Long time no see.

The reason of my pause from the blog – and unfortunately, from my languages – was that I have had very little time during august and july, for I had been up to an internship I have to do for uni. It was very stimulating and taught me a lot: I worked in a private school which offers Italian courses to foreign students, and I have learned the basics of how to teach Italian and how to deal with Italian-learners, as well as tutoring and dealing with large groups of people. I think it might as well be an interesting topic for a blog post, but I shall think about it for a while and gather some ideas, and maybe post it in the future.

For now, I have other things to think about. The main one is my bachelor’s thesis, which shall talk about (roughly) women in Icelandic family sagas. I have already begun structuring it and reading stuff, but I’m really just at the beginning, so I think that – in the best of hypotheses – it will take me at least two months to complete, since I am quite slow at writing and studying in general. It’s a very interesting topic, but I usually struggle with history so even if I like Germanic philology I have to focus a lot in order to get things right.

I am also thinking about taking up my languages and begin practicing again, as I’m not happy at all with the current situation. Turns out I passed my Norwegian Summer School exam with two A’s, which is astounding, but this put even more pressure on me for not forgetting the language. After coming back from Norway and slowly getting over the “trauma” of a non-successful course I did last year, my German is beginning to slowly pop up again. A great news is that I have finally found a tandem partner! I think I could’ve found someone earlier, but I admit I was afraid of getting one considered my low level in German – I am a bit ashamed of it — I met her at the Italian school when I was working there, we began having conversation in Italian in my last days there, so I suggested that we kept in touch and begin a real exchange, since she’s staying in my hometown for some months. I hope I can take advantage of this as much as I can! In the meantime, though, I have to begin again learning words and revising rules, because I feel that all I learned is still somewhere, but all messed up… I think it will be VERY interesting to study German after learning so much Norwegian, I bet I’ll understand more things (even if I’ll surely mess up words and constructions). Old English has helped me as well, even if I pretty much sucked during the course: I learned the weak/strong adjectives rule, which is FUNDAMENTAL in German for getting a good noun declension. I wonder why no teacher explained it to me that way, it’s way easier than trying to learn the whole declension by heart, isn’t it?! A good thing is that it can be found also in Norwegian.

As well as studying, I have to sort some things out. I guess I have to elaborate an EFFICIENT plan and try it out for the whole month of October. Much like a study plan, a schedule with some tasks I have to accomplish everyday. It’s strange, but the more I have to do, the more I do, so I am quite optimistic about getting something out of it.

This is all for now – I’ll better go and elaborate my study plan!


Nei, gifta deg jenta (Norwegian traditional song)

This shall be the first of a series of posts I am very excited about. I’ve always been fascinated by folk music from all lands, and especially from celtic and nordic countries. Therefore I will post every once in a while a folk song that I appreciate, hoping to create a collection that I can consult whenever I feel like it.

These days I am learning mostly Norwegian folk songs, as I am staying in Norway and I am taking a Nynorsk course which gives an interesting insight into the Norwegian tradition. The following song is written in the Sogn dialect (that is often compared to Icelandic rather than Norwegian Bokmål) and was written by a feminist. I have some translation notes, but I’m not sure to post them, because they are quite messy and they don’t cover the whole translation.

I learned to dance it this way: two step to the left, one to the right, then up on your toes, and repeat again. I don’t know if this was just made up by my professor, but it was nice to do and I’d like to remember it.

Here it goes:

Nei, gifta deg jenta, da raor eg deg ifrao
Byssan lullan, lullan, lullan lullan lai
Kjem dar eit mannabein, du mao ‘kje bita pao
Byssan lullan, lullan lai

Somme e lure og slue og rao
Byssan lullan, lullan, lullan lullan lai
Andre e ubjaodeleg og vanskeleg fystao
Byssan lullan, lullan lai

Somme er nett som ein jokel å ta pao
Byssan lullan, lullan, lullan lullan lai
Andre vil deg berre under fedl at fao
Byssan lullan, lullan lai

Some er nett som ein hesjastaur å sjao
Byssan lullan, lullan, lullan lullan lai
Andre e ronde, kan ofta tridla tao
Byssan lullan, lullan lai

Somme ha ilt fy å fao fa til å gao
Byssan lullan, lullan, lullan lullan lai
Andre treng du berre kitla litevetta pao
Byssan lullan, lullan lai

So gifta deg jenta, da raor eg deg ifrao
Byssan lullan, lullan, lullan lullan lai
Da vert ikkje onnort enn naui å fao
Byssan lullan, lullan lai

Statement of purpose (a hopeful beginning)

Here I am, starting a new blog. This is by no chance the first time, but it may be the first time I give birth to a project that grows through time. After the various attempts made when I was younger, where I tried to sum my pretty uneventful life into a series of blog posts (no more than one or two before abandoning the projetct), I open this blog with a different aim and method.

The thing that condemned my previous blogs to an unsuccesful destiny was basically the lack of content (which is my personal struggle in all the forms of art I like to practice). I just loved the idea of creating something new and preparing everything – graphic, widget, lists,… – and when it came to finding something interesting to share, well… there was nothing at all. This blog has a different purpose. Here I try to catalogue, condensate, save all my utilities, thoughts, lists, projects and exercises that concern my language learning process. Therefore, this blog is essencially thought for myself, and is not conceived for being read by others – I don’t even know if other people can understand my method. Since one of my biggest passions, my subject of study and the field in which I hope in the future to find a job, are languages, this is the perfect subject for a blog. It’s finally a theme concerning which I can find some content.

As I said, this is meant for helping myself get more and more advanced in language learning, and thus it would hardly be of some use to others. You never know; but for now I will not try to teach anything to anyone, because I have to learn a lot myself. The reason why I am writing a long post with lots of explanations, and why I will try to put every thought and resource I have in this blog, is because I always have a lots of things overlapping in my mind, and I have to write them down in order to re-analyze and use them in a productive way. I think this is almost the only way for me to discipline myself: this blog will be my fellow to talk to about all my projects and progresses, my teacher who keeps and eye on me, a diary in which I can see my past experiences and learn from them, and a notebook that helps me keeping in mind all the informations and resources I may need in the future.

I have always been both good at learning languages and lazy, and unfortunately these two activities are not compatible one to the other. But recently, after beginning to study languages at the university in an advanced way, and after going abroad and meeting a lot of talented and strong-willed people, I decided I have to be more serious. I realized I have some potential, and being lazy is like throwing away a fruitful resource. Besides, if you could improve by doing something you like, why being lazy about it? So here I am, making a project and putting my will into words, reminding to myself that I must not waste the possibilities I have. This year I studied abroad and learned a beautiful language, that I truly love, and towards the end of my experience (sadly, there’s only a month left) I started panicking, for the fear of forgetting all the precious things I have learned. So I decided to gather all my will and strength to prevent this from happening. I am also going to have some rather free time in the near future, since I will take a sort of gap year, or better a “transition” year, before choosing a masters degree that suits me. This is a great opportunity that I don’t want to waste, and I will try to discipline myself in order to make the best out of it.

I intend to use a mixture of different means to improve my abilities: lists of resources, weekly or monthly exercise routine plans, texts to practice writing, audio/videos to practice talking, reposting of articles I find interesting and/or useful, school subjects that I need to integrate in my knowledge background. I have a lot of ideas in mind, but I still have to incanalate them in a proficuous way. If I keep up with my posts, I’m sure I can get there. I have a notebook with lots of ideas in it, and I just have to figure out how to divide them in posts and how to ampliate them.

Needless to say that this will not be an ordinary blog: I might for example edit and update old posts, interlink various posts or catalogue a group of posts in another post (does this make any sense?). I might also add a correction of the blog post in a comment, so I can correct it. I am willing to write in all the languages I’m learning: English, Norwegian and German (for now!). I might as well babble a lot – as I’m doing now -, just because I enjoy writing in foreign languages and I want to improve my writing skills and style. Besides, I had forgotten how good it feels to let thoughts flow out of my head. Expressing personal opinions is usually very difficult for me, so writing about what I like is the best way to train myself and to try to share my thoughts more.

I think I wrote way more than I intended. Oh well. I don’t know when I will be able to post again, since I am actually attending a summer intensive language course and afterwards I will have two even more intense months monopolized by my bachelor thesis and my internship. I hope I will be able to post something before; if not, I will come back here in October more motivated than ever.