A sparkling mistake

Spremuta-spumanteWhen you’re learning a language, you’re bound to make mistakes. Many mistakes. I myself seem to stumble from one blunder to the next. This may at times be slightly embarrassing. Get over it – making mistakes is a very powerful way of learning.

One type of mistake is when you mix up words that are connected or vaguely similar.

Last autumn, I was at a language course in Bologna. At 10.30 am, we would all march down to a bar at the Piazza Santo Stefano for a break. I’m not a coffee drinker, so I ordered an orange juice.
“Are you sure?” the barista asked.
“Yes, why not?”.
My fellow students stared at me, my teachers seemed to disapprove. “Crazy Italian espresso freaks”, I thought, “looking down on people who prefer vitamins to caffeine!”

When I was served, I realised my mistake. I had asked for spumante instead of spremuta. Spumante is sparkling wine.
Sometimes we have to learn from our mistakes the hard way. Just swallow them, as it were, together with our pride.

After the break we went back to school for a grammar session. Suddenly, the congiuntivo trapassato made perfect sense to me. I saw it from a new perspective.
Most mistakes of this kind you only make once. Some, you wouldn’t mind making more often.

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march, 2023

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4 responses to “A sparkling mistake”

  1. Anders Börjesson says:

    Haha! Hilarious! I can imagine how surprised you were and how happy you turned even more happy…. and that you will happily repeat the same mistake 🙂

    • marleen says:

      I’m all in favour of learning from my mistakes, and take pride in doing so, but this particular mistake may become the exception to the rule – especially when Italian grammar is lurking around the corner… Have you read my blog insert about the top 10 + 1? Maybe something there you recognise? 🙂

  2. Anders Börjesson says:

    Haha, yeah, I recognize the essence of that Hotel Ausgang anecdote. Anecdotes are like wine. They change character over time, adopt new notes of taste, and give rise to new words to your list: +2 might be “entrance”?

    Swedish friend

    • marleen says:

      Oh, was it “Entrance”, not “Exit”? I’m sure you’re right – you’ll know best, Swedish friend. It is about 30 years ago I was told the story, so entrance and exit got a bit blurred.

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