Okay. What the heck is this verb tense about?
My Italian class is truly kicking my butt. Our professor was telling us which verb tense is best to convey irony. What?! Irony? I can't worry about being ironic in Italian when I'm still trying to lock down the congiuntivo (subjunctive) tense. The subjunctive is rarely used in English but it's an important tense for correct Italian.
That said, I really like her method of teaching. She told us a story about her parents in Sicily getting ready to go to a baptism. Her father wasn't crazy about her mother's dress. We had to construct a likely conversation using the correct tenses and idioms.
One day in class we were listening to some audio and then had fill in the correct tense of the verbs. In one sentence we thought it was the imperfect. No. The present perfect? No.
Finally, I guessed it was passato remoto (preterit). I was offended, yes offended, to see this tense in a basic conversation. The professor laughed and told me to get over it.
All jokes aside, I'm glad she is pushing us. It's very frustrating not being able to communicate fully in Italian. I can keep up with simple conversations but I'm not close to being fluent. Also, given what I do for a living, I'm bummed that it takes me forever to write even an email in Italian.
Our class is small, only four of us, and our professor zeros in on things that would be missed in a larger class, like pronunciation.
One exercise that is brilliant (and sometimes painful), is when she has us "interview" each other with a microphone. In the next class there's a printout of the conversation and we listen to the tape. You can clearly hear your mistakes when you listen to a recording of yourself. I was putting the accent in the wrong place for the word "abito" (I live) for the longest time. I won't make that mistake again.
Another day she gave us a print out of a Carmen Consoli song with certain words missing. We had to listen to the song and fill in the blanks. She then gave us the complete lyrics.
Here's the song. Mi piace.