December 12, 2009 | Italian

On Mind, Body, and Subjunctive

Italian subjunctive and I meet for the first time.

I woke up early, and went running, and found myself confronting a mind-versus-body kind of challenge: now that I am running faster, I don’t really feel like listening to VocabuLearn on my Central Park circuit.

Here’s the thing. In order to do language lessons on the run, it is naturally helpful to be in shape, so that you don’t suffocate while struggling to pronounce unfamiliar words and expressions—but only up to a point. I think VocabuLearn lessons work better with a moderate or slow speed. Once you start going faster, the rhythm of a vocabulary lesson is no longer really compatible with the rhythm of your legs. It’s just too slow. And as running accompaniment, vocabulary lists aren’t as inspiring as music.

What to do?

On another topic: today I did subjunctive for the first time. What a relief! Subjunctive in Italian was not too surprising. It works much the way it does in Spanish, and the forms are not numerous. But I am afloat in so many other Italian verb forms already, and I have no meaningful oral competency with anything beyond present and present perfect. In fact, my oral skills kind of suck compared with where they seemed to be heading a few weeks ago. Nonetheless, I am learning a lot of grammar, and I like that.

I have an irrational and excessive fear of false cognates.

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