Monday, August 03, 2009

Dude, Italians Talk Way Fast

So this Tell Me More software that I'm using to learn Italian (ostensibly--I'm not real sure I done learned anything yet, but I'm trying) has a fancy gimmick, which is that every so often there's a film and you get to play one of the parts. You record the dialogue for one of the characters, and then you get to watch the movie with your voice dubbing the dialogue for that character.

This is great, I guess. It's certainly entertaining. It's definitely challenging. But it's also a little disturbing. Here you are, spending hours practicing your pronunciation of every little word, some with greater success than others, and graduating to spending hours practicing your pronunciation of whole sentences. The software is quite deft at this, too, keeping things slow as you start out and speeding the sentences up as you get better at pronouncing them. So you're feeling pretty chuffed and generally impressed with yourself by the time you get to this film.

Then your character comes up on the screen and words start tumbling out at a prodigious rate, and you're like, whoa. If I were in Italy right now, someone could be telling me that a train is about to hit me, and they would get the whole sentence out about 18 times before the train flattened me as I searched in vain for the words, "More slowly, please. I don't understand Italian very well." I've been at this for several hours tonight, and as much as I think this is going to shoot me in the foot, I'm skipping the little film for tonight, because I just don't have the stamina.

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