In Depth 6

Ciao! It’s so hard to believe that this will be my last blog post before in-depth night! I have learned so much in the past four months, and I cannot wait to be able to present everything!
The month of April was… chaotic, to say the least. Between adventure trips, dance competitions, girl guide camps, and coming down with strep throat, I have had very little free time. That being said, I managed to meet up with my mentor twice. I have found that the more I progress into this course and this new language, the more I value my time with my mentor. Last year, I needed less meetings with my mentor as the time went by, as once I learned how to play the basic chords on the guitar, the rest was just practice. However, with Italian, I am continuously learning new information, and my mentor has been such an incredible person to rely on for good feedback. During our first meeting, we focused on talking about my pronunciation. I have mentioned in previous posts that I struggle with the accents on letters, as they make different sounds in French, which I have been fluent in since the age of 8. My overall pronunciation is good, though my mentor seems to think that I still sound too French when I speak. We worked on pronouncing individual letters, as well as sounds, words, and sentences. I have memorized a list of rules for pronunciation, and I am working hard to apply them to the language.
During our second meeting, I was unfortunately still a bit sick, and I did not have much of a voice. Instead of working on pronunciation, or speaking much in general, my mentor taught me some very helpful tricks for writing in Italian. While my speaking is improving every week, I have not worked much on spelling. My mentor asked me to spell certain common words, and she gave me some tips on how to know what letters to use based on short vs long sounds, harsh bs soft consonants, and the emphasis in the word. I am more of a visual learner than an auditory learner, so I have been taking lots of notes. But during this meeting, I was able to do more than just copy a word off of a screen; I was able to hear a word, or a sentence, and piece together the sounds to spell it out. I am really proud of this, and I would consider it my biggest accomplishment so far!
In Edward de Bono’s How to Have a Beautiful Mind, de Bono talks about concepts and how they can help to clarify facts. One of the biggest concepts I talked about with my mentor was emphasis. In Italian, the emphasis in the word makes a huge difference on the meaning. If you emphasize the wrong syllable, you could accidentally be saying kingdom instead of spider, or mile instead of wife! Emphasis is used to clarify words and meanings, but it is a concept that is hard to grasp. There are rules you can follow, but there are many, many exceptions. My mentor did an amazing job of explaining the role of emphasis in the Italian language, and how if used properly, it can greatly improve my pronunciation.
In a later chapter, Edward de Bono talks about alternatives. While meeting with my mentor, we had to come up with an alternative plan for our second meeting as I had lost my voice. We had originally planned on working more on my emphasis and accents, but we emailed back and forth to come up with a better plan. We ended up deciding on writing, which was so beneficial to me, and I’m really happy we were able to communicate effectively enough to set that up. We talked about some other potential solutions such as reading an Italian children’s book or watching an Italian cartoon, but eventually we decided that writing would be the best idea as I have not had as much practice with it. I was very grateful that my mentor was willing to help me with this on such short notice.
For my learning centre this year, I am planning on having a tri-fold display board with some greetings and expressions written on it in Italian, with the pronunciation written underneath. I want to be able to teach a couple of words to everyone who comes to my station. I am going to be focusing on common sentences, greetings, and expressions for in-depth night, as I want to pass along my knowledge to others! I will personally be focusing on my pronunciation, as that is what I will be helping others with. I am also hoping to include some Italian books, music, maps, and food samples for everyone to enjoy! I hope everyone will gain a better sense of the Italian culture, and I hope that I will persuade them to continue learning this beautiful language!
I am extremely excited for in-depth night this year, and to continue to develop my Italian! As this is the last blog post until in-depth night, addio!

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