Italian Language in Context: Novice Abroad II

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Course Information
Terms offered: 
Fall, Spring
Language of instruction: 



IT 102 is a revision and continuation of the basic elements of Italian language and culture. It focuses on grammar, speaking, listening, reading and writing skills using a communicative direct approach to the language. The class is divided into an intensive period and a regular course.

This course is intended for students who have already had a semester of Italian, who have already studied a foreign language or who feel willing to work hard and learn at a faster pace than the absolute beginner course.

The course will start by refreshing the basic knowledge of the Italian language and will cover grammar topics up to the use of the future tense. Through a communicative method we will reinforce vocabulary, use it in different oral activities and read a variety of texts that deal with contemporary Italian life and culture.

Italian will be the only language used in class. Many will find this difficult at first, but it will seem natural soon enough. Do not despair when you feel that some of your questions are not answered during class: answers to complex grammar questions are available in English in some textbooks the instructor will provide on request. In class, concentrate on learning Italian: your learning process will be faster (6 credit hours).

Following each class period, students must review/study the newly presented material by reviewing the texts presented in class. Students are responsible for all assigned work, and should be aware that absence from the preceding class is not an excuse for non-preparation. All assignments are expected when due. Homework assignments will not be graded on a daily basis, but the completion of daily homework assignments will be calculated in your final grade.

STUDENT PROFILE: This course is designed for students with very basic knowledge of the language. This course builds upon the skills acquired in Novice Abroad 1.

By the end of the course, the successful student will develop a basic foundation in the five skills: intercultural communication, reading, writing, listening, and speaking to accomplish a variety of basic everyday needs in the host culture as described in the learning outcomes below.


Attendance policy: 

Regular class attendance is mandatory. Students are expected to attend classes each day, including course-related excursions.

IES Abroad Milano allows a maximum of TWO excused absences per semester. Each further absence will automatically result in a penalty of two points off (2/100) on the final grade. SEVEN absences per course (including 2 excused absences) will result in a failing grade for that course. Furthermore, an absence on the date of scheduled tests, presentations or quizzes does not entitle you to recover/reschedule such tests. Failure to attend your midterm and/or final exam will result in an F grade on that paper/exam.

Learning outcomes: 

By the end of the course, students will be able to achieve some of the outcomes for the Novice Abroad level as defined by the MAP for Language and Intercultural Communication. The key learning outcomes from the MAP are summarized below:

  1. Intercultural Communication
    1.   Students will be able to meet simple everyday needs using verbal and nonverbal communication, and they will be able to use compensatory strategies when they do not know the word or expression (repetition, talking around the point, body language etc.).
    2.   Students can recognize some appropriate and inappropriate expressions and behaviors in the host language.
    3.   Students will be able to distinguish between basic representations of formality and informality in the language.
    4.   Students will understand that there are differences between cultural stereotypes and generalizations between the home culture and the culture of the host country.
    5.   Students will start to make informed comparisons between the host culture and the home culture.
  2. Listening
    1.   Students will be able to understand basic statements, requests, descriptions, and questions in specific cultural context relevant to them (interactions with hosts, Center interactions, studying, shopping, transportation, meals).
    2.   Students will be able to use context to understand the gist of some simple spoken language they overhear, including the media, conversations between others, and announcements.
  3. Speaking
    1.   Students will be able to use simple phrases appropriately in everyday situations (home, the IES Abroad Center, the community)
    2.   Students will be able to express many simple needs by asking questions, and get what they need in uncomplicated, everyday situations.
  4. Reading
    1.   Students will be able to identify and understand many simple sentences and deduce some meaning from context if it is relevant to their studies.
    2.   Students will be able to interpret main ideas in short passages, and news headlines if they are relevant to them.
  5. Writing
    1.   Students will be able to write short texts about simple and concrete topics they have studied, such as themselves, their families, their friends, their likes, their dislikes, plans, experiences, and their daily routines.
    2.   Students will be able to send simple emails, text messages, online posts, and postcards, and fill out some simple forms.
Method of presentation: 

METHOD OF PRESENTATION: The approach to learning is communicative and direct, designed for an immediate use of the Italian language. In class, students are asked to use new language expressions in different situations, so that at the end of the lesson they can observe the way the language works. Students are never considered passive recipients, but active users of the language for their immediate need.

There will be in-class discussions, student presentations, field studies, hands-on lessons, and guest lectures (some of them are mandatory).

Field studies are intended to help students to integrate into Italian everyday life. They will be short and focused on language and expressions, as announced at the appropriate time. Field studies and guest lectures are considered a normal class: absence, tardiness or leaving before the end of the field study/guest lecture are not excused. A 2h guest lecture will be included in the program.

LANGUAGE OF PRESENTATION: Italian will be used in all instances, with emergency use of English for disambiguation. “Pledge for Italian-only in class”: in class students are invited to formally commit themselves to trying to use Italian only.

Required work and form of assessment: 
  • Assignments: 10%
  • Listening comprehensions: 10%
  • Final Test Intensive: 10%
  • Midterm Exam: 15%
  • Oral Exam: 10%
  • Final Exam: 20%
  • Active participation through discussion, reading and writing: 15%
  • Cultural essays: 10%

Intercultural activities: each student is required to attend at least two events dealing with Italian culture and write two typed, one-page essays in Italian on what he/she has learned.  These should be completed and turned in before the midterm and at the end of the semester. A list of possible cultural activities is as follows: movies, conferences, exhibitions, shows, opera, concerts of classic music and any famous Italian singer, folkloristic events, cultural aspects of any attended field trip, socio-cultural differences between the Italian and the American life style during your time being a guest of an Italian family, readings suggested by your teacher. Also, attending meetings with a Language Partner (ask your teacher for information about it), is considered a cultural activity and the final essay will report any impressions or considerations about this experience.
Grades will not be curved and will be determined according to the following scale:
On request, after completion of the Midterm exam, students will receive information on their grade breakdown, and they will discuss it with the teacher.
Students will be required to enter the Moodle course page on a regular basis in order to access readings, exercises, and any other regular or extra material.


The course will start with a quick review of the basic structures of Italian and will cover grammar topics up to the use of presente indicativo, verbi modali, preposizioni semplici/articulate, passato prossimo indicativo, pronomi diretti/indiretti, imperfetto indicativo, futuro indicativo, presente condizionale, I comparativi e I superlativi, imperativo. Extra material will be provided during class if necessary. The course pace will be adjusted (accelerated or slowed down) according to class response to teaching methodology.

* P.Bacci – Zambardino G., Un tuffo nell’azzurro, nuovo corso di lingua italiana – 1 – Panozzo Editore.

Students are expected to go to class having studied in detail the Assignments as indicated on the syllabus and by the teacher in class.




Corresponding Learning Outcome(s)

Week 1

  1. Functional: asking questions, asking about time, introducing yourself, describing a person, buying a bus ticket
  2. Grammatical: general review of verbs to be, to have, definite articles, gender and number of nouns and adjectives, verbs c’è ci sono, present tense (regular)
  3. Vocabulary Review: nationality, self-presentation, profession, numbers, week days, months, the city, the city transportation, school, study
  4. Culture: Italian University

* Unit 1 – 2

Functional: interviewing classmates and other Italian students to get to know each other

Grammatical:Reinforcement and automatization of interrogatives and self presentation

Vocabulary: developing a glossary about self-presentation, nationality, school, profession

Cultural interaction:exploration of diverse aspects of communicating with peers

Ia, IIa, IIIa, IIIb, IVa, Va

Week 2

  1. Functional: talking about yourself, descriptions
  2. Grammatical: review indefinite articles, present tense (irregular: andare, venire, fare, scegliere, conoscere…), simple prepositions, verbs Mi piace non mi piace, amo adoro, odio; possessive adjectives and pronouns,
  3. Vocabulary: jobs, hobbies, sports, physical description and personality, the family
  4. Culture: The Italian free time activities, Italian family

* Unit 3-4

Functional: self description, physical and persnality

Grammatical:Reinforcement and automatization of verbs, present tense regular and irregular

Vocabulary: developing a glossary about tastes, hobbies, free time activities

Cultural interaction:exploration of diverse aspects of free time activities in Italy

1st Oral exam

Ia, Ib, Ic, IIIa, IIIb, IVa, Va

Week 3

  1. Functional: Asking for price and quantity, make comparison, express food tastes.
  2. Grammatical: modal verbs, prepositions (preposizioni articolate)
  3. Vocabulary: food, shops, market, money, quantities, clothes, sizes, colors
  4. Culture: Italian money, Italian food, the importance of gestures

* Unit 5

* Unit 3-4

Functional: express food and shopping tastes

Grammatical:Reinforcement and automatization prepositions, modal verbs

Vocabulary: developing a glossary about quantities, sizes, colors, clothes, food

Cultural interaction:importance of non verbal language in Italy

Final Test Intensive

Ib, Ic, IIb, IIIa, IIIb, IVa, Va, Vb






Corresponding Learning Outcome(s)

Week 1

  1. Functional: talking about daily activities, describing houses
  2. Grammatical: reflexive and reciprocal verbs, time adverbs
  3. Vocabulary: shops, directions
  4. Culture: The Italian houses, typical Italian day

* Unit 6

Functional: talking about daily routine

Grammatical:Reinforcement and automatization of reflexive and reciprocal verbs, present tense

Vocabulary: expansion of a specific glossary about houses,

Cultural interaction:exploration of diverse aspects of a typical Italian day

Ia, Ib, Ic, Id, IIa, IIb, IIIa, IIIb, IVa, Va, Vb

Week 2

  1. Functional: travelling, talking about past events, agree/disagree
  2. Grammatical: present perfect, irregular forms
  3. Vocabulary: travelling, childhood, “le superstizioni”
  4. Culture: Italian music, Italian television, the love for football

* Unit 8

Functional: talking about past events, express opinions

Grammatical:Reinforcement of use of , present tense regular and irregular

Vocabulary: developing a glossary about travelling, childhood, sports

Cultural interaction:exploration of cultural importance of football in Italy

Listening and comprehension 2:



Ia, Ib, Ic, Id, IIa, IIb, IIIa, IIIb, IVa, Va, Vb

Week 3

  1. Functional: make an order, invite someone to do something
  2. Grammatical: direct pronouns, indirect pronouns with verb PIACERE
  3. Vocabulary: drink and food at a bar
  4. Culture: the coffee tradition in Italy, Italian stereotypes

* Unit 7 – 9

Functional: ordering food or drinks at a restaurant/bar, make an order and show preferences


Reinforcement and automatization of verbs, PIACERE, direct and indirect pronouns

Vocabulary: developing a glossary about food and drink tastes,

Cultural interaction:exploration of diverse aspects of Italian coffee tradition and Italian stereotypes

Written production: 1st cultural essay:

Ia, Ib, Ic, IIa, IIb, IIIa, IIIb, IVa, Va, Vb

Week 4

  1. Functional: planning things in the future, back home; talking about future events
  2. Grammatical: simple future (regular ad irregular forms)
  3. Vocabulary: travel, booking a hotel, at the railway station
  4. Culture: Italian tourism

* Unit 10

Functional: talking about future events, planning things, making promises, previsions


Reinforcement and automatization of future tense (regular and irregular forms)

Vocabulary: developing a glossary about booking a hotel, arranging a trip by train

Cultural interaction:exploration of diverse aspects of Italian tourism, sightseeing

Id, IIIa, IVb, Va, Vb

Week 5

Intensive review

Midterm_Exam: October 30th



Week 6

  1. Functional: talking about yourself, telling stories, describing things and people in the past
  2. Grammatical: imperfect tense – difference between present perfect and imperfect tense
  3. Vocabulary: fairy tales, childhood, school
  4. Culture: Italian school, difference with Italian and American school

* Unit 11

Functional: self description, physical and personality in the past


Use and reinforcement of imperfect tense and hightlight the difference between imperfect tense and present perfect

Vocabulary: developing a glossary about stories in the past, fairy tales,chilsdhood

Cultural interaction:exploration of cultural difference of Italian and American school system

2nd Oral exam

IIa, IIIa, IVb, Va, Vb

Week 7

  1. Functional: make comparisons, telling the way to get to…, give suggestion and information, how to make a recipe
  2. Grammatical: comparatives and superlatives, imperative tense
  3. Vocabulary: cinema, the weather, street signals
  4. Culture: Italian cinema, how to prepare Italian dishes

* Unit 12 - 13

* Unit 3-4

Functional: self description, physical and personality making comparison, giving orders, suggest to do something,making a list of rules


automatization and practice of comparatioves, superlatives and imperative tense

Vocabulary: developing a glossary about food preparation,cinema, weather, street signals,

Cultural interaction:exploration of diverse aspects Italian cinema, food recipes,

written production:2nd cultural essay

3rd listening and comprehension

Id, IIa, IIIa, IIIb, IVb, Va

Week 8

  1. Functional: express hopes, desires, whishes, possibilities
  2. Grammatical: simple conditional tense
  3. Vocabulary: adjectives about personality, the horoscope
  4. Culture: study and work in Milan

* Unit 14

* Unit 3-4

Functional: expressing hopes, whishes (such as your ideal job), kind questions, suggestions


automatization of Conditional verbs

Vocabulary: developing a glossary about tastes, hobbies, jobs, personality

Cultural interaction:exploration of diverse aspects of working in Italy, in particular in Milan

IIb, IIIa, IVb, Va, Vb

Week 9

General review


Week 10

Final Exam

Final exam: December 16th



Required readings: 
  • P.Bacci – Zambardino G., Un tuffo nell’azzurro, nuovo corso di lingua italiana – 1 – Panozzo Editore.
  • P.Bacci – Zambardino G., Quaderno degli esercizi– 1 – Panozzo Editore.

Supplementary material will be provided by the teacher or available on the Moodle course page. This may include: games, readings, song lyrics, Italian movies, extra exercises, etc.

Previous Course Name: 
(Formerly IT 150 Advanced Beginning Italian)