Nutella afternoon at Scuola Toscana

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As promised, under the supervision of Caterina ten of our students made the famous Nutella cake, according to Caterina’s mother recipe.

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This is the right activity given that we are in winter, we need a bit more energy, and it is nice to stay indoor a little bit more than usual; and of course a great way to improve Italian, especially with regards to the conversation and comprehension skills.

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As you can see, among the particpants students of all ages and nationalities: German, Swiss, Austrian, Dutch, Japanese, English, Hungarian, Polish… Nutella-fan from allover the world. We do hope they will become also Scuola Toscana-fans !

I gesti degli italiani: parlare…con le mani

We had this kind of lesson last week, with our teacher Alberto – it is always one of the most requested seminars…

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«Gli italiani gesticolano sempre!»

Quante volte vi sarà capitato di sentirlo dire?

Qualche settimana fa l’argomento ha incuriosito anche i giornalisti del New York Times che hanno dedicato un articolo proprio alla nostra gestualità. Azioni che noi italiani compiamo senza rendercene conto risultano estremamente stravaganti e insolite per uno straniero che si chiede come sia possibile comunicare solo attraverso l’uso delle mani.

Questa curiosità ha portato alla diffusione di una serie di video-dizionari su YouTube che cercano di raccogliere e di catalogare i gesti italiani e la loro relativa spiegazione/traduzione.

Isabella Poggi, professoressa di Psicologia all’Università Roma Tre ed esperta nello studio dei gesti, ne ha identificati circa 250 che gli italiani usano quotidianamente. «Esistono gesti di ogni tipo, utili a esprimere sentimenti quali paura, speranza, disperazione, orgoglio o vergogna» afferma. «L’unica cosa che li rende diversi dal linguaggio dei segni è che vengono utilizzati individualmente, ed è…

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La Nutella e i dialetti d’Italia

Well, next Wednesday our teacher Caterina will show you how to prepare her famous “dolce alla nutella” – therefore this post can be a good introduction – if you need one…

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Se siete golosi di cioccolato e i dialetti italiani vi incuriosiscono questo post fa proprio al caso vostro!

Lo scorso ottobre, la celebre marca italiana Ferrero ha voluto rilanciare il suo prodotto di spicco con una particolare trovata: personalizzare i barattoli di Nutella con una scritta in dialetto.

Le nuove confezioni si trovano già al supermercato e sono davvero molto originali!

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Inoltre, andando sul sito ufficiale del prodotto si può scegliere fra una serie di espressioni tipiche dialettali con cui caratterizzare un’immagine del barattolo di Nutella e creare una sorta di cartolina virtuale da condividere via internet con gli amici o con chiunque si desideri.

Molto carina anche l’idea di creare un Manuale Linguistico dell’Entusiasmo, ovvero una raccolta (consultabile on-line o da scaricare in formato pdf) con le espressioni dialettali più belle affiancate dalla loro relativa traduzione in italiano.dialettichette

L’iniziativa è stata accompagnata con uno spot televisivo il cui slogan è “Scegli il tuo dialetto!”.

Eccolo qui:

Vi…

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Aaah…that’s why.

All these years we have been wondering why the number of students at our school, year after year, remained constant or, even, increased… of course, we try to do our best, and of course, our teachers are incredible, and, naturally, our activities are marvellous but you and me know very well that in times of international crisis also the quality succumbs to the reality of the market.

You know, there is not so much interest in the international press about the language courses abroad, it does not seem such a sexy or glamorous topic. And the rarefied specialised press is not so interesting to me. But, a couple of days ago a very nice brochure about the 20 years of the Language Fair in Berlin arrived at the school, and leafing through the pages I saw this statistics.

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It was an “Eureka” moment, I never realised that the global market for study abroad in these years was grown so much. If you enlarge the infographic, you see that the number of language students abroad went from the 1.7 millions of 1995 to the 4.5 millions of 2011. Which explains better than anything how and why our (small) school and other (small) schools who are doing the same work can be still alive and kicking. It’s a good idea to be safely nestled in a growing market, after all.

Classical Studies

We at Scuola Toscana have a new partner – after the courses of Japanese language, and Chinese language, we offer now at our school also courses in classical Latin and Greek.

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Scuola Toscana teamed up with Giampiero at Centro di Studi Classici GrecoLatino Vivo, and three classes have already started, with young and less young students.

The idea of GrecoLatino Vivo (living Greek and Latin) is to approach these two “dead” languages as “living” languages, therefore speaking in Latin or Greek from the first class, and learning not just the theory, but learning to speak. DSCN1573

Like in the old times, the students of these courses can communicate in Latin also with students from other countries, using it as a lingua franca again … it could be a smart idea also for our foreign students, who after the Italian lessons could join the courses in Latin or Greek too !

Grazie and more: saying thank you in Italian

Some more words for “survival Italian” from the nice blog “prayers and pizzas”… enjoy !

Prayers and Piazzas

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You all know that I love writing about gratitude, and I love writing about Italian. Plus, I’m feeling especially thankful this week (see my previous post). So here’s a little post combining both! I hope you enjoy this first in a series (fingers crossed!) in the category “Weekend Italian.” Blessings!

Sapete che mi piace scrivere per gratitudine e per Italiano. Anche, sento particolarmente piena di gratitudine (leggere il mio posto scorso). Allora, ecco un piccolo post di entrambi! Spero che vi piace questo primo di una serie (incrocio le dita!) nella categoria “Italiano del fine settimana.” Benedizioni!**

grazie                                                                                                      …

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Week 1: Italian for Travelers

Survival Italian ! If you arrive at Scuola Toscana armed even with only these words, for sure you will have a great start !

Prayers and Piazzas

Italian Greetings (Weekend Italian 1)

Graphic created at Tagul

Weekend Italian: Bite-size language chunks of Italian survival phrases and high-frequency words to kick-start your language learning. Grab a cup of coffee and spend a little time this weekend learning Italian!

Italian for Travelers: Hellos, goodbyes and how are yous

Imagine: You have dreamed of a week in Italy for years and today, you find yourself there, at last. (<3>!)

File:Hotel Ca Sagredo - Grand Canal - Rialto - Venice Italy Venezia - Creative Commons by gnuckx (4965536379).jpg

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Checking into the hotel, the first word you will likely be greeted with is buongiorno (hello/good morning) or perhaps buon pomeriggio (good afternoon), depending on the time of day. As you come and go during the week and the staff gets to know you better, they may switch to the more informal salve to say hello or even the least formal ciao — used for both hi and bye.

Outside your hotel, the city streets are bustling. “Pronto…” you…

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