Which I have discovered in Italian would be ODM! for O Dio Mio.

This weekend I have gotten quite an “education”.

Would someone please lend me a hand?

With the idea of eventually moving to Venice I have enrolled in a beginning Italian class at the local community college. I already know a smattering of Italian. I can say hello, and please and thank you. I can ask for help finding what I need at the grocery store, order a cappuccino and ask for directions. But I can’t actually hold a conversation with anyone. I need to be able to do that. I want to be able to do that.

Flowers in the canal

So since my class doesn’t start until April I have thrown myself into the books and CD’s that I already have. Of course those only work if someone a) asks you a question you understand and b) the answer to that question is one of those phrases you already know as I found out when on my last night in Venice someone asked me in Italian how I was. I understood him but didn’t have the Italian words to say that I was miserable at the thought of leaving Venice. He was also surprised that my Italian had not improved after my month in Venice and that I hadn’t learned at least a few “bad” words in the Venetian dialect. I finally realized that the reason my Italian hadn’t improved is that the people with whom I had actual conversations were people from the U.S., the UK, Shanghai, Thailand, Scotland and Taiwan. Not much Italian spoken there. And if I had heard any “bad” words I didn’t recognize them for what they were.

Santa welcoming you for a ??Vin Brule?? You need one in weather like this.

With all that in mind and thanks to the book “La Bella Lingua” by Diane Hales, and her website on “Becoming Italian Word by Word” I now at least know a few “bad” words in Italian…but not how to pronounce them. Not that I would want to say them to anyone but as one writer said in describing the book “Dirty Italian” it really helps in understanding Italian movies and you never know when you might actually need a phrase that resembles “Get lost, loser”.

Wine delivery

Yesterday my new CD called “Hide this Italian CD” arrived. It deals with the basic greetings, ordering (mostly alcohol) and picking up the opposite sex. Probably nothing I’m going to actually need but I do now know how to pronounce what passes for the “F” word in Italian. I also know how to say “Would you like to spend the night with me?” and “Do you have a condom”…and I can buy them if I need them. Unlikely….but then you never know…;-)

This is what a pharmacy should look like


And, yes, all of these books and CD’s are available from my friendly Barnes and Noble Book Store.

About mvaden1948

I love to travel to Venice (and probably other parts of Italy and beyond) and my camera leads me where she wants without any consideration as to whatever plans I may have. I enjoy photographing nature, my cat and anything that strikes my fancy. I have a "thing" for interesting doors and architectural details.
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10 Responses to OMG!

  1. ytaba36 says:

    Good one, Michelle!

  2. jan Graham says:

    Your coming along fine Misha, keep up the good work,

  3. Frances says:

    Dear Misha

    I have followed your travels with interest and was particularly interested in your wish to retire to Venice as that is what we are working towards – I say working towards as with this economic climate we keep having to move the goal posts!!! I have just laughed out load and had to read your post to my husband – trying slowly to learn Italian too but not having as much fun as what you are!! Would love to meet up for a coffee or even a spritz next time you are in Venice.

    • mvaden1948 says:

      I’d love to meet up with you too. I’ll be there again in December for the whole month again.
      Since WordPress gave me your email address I’ll email you mine so we can keep in touch.

  4. Andrew says:

    Have a look at the free online course called Memrise, Misha. A bit basic but ok.

    • mvaden1948 says:

      Grazie, Andrew. I will check into that too. Actually another recent CD set that I purchased called “Italian in No Time” is basic but seems to be pretty good…at least in reinforcing what I already know.
      And that “bad” word one was helpful while watching an episode of Inspector De Luca the other evening when I recognized that “damn” was not what he said but it is what the subtitle said.
      Having the class starting in April will give me the opportunity to actually try to speak with hopefully someone who can correct my pronunciation when needed.
      I’m looking forward to it.

  5. Shubhabrata says:


    I stumbled upon your blog through TA and have just finished reading all your Venice posts. They are really evocative and especially the photographs are marvelous. I was in Venice for a day in October 2010 (I was attending a conference in Florence so I did it as a day trip). I was so fascinated by Venice in that one day itself that I wished that I had more time to spend there but sadly due to scheduling conflicts I couldn’t do that. Hope to be there again soon :).


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