According to some Italian proficiency tests I took recently, I'm at an intermediate level. Still, I find myself horribly deficient. The Nancy Drew book is forcing me to really work at it. I've been making some good progress, although a bit slower than I would have liked. My process is pretty simple- I attempt to make out the text on my own with the hopes of being able to read and understand as much as I possibly can. Then, I break out i Ragazzini, my trusty Italian-English dictionary, and start looking up the words I don't know. Then, I take a tea break! I have two new notebooks- one for nouns, prepositions, adverbs etc, and another for verbs. Anything that is new to me I am writing down in my notebooks, along with examples of how the words are used. I don't know if you can tell from the photo, but i Ragazzini is about 4 1/2 inches thick. I'm not only getting a mental work out, but my arms are also benefitting from all the lifting.
At the rate I am going, I expect to be finished with Nancy Drew in about a month. I thought I had a pretty extensive vocabulary already, however, to be honest, I think my new notebooks will be full up before the book is finished. The system seems to be working for me- except for bumping into some verb tenses I'm unfamiliar with. Passato remoto for one. I'm still struggling over the use of Passato prossimo and Imperfetto! You know that saying "You can't teach an old dog new tricks"? Well, folks- Karen is an old dog. Trying to learn new verb tenses is just not easy. However, determination and hard work will see me through this. I am committed to becoming more proficient. Notice I was careful not to say fluent?
Now, the only other thing I need this week is a few words with the Patron saint of learning Italian!
Postscript added Friday morning- I know this is going to sound weird, but it's true. Last night in a dream, the identification of the Patron saint of Learning Italian was revealed to me. Its Spiro Agnew! I woke up shortly after that tidbit of information was divulged in the dream, so I unfortunately was unable to get back to the dream to find out if there was anything else to it. When I told this to Mike this morning, he commented that this was surely a sign I am supposed to turn Republican. Sorry, but I don't agree.