Italian course outline

The Cactus Course Outlines provide a learning framework for the Cactus Foreign Language Evening Courses. They are designed to provide you with a good idea of what you might cover over a 10-week period, and include typical themes, grammar and vocabulary fields. They are flexible rather than prescriptive, in that our teachers may decide to adapt their learning plans to the specific level, aims and interests of their classes. Use the tabs below to view the relevant Italian course outline for your level.

Italian Beginner 1

Topics & Vocabulary:

  • Saying hello and goodbye
  • Introducing yourself
  • Nationality
  • Address and telephone number
  • Asking and saying how one is
  • Asking and giving personal details about one’s job and the languages one speaks
  • Apologising
  • Ordering food and drink at a bar and paying
  • Reading a simple menu
  • Spelling one’s name
  • Talking about one’s preferences
  • Asking and telling the time
  • Talking about one’s everyday routine
  • Referring events in a chronological order
  • Expressing frequency
  • Expressing likes and dislikes
  • The Italian alphabet
  • Numbers 1-100
  • Days of the week

Grammar:

  • Personal subject pronouns
  • Definite and indefinite articles
  • Nouns
  • Adjectives
  • Present tense of regular verbs
  • Interrogatives
  • Food and beverage
  • Reflexive verbs
  • Adverbs of frequency

Cultural Content:

  • Titles of study in Italian business cards
  • Greetings and gestures
  • The “coffee culture” in Italy
  • The world of work in Italy (male/female jobs)
  • Meals as a family ritual

Skills Work:

  • Lots of speaking – inc. situational exercises & interaction
  • Basic pronunciation rules
  • Plenty of listening activities
  • Writing practice – inc. postcards, e-mails, etc.
  • Language learning awareness: reflecting on your learning style

Italian Beginner 2

Topics & Vocabulary:

  • Booking a table at a restaurant
  • Understanding simple city directions
  • Understanding a menu
  • Expressing agreement/disagreement
  • Adjectives
  • Some Italian recipes
  • Some expressions of place
  • Talking about past events
  • Writing a greeting card
  • Some expressions of time
  • The connectors allora, prima, poi
  • The date and months of the year
  • Talking about sport and other leisure activities
  • Saying what one can and cannot do
  • Grocery shopping
  • Organising a meal
  • More food
  • Colours
  • Expressing quantity

Grammar:

  • The verbs sapere and potere
  • More about the verb piacere
  • Prepositions in and a
  • Regular and irregular past participles
  • The Present Perfect
  • The adverb fa
  • More interrogatives
  • The agreement noun/adjective (plural)
  • Direct object pronouns
  • The particle ne
  • The partitive articles

Cultural Content:

  • Etiquette and cultural awareness: dos and dont’s at an Italian restaurant
  • Giving and receiving presents
  • Special events in the Italian cities: the Notte Bianca

Skills Work:

  • Lots of speaking – inc. situational exercises & interaction
  • Revisiting pronunciation rules and numbers
  • Plenty of listening activities
  • Writing practice
  • Language learning awareness: learning new vocabulary, dealing with unknown words, approaching grammar, approaching a listening task.

Italian Beginner 3

Topics & Vocabulary:

  • Describing a city or a borough
  • Writing an email and inviting a friend over
  • Talking about public transport
  • Organising a city tour
  • Public institutions and offices
  • Adjectives used when describing a flat/house
  • More expression of place
  • Describing people
  • Talking about one’s family
  • Talking about one’s friends and neighbours
  • Family names and adjectives
  • Describing a family picture
  • Designing a website for a course of Italian
  • Talking about places where one has been in the past
  • Understanding brief tourist information
  • Getting information about services at a hotel
  • Booking a hotel room
  • Writing a postcard
  • Describing one’s holiday
  • Organising a weekend in Italy
  • Numbers 101 – 1000

Grammar:

  • The expressions c’è/ci sono
  • The verbs venire and volere
  • Combined preposition su+ article
  • The preposition in
  • The possessives
  • Demonstrative pronouns questo and quello
  • Impersonal construction with si
  • The verb dovere
  • The particle ci

Cultural Content:

  • The square as a meeting point
  • Gestural expressiveness
  • Means of transport and maps

Skills Work:

  • Lots of speaking – inc. situational exercises & interaction
  • Writing practice – e.g. application letter
  • Plenty of listening activities
  • Language learning awareness: Reading and understanding a text; using non-verbal communication; understanding symbols and images

Italian Elementary 1

Topics & Vocabulary:

  • Introducing someone
  • Talking about one’s language learning experience
  • Expressing one’s preferences and opinions
  • Giving explanation for one’s choices.
  • Asking information about train timetables and tickets
  • Understanding a train timetable
  • Buying a train ticket at a railway station
  • Expressing a wish
  • Giving a suggestion
  • Asking for something in a polite way
  • Describing clothing
  • Talking about past habits and lifestyles
  • Making comparisons between the past and the present
  • Making a survey about one’s preferences about fashion
  • Taking part to a radio interview
  • Telling a story
  • Describing past habits
  • Talking about one’s past wishes and aspirations
  • Expressing one’s likes and dislikes about music
  • Vocabulary related to music

Grammar:

  • Revision: the verb piacere + Infinitive
  • Indirect object pronouns
  • The verb interessare
  • The expressions mi piace di più/di meno
  • The relative superlative
  • The verbs volerci and bisogna
  • The present conditional
  • Qualche
  • The adverbs ending in –mente
  • The imperfect tense
  • The comparatives (regular forms)
  • The use of the preposition da
  • The use of Present Perfect and Imperfect

Cultural Content:

  • Italian words used abroad
  • Railway transport in Italy
  • Italian icons and symbols
  • Culture and free time

Skills Work:

  • Lots of speaking – inc. situational exercises & interaction
  • Writing practice – e.g. stories, reviews, etc.
  • Plenty of listening activities
  • Language learning awareness: A test about the “multiple intelligences”; reading skills: skimming and scanning; Understanding a radio broadcast; systemising: logic and grammar.

Italian Elementary 2

Topics & Vocabulary:

  • Talking about one’s favourite activities and giving a reason
  • Talking about a pleasant experience
  • Describing a recipe or a dish
  • Understanding a recipe
  • Talking about eating habits and lifestyles
  • Talking about setback during one’s holiday
  • Describing a physical problem
  • Having a conversation with a GP
  • Asking and giving suggestions/advice about health problems
  • Understanding an information leaflet in medicine boxes
  • Talking about one’s travelling habits/preferences
  • Understanding and giving advice about travel safety
  • Understanding traffic updates on the radio
  • Reporting a stolen or lost item
  • Describing objects
  • Food and recipes
  • Parts of the body
  • The verbs prendere and mettere with drugs/medicines
  • The car
  • Adjectives to describe objects

Grammar:

  • The present perfect of reflexive verbs
  • The relative pronoun che
  • The absolute superlative
  • The position of the adverbs
  • Nouns with irregular plural
  • The formal imperative
  • The use of pronouns with the imperative mood
  • The informal imperative
  • The negative form of the imperative mood
  • The conjunction se

Cultural content:

  • Italian recipes
  • Italian body language
  • Emergency numbers in Italy

Skills Work:

  • Lots of speaking – inc. situational exercises & interaction
  • Writing practice – e.g. adverts and short articles
  • Plenty of listening activities
  • Language learning awareness: In your own words: paraphrasing; communicating through gestures; learning through the loci.

Italian Elementary 3

Topics & Vocabulary:

  • Talking about information and media
  • Understanding the main headlines in a radio news broadcast
  • Announcing scheduled events
  • Talking about future events
  • Choosing and understanding a TV programme
  • Understanding a property advert
  • Asking details about a property
  • Expressing needs
  • Expressing surprise and regret
  • Talking about holiday accommodation options
  • Paying somebody a compliment
  • Preparing one’s profile for a couch-surfing website
  • Talking about holidays and traditional events
  • Inviting someone at an event, accepting and refusing an invitation
  • Expressing one’s intention
  • Going shopping at a local street market.

Grammar:

  • Comparisons with di or che
  • Meglio and migliore
  • The future simple
  • The progressive form with stare + gerund
  • The structure che + adjective + noun
  • The direct object pronouns + present perfect
  • Quello and Bello + nouns
  • The forms of buono
  • The imperfect and present perfect of sapere and conoscere
  • The verbs cominciare/ iniziare and finire

Cultural Content:

  • Italians and the TV
  • Inviting friends over in Italy
  • Shopping

Skills Work:

  • Lots of speaking – inc. situational exercises & interaction
  • Writing practice – e.g. letter of complaint
  • Plenty of listening activities – e.g. phone messages
  • Language learning awareness: Learning using information media; learning using mental images; systemising: logic and vocabulary.

Italian Intermediate 1

Topics & Vocabulary:

  • Describing monuments
  • Giving instructions for a touristic itinerary, a recipe, or a set of rules
  • Describing people and situations in the past
  • Talking about your family, yourself and your origins
  • Making a reservation
  • Ordering at a restaurant
  • Inviting and accepting an invitation
  • Expressing your opinion, making comments about your experiences
  • Describing situations and events in the past
  • Agreeing & disagreeing
  • Having an argument

Grammar:

  • Revisiting previous level’s grammar
  • The imperative of regular and reflexive verbs
  • The Imperfect tense
  • Possessive pronouns and adjectives
  • The use of the imperfect and the present perfect

Cultural Content:

  • Rome: Art, History, cuisine
  • Italian cooking & recipes
  • Italian family and wedding
  • Having an argument with an Italian
  • Discourse markers: expressing impatience, surprise, and wonder

Skills Work:

  • Lots of speaking – inc. situational exercises & interaction
  • Writing practice – e.g. adverts and short articles
  • Plenty of listening activities

Italian Intermediate 2

Topics & Vocabulary:

  • Building friendly, informal relationships
  • Projects and wishes for the future
  • Hypothesis, suppositions and resolutions
  • The world of work
  • Telling the plot of a movie/a book
  • Streets and street signs
  • Excuses and accepting excuses
  • Talking about cities and culture
  • Conflict and resolution
  • Linking past to present
  • Making friends – talking about self, states of mind and feelings

Grammar:

  • The future
  • The present progressive
  • Simple and combined prepositions
  • Prepositions with verbs
  • Absolute superlative
  • Direct and indirect object pronouns
  • Pronominal verbs
  • Exclamatives
  • Pronouns and verbs

Cultural Content:

  • Italians and Ferragosto
  • Young people and unemployment
  • Italian journalism
  • Children and bullying in school
  • Italians and the immigrants
  • The dialects
  • Loan words

Skills Work:

  • Lots of speaking – inc. situational exercises & interaction
  • Writing practice – e.g. letter of complaint
  • Plenty of listening activities – e.g. phone messages

Italian Intermediate 3

Topics & Vocabulary:

  • Projects, wishes, hypothesis and resolutions for the future (continued)
  • Giving suggestions/advice
  • Describing facts and events in former times, telling a story, a fable
  • Making polite requests
  • Giving explanations, finding solutions, saying “sorry”

Grammar:

  • Present conditional
  • Relative pronouns
  • Simple (remote) past of regular and irregular verbs
  • Interrogative pronouns

Cultural Content:

  • The South – countryside, atmosphere, people
  • Italian journalism
  • Pasta
  • Sicily in the World and at Home
  • Friends and family

Skills Work:

  • Lots of speaking – inc. situational exercises & interaction
  • Writing practice – e.g. adverts and short articles
  • Plenty of listening activities

Italian Upper Intermediate

Topics & Vocabulary:

  • Studying – inc. history of (personal) education, teaching styles, adult education in Italy
  • Relationships – inc. dream partner, challenges, tips, arguments and reconciliation Consumerism
  • Globalisation
  • Cinema and literature
  • New media – inc. usage, development, advantages and disadvantages
  • Travelling and mobility – inc. making complaints orally or written
  • Expressing wishes which did not come true in the past
  • Giving suggestions in order to avoid mistakes
  • Talking about future events in the past
  • Talking about one’s regrets
  • Encouraging or discouraging someone
  • Expressing one’s opinion and point of view; asking for clarifications; proposing solutions to a problem

Grammar:

  • Revision of simple and combined prepositions
  • Past conditional; the future in the past
  • Past perfect
  • Hypothetical Constructions
  • Imperfect subjunctive
  • Combined object pronouns
  • The Imperative + pronouns
  • The formation of adverbs
  • Adjectives ending in -oso, -bile
  • Conjunctions and connectors

Cultural Content:

  • Italians and Ferragosto
  • Young people and unemployment
  • Italian journalism
  • Children and bullying in school
  • Italians and the immigrants
  • The dialects
  • Loan words

Skills Work:

  • Lots of speaking – inc. situational exercises & interaction
  • Writing practice – e.g. letter of complaint
  • Plenty of listening activities – e.g. phone messages

Italian Advanced

Topics & Vocabulary:

  • Primarily topics of students’ choice
  • Expressing expectation, doubts, and hopes
  • Talking about social and political issues
  • Talking about changes in your life
  • Giving instructions
  • Analysing and evaluating newspapers articles
  • Relating an extraordinary event
  • Understanding poetic language
  • Perception of time in different cultures
  • Work and occupation – inc. Future perspectives, innovative ideas and multicultural approach
  • Health – inc. Alternative therapies and history of medical science
  • Emotions – inc. Cultural differences in perception and expression
  • Europe and the European Community
  • Discussing topical news of the day

Grammar:

  • Primarily topics of students’ choice
  • Expressing expectation, doubts, and hopes
  • Talking about social and political issues
  • Talking about changes in your life
  • Giving instructions
  • Analysing and evaluating newspapers articles
  • Relating an extraordinary event
  • Understanding poetic language
  • Perception of time in different cultures
  • Work and occupation – inc. Future perspectives, innovative ideas and multicultural approach
  • Health – inc. Alternative therapies and history of medical science
  • Emotions – inc. Cultural differences in perception and expression
  • Europe and the European Community
  • Discussing topical news of the day

Cultural Content:

  • The Italians – inc. inside and outside look, prejudices and stereotypes
  • Artistic life in Italy – inc. introduction of various Italian artists and their works
  • University and further education in Italy and abroad
  • Traditional, peculiar houses: Alberobello’s trulli, Matera’s sassi
  • Italians and strikes
  • Idiomatic expressions with animals and parts of the body
  • Equal opportunities in Italy
  • Italian wines

Skills Work:

  • Lots of speaking – inc. Situational exercises & interaction; focus on discussion
  • Writing practice – e.g. Short stories, reviews and comments, advertisments
  • Plenty of listening activities – authentic sources, e.g. Radio, TV, films and discs
  • Advanced pronunciation
  • Writing a complaint
  • Analysing and evaluating newspapers articles
  • Evaluating and analysing advertisements
  • Writing a short tale
  • Summarising an interview, a biography
  • Carrying out an interview
  • Reading a book together
  • Discussing, complaining, protesting and claiming

Proficiency

  • A wide range of topics based around students’ own interests, could include topics of general interest: global issues, popular science, environment, media and advertising; culture and entertainment; beliefs and religions, etc.
  • Materials used to spark conversation will include articles, DVD, video, internet extracts.
  • Grammar: At this level, Grammar should be covered and revised according to the students’ needs.
 

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