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Italy’s English problem


Gli italiani hanno un rapporto ambivalente con l’inglese. Da un lato sono quasi tutti convinti che sia necessario impararlo; dall’altro, adottano le strategie sbagliate: troppa grammatica e pochi film in lingua originale. Perché? Cerchiamo di capirlo con l’aiuto di Rob Anderson, ricercatore all’Università di Milano Bicocca. By Mark Worden - LANGUAGE LEVEL C1 (ADVANCED)

Rob Anderson (Standard British/mild North-east accent)

(Studies show that) these kind of second-hand cultural contacts – by that they mean videos, films, books and magazines, as opposed to actually being in an English language-speaking country – if people see them as not necessarily “helping me learn English,” then they will have little or no effect on their English learning. A magazine like Speak Up, for example, which a learner would buy with a specific purpose, will have an impact on their learning because they will see that this is a “second-hand” cultural artifact, but they will recognize that it has an instrumental value in their language learning, and therefore they will respond very positively to that. They won’t generally pick up an English language newspaper, they won’t generally go out of their way to watch an English language film, even though these things are available, because they won’t immediately see the instrumental value in doing so: it needs someone to persuade them that actually that would be a good idea, to watch an English language film, and to drag them probably to the cinema to watch it!

(Rob Anderson was talking to Mark Worden)

The interview continues in the January issue of Speak Up, click here to listen to it.


SPEAK UP EXPLAINS

Second-hand cultural contacts. Qui second-hand non è di seconda mano nel senso di “usato”, bensì nel senso di indiretto. A first-hand cultural contact è un soggiorno in un paese anglofono: a second-hand cultural contact è un film (oppure una rivista, un libro ecc.) in lingua inglese, visto o letto nel proprio paese.

Drag them to the cinema.
La parola drag ha vari significati in inglese. Come verbo significa trascinare, mentre come sostantivo può riferirsi a un tiro (ma solo di una sigaretta: in una battaglia oppure una partita di calcio si dice shot) ma anche a una situazione noiosa. Si dice What a drag! oppure That’s a drag.