Despite my most valiant of efforts which have included enrolling in Italian classes, reading Italian books and magazines, listening to Italian music and partaking in language exchanges, I’m still not yet fluent in Italian, much to my chagrin. I haven’t given up hope as I’m making significant progress but it’s been a long, arduous and, at times, torturous trek with what appears to be no end in sight.
During the last year, I’ve been the sole native English speaker–or, rather, only non-fluent Italian individual–on countless occasions and more often than not, I’d get a genuinely sincere, “I’m sorry for my English” from an Italian. Yes, Italians in their country where Italian is the dominant language apologizing to me for their English, which is my mother tongue and not that of their country, which happens to be the country in which I’m living. Seems a bit kooky, no?
If anything, it should be the other way around so to all you inspiring Italians, it’s my turn to apologize. I’m sorry for my Italian. I live and work in your country, and I wish I spoke this magical language as quickly, musically and elegantly as all of you! I’m trying and I thank you for all the patience, generosity and encouragement you’ve shown me on my path towards proficiency. What started as baby steps are slowly but surely maturing into large strides and fingers crossed that I’ll be soaring by year’s end at the absolute latest. Gli Italiani: vi ringrazio di nuovo e scusate il mio italiano!