Posted by Alex | | Posted On Monday, 4 October 2010 at 14:08

Dear Reader,

Let me first dispel the myth that Italy is a constantly sunny country, where everyone rides a vespa, and looks like a supermodel. This is not true. It rains here, a fair bit; people mostly drive cars...if you can call it that... and, okay, I've yet to meet an unfashionable Italian so that part is true.


Back to reality. I've just come back from my first day of Uni, a day that I was partially dreading. I mean, I have to go to a lecture hall and listen to a lecture for two hours in a language I don't speak fluently. What was I to do? Well, I got up at 8.30, had a glass of water, and went to town. One brioche con crema pasticcera and un cappuccio later, and I was raring to go. I turned up early, and it seemed like there'd never be any way in hell we'd all fit into the class - from the outside, it didn't look all that big. Deceptive; TARDIS-like some might say. Inside this little space was a full-size lecture theatre which almost 80-100 students must have crammed into.

Thus began the lecture. In walked a diminutive lady, who greeted us with a very quiet "Ciao...buongiorno" before talking for almost twenty minutes on what one can do with linguistics. Bore-fest, I thought. And then she put up a slide: La linguistica può essere definta in studio scientifico del linguaggio - si intende l'indagine compiuta su di esso per mezzo di osservazioni controllate e verifiabili empiricamente con riferimento ad una qualche teoria generale della struttura linguistica. Yup, I looked at that and thought "Oh. Shit. This is deep."

What followed was the best hour and a half of my lecturing life so far. How to classify a language, through genealogy and through typology.  We covered examples of Indoeuropean languages (so now I know most of the European Language Families in Italian: romanze, germaniche, slave, baltiche and ugro-finniche. Happy camper!) It then moved on to different types of languages - those made up of morphemes, those that rely on affixes, those that rely on one suffix to characterise words, and those that characterise an entire a word. We discussed Chinese, Turkish, Latin (at length), and everything I could ever want to discuss in a lecture short of sociolingustics (which is a separate subject, and I wish I'd thought about taking it before today, as I've now missed the first lecture and will no doubt be a little 'lost')

Aside from that, it has rained on me. I have discovered microwaveable risotto alla milanese (so I am the happiest camper around!). I have also discovered I really love Aperol: the latest experiment was Aperol Spritz Setanta - essentially, it's a spritz (remember: prosecco, aperol, soda water), but with the addition of Cynar, a liqueur based mostly on herbs and artichokes.

Lovely stuff. I think I am in love with this country. Aside from the fact my towels are in the laundry, and I am dying for a shower, because despite it is still rather warm in a coat. So, tomorrow it's 9am History of Art; how fun. I doubt it will top Linguistics though.

Until next time! (which will no doubt be tomorrow after all my lectures are done) I also suggest, if you are interested in languages: head over to my language tumblr where I will discuss all I learnt 'at length'. If you're not so interested, just give Johanna Kurkela - Tuo Se Mulle a listen. For me?


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