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I’m confused with ease and difficulty

  Tags: Easiness | Difficulty
 Language Learning Forum : Learning Techniques, Methods & Strategies Post Reply
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ExRN
Groupie
United Kingdom
Joined 1582 days ago

61 posts - 75 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Italian, Spanish
Studies: Dutch

 
 Message 1 of 11
20 August 2015 at 7:12pm | IP Logged 
So, for a while I have been watching series and films in Italian. I can understand, I would guess, around
80% of what is going on. That is with Italian audio and Italian subtitles to aid. Ive watched series 2 - 5 of
the x files, the batman trilogy, the exorcist, scary movie 1-3, hot fuzz...... The point I am making is that I
have watched a fair bit. Even a German film called the experiment, dubbed in Italian on YouTube.
And then........ Feeling all proud of myself for my passive skills acheivments, I decided to dive into some
native material. First mistake I made was choosing gommorah. I then realised that is scripted in dialect
from Naples. I tried a film with the bloke who did Pinocchio.... I can't recall the title but it had Jean Reno in
it too.
Now what's confusing me is, it's the same language but I am having significant trouble following. Is this
because I have seen the dubbed films before in English? I do doubt this, as the German film dubbed in
Italian I had never heard of, never mind seen in English and I had no problems. Given a push I could
probably translate it into English from the Italian.
Is it that voice actors speak more neutral accent than natives?
I am at an absolute loss.

Edit: addition to post. This only appears to be the case with Italian and not Spanish. I can watch Spanish
native material such as Rec, el orfanato etc and the dialogue is clear as day. I just thought about that now
which adds even more confusion to the situation.

Edited by ExRN on 20 August 2015 at 7:36pm

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garyb
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Speaks: English*, Italian, French
Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 2 of 11
21 August 2015 at 12:17pm | IP Logged 
Dubbed TV and films are generally a lot easier than native ones, and as you say, in Italian the accents are a lot more neutral. Many films tend to be set in certain areas and have the regional accents. Gomorrah is a bit of an extreme example, the Naples dialect isn't very transparent and even many Italian people don't understand it without subtitles. I don't know what the other film you're referring to is, but some films are much harder than others and again you might have just made an unlucky choice.

I've generally found older films and series (from the 80s and before) easier to understand than modern ones. It seems like actors used to speak in a more standard and formal way in the past, whereas in the last couple of decades it's become more common to have "realistic" speech that's more informal and regional. Even lighter genres like drama and comedy often have strong accents like Roman or Tuscan. You have to get used to modern colloquial speech sooner or later, but a few older films might help you ease into it. I found that classics like "La dolce vita" and "Ladri di biciclette", and 70s comedy like Fantozzi, were certainly a bit easier than modern films.

A couple of more modern films that I learned a lot from were "Notte prima degli esami" (teen comedy) and "L'ultimo bacio" (drama). The latter in particular has some very fast speech and some Roman regionalisms. They were tough at first and I got the same sort of shock that you describe, but accurate Italian subtitles are available for both, and they helped me take my listening comprehension to the next level. These are just two examples that I happened to find; the genres might not be everyone's thing and I'm sure there are other options.

Edited by garyb on 21 August 2015 at 12:24pm

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ExRN
Groupie
United Kingdom
Joined 1582 days ago

61 posts - 75 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Italian, Spanish
Studies: Dutch

 
 Message 3 of 11
21 August 2015 at 12:24pm | IP Logged 
Thank you Gary. Where in Scotland are you by the way and what was your reason for Italian and what was
your method? I ran through the 1950s assimil course in the passive wave and then started on the with
ease version.
1 person has voted this message useful



garyb
Triglot
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Speaks: English*, Italian, French
Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 4 of 11
21 August 2015 at 4:35pm | IP Logged 
ExRN wrote:
Thank you Gary. Where in Scotland are you by the way and what was your reason for Italian and what was
your method? I ran through the 1950s assimil course in the passive wave and then started on the with
ease version.


No problem. I'm in Edinburgh. I got interested in Italian because I've had quite a few Italian friends over the years (there are a lot of Italians here) and I like the country. I learnt the basics a long time ago with the first unit of Pimsleur, then dropped it and picked it up again a few years later, using Michel Thomas and then Assimil (L'italien sans peine, the French base version from the 80s, just because I found it cheaply). I found Pimsleur a little slow especially since I already had knowledge of a similar language, but it did the job, and MT and Assimil were great. Since then it's mostly just been a lot of films, TV, conversation, books, etc.
1 person has voted this message useful



ExRN
Groupie
United Kingdom
Joined 1582 days ago

61 posts - 75 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Italian, Spanish
Studies: Dutch

 
 Message 5 of 11
21 August 2015 at 6:04pm | IP Logged 
Yeah, I like the assimil stuff too. The older courses are better though. That 1950s one I ran through had
songs in it. Its unbelievable how songs stick. They should bring the songs back, but instead of "oh sole
mio' and other classics they should use ferro and jovanotti etc. I did the pimsleur route with Spanish. Did
three volumes of it and then moved onto platiquemos. I think I learnt more in the first unit of platiquemos
than I did the whole of pimsleur :-/
1 person has voted this message useful



garyb
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1468 posts - 2411 votes 
Speaks: English*, Italian, French
Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 6 of 11
21 August 2015 at 6:53pm | IP Logged 
ExRN wrote:
Yeah, I like the assimil stuff too. The older courses are better though. That 1950s one I ran through had
songs in it. Its unbelievable how songs stick. They should bring the songs back, but instead of "oh sole
mio' and other classics they should use ferro and jovanotti etc. I did the pimsleur route with Spanish. Did
three volumes of it and then moved onto platiquemos. I think I learnt more in the first unit of platiquemos
than I did the whole of pimsleur :-/


Platiquemos/FSI has a great reputation and I'm planning on using it myself for Spanish when I start actively studying it again. It's a shame that there's nothing comparable for Italian.
1 person has voted this message useful



ExRN
Groupie
United Kingdom
Joined 1582 days ago

61 posts - 75 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Italian, Spanish
Studies: Dutch

 
 Message 7 of 11
21 August 2015 at 7:17pm | IP Logged 
Well Gary...... I am starting university in September to do Italian, Spanish and German. Whilst I am there I
am planning on updating the German fsi as I'm sure that will reinforce it in my brain and I was thinking of
mimicking the fsi Spanish over to Italian. That programmed course is terrible by all accounts. At least
whilst there I will be surrounded with native speakers who will be willing to record dialogues for beer
money :-)
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Cavesa
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Czech Republic
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Speaks: Czech*, FrenchC2, EnglishC1
Studies: Spanish, German, Italian

 
 Message 8 of 11
23 August 2015 at 12:47pm | IP Logged 
It's fairly normal to found dubbings in general easier than originals, even in other languages than Italian. Firstly, there tends to be fewer regional influences taken into account, as Garyb says. But I'd say another part of the magic is slightly easier and more standard language. It is the same as with the books. Translators very rarely keep the author's style intact, the translation is always a compromise. Fewer slang words, fewer things characteristic of the particular actors,...

Of course you learnt more from Platiquemos than Pimsleur, Pimsleur is just the very beginning usually. It does good work at that, many htlalers have had good experience with it (I am not that fond of audio only resources), but its claims to take you far enough to continue on your own with native stuff are totally exagerated.

By the way, why would you necessarily need an FSI Italian course? If you are advanced enough to watch tv series in a language, you don't need beginner courses anymore. There are surely some monolingual courses, grammars and such tools that could aid you more. I certainly found such for my languages but I haven't had experience with Italian so far.




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