Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Why can't I speak proper English?

I feel like the longer I stay in Italy the more my English skills deteriorate. When I type I have to double check my spelling and I am starting to form sentances in the Italian grammatical way. For instance tonight I said to my husband "no, I go to the store." which makes sense in English but grammatically I should say "no, I am going to the store." And when I call my family on the phone they laugh saying my intonations are so lyrical. I'm sure when I visit the US I will slip easily back into my old speech patterns but for the moment I'm sort of stuck in limbo. My Italian is elementary (although certainly improved) and my English is slowly getting worse. And when I do speak in English I tend to use Italian hand language. Don't laugh. You know what I'm talking about. The hand with fingers pinched together that falls from your shoulder to your waste and back up again. As when you say "Che pizza!".
I was talking with an older American couple I was helping on the street and of course the conversation turned to why am I in Italy and what do I do here. I was astonished and sort of stopped midair when I realized my hand gestures were so Roman. When did this happen and why didn't I realize it? And more importantly should I be worried? I remember in nyc I would watch the Italians (there is a large Italian population there) and smile at their gestures (the nice gestures that is) and think how charming and authentic it is. But somehow I don't feel like I am charming and authentic when I do it. uh-oh. Does this mean I'm an imposter?


Blogger american girl in italy said...

I do that too! :OD And it is funny, because sometimes when I do teh gestures I feel like an imposter too! I completely speak like my husband does when he speaks english. "I think I'm turning japanese, I think I'm turning japanese, I really think so..." hehehe

Wednesday, September 06, 2006 3:31:00 PM  
Blogger avery said...

thank goodness it's not only me! I thought for a moment there I was going a little off the deep end! I kept thinking who is this strange girl who speaks in broken English (and broken Italian) with these crazy gestures?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006 6:13:00 PM  
Blogger Shelley - At Home in Rome said...

Avery! I hear you!!!
How many times have my friends and family back home said: 'You talk weird now...sounds like Italian in English.' My gesticulating is pretty much out of control as well.
One of my most memorable "I'm forgetting English" moments is when I actually said 'I have hunger' instead of 'I'm hungry.' Very worrisome, but comforting to know there is strength in numbers. Forza!

Saturday, September 09, 2006 10:30:00 AM  

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