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Thread: Who else doesn't speak Italian, but picked up a lot of things from opera?

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    Senior Member Sieglinde's Avatar
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    Default Who else doesn't speak Italian, but picked up a lot of things from opera?

    I never officially studied it, but I learned a lot from listening while looking at multilingual librettos. I even figured out some of the grammar.

    I couldn't ask for directions but I certainly can:


    - offer Spanish wine
    - screech "avenge meeee"
    - lament my Impending Doom
    - curse someone
    - curse myself
    - curse Fate
    - cry out to the gods / heavens
    - declare "vengeance is my only god"
    - call someone ungrateful / a traitor / a wh0re
    - know an unholy amount of words related to fire
    - declare I want to die
    - challenge someone to a duel
    - threaten to kill someone
    - sing about love
    - cry because my SO doesn't love me
    - say "I'm dying" then proceed to not die for another five minutes
    - swear everlasting friendship with text that sounds like marriage vows
    - invite someone to dinner
    - show up for dinner being all "you invited me, here I am"
    - yell "REPENT YOU SCOUNDREL" at people
    - realize I have pulled yet another all-nighter and long for eternal rest in my dark tomb
    - tell a priest to shut the **** up
    - call someone a liar
    - talk about how furious I am and how I shall have vengeance
    - accuse my girlfriend of cheating
    - tell my whiny son to come home already
    - lament my lost happiness and my best friend's betrayal

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    I learned German from having been steeped in the music of Bach, Wagner, Schumann and Schubert during my teens, and from reading the poets who inspired them. Some of my German friends have said that I must have had at least some formal lessons in the language, but I never have. I guess that the likes of Karl M√ľnchinger, Hans Hotter and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau were excellent teachers in their own way

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sieglinde View Post
    I never officially studied it, but I learned a lot from listening while looking at multilingual librettos. I even figured out some of the grammar.

    I couldn't ask for directions but I certainly can:


    - offer Spanish wine
    - screech "avenge meeee"
    - lament my Impending Doom
    - curse someone
    - curse myself
    - curse Fate
    - cry out to the gods / heavens
    - declare "vengeance is my only god"
    - call someone ungrateful / a traitor / a wh0re
    - know an unholy amount of words related to fire
    - declare I want to die
    - challenge someone to a duel
    - threaten to kill someone
    - sing about love
    - cry because my SO doesn't love me
    - say "I'm dying" then proceed to not die for another five minutes
    - swear everlasting friendship with text that sounds like marriage vows
    - invite someone to dinner
    - show up for dinner being all "you invited me, here I am"
    - yell "REPENT YOU SCOUNDREL" at people
    - realize I have pulled yet another all-nighter and long for eternal rest in my dark tomb
    - tell a priest to shut the **** up
    - call someone a liar
    - talk about how furious I am and how I shall have vengeance
    - accuse my girlfriend of cheating
    - tell my whiny son to come home already
    - lament my lost happiness and my best friend's betrayal
    I can tell everyone my name is Mimi and that their hand is cold...
    Last edited by davidglasgow; Jun-24-2018 at 20:13.

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    Meeeeeeeeeeeeee!

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    Senior Member Belowpar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidglasgow View Post
    I can tell everyone my name is Mimi and that their hand is cold...
    I hope you've found this more useful than my experience having picked up "Re, Morte, Sangue, Vendetta...etc"

    When in Rome, my wife prefers to do the talking.

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    Senior Member ldiat's Avatar
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    i can "cus" real good in Italian working with Italian chefs and cooks

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    Oh yes, despite having learned a good bit of Italian from watching operas I doubt i could say anything even remotely useful, but then I wouldn't have any trouble improvising a love song or declaring endless hatred and vengeance. If i ever tried talking to any italians they would probably think was mad, or at least a little strange.

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    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Literary languages in 1850 were not quite like vernacular speech even then, and some of Wagner's German was like nothing ever spoken. Most of the vocabulary would still be understood, but the constructions might provoke amusement. In any case I suspect I've learned to say little of practical value, at least until I have occasion to order mighty logs piled for me there on the banks of the Rhine.

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    I speak fluent Italian, so can't really comment (although I learnt a lot from opera before I learnt fully).

    Earlier this year I went to see Rubinstein's 'The Demon' (an opera to which I didn't know the plot). As long as there are surtitles in a language I understand I don't read the plot beforehand as I enjoy following the story and being surprised by plot twists and turns. The problem was that it was in Barcelona and I hadn't clocked that it might not have English surtitles. Fortunately Catalan is so similar to Gallo-Italian language forms that it found I could follow them easily despite not having ever learnt the language before.

    N.

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    Senior Member Tuoksu's Avatar
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    My Italian comprehension is like 90% but I'm not the most fluent speaker, all thanks to Opera and being generally too exposed to the language in particular and culture in general and I've never studied a day of Italian. This also lead to some latin comprehension as well. The first time I tried to learn "giunse alfin il momento" about 10 years ago as a teenager it was difficult. I struggled with the pronunciation and the meaning of every word. But now I can tell an entire libretto by ear.

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    My first ever job as a dancer was with La Compagnia Grande Spettacole d'Operette in Italy. When I went out there, the only Italian I knew was what I'd picked up listening to opera (and following along with the libretto). I actually found it very useful.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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