My Italian Challenge. A1 to B1. 2013

A1 to B1

After several years of picking up bits of Italian here and there, but never putting enough time and effort into the language to really improve, this  will be the year that I will improve substantially.

With this in mind, today  I had my first Italian lesson, with a native speaker, a teacher from italki. My level was judged to be at the end of A1 (A full definition of which can be found here), but in essence is:-

“Users can introduce him/herself and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where he/she lives, people he/she knows and things he/she has. They can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.”

This seemed a fair enough evaluation to me. I get around in Italian comfortably enough in the most basic sense but struggle if I have to express more than the simplest ideas. So while I don’t have any particular inhibition in attempting to speak Italian, I really can’t.

My aim is to reach a comfortable B1 in the spoken language by the end of the year.  According to the CEFR wiki entry this includes: being able to describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes & ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans. Great, I like to talk and this would be peachy.



My first post. Languages, programming, dogs and musings.

This is my first post (the clue being in the title), or more accurately my first post on a blog hosted on

As this is my first post, I feel compelled to set out what this blog is about. Obviously languages. A blog attached to SL would have to have some language related component. I find languages interesting.

I also find programming interesting. And so it was natural, after numerous false starts to create a language learning website, and also a place where I chart my own language learning journey, as well as general witterings about life, programming and so on.

Programming. Surface languages is powered by Ruby on rails, and this blog by word press. At some point, I will describe the tedious process of making them play nicely together, and adventures with my Raspberry Pi.

And dogs. I have a dog. Every morning, come rain or shine, we walk together and while I talk (generally when no-one can see me), he chases sticks, and that way I put my thoughts in order.

Musings. Anything else that springs to mind. Language related or otherwise.