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Some notes on learning a foreign language like Italian

I teach Italian and philosophy. This note is about learning a foreign language not only Italian. When you try to learn a foreign language never expect a systematic one-to one word corresponding translation. Dictionaries offer approximate translations of words that may behave quite differently within the language that you are studying. One example is the corresponding words in Italian of 'to have' and 'to be', that are 'avere; and 'essere'.

Up to a point it is true that you translate those words in such a maner but only up to a point. The auxiliary 'to have' in a past tense like, 'I have gone', is not translated in Italian with the verb 'avere' but with the verb 'essere': 'Io sono andato.

Just to mention other simple cases of indeterminacy, prepositions like of, on, to, at, about, through have translations that work only for some cases and not all cases in which they appear in English.