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In the heart of Rosebank (Staten Island, NY) is the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum, located in the historic home of the inventor, Antonio Meucci.

Meucci was a prolific Italian inventor, engineer, and practical chemist who is most known for developing a voice communication apparatus, precursor of the telephone, in 1857.

 

Today the house is a museum and a National Landmark, owned and operated by the Order Sons of Italy in America.

 

You can visit the museum,  take a historical tour to discover more about Meucci and his friendship with Italian hero Giuseppe Garibaldi and enroll in Italian language classes.

To find out more, please visit the museum website at: http://pub1.andyswebtools.com/cgi-bin/p/awtp-home.cgi?d=garibaldi-meucci-museum

The Italian American Community Center of Rochester, NY offers a wide range of interesting activities. They include dinner dances, receptions, graduations, weddings, and meetings in the Ballroom, bocce tournaments and soccer games, just to name a few.  The Community Center has a library with a collection of Italian publications. The Italian language and Italian culture are being promoted with classes and many services are being offered to the community.

To learn more, please visit the Italian American Community Center website: www.iaccrochester.org

If you live in the Parsippany, New Jersey area and wish to keep your family’s language, history, and values alive, you may want to go and visit this new school: Italian School NJ

The school is coming to Parsippany in collaboration with the PAL and the local Sons of Italy chapter and offers classes and private and semi-private tutoring for all ages from 2 1/2 years old to adults.

The objectives of the school are to provide each student with formal instruction and the confidence to speak and write in Italian. The method the school uses is the full-immersion approach, with no English spoken in class.

To find out more, please visit the school website: http://italianschoolnj.com/

Here is another opportunity to practice and learn Italian in the New York city area with an organization called Italian Charities of America.

It was founded in 1936 and its main headquarters are located at 83-20 Queens Boulevard, Elmhurst, New York 11373. Telephone (718) 478-3100.

It was established to assist Italians and Italian-Americans in need during the great depression in New York City.

Its mission was to provide charitable assistance. It has provided support to disabled children, cerebral palsy organizations, cancer patients, retired members of religious orders among others.

Italian Charities of America is also a social and cultural center for those of Italian origin in the greater New York City area. It offers weekly Italian language classes for children and adults. Ballroom dancing lessons are offered twice weekly. Dinner Dance events are held two Saturdays per month.

Find out more by visiting their website at: http://italiancharities.org/

Italian language students in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut might be interested in checking this organization out: The Italian American Committee on Education (IACE).

IACE is a New York based non-profit organization founded in 1975 for the purpose of promoting the study of the Italian language and culture within the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

The IACE program is made possible primarily through an Italian Government grant and operates under the supervision of the Consulate General of Italy in New York.

For more information about classes and events, visit the organization website at: http://www.iacelanguage.org/

Q: How do I make my language learning easy and effective?

A: Choose a language learning method that is right for you and establish a daily or weekly routine.

It is that simple! If you can commit a certain amount of time every day or every week, you will make steady progress that will take you from beginner to intermediate to advanced speaker without great effort.

Q: How do I find my method?

A: Explore the following options and pick at least three or four tools you will employ to study your target language:

  • A grammar book
  • Phrase Book
  • Dictionary
  • Newspapers/Magazines
  • Books and Readers
  • Audiobooks
  • Dual-Language Books
  • Flashcards
  • Audio Cassettes/CD’s
  • Movies/Videos
  • Internet Radio
  • Online Instructor
  • Language Club
  • Pen Pal

Q: How do I keep motivated?

When you have made some progress, don’t forget to reward yourself with something that you enjoy:

  • Travel
  • Meet and chat with a learning buddy
  • Enjoy a treat at a special restaurant where the menu is in your target language
  • Watch a movie in your target language
  • Treat yourself to something special

 

What kind of reward works for you? Share your experience here!

If you live in the Northern New Jersey area, you should check out this interesting organization: D’Italia Programs, a community based not for profit organization dedicated to Italian American Culture.

Within the D’Italia programs you will find:

The Coro
d’Italia singing and dancing Ensemble established in  1932.

The Scuola
d’Italia (Italian School) offering  culture and language workshops for adults and children.

La Familgia
special events celebrating Italian American customs.

To learn more, visit their website at: http://ditaliaprograms.org/index.html

In Italian, idioms (figures of speech) are called “espressioni idiomatiche”.

They can be tricky and hard to understand, because when you translate an idiom, you don’t get its real meaning, but only the meaning of the words it is made of. That is why, for those interested in understanding the Italian language and culture, it is helpful to learn somecommon Italian idioms.

Here are some examples:

  • Di punto in bianco: improvvisamente (suddenly)
  • A quattr’occhi: a tu per tu; privatamente (just between us; in private)
  • Per filo e per segno: dettagliatamente, nei minimi particolari (with lots of details)
  • Al volo: subito, all’istante, velocemente (right now, fast, quickly)
  • Stare sulle spine: in uno stato di preoccupazione (to be worried)
  • Su per giù: all’incirca (more or less)
  • Su due piedi: improvvisamente, immediatamente (suddenly, on the spot)
  • Alla buona: semplice, senza pretese (simple, not fancy)
  • A malapena: con difficoltà, a fatica (hardly, barely)
  • Di buon’ora: molto presto (very early)

Young Italian children play a game that is very similar to the one known as “Ring-a-Ring-o’-Roses”. It is called Girotondo.

How to play:girotondo - Italian children's game
The children make a ring by holding hands and walking in a circle while chanting a short rhyme.
At the end of the song they throw themselves down onto the ground and then they start all over again.

 

Rhyme:
Giro girotondo
Casca il mondo
Casca la Terra
Tutti giu’ per terra!
Translation:
Turn round and round
the world falls down
the Earth falls down
everybody down on the ground!

Try it and have fun!

Presepe - Nativity sceneItalian families all over Italy are getting ready to celebrate Christmas in their homes.

In the cities decorations and Christmas trees adorn streets and squares, while many churches display nativity scenes.

A nativity scene (Presepe, in Italian) is a representation of the nativity story of Christ, and can be done in a live form (Presepe vivente), with people representing different characters, or in a static form, with figurines in a diorama-like representation.

Nativity scenes are a true Italian tradition since they were first started by Saint Francis of Assisi in 1223. This tradition soon grew to be an art form and became very sophisticated in the Italian city of Naples during the Baroque era.

Nowadays beautiful nativity scenes are displayed in people’s homes and in churches throughout Italy. Families get together to assemble intricate representations of pastoral scenes and villages, using figurines and different kinds of materials. Children delight in observing all the tiny details of the characters, their homes and their surroundings. They usually move the different characters every day, so that even a static nativity scene is not completely static. The shepherds move forward, the sheep gather around a water fountain, and the three Kings get a bit closer to the manger every day.

In southern Italy, especially Sicily, living nativity scenes are extremely popular, and are usually very elaborate. They feature the classic nativity scene and a representation of a rural village, complete with artisans in traditional costumes working at their particular trades.

You can search the web for images representing Italian nativity scenes or, if you happen to visit Italy during Christmas, don’t forget to go and see at least one Presepe in one of the major churches or, better yet, a live representation. You will surely feel transported back in time by this very old and interesting Italian tradition.

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