And the staccato speech pattern of everyday use.
I have already learned several variations of "I don't speak much Italian...more slowly please".