Day One in Catania
Introduction to the project followed by forming the groups for the activities on the schedule.
The Italian Language Lesson
A lively session where the Italian teacher gave a quick ppt overview of the specific sounds in the Italian language and the way they are pronounced illustrating them with examples. The handouts given out to the students were very helpful as the students were able to refer to them when they were doing the subsequent tasks, mainly working in pairs and finding differences and similarities between Italian and their respective native language.
The most interesting part was when the pairs – a host and a guest student – were preparing a dialogue using some common expressions for everyday communication. Then they acted them out in front of the whole group – most pieces recorded and available to watch.
The importance of this activity was to raise the students’ awareness of language as an essential means of communication – each culture has its own language and despite the differences we have, we share similar diphthongs, consonants, letters, etc. and we even picked up a few phrases to help us “walk” in our hosts’ culture. Some visiting students said that the Italian language is very melodious, and their intonation “speaks volumes”, indicating feelings, attitudes, etc. By the way, the last session for the day, i.e. the theatre performance, conducted in a mixture of Italian and English, was a good case in point, where the visiting students reported that it was easy to follow the general script just by listening to the emotive language, and observing the body language of the actors.