Category Archives: Italian

New Newsletter: Quaderno Culturale

The Istituto di Italianistica staff at the European Languages and Literatures Department at Queens College/CUNY is going to publish a newsletter: Quaderno Culturale. This publication will be distributed to all Universities with an Italian Institute and to the high-schools that offer Italian in the Tri-state area at the beginning of the Fall and Spring terms. It will inform Italian faculty, teachers and students about the Queens College Italian Program: courses, events, research areas, faculty and students profiles. If will also cover events from the CUNY colleges and institutes that teach and promote Italian language and culture. If you wish a significant event of the Italian Program of your CUNY college to be signaled by Quaderno Culturale, please send your information to the newsletter project coordinator Tiberio Snaidero:

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2013 Year of the Italian Culture

Italian ambassador Claudio Bisogniero announced that 2013 will be dedicated to celebrating Italian Culture. The program still has to be revealed and as soon as we hear of it we will post it on our site. ILAC will certainly willing to collaborate and plan some events to celebrate Italian Culture so if you have some ideas and would like to participate do not hesitate to contact us.

To read more (In Italian!) check out the website i-ITALY, the Italian/American Digital Project.


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Pedagogy Workshop — service to others

Today several professors from different CUNY campuses presented to an audience composed primarily of graduate students from the Comparative Literature department. The theme of the workshop was the pedagogy of Foreign Languages, we discussed, among other topics, how to use movies in second language acquisition,  teaching at a community college and senior colleges, task-based instruction, and second language acquistion best practices.

The presentations were very well received by the participants and we, as the organizers, together with Monica Calabritto, Director of  the Italian Program at the Graduate Center have been extremely satisfied with the outcome and turnout. We now want to to make this a fixed feature, and select a different theme every year. We believe in sharing resources, ideas and mentorship to graduate students. Offering ourselves as mentors to graduate students truly defines what it means to be good teachers — a life dedicated to serving others.

Ciao a tutti e grazie per la partecipazione !





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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

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Italian Language and Literature Conferences

I would like to remind all Italianists of several opportunities to present at our Italian professional organizations.

AAIS(American Association of Italian Studies) will hold its annual conference at the College of Charleston in Charleston,May 3-5, 2012. For more information please check the website.

To receive information about upcoming conferences, job ads, etc you can subscribe to the AAIS list-serve,

AAIT (American Association of Teachers of Italian), for more information about upcoming conferences please contact the association’s website, To subscribe to the listserve please consult this page,

Painting: La Città ideale (Anonimo fiorentino) 1480- 1490

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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.

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Italian Film Festival June 01-08



For tickets:

1860 Alessandro Blasetti, 1934 Buy Tickets: Sun Jun 5: 1:00 pm | Followed by a panel discussion! Admired by the Neo-Realists, Blasetti’s rousing anthem to Italian unification chronicles the panoramic journey of a Sicilian peasant to Garibaldi’s headquarters. Please note: We will be screening a 16mm archive print which cannot be cut and mounted onto one reel. There will be brief pauses for reel changes.

1960 Gabriele Salvatores, 2010 Buy Tickets: | | Tue Jun 7: 6:10 pm | The director of Mediterraneo assembles from the RAI TV archives a fascinating portrait of Italy in boom times, chronicling a family’s search for a son.

20 Cigarettes Aureliano Amadei, 2010 Buy Tickets: Wed Jun 1: 3:45 pm | Mon Jun 6: 2:00 pm | A young antiwar activist heads to Iraq to work on a film and quickly finds himself a victim of sectarian violence and, soon, an unlikely hero. Director Aureliano Amadei in person on June 1!

Lost Kisses Roberta Torre, 2010 Buy Tickets: Thu Jun 2: 1:00 pm | Sat Jun 4: 6:45 pm | In this playful satire, the theft of a Madonna statue’s head seems to trigger visions in 13-year-old Manuela, which are quickly exploited by her dysfunctional family.

Love and Slaps Sergio Castellitto, 2010 Buy Tickets: Thu Jun 2: 6:45 pm | Mon Jun 6: 4:15 pm | In a wry, perceptive update of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?, a successful architect (Castellitto) and his wife (Laura Morante) meet their daughter’s new boyfriend. Actor Marco Giallini in person on June 2!

On the Sea Alessandro D’Alatri, 2010 Buy Tickets: Fri Jun 3: 2:00 pm | Sun Jun 5: 6:15 pm | In a beautiful, stunningly immediate rendering of a love affair’s first flowering, a tour-guide and a student from Genoa strike up a bond. Director Alessandro d’Alatri in person on June 3!

Return to the Aeolian Islands Giovanni Taviani,2011 Buy Tickets: Thu Jun 2: 2:45 pm | Mon Jun 6: 8:45 pm | Shining as personal memoir and journey through cinema, Taviani’s touching film takes a beautiful look at the islands that have inspired Rossellini (Stromboli), Antonioni (L’Avventura), the Taviani Brothers (Kaos), and more. Director Giovanni Taviani in person on June 2!

Sorelle Mai Marco Bellocchio, 2010 Buy Tickets: Fri Jun 3: 9:10 pm | Tue Jun 7: 3:45 pm | Marco Bellocchio returns to his hometown Bobbio, and to the house in which he shot “Fists in the Pocket”, to narrate the story of the hopes, disappointments and yearnings of his own family.

The First Assignment Giorgia Cecere, 2010 Buy Tickets: Mon Jun 6: 6:30 pm | A hit at the Venice film festival, Cecere’s stunning debut follows a young teacher (wonderful Isabelle Ragonese) whose first posting brings her to a hardscrabble village with wild children and parents to whom she can hardly speak. Director Giorgia Cecere in person on June 6!

The Passion Carlo Mazzacurati, 2010 Buy Tickets: Thu Jun 2: 9:15 pm | Sun Jun 5: 8:45 pm | After a leak in his Tuscan apartment destroys a chapel’s fresco, a has-been director agrees to stage some Good Friday celebrations, which quickly turn challenging… Director Carlo Mazzacurati in person June 2!

The Salt of Life Gianni Di Gregorio, 2011 Buy Tickets: Wed Jun 1: 6:30 pm | Sat Jun 4: 9:00 pm | The writer-director of the delightful Mid-August Lunch returns with the charming tale of a man in Rome putting up with retired life and family. Gianni Di Gregorio in person on June 1!

The Solitude of Prime Numbers Saverio Costanzo,2010 Buy Tickets: Wed Jun 1: 8:50 pm | Fri Jun 3: 4:15 pm | A film not easily forgotten, Costanzo’s richly told adaptation of the massive best-seller is set at four crucial moments in the lives of two perennial loners. Actress Alba Rohrwacher in person on June 1!

The Woman of My Life Luca Lucini, 2010 Buy Tickets: Thu Jun 2: 4:30 pm | Sat Jun 4: 12:15 pm | Lucini’s sharply observed comedy with a dark underlining follows romantically wounded Leonardo back into the family fold and into new love. With a superb Stefania Sandrelli. Director Luca Lucini in person on June 4!

Unlikely Revolutionaries Lucio Pellegrini, 2010 Buy Tickets: Wed Jun 1: 1:00 pm | Sun Jun 5: 4:00 pm | After botching a high-profile kidnapping, a group of disillusioned northeasterners are forced to learn how to coexist under absurd and clandestine conditions. Director Lucio Pellegrini in person on June 5!

We Believed Mario Martone,2010 Buy Tickets: Sat Jun 4: 2:45 pm | Tue Jun 7: 8:00 pm | Wed Jun 8: 1:00 pm | U.S. Premiere! In this engrossing epic reconstruction of Italy’s 19th-century path to independence, three men find themselves plunged into the fearsome double binds of revolution and sacrifice. Director Mario Martone in person on June 4 & 7!

Whatsoeverly Giulio Manfredonia, 2011 Buy Tickets: Fri Jun 3: 6:40 pm | Tue Jun 7: 1:40 pm | U.S Premiere! In this delicious and wildly popular political satire, an unscrupulous entrepreneur returns to his suddenly law-abiding hometown and resolves to enter politics. Actor Antonio Albanese in person on June 3!

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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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Contemporary Italy — online course at Brooklyn College

 There is a new course being offered at Brooklyn College starting Fall 2011, the title of which is Contemporary Italy — Italian 3515 Net1. The course will be fully online. This course would be particularly suited for students who need or want to take an extra course but can’t because of a conflict or time constraints, or need another course for their major or to graduate. The course is given in English and is open to everyone. Italian majors who want to count it toward their major will be required to do the work in Italian Registration information for visiting students from other CUNY and non-CUNY campuses can be found at

Course Description: A survey of thought, art, literature, politics, and the social and economic milieu of contemporary Italy. Emphasis will be placed on the historical and cultural forces that have transformed Italy from an agricultural country into one of the world’s major economic powers. This course will introduce students to Italy’s social and political institutions, artistic and literary movements, intellectual trends, the economic system, the family, the role of the Catholic Church, the environment, the “Southern Question,” traditional political parties and recent transformations, language and dialects, feminism, education, “Tangentopoli,” current trends. The material for the course will be supplemented by films and documentaries about contemporary Italy.

Required text: Mario Mignone, Italy Today: Facing the Challenges of the New Millennium, New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2008 (Paperback)

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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.

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