Category Archives: General

Italian Food nouns & Expressions, and their “Double Meaning”

BROCCOLARE, il verbo del rimorchio


This list was inspired by the video podcasts made by journalist, Beppe Severgnini. The richness and creative nature of the Italian language is quite evident here ! Enjoy!

Broccolare:  To try to “score” with someone

Broccolone : Stupid, foolish man .

Provolone [Italian cheese]. (fare il provolone,), to act as a womanizer, Dongiovanni

Tacchinare: (Refers to turkey) to try to seduce someone.

Cozza: (Mussel) an ugly person.

Limonare: (To lemon) to french kiss.

Baccala’ (Cod) a fool, a stupid person.

Fico: (Fig) handsome.

Want to add more to the list ? Please add a comment or expression in the comment box.


Posted in Culinary, Culture, General | 1 Comment

Pedagogy Workshop “Evolving Pedagogies in the Modern Language Classroom”

The Italian Language Advisory Committee and The John D. Calandra Italian American Institute cordially invite you to attend the workshop

 Evolving Pedagogies in the Modern Language Classroom

Dear Fellow CUNY Foreign Language Teachers,

Please join us for a half-day workshop on language teaching at CUNY’s Calandra Institute on Jan. 25th from 10:00-2:30. Several professors from various CUNY schools have put together the following program in the hopes that it will help us improve our teaching as we reflect on and share our language-teaching practices.

As you can see in the brief program below, it is a relatively casual affair but we do need to know if you intend to come. Please RSVP to if you plan on coming. We hope to have at least a dozen attendees, and we are inviting all foreign language teacher in the CUNY system. Even though some of the examples will be in Italian, the presentations will be in English. Please spread the word and RSVP by January 15th. 

10:00-10:30 Coffee

10:30-11:00 Teaching Foreign Languages at CUNY
An open discussion of what we all find to be our strengths and areas for improvement while teaching in the CUNY system (led by Tom Means, BMCC, and Morena Corradi, Queens College)

11:00-11:30, Lesson Planning, Mary Refling, BCC
Planning a Lesson in Four Easy Steps.  We will review how to write more effective, performance-based objectives, plan your classroom activities for varying time segments, and avoid over-reliance on textbook exercises and worksheets.  The last ten minutes will be devoted to games and props that make learning vocabulary and doing verb drills much, much more fun.

11:30-12:00 Traditional Instruction and Task-based Instruction, Tom Means, BMCC
This talk will present what is commonly referred to as Traditional Instruction (TI) or PPP (Presentation, Practice, Produce) of foreign languages, and why it is still the dominant method of teaching languages in the US. We will then discuss one emerging methodology that has some empirical support for its efficacy: Task-based instruction (TBI). The presenter will walk through one “cycle” of TBI, illustrating its most promising features to foster fluency and accuracy in our students.

12:00-12:30 Lunch break (pizza offered by Calandra Institute)

12:30-1:00 Culture through Language and Language through Culture, Samuel Ghelli, York College
A discussion of how a study of the bones of the (Italian) language–lexicon, morphology, syntax–can represent/teach the culture of the (Italian) people. Such a grammatical analysis can help students see culture through language.

1:00-1:30 Harnessing technology to help deliver pedagogically sound lessons, Antonietta D’Amelio, Baruch College

Technology plays a crucial role in exposing learners to authentic language and culture but it can also be used to deliver highly effective lessons.  The presenter will demonstrate and discuss some proven strategies that will help you create highly interactive learning modules that boost learning and promote target language fluency.

·       Learning the present indicative tense using PowerPoint
·       Expanding vocabulary through music and YouTube
·       Speaking meaningfully by incorporating short films

The presenter will discuss and demonstrate effective ways to achieve your objective and how to effectively utilize available media resources in order to support and expand in-class instruction.

1:30-2:00 Introduction to Blackboard and Web. 2.0 tools, Giulia Guarnieri, BCC

This session will provide a pedagogical framework on how to meaningfully integrate technology into your courses. We will begin by exploring some of the basics of Blackboard and then present several Web 2.0 tools that will stimulate interest in the subject matter and generate a passion for learning foreign languages.

2:00-2:30 Q&A session with all presenters

Posted in Calandra, Foreign Languages, General, Italian, Language, Professional, Workshop | Tagged , | Comments Off on Pedagogy Workshop “Evolving Pedagogies in the Modern Language Classroom”

Ciao Rita

 This weekend as I was watching Italian TV (RAI) on cable I found out that an Italian student from Hunter College, Rita Morelli, was murdered. She lived on the East side on E120th Street and also worked, as many students do, as a waitress at Caffe’ Buon Gusto. She was killed last week, the day before Thanksgiving. I learned about her senseless death from Italian TV and reading the Italian newspaper, Corriere della Sera, online. All weekend I searched for information on local TV stations, and major papers and with dismay realized that there was no mention of her death. She was no news worthy and such a brutal murder, the body which was found sprawled in a pool of blood, has gone unreported. Over the weekend I saw local TV stations reporting on cats being stuck up a tree, or about CT, where they experienced some power outages. This story was not covered by the local stations (as far as I was able to see) and thus, these few lines. We want to remember the life of a young woman who came to America with a luggage full of dreams. A vivacious gal with a passion for foreign languages and music who was a student at CUNY. Ciao Rita, people we do remember you and we do miss you.

Posted in General, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Open Letter

To:  Dean Anderson, Chair of the Pathways Steering Committee
From: CUNY Council on World Language Study (Alicia Ramos, President)

While CUNY Council on World Language Study (CCWLS) was pleased to see languages (plural) listed as a disciplinary area in the Pathways Essential Learning Goals of September 12th, we are dismayed and deeply concerned about the absence of foreign languages from the Common Core and their minimal presence in the Flexible Core as per the Summary of the retreat of October 14th.  Given that:

•       it is knowledge of the language that gives access to the culture of a geographical area
•       study of a second language affords critical reflection between language and culture
•       study of a second language improves first-language competency
•       the United States is at a disadvantage in foreign language competence relative to other competitive countries
•       knowledge of languages other than English is relevant to all four areas in the Flexible Core
•       a number of disciplines are listed in more than one area of the Flexible Core
CCWLS urges that foreign language be included as an option in all four categories of the Flexible Core.  In addition, to foster deeper linguistic knowledge and cultural understanding, we strongly recommend that an exception be made so that two courses in a foreign language may be taken among the five required courses in the Flexible Core.  In the increasingly interconnected world we inhabit, knowledge of another language is crucial to the professional success of CUNY graduates. We do our students a disservice if we deprive them of this knowledge and thus allow them to fall behind their peers, nationally and abroad.

Respectfully submitted.
CUNY Council on World Language Study

Posted in Foreign Languages, General, Language, Professional | Comments Off on Open Letter

Italian: Fifth Most Studied Language in the US

According to the MLA’s (Modern Language Association) recent statistics, in 2009, students who enrolled in Italian courses were more than one million (1,0008, 370). This is significant since it reveals that the Italian language is still showing signs of interest and appreciation among college students. Italian language and literature courses in the US in 2009 were approximately 80.752, with a 3% increase in comparison to 2006 (Last MLA’s survey). Since 1998 the study of Italian has increased 63% which makes it the 5th most studied language in American colleges and Universities. It is also important to underline that among the 215 million English speakers, 46,951,000 people speak another language.

Posted in General, Italian, Language | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Lost in Translation and False Friends in Italian/English

I stumbled into this old commercial on youtube which made me laugh so hard once again. Certainly one of my favorites ! It’s also most appropriate for language instructors, you can share it with your students, I think they will enjoy it as well.



Italian False Friends/Falsi Amici in Italiano

Attualmente: currently NOT actually (in realtà)
Camera: room NOT camera (la macchina fotografica)
Cocomero: watermelon NOT cucumber (cetriolo)
Comprensivo: understanding NOT comprehensive (completo)
Confetti: sugared almond NOT confetti (coriandoli)
Confrontare: to compare NOT to confront
Crudo: raw NOT crude (volgare)
Educato: polite NOT educated (istruito or colto)
Educazione: good manners NOT education (istruzione)
Eventuale: any NOT eventual (finale)
Fabbrica: factory NOT fabric (tessuto)
Fastidio: annoying NOT fastidious (pignolo)
Fattoria: farm NOT factory (fabbrica)
Firma: signature NOT firm, as in company (azienda) or firm, as in a mattress (rigido)
Gentile: nice NOT gentle (dolce or leggero)
Intendere: to understand NOT to intend
Libreria: bookstore NOT library (biblioteca)
Magazzino: warehouse NOT magazine (rivista)
Morbido: soft NOT morbid (morboso)
Noioso: boring NOT noisy (rumoroso)
Parente: relative NOT parent (genitore, madre, padre)
Patente: license NOT patent (richiesta di brevetto)
Peperoni: peppers NOT pepperoni, the spicy sausage (salame piccante)
Preservativo: condom NOT preservative (conservante)
Pretendere: to expect NOT to pretend (fare finta)
Rumore: sound NOT rumor (voce)
Sensibile: sensitive NOT sensible (ragionevole)
Simpatico: nice NOT sympathetic (comprensivo)
Stravagante: eccentric NOT extravagant (sprecone)

List provided by Michele Fabio @


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ILAC Resource Page

We just updated the resource page of our website in which you will find all sorts of resources pertaining to Italian language, literature, culture, music, comics, opera, etc. that can be shared with students and colleagues at your institutions. You might also want to add this link to your syllabi

If you want to share other useful resources with our community, feel free to contact us either by twitter or email.

Posted in General, Italian, Language | Comments Off on ILAC Resource Page

Today’s Agenda

At today’s meeting we discussed the following topics:

  • Articulation between CC and SC
  • General Edu/transfer CUNY proposal
  • Creation of an online resource portal
  • Sharing materials and resources
  • Ebook
  • Regents/Advanced Placement Program in Italian
  • Election of Chair, and Secretary
  • Internships opportunities
  • Study Abroad
  • Organize events for Italian month (October)

We have a twitter account !!/ILACCalandra

The John D. Calandra Italian American Institute mailing address is:

25 West 43rd Street 17th Floor New York, N.Y. 10036

Telephone:(212) 642-2094    Fax:(212) 642-2030  Email is

Posted in General, Italian, Language | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Today’s Agenda