Pages

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Hard Lessons Learned

*Names not given to maintain anonymity.

Sitting at my boyfriend's table, playing a mindless game, I received a text from *A.

                    - *Z's sister died Friday night.

A million thoughts flashed through my mind. What was he talking about? There must be some mistake. I quickly texted back,

                    - What????? *K?

He texted again,

                    - Yes.

She was only twenty years old. Far too young for anyone to pass away. There must be a mistake. There's just no way. 

I replied,

                     - How?

He explained to me how. Well, that too seemed odd to me. I needed a little more details. He explained a little further. It clicked. She had been sick since she was 15 years old. However, she always managed to remain positive and upbeat.


Monday, November 19, 2012

Gone Too Soon

Today was such a sad day. I found out my good friend's little sister passed away on Friday. It was such a great shock, and still cannot believe what happened. I've known her probably since she was eight years old. It reminds those of us who take life for granted that life is so precious. In the blink of an eye, your whole world can be turned upside down. A loved one can be taken away in an instant. She was only twenty years old. Far too young to have to leave this world. All I keep thinking about is how unfair it is. She had so much ahead of her.

Please take a moment to call, or hug and kiss, a loved one.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Scatter Brain

Lately, I have been doing a lot of brainstorming about what to write about. I feel there are so many subjects that interest me that it is difficult to focus on any one subject. There are several scraps of paper in my room, and writings in my "journal" for many different ideas. I say "journal" because I do not even write in that very often.

Right now, I am currently taking a course through Coursera. Coursera is a website, affiliated with many different top universities, that offers free courses. Yes, free! There are a bunch of lectures, and several quizzes included for each course. Upon completion of the course, you are given a certificate. Of course, there is a minimum percentage that you must obtain in order to receive the certificate. The course I am taking is about vaccine trials, and primarily focuses on the general practices of vaccine trials, lightly touches on how vaccines are created, as well as a number of other subjects dealing with vaccines.

Hmm not typically something you may think I would find interesting, perhaps, considering this blog has been about everything Italian. But, I have worked in a pharmacy as a technician, and am working for a pharmaceutical manufacturing company right now (will not mention the name either). So not too far-fetched for me. 

I am also signed up for a course on nutrition and disease prevention. Nutrition is SO important to me, and is in fact very important for me to focus on. I have Celiac Disease. For those that do not know what Celiac is, it is an autoimmune disease. Celiacs cannot consume gluten, a protein found in things like wheat, barley, and rye. It is also found in other things like food colorings. Due to the disease, a Celiac is not able to absorb nutrients properly.The disease has made me more conscientious of what I put into my body because there are so many hidden ingredients.Without paying attention to what I eat can cause me to become really sick. However, not only do I have to pay attention to what I eat, but I just LOVE food in general. I will try just about anything, except for maybe bugs. Yes, many countries eat those as a source of protein, but I guess I am not as adventurous as people like Anthony Bourdain on No Reservations, or Andrew Zimmern on Bizarre Foods.

I have also just discovered a few days ago, an amazing little girl named Talia Castellano. Talia was diagnosed at the age of 7 with neuroblastoma. Neuroblastoma is a malignant, or cancerous, tumor that develops from the nervous tissue. She has gone into remission on numerous occasions, but unfortunately keeps coming back. The disease does not stop Talia from constantly being an upbeat positive kid though. She is an aspiring make-up artist, and loves MAC. Feel free to watch the below video of her on the Ellen DeGeneres show.


Such an inspiring young lady! It is so sad that children like her should ever have to deal with the pain that they do. You can also read up on her on her Facebook age, Angels for Talia, or see her on her YouTube channel named Talia Castellano.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

PassagetoItaly and Hurricane Sandy

Dear Readers,


On Monday October 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy struck New Jersey and New York. Thankfully my family and home are fine in spite of being located on the Jersey Shore. We live further inland, and only lost power, cable and Internet. However, many directly on the shoreline in my hometown, neighboring towns, and parts of New York were not so fortunate. Many have lost their homes, their businesses, and even their lives. Mandatory evacuations were ordered, but many heeded the warnings, as it was only last year Hurricane Irene came through. Hurricane Irene did not affect this area as much, and thus people decided to bunker down at home.

Hurricane Irene was different because it was warmer weather. It was also a much weaker storm. I fear for those who have been displaced by Hurricane Sandy as it is becoming colder and colder. Next week, it as been forecasted that a Nor'easter will pass through this area, bringing more rain and/or snow.

If there is any way for anyone to donate supplies, clothing, and other necessities, please reach out to organizations such as the American Red Cross.


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Genere dei Nomi


Note: My background is a Bachelor’s in Linguistics. This field of Linguistics is not to be confused with linguists who speak multiple languages, as there are two types. My field of knowledge is in Linguistics, which is the study of language structures, as I prefer to define it. By language structures, this means the studying of phonology (language’s ‘sound’ system), syntax (a language’s sentence structuring), and the like. There are many, many areas in Linguistics, and far too many to name at this time. In spite of the background, and touching in areas of Linguistics at times, I find that it is best not to go to in depth with the linguistical explanations of the Italian language. It can get a bit complicated, and for the most part would think my audience does not have a basic knowledge of Linguistics studies. Therefore, any lettering referencing in this post, and those that follow, are not in reference to the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet), to keep things as simple as possible. The IPA is used by Linguists worldwide in order to properly represent the sounds found in a language.


Noun Genders in the Italian Language

In the English language, speakers do not have to worry about the gender of nouns. However, Italian has a two gender system for its nouns – masculine and feminine. This trait developed from Latin, which originally had a three gender system – masculine, feminine, and neuter. Accompanying adjectives must agree with the assigned gender of the noun. There are also masculine and feminine plural endings, -i for masculine and –e for feminine, in most cases. Plural endings will be discussed in a separate post. Of course there are always exceptions to the rules for determining noun gender, which take into account things like, language origin – such as Greek and English words.

Well how can I determine the origin of the word, you ask? That is also a separate topic. Back to basics!

Noun gender is defined by the vowel endings. What is a vowel? The following letters are vowels – a,e,i,o, and u, just as you would find in the English language. 


Typically, masculine nouns end in –o, whereas feminine nouns end in –a.

Some examples of masculine nouns:


Italian
English
Italian
English
 tavolo
 table
 cerchio
circle
cielo
 sky
cucchiaio
fork
albero
 tree
uccello
Bird
gatto
cat
cavallo
horse
libro
book
piatto
plate

Some examples of feminine nouns:

Italian
English
Italian
English
forchetta
Fork
zanzara
Mosquito
scarpa
Shoe
luna
Moon
macchina
Car
scala
Stair/step
Ragazza
Girl
figlia
Daughter
gonna
Skirt
Pupetta
doll


As previously stated, for the most part, masculine and feminine nouns are easily identifiable. However, there are exceptions.

Some Greek words are deceiving. In spite of its feminine ending, these Greek origin words are in fact masculine:

Italian
English
Italian
English
problema
Problem
Tema
Theme/subject

Rule: Greek words that end in –ema are masculine. What about Greek words that do not end in –a or –o? Example: tesì (thesis).

Tesì is feminine – la tesì.

What can we deduce from certain Greek words that do not follow the rules? It is unfortunately all about memorization.

Other deceiving foreign words:

La radio (English derived)
Lo smoking ( tuxedo, English derived)


Other helpful hints determining noun gender:

* Nouns that end in –zione are always feminine.

Italian
English
Italian
English
La stazione
Station
La distrazione
Distraction
La costituzione
Constitution
L’opzione
Option
La situazione
Situation
La costruzione
Construction
La distruzione
Destruction
L’operazione
operation


*Cities (le città) are always feminine.
 
Italian
English
Italian
English
La Lucca
----
La Parigi
Paris
La New York
----
L’Inghilterra
England
La Bologna
----
L’Amsterdam
----

*Regions (le regioni) are always feminine.
La Toscana
La Puglia
La Lazio
La Veneto
La Lomardia
La Calabria

*Islands (le isole) are always feminine.

La Sardegna
La Sicilia

*Countries (i paesi) are always feminine.

Italian
English
Italian
English
La Francia
France
L’Italia
----
L’America
----
La Svizza
Switzerland
La Germania
Germany
La Spagna
Spain
La Russia
----
La Cina
China


Hope this information is useful to those beginning to learn Italian. My hope is that I’ve made your life a bit easier. However, that is not to say that memorization of noun gender is not of importance.


Other helpful sites:

Orbilat: Linguistics site
Orbilat: Gender of Nouns (Genere dei nomi)
Orbilat: List of Greek masculine nouns ending in -ma.


Any other rules Italian speakers can think of? Please feel free to leave other rules in the comment area!


Buona giornata!!! And Happy Mother's Day tomorrow in the USA!!!


Photo: The above photo was taken by me. Please do not improperly use aforementioned photo elsewhere without asking for permission. Thank you!

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Origin of the Italian Language (A Brief Overview)




-    Official language – Standard Italian

In my opinion, to fully understand a language, one should have a basic grasp on its history. By ‘understanding a language’, in this context however, does not mean whether or not you can hold a conversation, know your conjugations, etc. Rather it is to understand where it came from and evolved into the beautiful language we hear and study today.
     
 The Italian language was not always the official language of Italy. In fact, Italy is considered a ‘young’ state. Prior to 1861, Italy was fragmented – divided into city and regional states. The Republic of Venice is an example. At that time, it had been known as the Kingdom of Italy. On 17 March 1861, Victor Emmanuel II announced the official unity of Italy, and was thereby the first king of Italy. Last March marked the 150th anniversary of that unification, or in Italian, il Risorgimento. To accompany Victor Emmanuel in this victorious process, he had inspirational nationalistic leaders like Giuseppe Garibaldi.

Italy then became a democratic republic after WWII on 2 June 1946 after the abolishment of the monarchy. 1 January 1948 is the date on which Italy’s constitution came into effect. This date is also important to those who have a woman in their jure sanguinis line. That however is a post unto itself.
       
As a democratic republic, the official language was declared as standard Italian. At the time of Italy’s unification, it is said only 2.5% of the population could speak it. With governmental implementations, such as the standardization of language usage within the classroom, and through media, that number has since increased exponentially.

So, you ask, if it has only been during more recent history that the country has been speaking a standardized language, what were Italians speaking before that?

I’m glad you asked!


To read more about the history of Italy, you can visit the NIAF's Ambassador magazine article, History of Italian Unity Made Easy, on page 21. Note: it is a PDF file.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

What is PassagetoItaly Up To?

Brainstorming ideas for this blog has temporarily been put on hold. However, I thought it was imperative to update you all on what is going on with my citizenship. Back in August was my appointment with the Newark consulate in New Jersey that confirmed that it was indeed possible for me to formally recognize my Italian citizenship. I was convinced that I did in fact qualify for recognition. After hearing many people say it would never work, the line is too far back, I poured over numerous citizenship laws just to be sure of my belief. Lo and behold, I was right and the consular officer stated, "obviously you know that you qualify. Do you do work in research? Your research is very thorough. It's like I have the history of Italy in my hands!" After all my hard work, I was beaming when I heard this, naturally. She then stated that my papers would have to be further reviewed at the New York City consulate. Why? Who knows! My thoughts - perhaps in case Italy had to make financial cuts to certain consulates due to its economic instability. Not quite sure.

Since my appointment, I have e-mailed the New York City consulate to acquire the information needed to send my paperwork there. Their response was that there were two options: (1) to make an appointment to come into the city for my papers to be reviewed, which would be a two month wait period, or (2) mail in my papers with the provided form filled out.

The latter option seems more practical, as I have started a new job, and it would be difficult at this time to take off and trek into NYC. However, honestly, I am bugging out about the possibility of my papers being lost in the mail! Of course I will take every necessary precaution for that not to happen - certified mail, quick arrival date, etc. With all the necessary precautions being made, it is still nerve racking! Thus, I'm triplicating ALL documents just in case, and may even make duplicate files on my computer... just in case.

Sigh.


If any of you have any questions about the process, please do not hesitate to message me here, or e-mail me at: PassagetoItaly@gmail.com

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

I'm back!

I apologize once again to my very few readers. There hasn't been any update on my citizenship journey since my appointment at the consulate last August. Things have been so hectic with work, and I've put the whole applying process on the back burner momentarily. My hope is to restart my efforts soon in order to finish already... Well, to be even more honest, since finding out about definitely being able to recognize my citizenship, I've also been procrastinating.

I've also been contemplating how to continue proceeding with this blog. The subject of my applying can only be written about for so long. So, I will continue to do research on things that can aid others in their quest, like posting links to informative material for applying, etc. But I think it's time for this blog to turn to a new direction, which has yet to be decided on. I'll be jotting down LOTS of ideas in the coming weeks.

Thank you for those of you who are following my blog for continuing to do so!