I learned Italian from an 8 year old…

Not all Italian.

But in the “stone barn ruin” space, I’m your man.

We’re are staying tonight at an agriturismo near Montieri; we decamped from Serrazzano, as our 5-day printing residency came to an end. We didn’t get far, just 39 km, but it’s a transition day, and we needed a rest from the mad dash to the finish of our print projects.

It was a warm, sunny afternoon as we arrived, so I took the opportunity to sit outside and sketch the ruin of a stone barn just across the yard. As I was sketching, the 8 year old son of the owners ambled over and watched me draw. He attempted to engage me in conversation, in Italian, to which I responded, using Google Translate, “can you teach me Italian?” He agreed, enthusiastically.

And so, as I sketched, I asked him the names of things: roof, wall, sky, clouds. He told me the words, sometimes needing to spell them, but often not, as Italian is surprisingly easy to spell.

My favourite of the words he taught was architrave—“the lintel or beam, typically made of wood or stone, that rests on the capitals of columns”—which is a pretty sophisticated word for anyone to know, let alone an 8 year old.

This turned out to be a very effective way to learn: he was a good and patient teacher, and his effusive exacto for every right answer was very affirming.

I realize, as I type this, that among other things this was the thing on this trip I’ve done that my father would have definitely done in the same situation. He wouldn’t have written a blog post about it, but he certainly would have told my mother about it (as I did Lisa).


vbj's picture
vbj on April 30, 2024 - 21:35 Permalink

This entry made me smile. I loved picturing the scene.

Juliane 's picture
Juliane on May 1, 2024 - 08:38 Permalink

I love this.