Lou and I have both gone back to school this year, and for me, at least, its been pretty fun. By "go back to school" I mean go to a "continuing education" Italian class. Apparently I have a good accent, for a beginner. I've noticed that a lot of the older people in the class just don't get the accent thing. Italian vowel sounds are rather different from New Zealand ones, but its like they're a little embarrassed to make Italian words sound Italian. They read them out phonetically, with decidedly New Zealand sounding vowels. For example, when you say: "mi chiamo Hannah" in Italian, it should sound a little like "me kiamo Hannah". My classmates might say it like "my chee(as in cheese)-ammo Hannah". I was paired up with a lady who didn't get the sounds and I tried to help her come to grips with them by saying that the vowels were a little similar to Maori vowels - "ahh eeeeh iii orr eww" - and she said "I wouldn't know, I've never heard Maori" and then made a joke about Asian drivers. Whatever. Pictures from T Magazine.