Friday, 27 May 2011

So I'm finally beginning to tackle the subjunctive, it has been a while...

So what is the subjunctive? To put it simply, it is a verb tense which suggests a certain degree of uncertainty. In English, it's very rarely used. We have 'be it' but use it rarely. A common use of the subjunctive in English is 'If I were you'. This exists in Italian, 'se fossi in te'. 'Fossi' may strike those, like myself until recently, as a surprise. Why not 'Se ero in te'? Because Romance language like Italian like to keep this tense very much alive. Unfortunately for English speakers, it means another set of verb conjugations to learn if we don't wish to sound like a moron.

So when to use the subjunctive? I have already mentioned uncertainty, but what context infers uncertainty? For starters, phrases which begin like this probably call for the subjunctive:-

Credo che... (I believe that...)
Suppongo che... (I suppose that...)
Immagino che... ( i imagine that..)
E' Neccesario che... (it's neccesary that...)
Non vale la pena che... (it's not worth it that...)
Penso che... (I think that...)

Can you see that all of these are slightly dubious phrases? It can express hope, fear, possibility. Penso che sia buono. (I think that it's good). It is very easy to get it wrong and think it could be used in place of the conditional. It can never be used to convey the same meaning as the conditional. Penso che sarebbe buono. (I think that it would be good).

There are also some linking words which are never present unless attached to a subjunctive verb, such as malgrado, nonostante, sebbene (despite/although).

Starting with regularities, it always makes you (and to be honest, myself) feel more confident.

ARE verbs

Example: Parlare

Io- parli

So as to retain knowledge and not just replace every acquired tense with a new one, I find it most useful to compare the different tenses continuously. The rule for imperative verbs for example, requires a slightly opposite approach:-

Whilst with the subjunctive -ARE becomes I, with the imperative ARE is also an exception to the rule, as the informal and formal forms of the verb mix up, i.e. LEI conjugations become TU and vice versa. So instead of the way we'd address a professor in a statement-> Parla lentamente prof! (you speak slowy=statement) we say Parli lentamente prof! (speak slowly! imperative!). In the opposite case, if making a statement to a friend->Parli lentamente. (you speak slowly) --->becomes> Parla lentamente! If using an IRE or ERE verb which is irregular when imperative, thankfully it does not do this and maintains the normal method of conjugation, though obviously with more intonation E.g. Rimani con me (you remain/stay with me). Rimani con me! (stay with me!).

The three endings are so much easier when they stay the same, though it would seem for many tenses they like to part ways, even when conjugated regularly. Take the future and conditional tenses. Whilst -ARE and -ERE take an E before each ending such as Prenderò (Prendere, future first person singular), Lascerò (Lasciare, future first personal singular) whilst here -IRE decides to be the stubborn non-conformist one: Partirò (Partire, future first person singular). In past perfect tense -ERE gets a turn to be oh so rebellious, Credere (ho creduto) whilst -ARE and -IRE verbs are usually predictable: Sono andato (Past perfect, andare) and Sono uscito (past perfect, uscire). Naughty endings! Conform!

Back to the subjunctive, we can see that for the first three singular forms of the -ARE verbs take an i at the end if regular. Now let's take a look at -ERE and -IRE.


Noi-Crediamo (at least NOI and VOI know the subjunctive law!)

Example-Pulire (keep in mind that this is one of those verbs, like finire and capire which takes on SC... It keeps it with the subjunctive but keeps to the subjunctive rule)


Right, I shall start on irregular subjunctive tomorrow!

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Michel Thomas method

So desperately in need of reviving my long dead French, I headed to the local library to pick up some beginners level books and audio CDS, and by luck came across the 'Michel Thomas method', a two hour audio CD which loudly proclaims on the box 'No memorising, no writing, no reading'. For someone who loves grammar, this did not sound so appealing, even if the 'no memorising' was tempting, beside a little unbelievable. After all, learning involves memorising things, right? I have heard good things about this course and have been recommended it by various forums, even if I was a little sceptical. Whatever the outcome, I appreciated that any spoken French would be invaluable in building a strong foundation for listening and speaking skills, two of the hardest skills for new linguists.

So what makes this distinct from other methods? Michel Thomas is a polygot originally from Poland, who lived in France, Germany and the United States. He continuously emphasises his main selling point: 'there is no such thing as a bad student, only a bad teacher'. True I guess, even if some students do make teaching difficult! Initially, Thomas talks through the basics using repetition as a means to make us learn. There are two students, a female and a male whom he asks to repeat certain words, and gradually he asks them to construct larger more complex sentences, whilst instructing them on every occasion 'stop trying to remember!'. The students are (most likely purposefully) quite atrocious, the man pronounces the more soft mangER with a strong, very intrusive AY sound, like in the English word SAY. The lady did not seem to be able to grasp the difference between AVEZ vous and AVEC. This deliberately atrocious French was however an intelligent and well considered device, by hearing many errors in comparison to the correct French of Michel Thomas, I am sure ANYONE would be able to say the words as they are supposed to sound.

Another positive aspect to this method, the teacher is constantly very calm and assuring. In the first five minutes, he speaks of a French writer who came to England and read an English book. The writer was surprised to see so many 'French words' and announced that English was just French incorrectly pronounced. Thomas then adds that it's no surprise, given that at least 60% of our vocabulary is from French (due to the Norman conquest, no?), meaning that we already know many French words. Of course, this is a rule which is invaluable to a linguist, and means we need not learn everyone of these similar words individually, we just need to know the rule. This applies to all the romance languages. E.g. English: Station French:station (with a different pronunciation). Italian: Stazione. English: Philosophy. French:la philosophie Italian: la filosofia. This I can imagine would make the learning process a lot less daunting to complete beginners, or those scared of long long vocabulary lists (Vocabulary, Vocabolario, Vocabulaire).

Without directly explaining grammatical rules as being grammatical rules, he manages to make them concrete in your mind. After an hour (more like half an hour given the amount of jokes and gaps) you do feel like you could construct a few useful sentences. You also feel able to conjugate the simple verbs 'faire', 'venir', 'manger', 'passer', 'vouloir', 'savoir', use masculine and feminine definite and indefinite articles and construct positive and negative sentences. Pretty good, considering that it felt effortless and really, I didn't feel as if I tried to memorise the words. It was very relaxed and thus an comfortable learning atmosphere. I would however suggest that for a speedy learner this pace would be too slow, even if I thought the two slow students helped in the learning process; the more errors they made the more concrete the correct construction became. Another slightly negative aspect, though a very good teacher, Michel Thomas' English pronunciation was not optimum, and thus I worry slightly for his French. That said, he is teaching the basic and at least saying the words as they should be said, in terms of the phonetic pronunciation. The real strength of this method is the gradual construction of sentences, without being thrown into the deep end with too much grammar to keep up with at square one. For a beginner, it provides a useful and informative way of getting to grips with the rules of the French language. I look forward to trying out a slightly higher level Italian programme as well, besides also testing the pimsleur method, another much raved about language learning programme.

If you are interested, take a wee look here:

Given the price, I would not pay for it as there as so many free resources out there, but every library I have been to seems to have a copy. Think of all the time you could spend wasting time in traffic when you could be learning a language!

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

So my language learning is going well, though it does not yet seem likely to reach my goals by the end of the summer, so need to get a move on. Due to the inconsistencies of French pronunciation, I have put considerable effort into listening to French on Youtube, CDs and music with subtitles in order to get a clearer idea of how to pronounce words. As for Italian, I'm trying to read some books and I have a new idea to try and write a diary in Italian AND French every day. I can never start making errors in the latter until I actually try and write something, even if I barely know any verbs! It will be a good method to acquire some vocabulary. Of course, the French 'diary' will begin with basic phrases, hopefully some day I will instead write about philosophical thoughts, gossip and be able to express myself, even if through a less expressive medium.

One week til Rome, three months in Italy and just over two weeks in France; I'm so unbelievably hyper, titillated one might say! It has been so cold here in the past week; I continuously shiver and reynaulds has effected me in a harsh manner, the climate has been inconsistent and by and large, unsympathetic. I am sure the 'zanzare' will feel in an equally charitable mood when I set foot in Italia very soon... That is to say, IF I do. Edinburgh airport is closed thanks to another large gust of volcanic ash blown over from Iceland. BE OPEN next week.

Aside from holidays and languages, I watched a film today entitled NEDS. The film takes place in some dodgy suburb in Glasgow, where a bunch of NEDS get involved in gang crime. It is a film which really shows to the audience scenes of social realism, stabbings, alcoholism and drug abuse. It also conjures up the atmosphere of a place that seems so full of hopelessness, we could associate with the french idea of enui. To those who do not know what a NED is, I suppose the closest equivalent I am familiar with is the chav. NED stands for 'non educated delinquent', obviously a derogative term for those in lower classes who never had access to a proper education, or just became involved in rebellious activities and gang culture. Despite having said that the film tackles a high degree of social realism, I feel very much that it highlighted the wrong motives as to why someone would take up a life like this. Though coming out with some scenes of extreme brutality, it was somewhat unbelievable that the protagonist became entangled and so engrossed in this lifestyle.

That said, go see it. If you are not an English mother tongue (or even if you are...), you are likely to encounter some difficulties understanding the thick Glaswegian accent which is in just about every other scene. This is a reason for which I would compare NEDs with Gomorrah. Also, like Gomorrah, NEDs is not really a film one would watch for pleasure. Rather, it is a film we are compelled to watch through curiosity, with hope of a real but safe glimpse into another social context.

Ora un po' di pratica...Maintenant un peu de pratique.

Cher lecteur,

ça va? ça va très bien, merci. Je m'appelle Elizabeth, e toi? Comment tu t'appelles? Qui est ta mère? Ceci est ma mère. Elle s'appelle Jacqueline. Ceci est mon père. Il s'appelle Jonathan. Mon amie s'appelle Klara, tandis mon ami s'appelle Roberto. Qui sont'ils? Sont mes frères, ils s'appellent Mark et Craig. Sont de Payes de Galles. Je suis anglais, signifie que je suis de l'Angleterre. J'ai dixneuf ans. Tu as quel âges? Qu'est ce que c'est chose en anglais ou italienne? A thing o una cosa. Aujourd'hui, je fais mes devoirs per les langues français et italienne. Je ne suis pas allè à l'université parce que elle est fermé.

C'est un chien, comme en italienne, le mot est masculin. Cependant, le mot 'mot' est masculin en français (un mot), à moin que en italienne, ou est un mot femelle (una parola).

Quel dommage que les mots ne sont pas le mêmes! Infatti, sarebbe molto più facile per noi! Communque, penso che dopo tre mesi, poterò fare qualche frase semplice, ma con una grammatica corretta. Penso che la conoscenza della lingua italiana (anche se molto limitata) e il fatto che studiavo il francese quando ero più giovane mi aiuteranno. Ho molto tempo comunque, e posso divertirlo con i film, la musica (questa mattina ho cantato 'la complainte de la butte' in francese, ma anche 'scale e arpeggi' dagli aristogatti in italiano, sembra decisamente come un buon modo da imparare una lingua).

à bientôt!
Ciao, mon petit chou! SI AMO questa espressione =)

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

One more day of doom and gloom, a morning of suspense and anticipation and probably two more sleepless nights...

Then I will be free. Strange concept, freedom, and four months of it. I seriously can't wait for this to be over!! In one day I've made an attempt to cover the renaissance period and about 800 years of Islam! Whilst ensuring I'm keeping in my head for information for early medieval and Netherlandish. It's crazy.

Still, studying certain aspects is making me excited for studying them in my own time, avoiding the boring bits and skipping to the best bits. Fresh on Roman, medieval, and baroque history will certainly allow me a slightly more knowledgeable trip to Italy this summer, Florence and in the North. That said, I can't imagine myself ever taking the role of a pretentious art historian, explaining to people about the personification of justice, the attributes of tridents or the much debated theories of symbolism. If I know a fact sure I'll comment on it if asked, but why intellectually masturbate yourself for the sake of it? Yes after studying history of art, I've grown to realise how much bull*** goes into history of art, well, I knew it anyway but having not studied it would have been called ignorant. To say that is only for a very, umm...elite circle.

I can't wait to start learning French and have the time to better my Italian, foreign films, books, a bit of Wikipedia. To sleep in late without guilt will be a nice experience. I'm going to bake some bread so good that it will probably break my mum's diet (not difficult I confess), watch doctor who and enjoy reading a very inconsequential novel. Very good motivation indeed.

Bring on the day after tomorrow (here we should adopt an Italian word, dopodomani, it would save precious time, unlike I'm doing here).

Anyway, off to bed to do yet more cramming.
I look forward to a peaceful night of sleep, I really really do. If you can sleep well at the moment, you're very very lucky. Count yourself lucky.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Potential essay questions

Yes, another return to accademia. To those who have long ago stopped reading and who are returning for a glimpse, or if you are on the brink of leaving, please, stop! Exams finish 20/5/11, so from then I will be back to reviewing, rambling, talking about languages, travels, showing you photos of things from my personal world.

For now, I want to discuss and consider potential themes for essay topics, not including those which have already been integral to essay questions. I'm also ditching Chinese art and Baroque, not for the key image study, but instead for the in depth lecture learning. Chinese, not because I don't find the work beautiful but because I thought the lectures were disorganised and I feel I too much lack the background to study it, including aspects of Chinese philosophy, religion, ideology. Baroque because, with some exceptions, I find it not to my taste. Thus I will be studying in depth Early Christian, Islamic, Netherlandish and Italian renaissance.

Potential themes.

Semester 1.

Early Christian

The development of the artist

Nicola Pisano. Classical virtues in Pisa baptisery, inscription tells us artist appreciated himself as a highly skillful artist.

Giovanni Pisano. Son of Nicola Pisano. Also inscribed works refers to himself as the best artist that had ever been, that would ever be.

Also signs of artist recognition-Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome.

Renewed Interest in antiquity, triumpth of the old over the new, bringing forth a new cultural identity whilst preserving the past, continuity. Also other themes including church authority.

5th century Jerome, interest in restoring antiquity.

-Increase of pagan elite, converting to christianity. Church gains more riches and capital.
-Casa dei Crescenzi, by Nicola Crescenzi. Spolia, for house.
-313-edict of Constantine. Tolerance toward christianity throughout empire.
-Major church building phase, Constantine builds St John the lateran, the basilica of Constantine, old st Peters. 4th century. Spolia used in buildings.
-Arch of Constantine-models himself upon better considered emperors Hadrian, Marcus Aurelius and Trajan. Use of spolia, continuity and yet triumpth of Christianity over past.
-figural representatives and Christ and related figures appear e.g. Mosaic of Santa Pudenziana late 4th century (site of previous 2nd century house of Pius), sarcophagus of Junius Bassus (baptised on death bed, Roman elite who died Christian-relief suggests triumph of christianity over paganism, christ being held up by Caelus, god of the heavens).
-Late 4th century, Paganism banned. Conversion forced, cryptopagans existance likely. Christianity made official religion
-Under Theodosius, christianity made state religion, last ruler to rule over eastern and western halves of empire.
-6th century Goth raids in Rome, emperors instead in Ravenna and Constantinople. To Christians-sign of sins and too much tolerance of paganism.
-incoporated pagan symbols, void of meaning.
-6th century Justinian, byzantine Ravenna-Maximian added Justinian panels, empress theodora opposite.
-Sant'Appolinare-Theodoric 6th century Ravenna.
-darker hughs, more solemn time? Repenting for sins of the past. Pope became a more prominant figure, sign of hope and redemption. Santa Cosma e damiano, Pope Felix IV. Donated portion of temple of peace and library to Pope. Depicted as a favour.
-Parousia, common and popular theme, repeated centuries later 9th century Santa Prassede also in Rome. Now Pope has a square halo, connecting him to earth=mediator. Representing the people. Pope Paschal I.
-Common theme, also same composition at Santa Cecilia in Trastevere. Both these 9th century mosaics use Spolia, as told to use by Titelus.
-Portunus temple 9th century and pantheon (now st Mary and martyrs, previously Julius Caesar) 7th century-rededication.
-pagan elements still used, though lifelike depiction replaced with need to evoke the immaterial. Flat images, encrusted with jewels, evoking bible to the illiterate. Other worldly.

Theodoric king of the Ostrogoths-pillaged spolia from Rome, took it to Ravenna. Sant'apollinare.

Charlemagne 8th-9th century -Carolingian king, King of the franks. Augustine coin. Bronze statuette, similar to 2nd century Marcus Aurelius statue. Globe, world domination. Given pallium, depicted with it in lateran by Pope Leo III. 800, declared holy Roman emperor. Pillaged spolia from Ravenna and from for his palace chapel at Aachen. Lorsch abbey, capitals similar to those in time of Septimus severus, 3rd century. Aachen, bronze door, door knob reminiscent of bronze Etruscan she wolf. Main shape of dome based on San Vitale.
Period also known as the carolingian renaissance.
-Einhard-biographer of Charlemagne, also artist. Base of a cross, triumphal arch sketch but replacing idea of emperor with ideology of christian empire.
-major period of translation of old texts
-Same aspirations. Testiment to greatness of roman empire, that so many intellectuals during the middle ages wanted to emulate it.

11th century so called lothar cross of emperor Otto 3rd
Spolia, cameo of Augustus (with eagle) and intralgio of Lothar.
-eagle and augustus retranslated to mean christ. Amathysts, emeraulds, saphires, spolia from previous empires. Succession of a whole over componant parts. Cross, as described by Constantine. Jewell encrusted.
-at aachen

12th century Casa dei Cascenze
Spolia, house in Rome built near ruins.

12th century
eagle vase of abbot Suger of st Denis.
-Porphyry amphora from ancient Egypt or Rome.
-wings, head and claws of an eagle added-gold-revelations-celestial city built of gold and jewels. Evokes Christ.
-Purple or porphyry used to be considered an imperial colour to Romans.
-Now blood of Christ?
-Eagle-empire, set free during apotheosis of a well considered emperor.
-Now eagle=Christ-thus Christian empire.

Ambrogio Lorenzetti-13th century.
Allegory of a good government.
Civic scene, fresco, classifying images and drapery.
-roman civic position-again testiment to continuity, civilisation based upon Ancient Rome.
-Christianised, angels.
-promising securitas, this is what you'll get if you're faithful and good citizens.
Frescos popular in Siena.

Nicola Pisano
baptisery, Piso pulpit.
Clasical virtues. Marriage of gothic and classical. International gothic arches, classifying image of fortitude. Inspired Michelangelo's David, Bacchus in 16th century.
-inscribed work, appreciation of skill.
-his son giovanni also inscribed a work 'highly skillful' no mention to artistic creativity or personality.

Frederick II-Coin in style of Augustus, Cappuan gates, statue of self, likeness to 1st century statues of Jupiter. Busts-immortality. Castel del monte-classical and contemporary influences-sought eastern influence. 13 century king of sicily, crowned as holy Roman emperor.

Next to plan...


Artist as an individual

Increasing naturalism-the importance of sight

Albrecht Durer

The Ghent Alterpiece

Patronage, courtly, private, personal.

Symbolism, attributes, personification

Society, heraldry, women in society, position of artist and patron in society.

Identifying artists.


A case study on Michelangelo or Leonardo. Cult of personality, fame.


Again, women's position in society. Not likely though as there was an essay based on society.

The human body, ignudi, images evoking spirituality such as Giovanni Busi's a portrait of a woman in the guise of st agatha 16th century. venus-venus or urbino and birth of venus, and a need to enforce social ideal that women should be obedient and chaste.

Christianity VS classics... what was acceptable? what was considered too much? Nudity, in a classical and then in a domestic context.

Material culture...

This section is too ecclectic too really define a subject for the exam. Hmpth.


Multicultural influences



Islam disapproves of human or animal representation in a religious context. Qur'ans are never illustrated; the ultimate artistic expression is to be found in sacred calligraphy and illumination, such as in the magnificent 'carpet pages' of the royal Qur'ans.

However, the image of the Prophet's ascension to heaven is often depicted in religious Islamic painting, particularly in Persian manuscripts. It is also often found in secular literature, as in this manuscript of the poems of the celebrated Persian poet Nizami.

According to tradition, the face of the Prophet Muhammad has been whitened out.

Friday, 13 May 2011

It's just when you're about to leave a place for a bit that you realise how much you appreciate it. Oh so damn cliche', but it's true. When I left the south west I wasn't sorry, I had too many bad associations with it. Now that I'm about to leave for an almost four month summer away from this city, I've realised how much I'll miss it. Though I may have exams at the moment and be stressed beyond belief, yesterday after some last day revision for the Roman World, I decided to take a walk.

It was sunny, a week of hardcore study, I was certainly deserved. After curving my way through the discovery centre, strolling path Hollyrood palace I continued to ascend the Salisbury crags. With a panoramic view of the city, my mind was temporarily taken away from my anxious head space. Spanish tourists stood holding onto the crags to prevent themselves being blown away, whilst look mesmerised by the view before them. That kind of face expression which defined my emotion as I arrived in the amazon rainforest, saw fireflies and stars in Kerala, or looked out over the vast emptiness of death valley. As I proceeded along the narrow walkway, feeling as though I might have blown away at any moment, I thought to myself, 'I am really lucky, to be here'. At the furthest edge of the crag I looked down, at that point feeling a tremendous sense of vertigo (occasionally clinging to tough deep rooted weeds when a massive gust of wind passed my way!), and saw my future home.

Yes, I have a flat for next year, and I forgot to mention it. It's a comfortable flat, pine wooden flooring, two double bedrooms, kitchen, bathroom, large enough living room. The balcony is the real thing that sealed the deal. There is the most astounding view in Edinburgh, I'm sure, a colourful composition including Arthurs seat and Salisbury crags. My dad will also be relieved, there is a lift! The only issue is the distance from the city, I will undoubtedly need a bike next year. I suppose my new shopping centre will also be morningside, which suits me better anyway, I will just have to avoid spending money on food!

So in a week's time I'll be free. That's an exciting thought, yet disturbing at the same time. Learning has become such an ecstatic pleasure for me, I don't want to stop. But I won't, I have 4 months, for almost two of those months I'll be in enrolled in summer schools to learn French and Italian in Florence and Antibes. Besides travelling and spending precious time with my anima gemella, I will be most certainly reading and studying of my own accord, beside seeing some of the things I have studied this year. Childish as it may seem, I strongly associate my spontaneous and half-thought-out trip to Athens with the the great tours of members of the Roman elite, such as Nero and Hadrian. I feel I am returning to this continent after a while of neglecting it, and need to sharpen up on my culture.

Dieci cose che faro' quando saro' libera.

1. Get started with learning French

2. Concentrate more on Italian. I have been too distracted by history of art.

3. Read books for next year. Okay this isn't really appearing to be a list of freedom, but I will read books for pleasure as well.

4. Get ready for the summer, have a week in Rome, racing around seeing as much as possible, this time visiting Tivoli and Ostia Antica. Do the same in Greece, but in a slightly more Hellenistic manner... Speak Italian with as many people as possible.

5. Try out some amateur theatre company in Florence, if there's anything going on when I'm there.

6. Have a day in pyjamas, eating cake, drinking coffee, reading novels, watching foreign films. All without necessity.

7. Try and bake some Italian foccacia bread, that type which they sell in Italy covered with salt and rosemary, which NEVER seems to come that way here, even in the best of shops.

8. Spend a lot of time on wikipedia, playing pokemon in Italian and not really understanding what moves I am making until it's too late.

9. Catch up on the doctor who series I'll have missed, I'll ask dad to mail the series to Italy, even if that does mean inflicting it upon Roberto...

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Sono scesa alla stazione ferroviaria vicino a princes street. La donna era li', sul margine della piattaforma, vestita in modo elegante, il pallone mostrato che lei ha vinto la competizione, e non ero sorpresa...

Ho sopravvissuta il soggiorno da mia nonna! Sono invincibile!

Ti piace il corpo nudo? Si, perche' no?
Poi, la donna ha togliato tutti dei vestiti.

Ho buttato un sasso, si e' approdato sulla testa della mia insegnante, l'ho uccisa.

Ho bisogno di una spada. Te lo comprata, non ne servi? Si ne servo, ma voglio una spada piu' grande e uno punto piu' nitide.

Mi sento indifesa. Non posso controllare niente della mia vita.

Ti piace giocare a pallavolo? Non davvero, preferisco fare l'equistrazione o il pattinaggio.

MERDA! Ti sei dimenticato di portare i passaporti?? No, sono qui, non preoccuparti. Che sollievo!!!

Il prato e' molto scarico, perfetto per construire un grattacielo.

Puoi passarmi il cavo? Si, certo, eccolo.

Mi stufo. Ho perso la gara, una ragazza mi ha sorpassata durante gli ultimi due minuti.

Il percorso/sentiero per raggiungere l'illimunazione e' probabilmente, piuttosto di preghiera, ad essere simpatico, onesto, gentile, perdonando, saggio.

La fiabia si svogle nell'epoca medievale, un castello in un posto remoto tra le colli in germania. La principessa fu maledetto a dormire semrpe, fino a quando un bacio vero ha rotto l'incantesimo.

Ennesimo- si toglia la parte della parola 'Enne' e si mette invece- Centesimo. Significa 'th' in inglese, come quando si dice 100th. Centesimo vuol dire 100th. Millesimo vuol dire, naturalmente, 1000th. Millionesimo.... Indovina? Non e' molto difficile. Decimo, 10th. Ventesimo. 20th. Trentesimo. Quarantesimo. Cinquantesimo. Sessantesimo. settantesimo. Ottantesimo. Novantesimo.

Come vai all'universita? Vado normalmente a piedi, ma quando ero piu' giovane, vivevo in campagna, e cosi' dovevo andare a scuola in macchina.

E' un grande successo! Come lo sai? Non hai letto le recensioni??? Dicono che il regista e' molto portato, la recitazione era superba, specialmente il protagonista che recita Julietta, e la orchestra ha ricevuto una standing ovation!

La trama si svogle/e' ambientata nel 1910 a londra e nella foresta amazzonica. Le descrizioni dei posto sono bellissime, e per tutta la vita ho voluto andare nei posti del romanzo. Quindi, l'estate scorsa, ci sono stata per quasi tre mesi. E' stata' un'esperienza meravigliosa!

Ogni volta che mi dici lo scherzo, mi metto a ridere.

Seneca ha scritto l'Apocolocyntosis di Claudio perche' Claudio ha mandato in esilio Seneca. L'apocolyocyntosis e' probabilmente una satira di l'apotheosis.

Quando la cinema da' l'ultimo film di harry potter? Il tredicesimo Luglio.

Puoi cucire? No... Ma posso fare un tentativo...

Le rovine di Roma sono scavata, ma c'e' molto di piu' che deve essere trovato.

C'e' una diceria da Suetonius che Claudius ha nascosto dietro una tenda. Ma e' probabilmente solo una diceria. Suetonius e' qualche volta utile, ma era un pettegola propria.

Non l'ho fatto! Ti giuro! Quello era svelto, non ti ho ancoraa accusato.

Non si preoccupo molto per apple, ma vuole comunque un ipad perche' ama i congegni nuovi.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Wonderful things in Edinburgh

So when I was admitted to the university, I had all these big ideas at to what I'd do when I came here: go to Portabello beach, take a day trip out to Melrose abbey, hang out on the royal mile and have picnics in the botanical gardens, take regular ryanair trips to Paris, Rome, Prague etc. So I didn't do that... However, I have had an incredible year...

1. Sometimes when I've had something of major importance to do, and I MUST stay in to do it, i.e. write an essay, the more appealing option on a sunny day has been to discover a new part of the city. In one particularly wonderful day I walked down through new town, past queensferry and through the impressive crescents, discovered both the national gallery of modern art and the french institute. The walk includes a tranquil footpath along the river. Another day I continued walking until I discovered the trendy suburb of Stockbridge, which is completely like another town, really beautiful buildings, the river, and my favourite patisserie in town, patisserie madeleine. Salted caramel and apple torte, very small but satisfying. To ease the essay pressure, I also used the opportunity to get a hair cut.

2. Aimless wondering, then discovering something interesting, yes this is kind of like the first, but I was amazed when I first ventured through the meadows to discover bruntsfield, marchmont and morningside. It's making me realise, I desperately need a bike.

3. Being in a cosmopolitan town is awesome. I walk down the street and so often hear a multitude of different accents and languages. Sometimes, I must admit, I discretely stalk Italians so I can listen to their conversation, not to be nosy, to learn! :P The Italian and French institutes are also really useful resources, with fully stocked libraries and language lessons on offer, besides ongoing cultural events.

4. Usher hall. Since I discovered the free voucher which allows students tickets anywhere in the theatre for £5, I have been a regular. The acoustics are amazing, and the touring orchestras are usually top notch. Festival theatre was also a great surprise, unlike usher hall the exterior is very modern, though when I went in I discovered a preserved theatre hall, and stay there for around four hours to watch the marriage of Figaro. Next year I will definitely take advantage of this place.

5. Farmers market breakfasts. I might as well say Falko breakfasts, as that is the only stall I buy from. Falko is actually a German bakery over in Bruntsfield, they have been reknowned as the best bakery in Edinburgh, for their fine yeasty breads, prestals, sacher torte and enticing range in the patisserie. I have only once been to the caffe', as it's a little expensive. My parents and I had breakfast there on my dad's birthday. Needless to say he, like many, loved the cinnamon swirl and the freshly ground coffee. It's probably one of the best pastries available. Beside the taste, what I like most about this place is the freshness, the fact that the cakes weren't made via a mass production line, but rather handmade, and with local ingredients.

6. The jazz bar. Now I seldom go out to bars or pubs, but this place is rather special. The prices are extortionate, but the atmosphere cannot be beaten. The small stage is underground and the entrance fee is about £4 for students, slightly more for those without concessions. The Jazz musicians make this place feel like a step into the past. Darkness, jazz music, tables in close vicinity to one another so you can make small talk. It's more like an informal concert hall than a gig, there is no one wildly dancing or standing up clapping. The wine list is extensive, though for me it's more of a place to have Pimms.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Yes, I guess that's how I learn languages, almost mindless repetition alongside many italian films with italian subtitles, easy reads and speaking to as many natives as I can find. This summer I'll be making things even more practical in both Italian, as an intermediate I guess, and as a beginner in French (i won't lie, I forgot more or less everything).

My plan is to start studying from the day the day I finish exams. 2 hours Italian, 2 hours french a day. I will use livemocha to get myself to a basic level and to assist in learning the proper accent, whilst reading through French grammar and immediately trying to use grammar techniques in simple written and oral exercises. I will also buy GCSE French, to make sure I AT LEAST regain a GCSE level, though obviously my aim will be to succeed it. I will also be using teach yourself 'instant' French, and whilst I realise you can't become fluent instantly, it will ease the transition from knowing nothing to feeling comfortable using basic conversational phrases and grammar. To ensure that my Italian improves, I will begin to read il gattopardo slowly, taking in the detail and using a dictionary as soon as this semester ends. I will also watch films in Italian, and try as often as possible to speak to natives, whilst keeping an eye on the grammar books and my vocabulary lists, speaking to myself at every opportunity, to ensure that I don't forget what I have already studied.

I will read the French literature in English over the summer, obviously because my french will be inadequate for a while. I will however try to watch French films as soon as possible. Another aim is to sharpen up my knowledge of the histories of both italy and france, perhaps looking in detail at areas of interest. Being in both France and Italy will enable me to take a more practical approach at times, exploring museums and trying to read historical information in the language.

To further aid my studies, I will gather resources the entire time, brochures (opuscoli, lo so che e' una parola dificile per me ricordare e cosi', lo scrivo qui!), packages of food and drink, magazines, museum plaques, biglietti, qualsiasi cose che le trovero'!

Vorrei che un giorno, quando sono stanca la lingua piu' facile parlare sarebbe l'italiano, ma per ora sono piu' brava ad inglese, ovviamente, anche se quando sto scrivendo le cose semplici, non devo pensare in inglese. Normalmente sto traducendo le frasi nella mia mente. E' una cosa bella, ad imparare una lingua. Mi sento come la mia anima cresce un po' ogni giorno, specialmente quando imparo una parola bella come strapalacrime, moscerini (lo so che sono orribile, ma la parola e' dolce, lo sai che amo 'ino'), azzuro (anche se e' vicino ad 'azzure', mi piace molto il vocalo), e molte altre parole, come sgomberare, inquilina, malandrini, birochino etc!

Un'altra cosa, ho trovato una casa per l'anno prossimo, beh, voglio dire che ho trovato un APPARTAMENTO. Ma e' bello, c'e' una vista di arthurs seat, e non c'e' un carpeto, vuol dire che sara' facile da pulire. L'unico problema e' che e' piu' lontano dall'universita, ma non mi preoccupo troppo perche' ora ho ragione di comprare una bicicletta! Sara' come l'estate in italia! Solo fara' un po' piu' freddo...

Scusami per l'italiano... I mean sorry for the italian. No I'm not, this is a blog of positiveness and productivity and I'm enjoying myself. I promise however that soon there will be some interesting reviews, contemplative posts and rants...

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Bloody HELL get your act together! Two weeks until my first exam, and the one I feel the least sure about. Ancient Rome.

Here's a firm plan. If I make plans I stick to them.

2nd-Anna comes at 13:00. Morning in library or at home studying 9-12. Mind maps of lectures. Review them and history of art stuff in evening.

3rd-More mind mapping for ancient rome. Also some for key topics in history of art. Look over italian vocab. Walking in glen doll in the afternoon? Start packing for edinburgh.

4th-Early morning revision again. Mind mapping of ancient rome and history of art. Anna leaves. Review notes, reading. Practice italian in evening. Finish packing for edinburgh-books, exam materials etc.

5th-Early morning to edinburgh. Tidy flat. Return books to italian library. Head to university library. Stay there are long as possible. Maybe meet someone to study with in evening.

6th-9-4 studies
7th 9-4 library (library can be exchanged with coffee shop, the meadows if its warm)
8th 9-4 library
9th 9-4 library
10th 9-4 library
11th 9-4library
12th 9-4 library
13th-Ancient Rome exam
14th-language lab and art history library
15th language lab and art history library
16th language lab and art history library
17th- Italian exam
18th Review images and time periods, read
19th Review everything again.
20th- History of art exam...then...FREEDOM!

Yes I realise I like organising things.
Also, constantly think of potential exam questions and mindmap them. Organise potential answers in head.
Keep fresh Italian in head by using it and reading vocab lists, short texts, watching films, speaking to Roberto.

Motivation list.

1. If I fail I have to come home in August
2. If I fail and I don't come home in August I leave university and can't study italian and french.
3. I will have a happy summer knowing I'll be studying languages afterward, whilst heightening my cultural experience in mainland europe.
4. It's just three weeks, then it'll be over and I can play pokemon, sleep in late, bake bread and read books that aren't useful for my degree without guilt.
5. I'll start studying french.
6. I won't have to do it again if I do really well this time.
7. 2 weeks can be a long time if I use it constructively.
8. The knowledge will allow me to be a walking talking guidebook this summer in rome and florence...
9. It would be interesting... if it weren't being imposed on me.
10. No more reasons. Just a relief and something I'll never have to do again will be out of the way and I'll be that bit closer to graduating, being multilingual and seguendo il mio cuore in un paese lontano da qui.

Why does Doctor who kick the ass of Anakin Skywalker, spiderman, batman, superman, and all those other super heroes_

Why the doctor? He's the last of the timelords, an omnipotent, omniscient creature who seems to never die, when on death's doorstep he regenerates into the same organism but with a changed personality, set of tastes, interests, and most obviously body. He typifies the stereotype of an eccentric English genius, in his tardis (which in the distant past was a polymorphic time machine, which would fit in with the surroundings until it broke and remained forever a police box), which is bigger on the inside than on the outside, and travels with a host of assistents who don't really understand him.

The doctor uses intellect rather than physical power, he shuns guns and weaponry, knowing every problem has a solution which can be resolved by wit. Many a time the viewer doesn't understand his motives, though discovers the admirable reason in a future episode.

He is like Merlin, like Dumbledore, I wouldn't be surprised if J.K.Rowling, a fan of doctor who herself used the figure of the doctor as an inspiration for Dumbledore. By fooling his enemies and acquintances that he hasn't a clue, with humor (the 2nd and 4th Doctors bought fame to the simple question 'anyone want a jellybaby' in the most periculous moments).

Perhaps most significantly, his character and his species is somewhat a mystery, and as one continues to watch and read the stories, one gets a sense that this a very powerful ancient being.
Ultimate mix, titles and regenerations from 1960s til now.
Regenerations, a little more detail

10th and 11th doctor-s themes