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ITB1: Use of Italian

This paper is available for the academic year 2023-24.


This course is for first year post-A Level students (Part IA(b)) and second year ex-ab initio students (Part IB(a)).

The course lays special emphasis on the study of the different styles and registers students will encounter in Italy. Through a number of varied and challenging exercises, to be completed in class and in college, students learn how to analyse and use the styles and registers of a variety of texts, selected to reflect the diversity of contemporary Italian. 

Aims and objectives: 

On completion of this course students are able to recognise, analyse and interact with a variety of texts selected for range of register, style and content. Students are able to analyze and elaborate language through a number of different exercises like text analysis, reading comprehension, composition and translation. Students also reinforce and expand some complex grammatical points. By the end of the course students have acquired a good level of confidence in mediating between English and Italian, in a number of different stylistic and functional language contexts, with special attention to the experience of the Year Abroad.

Course materials: 

The material used for this course in mainly contained in a portfolio of language exercises and authentic material prepared by the teaching staff of the Department. The material contained within the portfolio aims to present students with a wide range of different styles, registers and topics relating to Italian cultural life. The material in the portfolio is used to develop a variety of receptive and productive skills including text analysis, reading comprehension, composition, and translation. Students also make use of the integrating language material available on the university virtual learning environment Camtools.

Bilingual dictionaries

  • Collins-Sansoni Italian Dictionary
  • Il Grande Dizionario Garzanti inglese 2003 + CD ROM Oxford-Paravia Italian Dictionary ed. by C. Bareggi, Oxford University Press, 2001
  • Oxford-Paravia Italian Dictionary, ed. by Cristina Bareggi, Oxford University Press, 2001

Important: Special notes for Part IA(b) students.

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.
Teaching and learning: 

There is one weekly class for this paper, plus supervision support during the last term, in preparation of the examination.

Teachers encourage the active use of the language in reaction to both spoken and written Italian and the course is entirely taught in Italian.

For the ITB1 Moodle site, please see here


Formative Assessment

Progress Test: Students take a 2-hour test that includes exercises of text analysis, translation into Italian, reading comprehension and grammar in Lent Term.

Summative Assessment

A three-hour examination paper consisting of three sections including exercises on text analysis, translation into Italian, reading comprehension, and grammar.

Course Contacts: 
Dott. Claudia Domenici, Associate Professor in Italian