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Università degli Studi di Parma

Italian Language Course and Lab - Syllabus for Boston College



Course Description

The course consists of two parts: a 50-hour B1 level course in class and a 15-hour course in the lab.


50–hour B1 CEFR level course

After an initial phase aimed at assessing the students’ language skills, this course combines communicative-functional exercises and structural ones, in order to foster meaningful learning and help students develop the different language skills (grammar and vocabulary, listening, reading and speaking).

According to the Common European Framework for Languages (CEFR) [1] upon successful completion of the course, students at B1 level will be able to:


- understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc,

- deal with most situations likely to arise while travelling in an area where the language is spoken,

- produce simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest,

- describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes and ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.


15-hour course in the lab

The 15-hour course in the lab is aimed at preparing students for some cultural activities of the semester and the final presentation. During these classes the students will practice conversation, improve writing skills and widen their vocabulary.

Lessons are held in the laboratory where each student has the possibility to use his/her own computer and accomplish the tasks using online and offline sources.

In order to improve their fluency, students will also participate to a Tandem Project with Italian students. They will meet once a week and write a weekly report about the activities and topics they have discussed.




The course consists of lectures held by the teacher, role-play and pair work exercises, interviews and presentations.

Course materials and resources

Students are weekly provided with photocopied and electronic materials taken from the following textbooks:

Nocchi, Grammatica Essenziale della lingua italiana, Alma Edizioni

Ziglio-Rizzo, Espresso 2/3, Alma Edizioni

Piotti-de Savorgnani, Universitalia, Alma Edizioni

Trifone, Filippone, Sgaglione, Affresco Italiano B2, Le Monnier

Bertoni-Nocchi, Le parole italiane, Alma edizioni


Students will be encouraged to compare  Italian and American culture also thanks to online material and a wide range of cultural out-of-class activities (e.g.: visits to museums, Parma city hall tour, the Opera, a Parmesan cheese factory, castles etc.)


Attendance and participation

Italian classes are held 3 days per week, including a session in the lab, for a total of 4.5 hours per week.

Students will be constantly tested on oral and written assignments:

·       Multiple-choice grammar exercises;

·       Gap-filling exercises on adjectives, pronouns, verbs;

·       Role play activities /dialogue creation;

·       Story writing;

·       Presentations on different topics

Students will be penalized on the final grade should they miss classes for non-medical reasons.

Only one non health-related absence is allowed.

Any other non-health related absence will affect the final grade.


Assignments & requirements

Students should devote at least 5 extra-hours per week to homework. All written homework is due on the day assigned and no late submissions will be accepted, except under exceptional circumstances. Students are encouraged to take advantage from the teacher’s corrections to improve their language skills.

It is also compulsory to hand in a written report (minimum 180 words) each week about the meetings with the Tandem partners. The report must include new vocabulary and details about their conversations.


There will be two exams held during this course: a midterm and a final.

The midterm exam will consist of a multiple-choice test on the grammar topics studied during the first month of class.

At the end of the semester, students will take a final multiple-choice exam and give a 15-minute oral presentation which focuses on the differences they have noticed and experienced between Italian an American cultures.

An extra final paper is also due by the end of the course (180 words) about the Wednesday Cultural Activities students are involved in. The paper must include notes, ideas and distinctive traits learnt during the lab classes and the Wednesday guided tours.

Course Grading

The final grade will be based on the following components:

· 25%        Class participation. Active participation during all the activities in and outside the classroom

· 25% Mid-term test

· 25%        Homework.  20% - Grammar, vocabulary and communicative skills exercises.

         5% Tandem Project activities (weekly written report)


· 25%        Final exam

Final oral presentation (based on the lab activities)

         Final report (180 words about cultural activities)


Please note:

We will be grading according to the Italian scale. BC will transfer the grades and directly handle the conversion.


Grammar syllabus overview

§  Uso del passato prossimo e dell’imperfetto

§  Pronomi personali diretti, indiretti e combinati

§   ne” partitivo

§  Particelle “ci” e “ne

§  comparativi e superlativi

§  gerundio, participio e infinito


§  periodo ipotetico della realtà (presente/futuro)

§  condizionale semplice  e introduzione del condizionale composto

§  uso del condizionale per:

-        chiedere un favore

-        esprimere un desiderio

-        dare un consiglio

§  Uso del condizionale composto per esprimere il futuro nel passato e un desiderio non realizzato

§  Pronomi relativi:

-     chi, che, il quale, cui

§  Indefiniti: aggettivi e pronomi (es. tutti, nessuno, ecc.)

§  Concordanza dei tempi all’indicativo

§  Imperativo diretto dei verbi regolari e irregolari

§  Imperativo negativo

§  Imperativo con i pronomi 

§  Congiuntivo presente, verbi regolari e irregolari ed espressioni che introducono il congiuntivo.

§  Congiuntivo passato

§  Congiuntivo imperfetto

§  Periodo ipotetico della possibilità (congiuntivo imperfetto/ condizionale semplice)


Lab syllabus overview

·       Visit to a Parmesan cheese factory: listening comprehension from the website http://www.parmigiano-reggiano.it/come_gustarlo/academy/default.aspx; and grammar exercise on adjective formation from verbs.

·       Teatro Regio: how to behave in public places. Exercise: prepare some advice using the imperativo diretto and indiretto in Italian with pronouns.

·       The Opera: analyze the libretto and write a new ending for the story.

·       Parma Castles and ghosts stories.

·       Listening comprehension exercise about Maria Luigia - her life and relationship to Parma- activity linked to the visit to the Glauco Lombardi Museum.

·       Advantages and disadvantages of living in Parma. Role-play activity: prepare a dialogue in groups of three. You are all part of a tourist agency, two of you want to include Parma in a tour of the North of Italy while one of you is against- support your ideas.

·       Translating a famous American slogan trying to maintain its cultural aspect or using a pun on words

[1] Council of Europe, The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages is published in English by Cambridge University Press - ISBN Hardback 0521803136 Paperback: 0521005310 - www.cambridge.org


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