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Italian in Year 2

Part IB (Year 2)

The Part IB in MML is a recognised independent qualification in the outside world but it is also designed specifically to prepare you for advanced study in Part II of our Tripos. You will continue to improve your command of the language but you will spend proportionally more time and effort studying topics in Italian literature, art, culture, history, thought or philology. 

You will still be divided into two groups, with differing examination requirements, depending on whether you began Italian at Cambridge (taking Option A in your first year), or whether you arrived with an A-level in Italian (taking Option B in your first year); so in what follows please note the regulations and courses which concern you.

You will, however, find that you are fully integrated with members of the other group in the teaching of the scheduled papers and in preparation for the Year Abroad (below); and by the time you take Part II all differences will have disappeared.

Option A (ex-ab initio)

If you were an ab initio student in your first year, you will prepare yourself for the following examinations at the end of your second year:

Language papers

Scheduled papers

  • One of the scheduled papers in Italian Part IB, chosen from the list given below.
  • Two further papers, which may be:
    • Any two scheduled Part IB papers (either in Italian or your other Part I language); or
    • Any one scheduled Part IB paper (either in Italian or your other Part I language) plus paper B3 in your other Part IA language.

N.B. It is worth spelling out that is possible to take all three scheduled papers in Italian (although your Director of Studies will probably advise against this).

The required texts are:

  • Italiano e inglese allo specchio: eserciziari per anglofoni - problemi ed errori di interferenza, Bertoni S., Loescher, 2014
  • IIn Altre Parole, Lahiri, J. , Guanda 2016/ In other words, Bloomsbury 2015 (preferably the Italian version )

It is also highly advisable that you get hold of the following reference grammar book:

  • Soluzioni, A practical Grammar of Contemporary Italian, De Rome, D., Hodder Education.

This is the recommended course book for the ab-initio level, and is a very comprehensive grammar book that will work very well as a reference grammar book all through your time at Cambridge. This manuale di grammatica is now in its 4th edition, but previous editions are equally suitable for your work of revision and practice. (Please
also note that the MMLL library and many College libraries will hold copies of this text).

Below is a list of suggested reading that you might find of interest and helpful in your work of revision as you prepare for Cambridge. All titles recommended in the list below are available from The Italian Bookshop. Students of the Department of Italian are entitled to a discount:

  • English Grammar for Students of Italian, Primorac, K. and Adorni, S., 2011,Olivia & Hill Press, 3rd edition. This is a particularly helpful reference book that can help in dealing with the grammatical and syntactical terminology involved in the teaching of language at Cambridge. 
  • For further practice, have a look at the exercises available on
  • A reference grammar of modern Italian, Maiden, M. Robustelli, C., Hodder Education, 2007, 2nd edition.
  • Practising Italian Grammar - a Workbook, Bianchi, A., Boscolo, C., Hodder Education, 2004. This is a very comprehensive grammar reference book accompanied by its workbook, ideal for revision and expansion.
  • Modern Italian Grammar, A practical guide, Proudfoot, A., Cardo, F., Routledge, 2005, 2nd edition. This grammar book looks at language from a functional point of view (language in specific situations, rather than rules), and can be helpful to look at language in use.
  • Any title of your choice from Italiano facile, 2 o  livello (intermedio), Alma Edizioni, You are invited to refresh your Italian by enjoying reading and listening to any of the titles on the list. The stories use about 1000 words of vocabulary and are a great way to revise and start expanding your language skills.

Option B (ex post A-Level)

If you were a post A-level student in your first year, you will prepare yourself for the following examinations at the end of your second year.

Scheduled papers

  • Three scheduled papers in either or both of your Part I languages.

Part 1B Scheduled Papers: For a list of Italian papers available to students taking Part IB, please see this page.

Language Papers

The Part IB (Option B) B3 language paper is only available to Part IB (i.e., second-year students) who had an A-level or equivalent in the language when they arrived. In addition, if your other language is ab initio, you can choose not to do this paper in Italian and instead do an extra literature/linguistics paper from the schedule of IB papers. If, however, both your languages are post A-level, then this paper (both components) is compulsory.

  • Paper ITB3: Translation into Italian and Italian through the Media
  • Paper B3 in your other Part I language.

Please note the following points

  • All the papers are available to both options.
  • You must take at least one of them, and you may take as many as three.
  • Papers IT2IT4 and IT5 are for Part IB students only. They are specifically designed (as will appear in the course descriptions) to develop the kind of skills you will need in your final year.
  • Students in their second year (Part IB) are able to be examined for one of their scheduled papers by Long Essay. The Long Essay option is available for the following papers: It 2, It 3, It 4. See here for more information.

Part IB (Year 2): both options

Preparations for the Year Abroad

You must spend your third year abroad, and - other things being equal - you could hardly do better than immerse yourself in the language and culture of Italy for eight months by studying at a university there, teaching as a Language Assistant in a school, or gaining experience in an office. This is the time when your two years of 'investment' will pay their 'dividends' handsomely.

In recent years between twenty and twenty-five of your predecessors chose Italy every year and the Department will be drawing on their experiences to help you find the right occupation in the right place, and to prepare you in every way it can. In the Michaelmas term there will be an informal gathering for all second-years where you will have the chance to put questions, over a glass of wine, to the current fourth-years who spent last year in Italy. In the Michaelmas Term there will be four classes, given by Dr Alessandra Lombardi, dealing in a down to earth way with such things as the Italian Educational System (particularly the structure of university courses), job applications, and coping with the hassles of daily life.

Further details will be given at the beginning of the Lent term. See also the separate section devoted to the Year Abroad - Departmental pages or Year Abroad - Faculty pages.

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