Italian study group

An area with study groups for various languages. Group members help each other, share resources and experience. Study groups are permanent but the members rotate and change.
dampingwire
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Re: Italian study group

Postby dampingwire » Wed Apr 06, 2016 9:39 am

mente&cervello wrote:
I strongly believe every regional accent and dialect is legitimate-- this is very important to me-- but a misto of accents and idioms is unnatural. No one is from multiple regions. But I suspect my accent, which used to conform to formal, educated Italian, is starting to pick up elements of different accents to make a patchwork.


Have people told you that they've noticed this, or is it just a little internal nagging doubt?

mente&cervello wrote:(b) I need to have a consistent target pronunciation I aim to copy. Should I stick to formal, standard Tuscan, even if the people I am speaking with or listening to do not? This is kind of a social language question.

It feels stubborn and strange to chat with a group of people who are all native speakers who are all saying a word differently than I do, even if mine is "formally" correct. (It is equally strange to be speaking English to someone who is also a native speaker but who is mispronouncing a word that goes back and forth in our conversation. What to do?) Also, I am the sort of person who picks up other people's accents without thinking about it (even in English, my native language).


I don't think that if I happened to be in California tomorrow that I would try to alter my accent (or speech patterns) to match the indigenous population. My "process" wouldn't suddenly change its "o" and my "awesome" wouldn't become "oarsome". I'd probably not have occasion to use the word "brolly", but if I did and all I got in return was a blank stare I'd fall back to "umbrella". My attitude might be different if I were Cherly Cole and my future employment prospects depended on having an acceptable accent. Things might be different if I lived there for a few years. I wouldn't change my accemt deliberately, but it might well drift.

So I think it would be just a little bit weird if you changed your accent according to the group with whom you are speaking.

mente&cervello wrote:(d) I am going to be doing a sort of language exchange with a woman from my town who is from Roma. (I will be helping her with her accent in English, which is fluent but with some poor pronunciation habits, and formal writing.) I am very excited and grateful for the opportunity; I've wanted something like this for years. But I am not sure how much formal Italian education she has had access to. She left Italy decades ago, though she regularly engages in cultural activities in Italian, sees films in Italian, and is in an Italian choral group. I don't know if her Italian is contemporary. In short, I am grateful and certain that it will help me, but I don't know how to assess her as a language model.


Even if she speaks 20-year old Italian, it's still Italian and valuable practice. You don't need to imitate her style or speech patterns, you just need to be able to understand them. My parents left Italy over 50 years ago but they can still communicate when relatives pop over for a visit :-)

mente&cervello wrote:A frivolous P.S.:
Gary, what is going on with Italians in Scotland? What you describe in your log sounds like they built an express Chunnel between the two countries. I am envious of your access--Italian roommates just showing up-- but curious. Also, a few years I was listening to a free "learn Italian" podcast until I realized I was starting to copy the host, and had begun speaking Italian with a Scottish accent. I hadn't associated the two countries before that (which shows my ignorance).


I don't know if it's still true, but there was a concentration of Italians in Scotland at one time. That was well before the Chunnel though :-)
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Haiku D'etat
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Re: Italian study group

Postby Haiku D'etat » Wed Apr 06, 2016 10:04 pm

mente&cervello wrote:A frivolous P.S.:
Gary, what is going on with Italians in Scotland? What you describe in your log sounds like they built an express Chunnel between the two countries. I am envious of your access--Italian roommates just showing up-- but curious. Also, a few years I was listening to a free "learn Italian" podcast until I realized I was starting to copy the host, and had begun speaking Italian with a Scottish accent. I hadn't associated the two countries before that (which shows my ignorance).


This article may be of interest to you: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-s ... d-19624507
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Sofia
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Re: Italian study group

Postby Sofia » Wed Apr 06, 2016 11:02 pm

Welcome to the group Mente & cervello! I'll try to address all your concerns, if there's anything else you need to know don't hesitate to ask.

Have you already tried to access RAI's website using a VPN service like Hola? For DVDs: Italian subs are usually a translation of the English audio, unless you watch a DVD with original Italian audio and subtitles for hard of hearing people. That should allow you to get matching audio-subtitles.

Regarding your accent-/dialect-related questions:

a) It is actually possible that some people use more than one accent if, say, your parents are from two different regions. A close friend of mine grew up here in Northern Italy, but her mum comes from Rome and her father comes from Naples. She usually speaks with a mild Roman accent, but sometimes unconsciously switches to a Neapolitan accent.

b) In Tuscan dialect the "ci/ce" sound is pronounced as "ch/sh" (depending on the local dialects). It is the "ca" sound that has an aspired pronunciation. My suggestion would be to learn how this (and other sounds as well) vary from dialect to dialect, but stick to the neutral pronunciation when speaking. To me, it would sound weird to hear a foreigner speaking a regional dialect, unless they were perfectly able to reproduce it…and that's something even a native may find difficult. Dialects aren't limited to pronunciation, but comprise several other linguistics aspects. Besides, some people could think you are mocking them, which is another reason why it's best to use an accent-free/neutral pronunciation.

c) Aside from the fact that the Tuscan accent/dialects aren't the "standard Italian", yes, you should stick to a neutral accent even if the people you are talking with don't. It's definitely not something unusual, especially nowadays when it is easy to meet someone who comes from another region. We simply use our native accent and don't change it depending on who we speak to. However, we do avoid using a dialect if we know the other person won't be able to understand it. That's just common sense ;)

With that said, is there any specific dialect you are interested in? Most Italian-made shows use the Roman dialect, but if you are looking for a dialect in particular I'd be happy to help you find the right series. If you are still working on your formal accent instead, your best bet would be films or documentaries.

d) Without some "examples" it's hard to say if she speaks a perfectly correct Italian or not. Depending on the amount of Italian vs English exposure she has, her Italian could be influenced by English, for example in terms of word position, patterns or even pronunciation. This is a perfectly natural process and one that certain professionals living abroad, like translators or interpreters, must actively fight by getting lots of exposure in their native language. But as dampingwire said, it's a great way to get some practice and, since you will also help her with her English, don't hesitate to ask her questions if you hear something that's different from what you've learned.
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lingua
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Re: Italian study group

Postby lingua » Thu Apr 07, 2016 5:00 am

mente&cervello wrote:I am especially looking for
(1) spoken language with transcripts
(2) TV or films where I can get the subtitles IN ITALIAN.


This audio audio magazine is at an intermediate level. I'm a subscriber and found it to be worthwhile.
https://www.languages-direct.com/tutto- ... azine.html

If you have an all region DVD player you can buy DVD's from Italy. I have over 100 of them most of which I purchased on http://www.mondadoristore.it (previously bol.it). You can also order through https://www.amazon.it . Mondadori has a flat rate shipping no matter how much you order so I prefer to place 1-2 huge orders per year. Italian films nearly always have Italian subtitles for the hearing impaired. One thing regarding the movies ... you'll be better off getting Italian produced using Italian actors because you will find many American movies available here which I assume are dubbed though I don't know for sure. The subtitles are often annoying because they paraphrase due to time constraints.

There's also http://watch.mhzchoice.com/ which has a few Italian series. However they do have English subtitles that can't be turned off due to their terms. They have a 30 day free trial so you could figure out if it would work for you.
Last edited by lingua on Thu Apr 07, 2016 4:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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garyb
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Re: Italian study group

Postby garyb » Thu Apr 07, 2016 3:34 pm

mente&cervello wrote:Gary, what is going on with Italians in Scotland? What you describe in your log sounds like they built an express Chunnel between the two countries. I am envious of your access--Italian roommates just showing up-- but curious. Also, a few years I was listening to a free "learn Italian" podcast until I realized I was starting to copy the host, and had begun speaking Italian with a Scottish accent. I hadn't associated the two countries before that (which shows my ignorance).


Was it the Coffee Break podcast? I listened to the French one back in the day, before I discovered the forum and better-quality resources. Luckily I didn't stick with it long enough to start speaking French with a Glasgow accent!

The BBC article describes the 19th-century immigration, and that still has an influence now. Apparently most of Leith Walk, a long street in Edinburgh, used to be owned by Italians, and many parts still are: there are various Italian restaurants and shops. As for these days... since the economic crisis, loads of Italians are leaving Italy in search of better prospects. London is one of the top destinations, but other cities like Edinburgh have become a popular alternative because they're cheaper, smaller, and more laid-back. Many are even put off London because there are "too many Italians there already" and they don't want to end up in an expat bubble, although with the way things are going up here it could become similar! We have a huge Spanish community too, and it's been a similar story.

As for your other questions:

Regional accents: In terms of pronunciation (ci/ce, open vs. closed O and E, etc.) I aim for the standard of what's in the dictionary. For intonation, I think I've picked up a strange mixture from various people I've spoken with, plus of course plenty native-language influence since I'm not great at accents. I've found that some Italians have strong regional accents while others have a more neutral or mixed one. For example I've met people originally from the South who've lived and studied in the North and they don't have a discernible accent from either area. So I don't think a mix is necessarily a bad thing. If you feel like you actually have a conscious choice over which accent you're using with people, I'd say you're doing well! I'm just hoping that my accent eventually settles on something consistent, be it a non-specific standard one or one that I hear a lot.

TV/films with subtitles: I've never been able to find Italian TV shows with subtitles. Maybe the DVDs of the series have them, but I've never investigated. Many Italian films do have Italian subtitles, especially more modern ones, but they're not always 100% accurate. I did much of my listening comprehension training with subtitled films, especially modern drama/comedy; I know that many people encourage using TV over film, but I worked with what I had available and it did the job just fine.
Last edited by garyb on Fri Apr 08, 2016 9:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Sofia
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Re: Italian study group

Postby Sofia » Thu Apr 07, 2016 6:17 pm

garyb wrote:Maybe the DVDs of the series have them, but I've never investigated. Many films do have Italian subtitles, especially more modern ones, but they're not always 100% accurate.

Subtitles are usually a translation of the original (foreign) audio whereas the dubbed audio is an adaptation which, in certain cases, may be a bit different from what is said in the original script. I think the only option here is to watch DVDs of Italian films/series. Most of them have Italian subtitles along with some/many foreign languages.
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Haiku D'etat
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Re: Italian study group

Postby Haiku D'etat » Fri Apr 08, 2016 4:38 am

I'm looking for a recommendation for a specific type of resource, in a specific format, if it exists!?

I'm after a thematic Italian vocabulary which includes IPA transcriptions, available in eBook format so I can import into Anki instead of typing it out manually. Does anyone know if one exists? I'm looking for something thematically grouped so I can target weak areas of my vocab (and can infer contextual meanings of words), and IPA so that I'm not looking in a dictionary every 20 seconds (I'm something of a stickler for relatively accurate pronunciation - or at least the correct syllable stress - after being raised by family members with very thick foreign accents). There was a publisher going by the moniker of T&P that had something along the lines of what I'm looking for, but I found the translations and IPA to be well off target. Am I looking for too much?
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garyb
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Re: Italian study group

Postby garyb » Fri Apr 08, 2016 9:00 am

Sofia wrote:
garyb wrote:Maybe the DVDs of the series have them, but I've never investigated. Many films do have Italian subtitles, especially more modern ones, but they're not always 100% accurate.

Subtitles are usually a translation of the original (foreign) audio whereas the dubbed audio is an adaptation which, in certain cases, may be a bit different from what is said in the original script. I think the only option here is to watch DVDs of Italian films/series. Most of them have Italian subtitles along with some/many foreign languages.


I was specifically referring to native-Italian films in my post - I should've made that clearer and I'll edit the post, but watching films dubbed into Italian has never really crossed my mind. I've found Italian cinema sufficiently interesting and varied that there's enough of the "real thing" to not have to resort to dubbed foreign films, but I suppose that's a matter of taste.
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sillygoose1
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Re: Italian study group

Postby sillygoose1 » Sat Apr 09, 2016 12:33 am

Does anyone know of any movies that is all/majority in dialect? I found one in Abruzzese awhile back but I totally forgot the name.

I'd love to know of any in Roman or Tuscan if possible, but others like Molisano, Pugliese, Calabrese, etc would be awesome too.
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garyb
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Re: Italian study group

Postby garyb » Mon Apr 11, 2016 9:55 am

sillygoose1 wrote:Does anyone know of any movies that is all/majority in dialect? I found one in Abruzzese awhile back but I totally forgot the name.

I'd love to know of any in Roman or Tuscan if possible, but others like Molisano, Pugliese, Calabrese, etc would be awesome too.


I saw "Anime nere" last year which was mostly in Calabrese. I found it relatively transparent though, so it was probably somewhere in between standard Italian and full-on dialect. I also recently saw "Non essere cattivo" which had some quite thick Romanesco. I'd be interested to hear about others too, as it's not something I've really looked for.
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