I’ve been practicing my Italian lately, trying to bring back my latent skills and forgotten words. I’ve never been fully fluent, but I got by at a conversational level (and tried to do some business with the bookstores in Venice, which sort of worked!). So I got Pimsleur CDs, which I’ve been listening to in my car on my commute home. Can the brain handle traffic and a foreign language at the same time? Don’t know if this is a good plan…
But my heart lurched the other day during lesson 2. “Dov’e’ Piazza San Marco?” asked the sexy Italian manvoice. “E’ qui?”
“Non e’ qui,” answered the ladyvoice, “E’ li.”
Is the Piazza San Marco here? No, it’s freakin not here. It’s 6,000 miles away! And I”m not there right now! I’m in traffic on 280! “E’ li!” It’s there, where I want to be!
I swear that the Pimsleur folks are buying into the Italian stereotypes and are selling conversation with sex. If someone asks you, “Where do you want to have dinner?” is your first answer, “Your house?” Only if you’re an Italian man or a Pimsleur writer! And the second question (after learning how to ask where the Piazza San Marco is) is, “Do you want something to eat?” The ladyvoice answers, “Not now, but later. I would like something to drink. Your place?” Then the first drink you learn to ask for is wine, and the second is beer. Does no one drink water? If you’re learning English, is the first drink you learn “sugary sodapop”?
(BTW, I think I’m falling in love with the manvoice. But maybe it’s the time of day. Usually on my ride home I listen to Kai Risdall from Marketplace on NPR, and I already have a crush on his voice, so this manvoice may just be a replacement.)
I wonder what I’ll be learning next–“Would you like to stay the night? Or maybe make the quickie?” What are these Pimsleur people up to??