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Living in Italy: Tim Parks


Professore universitario e scrittore, Tim Parks è un inglese in Italia da 30 anni. Ama tante cose del nostro paese ma non di certo la burocrazia, ed è piuttosto pessimista riguardo al futuro, soprattutto quello dei giovani. Ecco com’è l’Italia vista da uno straniero.
By Mark Worden LANGUAGE LEVEL C1 (ADVANCED)

Tim Parks (Standard British accent)

My name’s Tim Parks, I’ve been in Italy 30 years. I work here at IULM University in Milan, where I coordinate a degree in... in translation, a postgraduate degree in translation. I also write books, novels, non-fiction as well. I contribute to a couple of... of... of reviews like The New York Review of Books, I sometimes write for Il Sole 24 Ore.

I married an Italian, who I met in the USA, and we went to live in London for a while, and then she was... eager to have a look at Italy again. She’d been out quite a long time and I wasn’t able to find a job that really interested me – I was trying to write novels. It seemed a good idea to come to Italy and... and... and sort of not have other people see me failing here. So I... I... I was here the first years teaching language, as everybody does, and... and writing my books, and... and then doing a lot of translation as well.

There are clearly wonderful things in Italy. I’m... I’m still a great lover of simply being able to walk into a good bar in Milan and get a... a good cappuccino and brioche in two seconds! It’s still a very important matter to me!

The things I like least about Italy are the things that Italians like least about Italy! The... the bureaucratic difficulties we all have here, the general feeling of unfairness we all have here. I... I think in this period it’s becoming particularly upsetting to see the country unable to move forward with... with any serious reform that will get, you know, young people working again... something obviously  – I’ve got grown-up children, I’m here in the university with kids who are finishing their degrees, and we’re very aware of... of what they’re going to be doing afterwards, or not going to be doing. So I think at the moment what... what’s most distressing about Italy is its dysfunctinal public sector, yeah, and... and politicians.

I... I’m not terribly convinced that Italy is going to be able to sort itself out. Italy has a wonderful way of muddling through, but the decline over the last 15, 20 years is pretty... pretty evident, in terms of statistics, and worryingly so. Let me say, I’m a cheerful guy in general, and I hope that things will improve, but... but I see for the moment no... no bright star rising17.

(Tim Parks was talking to Mark Worden)


SPEAK UP EXPLAINS

A postgraduate degree in translation.
Un master in traduzione. In inglese si usa la parola degree per indicare la laurea, mentre a graduate è una persona che si è laureata. Uno studente universitario si chiama undergraduate (letteralmente “sottolaureato”), mentre uno che studia per il Master si chiama postgraduate (letteralmente “postleaureato”). Si chiama anche postgraduate lo studente che prepara il “Ph.D”. Da notare che quasi tutte le università dicono Ph.D (dal latino Philosophiae Doctor). Le eccezioni (almeno in Inghilterra) sono Oxford, York e Sussex, dove si dice D. Phil (Doctor of Philosophy).