For the past month, my husband Dirk has been laser-focused on learning Italian. I’ve been impressed with his rapid uptake of vocabulary. He’s got lots of the basics down, but sometimes, like me, he misfires. Here’s a recent example.
We were biking back to our apartment after class on Tuesday. In Italian, he said that morning he’d encountered one of our neighbors, an expat from Finland.
“Sta mattina, incontro la donna di Finlandia.” … “Io vengo venti volte.”
I repeated his comment in English, you know, to check for understanding*:
“This morning you met the woman from Finland, and you came twenty times?”
Oh the look on his face. I nearly cried laughing. Of course that’s not what he’d meant. He’d meant to say that he stopped to talk with her, because he’d seen her around the place maybe twenty times, and thought he should say hello.
*He’s mostly learned present tense, so his comment was in present tense. But since he started with ‘sta mattina’ (this morning), I knew he was intending the phrase to be in past tense. So that’s how I interpreted it. Just sayin’ for all you sticklers out there.