Saturday, September 30, 2017

Automobile Issue

Day 21

I had noticed recently that my SUV seemed to hesitate start with the turn of the ignition switch, and suspected the issue was a failing battery. Yesterday I left work and arrived home and noticed that the vehicle clock had lost time. In my mind, that confirmed that it was a failing battery. It was a long wait when I took my SUV for a battery replacement at a local shop.

This evening I thought about looking up a few Italian names of automobile part to increase my Italian vocabulary.

Ascolta Questo: 

la batteria - battery
lo sportello - door
il volante - steering wheel
la cintura di sicurezza - safety belt
il tachimetro - tachometer
il contagiri  - tachometer
l'indicatore della benzina - petrol indicator
il contachilometri - speedometer
la leva del cambio - gearshift lever
il pneumatico - tire
il paraurti - bumper
lo specchietto - mirror
lo specchietto laterale - side mirror
il fanale anteriore - front light
l'indicatore di direzione - direction indicator
il parabrezza - windshield
il tergicristallo - windshield wiper

That's a good start, for now.

Alla prossima!

Friday, September 29, 2017

Frank's Spaghetti House

Day 20

This was another Friday night of high school football. Our granddaughter is on the drill team, so our family goes to the games to watch her more so than to watch the football game. Getting to the football stadium early is part of the process because of the parking situation, but tonight we parked early and walked to a nearby spaghetti house -- great food!

Ascolto Questo: Al ristorante ho ordinato spaghetti e polpette, insalata e un bicchiere d'acqua. Il cibo era ottimo.

The short distance from the high school parking lot to Frank’s Spaghetti house was well worth the walk, and the walk back to the football stadium should have been longer -- we were stuffed. We do not go to Frank’s Spaghetti House often, but each time we do so, we are reminded how great the food is there.

Alla prossima!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Telling Time

Day 19

Talking about time in Italian is somewhat different from English. It takes getting accustomed to a 24-hour format, where 3:00 p.m. is 15:00, and AM and PM become expressions for parts of the day and night. This was not too difficult to get used to. There is a pattern that can be kept in mind, as in the examples below.
  • È l’una. - It’s 1 PM.
  • Sono le 15. - It’s 15/3 PM.
  • Sono le undici di mattina. - It’s 11 in the morning.
  • Sono le due del pomeriggio. - It’s 2 in the afternoon.
  • Sono le sei di sera. - It’s 6 in the evening.
  • Sono le tre di notte. - It’s three in the morning.
With a little practice, repetition, and substitution of numbers, it's not too difficult to remember the structure.

Fino alla prossima volta!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

News in Italian

Day 18

There are a lot of cell phone apps that can serve as study aids in learning a new language. Some time ago I came across the app “News in Slow Italian,” but I did not use it much. This evening I looked on the Internet for the online version. Although there is a subscription attached to the web version, there are still many free lessons to be heard.

Ascolta Questo: Il sito Web "News in Slow Italian" è un'ottima fonte di lezione audio. Ci sono molti dialoghi lento per un principiante per ascoltare. Aiuta ad esercitare le capacità di ascolto.

I plan to interject some audio lessons from “News in Slow Italian” to vary my daily Italian practice time. One of the purposes of this Blog is to keep myself moving forward with daily effort in what has become a hobby, learning Italian. Even though my wife and I have traveled to Italy twice, I only knew a few Italian words on those trips. Now it’s just a personal challenge to learn the language and become tri-lingual.

Fino alla prossima volta!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Four Seasons

Day 17

Today is the first day of autumn in Corpus Christi, Texas USA, where I live. In the Northern Hemisphere, the autumnal equinox marks the end of summer and the beginning of fall. What's interesting is that on this day the length of the day is 12 hours long and the length of the night is also 12 hours long.

Ascolta Questo: L'equinozio autunnale segna il primo giorno dell'autunno, e la fine dell'estate. Le stagioni sono: primavera, estate, autunno e inverno.

In the region where I live many residents joke that we only have two seasons: summer and winter. Our summers are sometimes quite hot, yet our winters are mostly mild compared to other northern parts of the United States.

Fino alla prossima volta!

Monday, September 25, 2017

The Weather

Day 16

Today began as a relatively cool and sunny day, but by mid-morning, we got a nice heavy shower. So for tonight's post let's take a look at some weather-related expressions in Italian.

Ascolta Questo:
What's the weather like today? - Che tempo fa oggi?
It's nice - Fa bello / Fa bel tempo
It's bad - Fa brutto tempo
It's sunny - C'è sole / Fa sole
It's cold - Fa freddo
It's hot - Fa caldo
It's cool - Fa fresco
It's snowy - Nevica
It's windy - C'è il vento
It's raining - Piove
It's foggy - C'è la nebbia
It's frosty - È gelido
It's freezing Fa un freddo gelido
It's hailing - Grandina
It's cloudy - È nuvoloso
It's stormy - È burrascoso
It's lightning - Il lampo
It's humid - È umido
It's muggy - È afoso
It's thundering - Tuona
Storm - Il temporale
That's a good collection of phrases to commit to memory.

Fino alla prossima volta!

Sunday, September 24, 2017


Day 15

This afternoon I sat with my granddaughter to review some geometry. The subject was one of my favorites in high school. I still remember Mrs. Roberts who was my geometry teacher . . .  such a long time ago. I can still see in my mind's eye, my classmates and I solving geometry problems at the blackboard. (Yes, white chalk on a blackboard.) Mrs. Roberts made a comment that made quite an impression on me . . . "You may not remember everything, but it's important that you know where to look for the answer."

Ascolta Questo: L'antico matematico greco Euclide è spesso indicato come il padre della geometria. Euclide visse ad Alessandria intorno al 300 a.c. Quando ero al liceo mi sono divertito ad imparare la geometria.

When one seeks to study a subject the second time around, it is seen through different eyes. This will be an interesting venture.

Fino alla prossima volta!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Italian Book

Day 14

Recently I came across an interesting Kindle book about learning Italian: Everything Learning Italian: Speak, Write, and Understand Basic Italian in No Time (Everything Series). What makes this book a bit different is that it has “enhanced” audio built into this Amazon Kindle ebook.Throughout the book on the Kindle tablet are "play" icons that produce the audio that follows each section of the print, allowing the reader to hear the audio of the Italian lessons.

Ascolta Questo: Questo libro contiene l'audio per le lezioni. Questo permette al lettore di vedere, leggere e ascoltare le lezioni di italiano.

I have a collection of books for learning Italian and Everything Learning Italian is excellent. It does not work on all tablets. The ebook works best on the more recent versions of the Kindle Fire tablet. I also have a couple of other non-Amazon tablets that were not compatible with the audio of Everything Learning Italian ebook. It works on the iPad.

Fino alla prossima volta!

Friday, September 22, 2017


Day 13

South Texas Friday Night Lights means football (American Football). The high school where I work as a counselor had a winning game.

Ascolta Questo: Questa sera io e mia moglie abbiamo partecipato ad una partita di football. Fuori squadra giocare molto bene.

I have read that the origins of American football can be traced to early versions of rugby football and association football. Both games have their origin in varieties of football played in Britain in the mid-19th century, in which a football is kicked at a goal or kicked over a line,

Fino alla prossima volta!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Google Translate

Day 12

Google Translate is a good application for translating from one language to another -- maybe not perfect, but a good tool. Continuing with the idea of employing the four skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing, Google Translate can be used to cover all four skills.

Ascolta Questo: Google Traduttore può essere utilizzato per esercitare le quattro abilità linguistiche di ascoltare, parlare, leggere e scrivere. Prima in inglese scrivo la frase che voglio esercitarsi. Poi traducio la frase in italiano. Poi ascolto la traduzione. Finalmente scrivo la traduzione italiana.

I think I have found a routine worth putting into practice for a while.

Fino alla prossima volta!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Balanced Learning

Day 11

Recently I came across an article suggesting a balanced diet -- it was not about dieting, but about a balanced approach to learning a new language.The illustration above resembles the food pyramid, however, it is about four approaches to language learning, it lists the different language skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing.

Ascolta Questo: Per imparare una nuova lingua è importante lavorare su quattro aree: ascoltare, parlare, leggere, e scrivere.

Looking at the learning pyramid it appears I tend to focus more on reading first, and speaking second, listening third, and writing fourth. I need to strive for more balance, and that means spending more time and effort on learning Italian, even if it is for fun, as it is becoming a “hobby.”

My purpose for starting this blog was to create a way to spend a little time every day learning Italian. It’s been said that to create a habit you have to perform the action at least 30 days. Thus far I have been making daily posts.

Fino alla prossima volta!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Three Meals

Day 10

Just about any situation is a good occasion to learn Italian in small steps.The three meals of the day offer an opportunity for repetition of common words -- breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Ascolta Questo: Mangio tre pasti ogni giorno, colazione, pranzo, e cena. Per la prima colazione, mangio fette di tacchino, un uovo bollito, e una ciotola di farina d'avena con mirtilli rossi, uva passa, noci e nocciolo americano.

On a work day I usually eat at the high school where I work, and for dinner, I’m at home. The three meals present reminders to practice Italian phrases and words, even if it’s done mentally.

Mangio tre pasti, e pratico tre serie di parole.

Fino alla prossima volta!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Postal Service

Day 9

Although I do most of my business transactions with my computer there are still occasions when I use the regular mail service. When it comes to delivery service does an amazing job.

Ascolta Questo: Oggi ho spedito tre lettere. Due erano per affari personali. La terza era una richiesta di materiali per la scuola dove lavoro.

Today’s new Italian words for me are: ufficio postale (post office), francobolli (stamps), busta (envelople), buca per le lettere (mail box), raccomandata (certified mail), and indirizzo (address).

Fino alla prossima volta!  

Sunday, September 17, 2017


Day 8*

This Sunday was a bit more relaxed than most days. I wanted to give the logo header for this blog a better look, so I sat at my computer and worked on some fonts and graphics. After several designs, I settled on the one above.

Ascolta Questo: Oggi ho trascorso qualche tempo a lavorare sulla progettazione del logo per questo Blog. Mi piacciono gli aeroplani di ieri. Così ho aggiunto un aeroplano al titolo del Blog.

My city is well known for the training of Naval pilots, at the Naval Air Station Corpus Christi. Surrounded on three sides by water -- Corpus Christi Bay, Oso Bay, and the Laguna Madre -- Naval Air Station Corpus Christi has been home to Naval pilot training since 1941. Today, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and foreign student pilots earn their wings training in the four squadrons of Training Air Wing FOUR, using NAS' Truax Field and outlying airfields.

Fino alla prossima volta!

*Note: My blog logo was changed after this post.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Flash Cards
Day 7

There is no way around repetition when it comes to learning a new language. Not too long ago I discovered Anki and I have just now begun to use it. One way to describe Anki is that it is a digital flashcard system. It utilizes what is referred to as spaced learning.

Ascolta Questo: Trovo difficile imparare coniugazioni. Perciò ho cominciato ad usare "Anki" per imparare a coniugare le parole.

I have begun to add conjugations to Anki as flashcards, and the application sets up spaced reviews. Let's see how this works out in the weeks to come.

Fino alla prossima volta!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Il Trombone

Day 6

During a conversation with a doctor this morning, he asked about my occupation and if I had always worked as a school counselor. At my reply that I had been a band director and played the trombone, he said that he had a brother who had also played the trombone.

The word trombone derives from the Italian tromba (trumpet) and -one (a suffix meaning "large"), so the name means "large trumpet".

Thinking about my days in a high school band, I recalled that many musical terms had been in Italian: a capella, adagio, animando, allegro, and much more.

Ascolta Questo: Come musicista, suonavo il trombone. Mi sono divertito a suonare diversi tipi di musica.

I enjoyed performing in big dance bands as well as in concert bands. What started as an interest in learning how to play the trombone in middle school developed in to a career in music. Lifelong friendships were also developed. At right is a photo of fellow trombone players in high school, Ray, me, Carlos and Joe.

Fino alla prossima volta!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Proteggere I Bambini

Day 5

This evening I attended The ARK Gala, it's eighteenth annual fund raiser and celebration.

Ascolta Questo: Stasera ho partecipato a un banchetto di beneficenza per l'Arca. L'Arca è un rifugio per i bambini abusati e trascurati.

All the gala's proceeds pay for services that make a difference in the lives of the abused and neglected children who are sheltered at The ARK Assessment Center & Emergency Shelter for Youth. It was an evening of good fellowship and support for a most worthy cause, helping to save children.

Fino alla prossima volta!  

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Instant Italian Vocabulary Builder

Day 4

Since the beginning of my interest in learning Italian, I have gathered a few books dealing with learning the Italian language. One of these resources is Instant Italian Vocabulary Builder by Tom Means. The book addresses the common word-ending patterns of English and Italian words. For example: contrary … contrario; salary … salario; visible … visibile.

While I do see the importance of expanding one's vocabulary in the new language, I also see the value of being able to develop the skill of practicing and speaking in phrases and complete sentences.

Ascolta Questo: Inglese e l'italiano condividono molte parole radice. Il libro Instant Italian Vocabulary Builder è utile.

I find it interesting how musical Italian sounds, in comparison to the English conterpart. L'italiano è un linguaggio melodico.

Fino alla prossima volta!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Servizio Alla Comunità

Day 3

Today was one of those especially busy days at work, and a small test right now in establishing the habit of posting some Italian on this blog every day. Our school hosted a campus blood drive, providing our students with an opportunity to help save lives in our community by donating blood.

Ascolta Questo: Il tema di oggi era il servizio alla comunità. Molti dei nostri studenti hanno donato sangue per aiutare a salvare vite umane.

Our eligible students donate blood units for the Coastal Bend Blood Center, that relies a great deal on the generosity of high school students. Students who meet the required donations for the Red Cord Hero Program receive an honor Red Cord to wear at their graduation ceremony. I thought it would be more realistic to put together the phrases above in Italian. Agreement of verbs and subjects is beginning to make more sense. As I practice my Ascolta Questo for today it does sound rather cool.

Fino ala prossima volta!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Il Mio lavoro

St. John Paul II High School - Corpus Christi, Texas USA
Day 2

Sono un consulente scolastico in una scuola superiore Cattolica a Corpus Christi, Texas, USA.

The high school where I work was named after St. John Paul II, who was canonized April 27, 2014.

Today I thought I would use a bit of Italian in our cafeteria in selecting lunch items. There is a server who has become curious about Italian words and phrases since I have begun to speak a bit of Italian at lunch time, just for fun.

Ascolta Questo: Oggi voglio il pranzo caldo della giornata. Voglio anche un bicchiere di tè con ghiaccio.

I did practice the lunch order in Italian prior to lunch time, attempting to speak the lunch order as smooth as possible. It came across well enough. Repetition of the Italian sentences takes some discipline, yet it is essential for me at this time. Plus, a graceful listener helps. Anyway, I did get my Frito Pie, Spanish rice (riso spagnolo), salad (insalata), and apple sauce (salsa di mele) . . . and tea with ice. What's Frito pie in Italian? (Thanks to mikael-sixsix . . . patatine di mais con chili di carne e formaggio.)

Fino alla prossima volta!

Sunday, September 10, 2017


 Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli, Assisi
Day 1

Several years ago, Minerva and I had the opportunity to travel to Italy. What an amazing country! Now I wish I had been fluent in Italian on that trip. A couple of years later the two of us and two daughters joined a group of seventy who traveled to Italy for the canonization of St. John Paul II. I had then acquired a little Italian (un po ', ma non molto bene), but very little.

Better late than never . . . I’ve set up this blog as a way of maintaining motivation in my endeavor to become fluent in Italian. I have read that there is a force called “power of the community” that can help motivate and help bring about positive habits and change. Let’s find out.

My hope is that as readers find this blog they will become encouragers and motivators for me, as well as Italian “coaches” via their posts. I am still at a beginner stage in my goal to become fluent in Italian: however, my commitment is to post daily on this blog as I progress to being fluent in Italian. Why? Why not! It’s a beautiful language. Who knows, we may return to Italy once again.

I do have a bit of a head start in becoming fluent in Italian, for I’m bilingual already: English and Spanish. The title of this blog is “Ascolta Questo” – listen to this. I’ll post my efforts with brief dialogs as I practice and ask others to Ascolta questo. Along the way I'll share about myself and my experiences in becoming fluent in Italian.

So, Welcome to Ascolta Questo, and your comments and tips for becoming fluent in Italian are also welcome.

Fino alla prossima volta!

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