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I started working on the translation in english of my graduation thesis: The Language Network – 2.0 dynamics and SLA (second language acquisition), and I hope to share it with all of you at the last in a couple of weeks.

It deals with the numerous points in common between the web and the language systems, offering a new perspective on SLA.

Should you already be fluent in Italian or just curious and impatient, here you can find it already in Italian.

As soon as I’m done I’ll publish it here on the blog, maybe on a separate section, don’t have it well figured it out yet.

I already got myself a job at the University for Foreigners of Perugia thanks to it, so in the next future I’ll be working on bringing it to life.

Stay tuned.

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That’s some movie downloading for you!
In Perugia, Corso Garibaldi, Mauro Gatti busy with some reels in front of his Cinema teatro Sant’Angelo.

Cinegatti is the company founded by Mauro and Mirco Gatti that manages the Sant’Angelo, following their father steps and continuing the family business, resisting the cutthroat competition of huge multiplex cinemas that rised in the suburbs. Together with Cinema Zenith.

The Sant’Angelo is also the only place in Perugia (that I am aware of, at least) where you can watch movies in their original language, carrying on the tradition that sees this city as a meeting and exchange point for languages and cultures.

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I wonder if when people think about Italy’s winters they still suffer of the stereotype created by  anglo-saxons literature of the 800’s.
And then I think of what in Italy we think of the winter; consequences on our social life, the cycle of seasons of our body, the tiredness of the dark months, the imposed fashion styles and those who follow them, seasonal products and dishes, project for the next good season, the grey sea and the abandoned beaches, enel gas’s bill…

I have always been fascinated by the colors of the bright summer days in old Italy.
It first struck me in Venice, during my high school years; I have hundreds of memory snapshots that made me awe in silence, often not even stopping because of the fast pace that we are often forced to keep in order to even out the slowness of other occasions (a hit to the slow Italy stereotype: you want some moments to be slow, you need to accept to rush in others).
This morning I was supposed to be at work at 8, but find out just today that the alarm clock app I downloaded for my new Android phone apparently doesn’t work if the phone is off. Pretty useless. I opened my eyes at 7.40, sleepy as never, and got myself going.
As I rushed to work through the usual backdoor alley, my sleepy brain urged me to share the moment.
Enjoy my rush to work.

I’m a grad student at the University for Foreigner of Perugia.
My field of specialization in promotion of Italian language and culture and teaching Italian.
So far, I have always complained about the approach with which the cultural aspects of the courses were tackled. Too much literature, too much of a humanistic concept of culture: in order for students to integrate their linguistic skills with cultural competence it was simply silly to teach to them about the Divine Comedy or Claudio Monteverdi.
Culture should have been intended and seen from its anthropological and sociological point of view, culture as the way a group of people sees and interprets the surrounding world.
But culture is forever changing and developing, so it cannot be studied as a set of rules, but it can only be observed in how it developed so far, and simply observed.
I have always perceived this lacking of ability in recognizing what point of view over the culture was more useful for a language learner as a huge limit to the course I am attending, but recently, I am finally developing a new point of view over it.
I can truly say I feel like I am looking at it with brand new eyes.
It is an indirect message, and one has to pay particular attention in order to see it. It’s a see-through message, and only readable from a particular point of view.
Their humanistic approach IS part of the culture.
How the courses are organized, how a student has to deal with the institution through interacting with offices or teachers, the role that students, on their side, take towards university. Simply the way things are done. It’s all there to be studied and learned.
I wonder if anyone inside the university is aware of this, realizes this, understands the cultural value of all this.
Even when we protest because we are sick and tired of they way things go, we are wearing a cultural mask and taking part in the show. It’s all part of the show, of the plot, of the culture. Cultural characters.
Today at around 1pm it started snowing a little. No big deal, if you have any experience with snow you do understand that since this is Italy and it’s march even the worst snowfall ever is not going to last long. It’s simply too warm.
From a few flakes, it quickly picked up and became a windy and flurry day. In a couple of hours everything was covered in a soft cover of snow.
It was just pretty and unusual.
Not for Perugia, and Italians here.
Being a hilly city, some roads tend to be a little steep. And it is exactly where every single Perugian who owned a car decided to drive by. Maybe one inch of snow caused total panic. My house mate himself, as he reported to me by calling me on the phone, managed to go UP the hill (usually the hardest part) in order to get out of the neighborhood, but then got stuck immediately as he got into via fonte coperte, the way DOWN the hill. He was going to work, and he had to put chains on in order to get down from the hill. Still don’t know how it ended.
I had class at 4, so by 3.15 I decided to start walking and head to university on foot.
On the way up, all the roads were filled with cars taking part in an endless line, some of them honking. Buses, of course, were stuck as well. Police cars were here and there organizing the traffic or dealing with the occasional accident, and I also happened to hear a siren from far away, I couldn’t tell if it was an ambulance or firefighters.
Anyhow, it was chaos. And trust me, if someone is even just a little bit used to Italian normal city traffic and talks about chaos, he knows what he’s talking about.
The walk allowed me to observe all this, and taking me just a little longer than usual also lead me to university on time for class. I was a little wet, but I had made it.
Once I got in front of it, though, I noticed the door closed.
I admit I naively thought they had simply closed it because they did not want the snow to blow inside (the whole whopping inch!); as and Italian, I should have known better how to read that sign.
I rang the bell, and the lady at the desk answered.
“Hello, could you open the door please? I got class.”
“There’s no class, they have been canceled.”
“…what you m…all of them?”
“They have been canceled.”
“…ok.thanks.”
Right behind me, a couple more guys arrived, and I told them. One had just come by 40 minutes of train to get there, and he wasn’t too happy about it.
A girl said the had just checked the website, nothing had been posted to say classes were canceled.
Hours later, as I am writing these lines, still nothing has been posted.
I took a screenshot of the home page of unistrapg.it , both for the english homepage and the italian one: nothing.
I even developed my own idea on how this all happened.
How come they decided to shut everything down for a little snow?
Here’s my shot: a teacher calls he won’t make it. Ok, no big deal. Maybe we’ll send someone to tell the students that will show up. Another teachers calls. Happens. Then another one, and another one. It’s just easier to call everything of for today. Call the different buildings and tell them to shut everything down.
I was told later that they didn’t even wait for the period to be over: they ran the announcement telling everyone simply that classes were called off, and the building was going to close.
For.
An.
Inch.
Of.
Snow.
Gotta love ’em.
I took a pic with my phone for you to see I’m not kidding. You can barely see cars because it’s the very city center and it’s mostly closed to traffic.

It is all part of the show, it is all part of the culture.

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