Sunday, November 16, 2014

A Bilingual Future

Hello, world!

It's been a long time since I've posted anything on this blog. I've decided that I'll fix that by using it as a place to post bilingual musings in English and Italian. I don't need much practice writing in English, but I certainly need to practice writing in Italian.

As you know, there are four main components to language usage. These are:
  • listening
  • reading
  • speaking
  • writing
As you look at that list, you may wonder why I listed them in that order, rather than an order that may seem more intuitive, such as: listening, speaking, reading, writing. After all, hearing and speaking go together as one set of connected activities (all speakers like having someone to listen to them, right?), and reading and writing from another set of connected activities (writers love having readers, and readers love writers who give them something to read!).

The reason I listed the communications functions as I did, however, is that I've organized them according to the nature of their functions. To wit, hearing and reading language are passive activities - we use them to receive content provided by others. In contrast, speaking and writing are active functions - we use them to produce content to be received (we hope) by others. Generally speaking, the passive language activities are somewhat easier to learn than the productive ones.

All this brings me to why I must start writing in Italian. I can speak Italian almost any time. I do it to my dogs all the time. I do it with Dave and Joshua sometimes. I also do it with my iPhone, for which I've set Italian as my home language (Italian is also my home language on Facebook). I nearly always read Italian articles and exercises aloud in order to train my tongue and ears to produce and recognize the right sounds. I speak Italian in my car, in my get the point. I often use Google Translate to check myself. But writing in Italian is a different matter. I write my shopping lists in Italian, but that barely counts, since that just involves using simple words and phrases. Therefore, for the time being, this blog will become a place for honing my Italian writing skills.

And now, having announced my blogging plan for the foreseeable future, I will close what I hope will be my final monolingual post.


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