The postgraduate semester course in Italian can be adapted to fit the needs of the learner and the language level already attained. The course is three-fold in focus and covers language and grammar, Italian literature, Italian culture and society. However, depending on the student’s interests, the balance of these can be adapted and changed. This flexibility means it is difficult to be prescriptive; nevertheless a representative sample syllabus for the module is as follows:
Language and grammar
At beginner level
- Gender and articles
- Agreement between nouns and adjectives
- The present tense
- Lexical sets such as food and drink, travel, the family, likes and dislikes
- The simple past
- The future
At advanced level
- The subjunctive
- The conditional
- The plus perfect and future perfect tense
- Specialist lexical sets (e.g art and literature)
- Nuance in register
The literature component focuses on Italian Short Fiction from its origins to the present, studying authors as diverse as Boccaccio (The Decameron), D’Annunzio, Moravia and Calvino, and the women’s tradition, including Dacia Maraini, Elsa Morante and Anna Maria Ortese. The module contextualizes the stories within the wider framework of the Italian literary tradition and where possible, other media (such as Pasolini’s film version of the Decameron) will be employed. For advanced students other options include, Renaissance Literature, or Antonio Tabucchi’s Sostiene Pereira, from the book to the film.
Culture and Society
This module covers different thematic blocks, including politics, the south and Sicily, media and new Italian cinema, looking at figures as diverse as Silvio Berlusconi and Nanni Moretti (director of La Stanza del Figlio, Aprile and Caro Diario) and Roberto Benigni. The emphasis is student centred and aims to maximise student input, whilst rendering accessible a whole range of media from TV and film to newspapers and websites.
- To develop oral and written skills in order to improve communication in the language being studied.
- Develop fluency of language.
- To extend knowledge of national culture.
- Learn grammar rules which apply to this language.
- To be able to research the subject in more depth and independently.
- Good understanding of language studied.
- To be able to apply grammar rules effectively.
- To have more knowledge of national culture.
- To have developed effective research skills.
- To complete assignments on a weekly basis
Assessment will be continuous and consist of several assignments, as well as class tests, two of which will be undertaken in exam conditions and represent 50 % of the final grade.
Assessment will include:
- Vocabulary tests
- Completion of various assignments
- A written presentation in the target language on a topic agreed with the tutor
- Role plays; giving opinions
- An oral presentation in English of an aspect of national culture
- Evidence of research in the subject
- Participation in classroom
This class is normally delivered over one term, with 90 teaching hours or equivalent in Michaelmas term, and 60 teaching contact hours for Hilary and Trinity terms. For students requesting credit, we recommend the transfer of three college credits for Michaelmas and two college credits for Hilary and Trinity, on successful completion of the class and the final project.
Recommended Introductory Reading
The list below is for guidance and to supply some ideas for preliminary reading. We recommend that you do not purchase the books on this list before arrival and certainly not all of them; most should be available from a good library. Your tutor will recommend the most appropriate books for purchase at the first class of term.
Language and grammar
For beginners and absolute beginners – Contatti 1, a first course in Italian, by Mariolina Freeth and Giuliana Checketts
Advanced Modern Italian Grammar, Anna Proudfoot (Routledge, 1997)
Mauro Pichiassi e Giovanna Zaganelli, Contesti Italiani, (Edizioni Guerra, 2001)
Denise de Rome, Soluzioni – a practical guide to Italian Grammar, (Arnold, 2003)
Optional recommended dictionary: Collins Dizionario Inglese-Italiano/Italian English Dictionary
Oggi in Italia, by F & F, Merlonghi
The Cambridge History of Italian Literature, eds Brand and Pertile (CUP, 1999) pp. 459-606
Racconti Italiani del Novecento, ed. Gianni Turchetta (Edizioni scolastiche Bruno Mondadori)
L’Italiano dell’arte, Francesca Mantovano (Guerra 1996)
Culture and society
Stato dell’Italia, ed, Paul Ginsborg, (Mondadori, 1994)
L’Italia verso il Duemila, Ugo Skubikowsi, (UTP, 1997)
L’Italiano dell’Arte, Francesca Mantovano (Guerra Edizioni, 1996)