Department of Italian
Italian in Year 1
- Summary of teaching
- Examinations for Part 1A, Option B
- Preliminary reading list for prospective IA post A-level students
Post A-Level (Option B)
The Part IA Post A-Level course at Cambridge is designed to develop your existing knowledge and skills to a high level of proficiency. The language teaching is complemented by a further course (Texts and Contexts), which provides the opportunity to study some of the finest works in Italian literary culture, along with some aspects of Italian linguistics.
Summary of Teaching
Each week the Department offers two hours of language teaching for the written language papers. The Use of Italian class focuses on
developing the fluency, accuracy, and scope of your written Italian through a wide range of linguistic exercises. The Translation/
Commentary class, based on the exercises of translation from Italian into English and linguistic/stylistic commentary, aims to
enhance your understanding of the Italian and your appreciation of the expressive possibilities of the language. Both these classes
are taught in groups of around 8 to 10 students. Oral supervisions are held weekly in smaller groups of 2 to 4 students.
Students are encouraged to supplement this formal teaching by independent study, for which the Faculty offers a variety of resources, including the Language Centre, the Computer-Assisted Language Learning Facility, and TV and Video viewing facilities. For details, see the 'Resources' section of the website, which also includes information on the Italian Society and on vacation courses in Italy.
Teaching for the 'Texts and Contexts' paper will include lectures and seminars on each of the set texts, as well as weekly supervisions in small groups (2-3 students). In addition, the IA Translation/Commentary class will be directed in part to preparation for the commentary element of this paper.
If you have taken a gap year you will find it useful to revise Italian grammar thoroughly before coming to Cambridge. Whether you are taking a gap year or coming straight from school, you will, of course, benefit from spending as much time in Italy as possible. The most helpful preparation for the literature lies in independent reading of the set texts, with close attention to linguistic detail. For a first reading of Dante it is best to use a facing-page translation in prose or verse.
At the end of their first year, students will take three examination papers. Two of these are language papers (ITB1 and ITB2), and the third is a literature paper (It. 1):
- Paper IT B1: Use of Italian
- Paper IT B2: Translation from Italian and Oral B
- Paper It 1: Texts and Contexts