Italian is the first language of approximately 63 million people, primarily native Italians. The official language of San Marino, Italian is also spoken in Sicily, Corsica and northern Sardinia and on the north-eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea, as well as in other countries such as Australia and the United States of America. Italian is one of four official languages in Switzerland, and is also the primary language of the Vatican City.
Standard Italian was adopted after the unification of Italy in 1861 and is based on a Tuscan dialect common to the cities of Florence, Pisa and Siena. After unification, there was significant social, economical, and cultural transformation. With mandatory schooling in Italy, the literacy rate increased, and many speakers abandoned their native dialects in favour of the national language.
Italian is written using the Latin alphabet. What would later be regarded as Italian originated through the fourteenth century works of Dante Alighieri, who blended southern Italian languages with his native Tuscan. Dante’s epic poems were read throughout Italy and his written dialect evolved to become the “canonical standard” that all educated Italians could understand.
Although dialects are still spoken in Italy today, standard Italian is widely used. It is taught in schools and universities and is used throughout Italian industry and in the media.
What we offer
We integrate active communication skills with the grammatical structure of the language. Students develop proficiency in the language by using it in realistic situations and enjoyable activities. Awareness of cross-cultural communication is also addressed as this is an important factor in language learning.
Areas of study:
* Introductions, greetings, leave-taking etc
* Giving personal details such as address, phone/fax number, occupation
* Small talk, weather, health etc
* Basic telephone skills, ordering food and drinks
* Catching a taxi and using public transport
* Asking for and understanding directions
* Prices, quantification, booking a hotel
* Inviting guests home, dates, months etc
* General knowledge of common practices and customs
* The etiquette of social and formal functions
* Cross-cultural awareness skills
Level 1A 0-20 hours of prior study
For students with very little or no previous knowledge of the language. You will learn to talk about yourself: name, professions, likes and dislikes, your family, your home and your daily activities.
Level 1B approx. 20 –30 hours ofprior study
For students who have immediate survival skills and who can ask questions or make simple statements using short memorised language. You will learn more complex verb structures: what you can do, what to do and must do, as well as describing people, places and objects.
Level 2 40-50 hrs of prior study
For learners who have immediate survival skills and who can ask questions or make simple statements. You will learn to talk about actions and situations in the past and the future and conduct simple discussions on topics such as transport, tourism, hobbies, cinema and the media.
Level 3 50-70 hrs of prior study
You will develop your skills in expressing your opinion and build up your fluency in speaking. You will have the chance to consolidate your vocabulary so you can feel more confident in talking about your own day-to-day activities and interests, as well as conduct simple discussions on general current affairs subjects.
Level 4 70-80 hours of prior study
For students who can ask and answer general questions, initiate and respond to general statements, maintain conversation and express their own opinion on a range of issues. You will explore a wider range of resources in the language - texts, songs, film clips, news reports etc. to increase your vocabulary and your familiarity with contemporary life in the target country. You will cover more complex grammatical points to improve your comprehension and fluency.
Level 5 80-90 hrs of prior study
For students who can express their opinions with confidence and with considerable control, in situations including current events, work, family and personal information, hypothetical issues etc. You will be able to understand more complex written texts, improve your comprehension of spoken language in films, documentaries and the media and consolidate your fluency in spoken language, as well as revising problematic grammatical points.
Level 6 100-120 hrs of prior study
For students who feel confident with expressing themselves in the language across a wide range of situations and who wish to extend their competency and accuracy. You will have the opportunity to focus on specific skills, such as extending your vocabulary in given areas, improving your written language for different contexts, developing a better understanding of particular cultural and social issues in the target country.
Level 7 Conversation and Grammar
100-150 hrs of prior study
This course offers students the opportunity to revise some of the more problematic aspects of grammar and to become confident with expressing themselves in the appropriate register to use in everyday situations. The topics covered may be adapted to reflect the specific interests of the students in the class.
Level 8 Advanced Conversation
200+ hours of prior study
For relatively fluent speakers of the language. You will have the opportunity to participate in discussions covering a broad range of subjects which are chosen in accordance with the specific interests of the group. Typically, these subjects range from traditional practices to contemporary political and social issues and you will also be encouraged to share your own special areas of interest or expertise with the other members of the class.