Monday, June 09, 2008
(12:52 PM) | Adam Kotsko:
Language UpdateOn Saturday, I got fed up with the huge number of readings in my Italian book and decided to skip through only to the grammar sections. The verb conjugations and other grammatical points were eerily similar to French. Also, with some exceptions, the vocabulary seemed to be largely a matter of picking up on the different spelling patterns in Italian, which I got through the aforementioned excessive reading passages.
(A sidenote: the book I used, From Italian to English, left much to be desired. The explanations were unclear, the readings did not closely match the grammar, and the vocab help was haphazard at best. The guy would also just plop in multi-page lists into the middle of chapters: every irregular past participle, for instance. If Italian is the first language you're trying to learn to read, this book would be a disaster. Coming at it with knowledge of French and Latin, though, it was adequate, and I assume that most grad students would be more likely to be learning Italian as a supplemental language rather than their first one. Overall, the one-star review on Amazon is generous.)
Sunday morning, I worked through the first few pages of the Agamben book that motivated this bizarre quest to learn Italian, and I have posted the results here, in what I hope will be the first in a series of posts giving you, the blog-reader, an inside track into cutting-edge untranslated theologically-inflected political theory.
It brought me a feeling of joy to successfully read Agamben in the original, albeit slowly. I wonder if learning a language for a particular author, rather than for purposes of general erudition, tends to be more effective.