Songs as a Linguistic and Cultural tesource in the Intermediate Italian Class



ABSTRACT In teaching Italian language at the college level, one incurs a special challenge at the point of transition between the elementary and intermediate courses. The passage from structured exercises to relatively free speech and composition can be facilitated by the introduction of songs toward the end of the first year, when the students' knowledge of vocabulary and grammar enables them to cope with simple lyrics. Regular discussion and memorization of carefully chosen songs develop the students' aural understanding as well as their pronunciation and sensitivity to the poetic use of language. Moreover, continued use of songs at the intermediate level provides a variety of insights into Italian culture. This article explains how songs enliven and broaden the study of language. It outlines a simple procedure that does not interfere with regular classroom work yet allows for the study of at least six songs in a semester. It concludes with a summary of the comments given by students answering a questionnaire at the end of semesters in which songs were included as part of the curriculum.