Where Can I Learn Italian Online?
Q: Ever since seeing Puccini's La Boh?me, I've been addicted to opera, but have
trouble understanding without subtitles or the libretto present. I was
wondering if anyone knew of a website/person that teaches Italian (or German
for Wagner, et al.) online, how well it teaches, and, of course, price.
A:My advice is to try the college nearest to you. Many offer non-credit language courses. You will find that with a bit of effort, you will be quite successful. America has long suffered from the short-sightedness of people who ecided to make it an "English-only" linguistic society. With French at the north and Spanish at the south, it should not be. Learning foreign languages is a matter of fact in Europe. Why should it be different here? I was fortunate enough to grow up in a multilingual environment. By the time I was 10, I was fluent in Spanish, English and French. I also spoke some Galician, which was kept alive at the family, although not taught in school. From Galician to Portuguese was a small step. My interest in Opera took me to learn Italian, and to struggle with German for a long time. My latest interest is Catalan, a language I find fascinating. Call me a fool, but every time I read something, I search for the soul of the writer. This cannot be done in translation. Shakespeare in Spanish is as lifeless as Cervantes in English, no matter how expert the translation. Perhaps your new-found interest in Opera will open up an whole new world for you. If it does, we will all be the better for it.
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