Cher Hale is best described as a relationship counselor between Italophiles and the Italian language. Once they’ve fallen in love with the language and the honeymoon period ends, she helps them stay committed until they’re conversational.
Her website is full of great tips and useful resources for anybody learning the language. She really covers it all, and includes a good measure of travel and culture, as well. (Of course there are links at the bottom of this post to some of her resources and social media profiles.)
In fact, she also has a podcast, which was one of my inspirations for starting my own show. I was fortunate enough to be a guest on her podcast last year, so naturally I wanted to have her on mine as soon as possible.
Italian Verb Confusion
When I contacted her for this episode, I had made a specific request to pick one particularly tricky aspect of learning Italian as a native English speaker. Her suggestion was perfect: Italian verb confusion.
You’ll realize better what we’re talking about when you listen to the episode. But the basic premise is that there are common situations when the verbs don’t translate perfectly. For example, in English we say, “I TAKE a shower,” whereas in Italian it’s “Faccio la doccia,” or “I MAKE a shower.”
Another interesting example relates to job/career, and it also suggests an important cultural difference. In my case, years ago I used to say, “I AM a dentist,” whereas an Italian would say, “Faccio il dentista,” or “I MAKE the dentist” (a better translation would be, “I do dentistry”).
One interpretation of this difference is that in the U.S. we very much identify with our careers; which is to say, we ARE our jobs. Whereas in Italy your job is not who you are, but merely what you DO for money.
Cher started “Italian with Cher” (formerly The Iceberg Project) in 2012 driven by a completely irrational passion for the Italian language and culture. She believes that every home needs a constant supply of pecorino cheese and wine, and at the end of her life, wants to be known for spreading smiles like wildfire.
And don’t be intimidated, it’s one of the best Italian podcasts for beginners. So jump right in! How about starting with this one?
Random(?) Episode: Sexy Phrases to Seduce Your Italian Lover
Click the link to check out other episodes and see my list of the best podcasts about Italy.