Italian Sign Language

This post is not about actual Italian sign language or stereotypical Italian hand gestures. No, this post is about my first-hand experience, during grades 2-6, learning Italian. In my elementary school, grades 1-6, the only language they offered was Italian (during my brother's time it was Italian and Spanish, but they cut it down to just Italian). So starting at second grade, I took Italian once a week for 5 years. One might think that if you took Italian that long you would be able to communicate decently and actually have a conversation. Nope. I learned Italian from this odd French lady (yes, French) out of this funky textbook that we stayed on for all 5 years. Five years on the same textbook. I'm not complaining, I learned some very important stuff in that classroom, such as various farm terms (sheep, shepherd, etc; thinking about it now, it could have been a religious book too), locations (not like Venice or Florence, but 'the mountain' and 'the desert'; in case I happen to find myself in a desert in Italy), and 'to wake up' (MI ALZO!). With every useless word or term we learned, we would also learn a hand gesture to go with it. And we would string theses symbols together to create a sentence and later, a story. It was actually quite amusing because she would scold us, for speaking English, in rapid-fire Italian, all while her hands were moving just as fast in various symbols. 

Here's a list of our most frequently used vocabulary in Italian class, try chaining some together to create a sentence, for example: La pecora abita en la montagna. ('The sheep lives in the mountain.)

Extra Italian: 'wake up' is mi alzo and the symbol is like a tree sprouting; hunch your back and scrunch your arms in, then stretch up with your fingers toward the sky.
One of my many Italian vocabulary sheets; note the doodles on the pictures.
My wonderful 5th grade doodles to illustrate 'La pecora dice, "La roccia non é intelligente."' ('The sheep says, "The rock is not intelligent.")
Did I mention we also used to sing in Italian?
Il lupo vede il capello. (The wolf sees the hat.)

This is the most advanced vocabulary we got during those five years. But I am grateful for the class, even if the most it did was give me a good laugh every now and then.






6 comments:

  1. I really learnt something new from this post - great stuff.

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    1. Glad I could teach you some Italian.

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  2. I have never see a post like this, very very interesting!

    www.alexawas.com

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  3. That is so interesting that you learned Italian sign language. I minored in Italian in college and never once did I have a professor mention sign language. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. It wasn't official Italian sign language, it was just whatever motions she thought would help us to better understand the language.

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