I‘ve always been kind of a nerd for languages. I studied French and minored in Spanish in college and after just a short time in Italy I was able to tell some random dude at the sausage truck outside the Black Sun Disco Club at 4:00 AM all about how I don’t eat meat. I learned five whole words in Taiwan. One in Iceland. And I’ve already mentioned how I signed Billy Ray Cyrus’s “Achy Breaky Heart” in the 5th grade talent show. That totally counts! No one knows this, but I’ve always thought that if I could have any superpower, it would be to speak every language in the world.
While that fantasy is extremely far off, I do have one thing at my disposal and that is a friend who has all of Rosetta’s stones… in the world. I don’t have the time to learn all of them but I am able to complete a lesson or 45 before embarking on trips. I like to know the basics but more importantly, food items.
It’s been three years since I’ve last returned from Italy and sadly I have forgotten a lot of the Italian I learned out of the basic necessity of eating/surviving. After all, Italian isn’t really a language I am exposed to every day, not to mention I spoke Spanish during most of my time in Italy out of sheer awkwardness. So a few months ago when I found out I’d be returning to Italy I summoned my friend and his language arsenal and have been brushing up on my Italian ever since.
I have two problems with learning Italian:
1. Italian is very, very similar to both French and Spanish so now that I have the three of those swirling about in my head (in addition to English) I have created a singular ridiculous language that only I can understand. My coworkers call this Spitenglish. Sorry France (or more accurately, Canada), you got left out this time. Basically, I have a hard time deciphering which word goes with which language so I mix them all together and out comes something understood by no one. Lucky for me I will be visiting an Italian, a French, and a Spanish speaking country this year… one language to rule them all!
2. The stock images used by Rosetta Stone are so hilarious and distracting. If they used actual scenes from real life, it would make sense and my focus would be a lot better than it is now with the world’s most awkward scenes imaginable. But, knowing that these are prepared stock images makes them utterly hilarious. These aren’t just real-life examples, captured candidly in the various metropolises of the world; these are on purpose! These scenes actually had to be set up according to the ideas they are trying to get across.
Things I don’t have a problem with – or – Reasons Italian comes naturally to me:
- belligerent hand gestures
- being very loud
- rolling my r’s
- talking with my mouth full
- cutting people off mid-sentence (Yes, I’m aware…)
Because I feel the need to share this amusement with someone I have compiled for you a list of the funniest stock images I have come across while studying Rosetta Stone: Italian. Side note, I have cut this list way, way down. So grab a slice and a wine juice box and let’s get started.
“THE WOMEN RUN.”
…from their caretakers at the psych ward, apparently? “Feces! Feces!”
“HE NEEDS MONEY.”
And he’s kind of pissed that the wallet he just pick-pocketed from that woman’s husband’s jacket (that he so kindly lent her because it was cold in the theater) is empty.
“EXCUSE ME, IS THIS THE PHARMACY?”
“NO. THIS IS THE BOOKSTORE.”
This one is my favorite. This woman can’t tell the difference between a pharmacy and a bookstore! One with a sign that says “BOOK SHOP” and is obviously having a sidewalk sale. Someone fill that woman’s prescription immediately! And what kind of worries me is that, judging by her coat, she’s actually the doctor!
“IS THE DRESS OK?”
“YES. THE DRESS IS OK.”
For the love of God, get out of her dressing room! You are way too close to her.
“THE BOY DOES NOT LIKE TO PLAY TENNIS.”
What a brat. I bet any other kid on Earth would jump at the chance to play tennis with SANTA! What better way to kiss ass and negate all those times you wouldn’t eat your vegetables or pulled your little sister’s hair than helping jolly old St. Nick burn a few calories? Maybe he’s just sad because he thinks “nobody likes a skinny Santa!”
“THE WIFE HAS MORE MONEY THAN HER HUSBAND.”
Just look at that smug grin on her face. And his, “Oh you think you’re so hot now, huh?” look of animosity. Is this normal? Are all married people supposed to stack up their money to compare? How often? Nightly? No one told me about this…
“THIS IS MY KITCHEN.”
…and this is the spatula I hold up when I’m pretending to cook food in my kitchen. Maybe I’ll just toss this lettuce around?
“HE IS ITALIAN.”
Well, well, well… Italian male, inside a train station, with what looks to be MY stolen MacBook Pro… will someone please call the authorities? Just when he thought he could get away with the crime, Rosetta Stone stopped him for his photo. And other than the picture of Italy in the upper right corner, how are we supposed to assume he is Italian? There aren’t thousands of sweaty people pushing each other through the train station. I’m not in the background crying hysterically. There aren’t any weirdos trying to “help” all the tourists with their ticket purchases while probably not stealing their credit card numbers. No graffiti. Is impossible!
“WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO?”
“I LIKE TO READ.”
OOOHH burn! Sorry bro, girls just don’t like to be hit on in the library. Maybe you and your Tom Green goatee will have better luck at the coffee shop across the street. Next time, open with “my bum is on this couch.”
“HE HAS SOME PENS.”
“HE HAS MORE PENS.”
“HE HAS MORE PENS THAN EVERYONE.”
Talk about pens envy…
“MY HAT IS TOO BIG.”
“MY GLASSES ARE TOO BIG.”
“MY GLASSES ARE TOO SMALL.”
“MY HAT IS TOO SMALL.”
Basically, all these people are drunk. Especially Spring Break in Mexico lady… At least she’s doing it right. I’ve seen firsthand how a comically large sombrero can spice up a party! ¡Olé!
“SHE NEEDS A COAT.”
Girl…. what. are. you. doing! Trapped in snowy Antarctica on a sled with no dogs, in a t-shirt, and wearing a beret? “She needs a coat”… this is really all they could come up with? I can’t even make sense of this.
“TODAY IS TUESDAY. I BUY GOLDFISH.”
Wow, crazy guy – I wonder what he does on Friday?
Also, that is NOT a pet store. Walgreens maybe? 7-11? This man does not make wise decisions.
“WE HAVE GRAY HAIR, LOL.”
OK, I threw the ‘LOL’ in there but just look at them! They obviously aren’t taking this drastic life change seriously. You could also put a “WTF?” in there and get the same effect.
“THE OLD MAN HAS GRAY HAIR.”
Here we go, that’s more like it. This man has fully come to terms with the fact that his hair has turned gray and what that means for his life going forward. Especially after being publicly labeled an ‘old man’.
“THIS ANIMAL IS AUSTRALIAN. IT DOES NOT SPEAK ENGLISH.”
Well….. then what does it speak?
“I BRUSH MY TEETH AFTER EATING BREAKFAST.”
Damn, girl! Maybe leave the kitchen first. They must run a tight ship at your house. Besides, I’m pretty sure that’s a tube of antibacterial ointment.
“I STUDY ITALIAN.”
And based on your hand gestures you are doing quite well! A+ for you!
HAVE YOU EVER TRIED ROSETTA STONE?
I look forward to returning from Italy and trying out these versions next:
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