The Troy University Department of Modern Languages and Classics will offer students the first Italian language course for the upcoming spring semester.
Peter Howard, Modern Languages and Classics department chairman, said that the first introductory course, ITL 1101, will be open to all students, with 16 seats available in the class.
“To me, Italian is such a beautiful language,” said Howard, “and we have to have it.”
According to Howard, the class will serve to help students majoring in music, choir, history and art to better understand the terminology and cultural context of Italy.
“Italian is the language of music, but the Italian language itself is music,” Howard said.
Joseph McCall, senior lecturer of history, said that much of the food culture in the United States was shaped by Italian cuisine, as well as music, philosophy, science and fashion.
“I can see great value for Troy in having Italian offered as a language since we place such a significant emphasis on art, dance, theater and design,” McCall said.
Natasha Sutherland, an English adjunct faculty member, will be the Italian instructor for the course and suggested offering Italian language courses to the Department of Modern Languages and Classics only a few weeks after she began teaching.
Sutherland hopes to gear the course toward the music students because Italian will help them tremendously with pronunciation and essential terminology when singing Italian pieces.
Paul Wolfe, a sophomore music education major from Daphne, said that learning Italian would help choral majors understand more of what they are singing, the emotions embedded behind the music and the reasons the words were picked.
“It can make the performances more genuine,” Wolfe said.
With 1.5 years of experience of teaching Italian at Florida State University, Sutherland hopes to bring students a closer exposure to Italian as a language as well as its cultural context.
Sutherland plans to teach the class entirely in Italian for students to be aurally familiar with the language.
Throughout the semester, Sutherland hopes to provide students with opportunities to apply what they have learned through Italian movie days and through partnerships with the Conversation Partners program.
“Students will be practicing the language with basic vocabulary, learning how to conjugate, etc.,” said Sutherland. “I will try to integrate some cultural components as we go through each unit.”
Sutherland’s experience in teaching Italian suggestss that students at the end of the semester should be minimally conversant.
“They will be able to understand most of what I will be saying as well as be able to respond,” said Sutherland.
Sutherland said that at the very least, studying a foreign language opens students’ minds to different cultures and different ways of thinking, even if they study the language without the intentions to become fluent.
Sutherland suggests that in order to be fluent in a foreign language, students have to have access to the language every day, and they have to take their learning of the language seriously.
Registration for the spring semester will begin on Monday, Oct. 24, with seniors registering from 8 a.m. to noon and juniors from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The following day, sophomores will register from 8 a.m. to noon and freshmen from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.