This morning I had my first private Italian lesson. After twenty-five years of speaking, reading and listening, I want to work on my writing skills, presentation/formal language and get rid of the kinks that have wormed their way into my speech while fine tuning the rest. Un corso di perfezionamento. What do you do with a student like me?
Well, we started with a dictation, that I completed with only a few errors on the accents. Then while she tried to size me up, we reviewed the use of the congiuntivo and experimented with ways to improve various sentences of the dictation text. Homework: a composition.
We talked about the different "concept of style" in Italian with respect to English. How it is not as important what you say, but how you say it -- a question of style. She told me that it is just a cultural difference that you have to accept if you want to write well in Italian, you have to work on being ornate, not succinct. Circumscribed, not direct. Pay attention to the sounds of the phrases, the rhythm and flow. It must sound good (like the Capo Gabinetto at the school meeting).
Quite an assignment. I'll have to put aside all that I have ever learned about writing and enter into an Italian state of mind. Pompous prose here I come. Wish me luck!