Tag Archives: Italy

Waiting for Santa Claus

In the middle of the semester, both me and Sanne were full of essay to write, lessons to attend, books to study. So we arranged the 8th meeting in CampusRavita to have lunch together.

We started with some words in Italian and Dutch about family, speking about our parents, their work, and about our siblings. Then we spoke about food habits. Dutch people usually eat just bread for lunch, so that even universities have no canteen, because everyone brings his own bread from home. They seem not to have  many traditional dishes. The opposit for Italian! Although many of us eat pasta once per day (it’s not unhealty!), each small town has its own traditional recipe, and every single inhabitant will swear that it’s the best recipe you can have with those ingredients, much better than the neighbour town of course. We called this phenomenon “campanilismo” which means that the clock tower of your town is better than all the town close to you. For exmple I love “risotto alla mantovana”, “agnoli in brodo” and “sbrisolona”.

homemade “agnoli alla mantovana”



After all this food we spoke about an amazing tradition in The Netherlands: Santa Claus.  I was really admired because this event has even its own TV program broadcasted every day. Every year while Santa is coming (by boat of course, we are in The Netherlands!) something happens and all the children of the kingdom live the following day waiting for the solution of the problem. Sanne shown me one episode of this national drama, in which the boat was full of water because one of the Santa’s little helpers (Piet) left the sink open…

I think it’s great that a national bradcasting channel can focus the attention of the population on something so related with children. Unfortunately, in Italy it seems that children should grow faster and faster to adapt to the language of television, while it should be exactly the opposite.

Lets’s listen to MUSIC!

After watching movie the last time, for our seventh meeting Sanne and I decided to focus on our music!

I started with one song by many different italian artists, “Domani”. It has been played by those artists in 2009 in order to get founds to sustain people who were suffering for the earthquake of L’Aquila, a very nice city in the middle of Italy. The artists are probably the most important in the italian music panorama (from Jovanotti to Zucchero, from Giorgia to Carmen Consoli). I like a lot some of them and I really dislike some other but in this song I think everybody performed very well. I thought that in this way can have a general view of Italian singers.

Aftere that I asked her wether she already knows any italian singer, and her answer was… YES! Andrea Boccelli! So we listen to a very nice song by him and Giorgia, whose voice is really great (but not as Boccelli’s one of course), “Vivo per lei”

Then we listened to some othere song, by Jovanotti – the first Italian rapper- (“L’ombelico del mondo”), which video is played in the marvellous Palazzo Te in my hometown, Mantova. We finished listening “Ebano” by a band called Modena City Ramblers. I really love this song, which won several prizes by Amnesty international and by the Red Cross, for the gentle touch it has to speak about a very hard topic: immigration and the hope of young people coming from Africa to Italy “in search of new fortunes”.

Sanne made me listening some Dutch songs, they seemed to me quite country music and, surprisingly, they recall to my mind Latino/ south american atmosphere… it was weird!

They also have this particular type of song called “Levenslied“, meaning Song of/about life. I don’t like them very much, they seem to me quite “old style” but it was very interesting.  Of course Dutch has also quite a lot of Dj music and techno (like Tiësto, quite famous it seems) but we didn’t stress about it because we both don’t like this kind of music.

Benvenuti al Sud

For our sixth meeting Sanne and I watched an Italian movie.

I was not sure wich movie could be interesting to see to show the Italian culture. I thought about “La vita e´bella” (Life is beautiful) by Roberto Beningni, very famous and really awesome movie about jewish people in italy during WWII. An other idea was “La grande bellezza” (The Great Beuty) by Paolo Sorrentino, winner of the Best Foreign Language Film Award in  2014.

But at the end we decided to watch something “easier” and our choice was  “Benvenuti al Sud” (Welcome to the South) by Luca Miniero, with as a main actor Claudio Bisio. it is an adaptation of the French comedy Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis.The Italian version underlines in a very comic way some of the most spread stereotypes about Northern and Southern Italian. SAnne already saw the French movie, but she told me she want to see the Italian one as well because she really enjoyed it.

Cultural gap

For our fifth meeting Sanne and I choose to focus about the cultural aspect of our countries.

Firstly I used an Italian political map to quickly surf on the Peninsula, saying the name of each region and some brief note about people who live there and main cities. Everybody knows Rome for the Coliseum and Milan for fashion but there are many other things in Lombardy and Lazio which are much better!

I realize that I was quite proud for all the cultures we have in Italy, they surely are our richness 🙂

Then I show Sanne (twice) a nice video about an italian city: Matera. this city will be the 2019 European Capital of Culture (together with Plovdiv, Bulgary). We stopped the video several times to underline typical elements of italian ordinary life.

For the Dutch part of our meeting Sanne show me some “funny facts” about people in The Netherlands. You can find a complete, very funny list here: http://stuffdutchpeoplelike.com/

We also speak about the Royal Family and the Soccer Teams. Sanne was a soccerplayer when she was little, but she is still very enthusiastic!

Sorruounded by Dutch in a Finnish closed market

Have you ever been to the Tampereen Kauppahalli? Go there! It’s a  very nice place in the city center.

Here you can find a lot of goods, from high quality foods, shoes, to souvenirs and a lot of affordable cafè (in some of there kahvi costs only 1 euro!).

I had my fourth EOTO meeting with Sanne, but this time there was something special (apart from the different setting): there were two Sanne’s friends, Rianne and Lieke, who were visiting her from the Netherland, so this time I had 3 teachers, great!

We spoke a lot about their hometown and the they taught me some words to improve my poor vocabulary. In particular I learnt brother (broer) and sister (zus) and different ways to create the diminutive form of a word ( adding -je, -tje, -mpje, -pje, -itje). Maybe it could be a secondary aspect of a language but… everything has started from a discussion about the size of the cup of coffe we were drinking in this very cosy place, protected against the cold wond outside.

When it was my turn of teaching I stressed on useful terms for a turist in Italy. It’s definitely better to know those words because often Italian peole don’t speak nor understand English at all. So we spoke about church (chiesa), sea (mare) , main square (piazza centrale), street (via or strada) museum (museo), hill (collina), mountain (montagna), lake (lago), dinner (cena), lunch (pranzo), breakfast (colazione), restaurant (ristorante), hotel (albergo, or hotel as well) and so on…

I think it was not too boring for our guests, they seemed quite interested and they helped Sanne to teach me as well. And remember to go to kauppahalli!

Carlo Soregotti




Practising verbs

For the third time I met Sanne in Tamk, and we try to improve our grammars knoledges teaching each other something about the most important part of any sentence: the verb!

The first thing was to learn how to say personal pronouns. we started from Dutch, but here I will report also the italian version all together to make it more clear.

I                               ik                                                        io

you                         je / jij / u (formal version)       tu

he/ she / it           hij / zij / het                                  lui / lei / egli (generic, no neutral form)

we                           wij / we                                           noi

you                         jullie                                                 voi

they                        zij                                                      essi / loro

While I was teaching the Italian forms to Sanne I suddenly realized that in formal situation we can use both “lei” (3rd person female), “voi” (2nd pers. plur.) or “loro” (3rd pers. plur.). This varies according to wrhich region of the Italian speaker belongs to, the standard version is the use of “lei”.If the person is very important (and a little bit arrogant maybe) can even use pluralis maiestatis (latin expression) to refer to himself!

The we moved to verbs. Dutch has only one scheme for the conjugation of the verbs (and quite easy for me actually), in which the first person is the root of the verb, second and third persons singular add -t and all the plural forms add -en. I learnt also the main verbs to be (zijn) and to have (hebben).

Unfortunately for Sanne the conjugation of italian verbs is much more complicated. It has 3 different schemes according to the termination of the infinitive form of the verb, and every form is different from the others. So there are many differences between to love (amare), to believe (credere) and to hear (sentire) The verbs to be (essere) and to have (avere) are so irregular that they need their schemes. Poor Sanne!

Carlo Soregotti

Dutch and Italian basis: letters and numbers

The second time me and Sanne met in the campus. We found a very small room in building H for only two-three people, so we were fery focused!

This time we learnt some grammar rules, starting from the Dutch alphabet… It’s crazy! at the beginning it was quite easy, not too different from the German ones but then the problems begin: they have a lot of diphthongs (couple of vowels in which the tongue moves from one position to another) and sometimes two vowels must sound completely different from their original sound when they are alone.

In particular the couples ij and ei have the same sound but the second is longer, ee sounds /ei/, ui is /au/ and eu /öu/ .

I still have to practise a lot before to be able to manage those weird sounds and changings!

the following step was to learn numbers from 1 to 20 (oops! Sanne told me that they almost use the letteral form to express numbers so: from een to twintig). They are not too difficult, quite similar to German, and I had some problems only with the number five (vijf sounds /veif/) and nine (negen, ’cause I still have problem with the sound of the letter “g”).

We skipped to Italian, which alphabet is probably easier (and shorter: letters j, k, w, x, y are not formally part of our alphabet and they appear only in some foreigner words, like koala, wurtsel, yoghurt). Sanne was really good in spelling and she was always able to spell correctly any words. I have a really good student!

On the contrary to count in Italian is quite harder. While numbers from 1 to 10 (we use arabic numerals more the letteral forms) are somehow similar to Spanish and French, numbers from 11 to 20 and over are full of irregular forms and many consonant shifts. For example 4 is quattro, but 14 is quattordici; 7 is sette” and 17 is diciassette. Poor Sanne! I never realized how difficult can be counting in Italian!

This lesson was quite hard but very useful!

Carlo Soregotti

First: Dutch-Italian lunch in a Finnish ravintola!

Me and Sanne had our first Dutch-Italian lesson in the canteen of our campus (Campusravita). According to our preliminary plan we tried to start from the basic things of our languages… and we discovered how hard it is to go step by step! Every time we were skipping to more difficult grammar rules and words and then we realized that we were going too fast. It is indeed that the more you learn, the more you desire to know. In this quite messy (but very funny) way I learnt some words (mostly related to the food we were eating at that time). Dutch determinative articles and I tried for the first time in my life the sound of the Dutch “g” which is very complicated and sounds very weird! in my notebook I wrote it as /chr/ to memorize how to say it! So:

  • Articles:  De or Het… every word has it’s own sepcific article but there no other rule to decide which one you have to choose!
  • Wortel = carota (carrot);
  • Brood = pane (bread)
  • Vork = forchetta (fork)
  • Bord = piatto (plate)
  • Twee = due (two)
  • Schnitzel = cotoletta (cutlet)
  • Water = acqua (water)
  • Salade = insalata (salad)
  • Aardappel = patata (potato)
  • Stoel = sedia (chair)
  • Bloem = fiore (flower)
  • Melk = latte (milk)

Carlo Soregotti

Several Italian-Dutch lessons all together!

Hey everybody!

I’m Carlo Soregotti, an Italian student of Social Work, here in Tampere as an Erasmus+ exchange student.

During these months here in Finland I have been experienced a new language ( a part of Finnish of course): Dutch!

My EOTO partner is Sanne Klapwijk, from the Netherlands and we really enjoyed our lessons during which we compared our languages and customs, cultures and hobbies. We have always been practising both languages throughout our lessons.

Luckily we are quite advantaged, both me and Sanne speak English (she speaks much better than me but I’m Italian, so probably it’s normal 🙂 ), but  she also speaks very good French Spanish and German, while I can speak German as well and I can easily uderstand Spanish and French.

Unfortunately, due to our busy lives we both were not able to write on this blog every time so now I will make up for those be-lated posts to show what we have been learning until today.

Carlo Soreogtti