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ITALIAN 1Z06A Beginner's Intensive Italian (C01)

Academic Year: Fall 2019

Term: Multiterm

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Prof. Christina Vani


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 511A

Phone: 905-525-9140 x

Office Hours: Mondays, 4:00PM–5:00PM; Thursdays before class by appointment only

Course Objectives:

By the end of this course, students will…

  1. become familiar with the fundamentals of Italian grammar (i.e., present vs. past tenses; nouns vs. verbs; adjectives and adverbs);
  2. gain a basic understanding of Italian contemporary culture, traditions, and society;
  3. become equipped to succeed in parsing simple everyday Italian writing and speech;
  4. acquire high-frequency lexical items for everyday communication and comprehension;
  5. be able to navigate written Italian (news articles, non-fiction, and short stories) with relative ease and build their confidence as readers and writers of Italian;
  6. acquire the ability to initiate basic conversation in Italian allowing them to be prepared to take ITA2Z03 to practise their conversational skills.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Required Text

Cozzarelli, Julia M. Sentieri. 2nd ed. SPLIT EDITION (Units 1–6) + Supersite + WebSAM (Student Activities Manual). Boston: Vista Higher Learning, 2015.

Both a virtual textbook (“vtext”) and a printed loose-leaf edition of the above textbook are available for purchase, with the vtext prioritized for its lower price-point. Please click the custom link to the publisher’s online store to purchase the vtext, which contains all online resources: The printed textbook, containing a code and instructions to access online resources including the vtext, will be available for purchase in the Campus Store.

Students in financial need: please see the instructor in private as soon as possible to arrange access to a limited number of financially accessible options to accommodate your needs. No student should feel that cost is a barrier to accessing the learning resources; your instructor is at your disposal to make accommodations.

Recommended Linguistic Resources

Print Resources

Adorni, S., and K. Primorac. English Grammar for Students of Italian. 2nd ed. Oliva and Hill Press, 1995.

Collins Sansoni Dizionario inglese italiano, italiano inglese. 3rd ed. Florence: Sansoni, 2013.

Or any other quality bilingual dictionary.

Online Resources (Online Dictionaries) (language forum for queries)

Method of Assessment:

15%     →        Mid-term exam (held during December exam period)

15%     →        Final exam (held during April exam period)

20%     →        Writing assignments (worth 5% each [4x])

10%     →        Homework (principally WebSAM)

8%       →        Attendance

12%     →        Voice diaries (weekly, due on Mondays [24x])

10%     →        Online forum postings (weekly, due on Tuesdays [24x])

10%     →        Video conversation (alone or in groups of 2–3 students)

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Absence from Class

While attending class is crucial in order to ensure that no material is missed, there may be times when you will be unable to attend due to illness, injury, or a family or personal crisis. If you will not be able to attend a lesson, I welcome you to let me know beforehand via e-mail or text, but it is not obligatory. If you should be unable to complete an in-class assignment, or if you will be submitting an assignment late due to any of the abovementioned reasons, please provide supporting documentation attesting to the reason on an official McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF); this must be done within one week of the missed or late work. Please note that simply submitting the form does not exempt the student from the missed work: the student and the instructor must also come to an agreement on how and when to make up the missed work. A copy of the MSAF can be downloaded from

Late Penalties

In the event that you cannot present a valid excuse for a late assignment (due to personal illness, injury, or a family or personal crisis), please submit your work to me all the same, in person or via e-mail. Nonetheless, please note that late assignments will incur deductions of 10% per day (starting from the beginning of the class on which an assignment is due), weekends included, up to a maximum of seven days. After seven days, a mark of zero will be assigned.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Integrity

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity. It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  • plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  • improper collaboration in group work.
  • copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Authenticity / Plagiarism Detection

Some courses may use a web-based service ( to reveal authenticity and ownership of student submitted work. For courses using such software, students will be expected to submit their work electronically either directly to or via Avenue to Learn (A2L) plagiarism detection (a service supported by so it can be checked for academic dishonesty.

Students who do not wish to submit their work through A2L and/or must still submit an electronic and/or hardcopy to the instructor. No penalty will be assigned to a student who does not submit work to or A2L. All submitted work is subject to normal verification that standards of academic integrity have been upheld (e.g., on-line search, other software, etc.). To see the Policy, please go to

Courses with an On-Line Element

Some courses use on-line elements (e.g. e-mail, Avenue to Learn (A2L), LearnLink, web pages, capa, Moodle, ThinkingCap, etc.). Students should be aware that, when they access the electronic components of a course using these elements, private information such as first and last names, user names for the McMaster e-mail accounts, and program affiliation may become apparent to all other students in the same course. The available information is dependent on the technology used. Continuation in a course that uses on-line elements will be deemed consent to this disclosure. If you have any questions or concerns about such disclosure please discuss this with the course instructor.

Online Proctoring

Some courses may use online proctoring software for tests and exams. This software may require students to turn on their video camera, present identification, monitor and record their computer activities, and/or lockdown their browser during tests or exams. This software may be required to be installed before the exam begins.

Conduct Expectations

As a McMaster student, you have the right to experience, and the responsibility to demonstrate, respectful and dignified interactions within all of our living, learning and working communities. These expectations are described in the Code of Student Rights & Responsibilities (the "Code"). All students share the responsibility of maintaining a positive environment for the academic and personal growth of all McMaster community members, whether in person or online.

It is essential that students be mindful of their interactions online, as the Code remains in effect in virtual learning environments. The Code applies to any interactions that adversely affect, disrupt, or interfere with reasonable participation in University activities. Student disruptions or behaviours that interfere with university functions on online platforms (e.g. use of Avenue 2 Learn, WebEx or Zoom for delivery), will be taken very seriously and will be investigated. Outcomes may include restriction or removal of the involved students' access to these platforms.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students with disabilities who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) at 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. For further information, consult McMaster University’s Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities policy.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

Request for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work
McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar "Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work".

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances (RISO)

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religious, indigenous or spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the RISO policy. Students should submit their request to their Faculty Office normally within 10 working days of the beginning of term in which they anticipate a need for accommodation or to the Registrar's Office prior to their examinations. Students should also contact their instructors as soon as possible to make alternative arrangements for classes, assignments, and tests.

Copyright and Recording

Students are advised that lectures, demonstrations, performances, and any other course material provided by an instructor include copyright protected works. The Copyright Act and copyright law protect every original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic work, including lectures by University instructors.

The recording of lectures, tutorials, or other methods of instruction may occur during a course. Recording may be done by either the instructor for the purpose of authorized distribution, or by a student for the purpose of personal study. Students should be aware that their voice and/or image may be recorded by others during the class. Please speak with the instructor if this is a concern for you.

Extreme Circumstances

The University reserves the right to change the dates and deadlines for any or all courses in extreme circumstances (e.g., severe weather, labour disruptions, etc.). Changes will be communicated through regular McMaster communication channels, such as McMaster Daily News, A2L and/or McMaster email.

Topics and Readings:

Important Dates

See precise due dates for assignments and topics to be covered in class in the tables below.

1. Thursday, September 5, 2019: First day of classes for our course. Benvenuti!

2. Monday, October 14—Sunday, October 20: Mid-term recess

3. Thursday, October 24: Writing Assignment 1 (in class)

4. Thursday, November 28: Writing Assignment 2 (in class)

5. Monday, December 2: Last day of class for the first half of our course

6. Friday, December 6–Thursday, December 19: Exam period. In bocca al lupo! (Exam date: TBD)

7. Monday, January 6, 2020: Buon anno! Our class resumes!

8. Thursday, January 30: Writing Assignment 3 (in class)

9. Monday, February 17–Sunday, February 23: Mid-term recess

10. Thursday, March 12: Writing Assignment 4 (printed and submitted at the beginning of class)

11. Monday, March 30: Video Conversation due (submitted online by the beginning of class)

12. Monday, April 6: Last day of our class (all classes end Tuesday, April 7)

13. Monday, April 13–Tuesday, April 28: Exam period. In bocca al lupo! (Exam date: TBD)

General schedule*

*This schedule is “general” because these dates and topics are subject to change, depending on our progress through the course. If in doubt about what will be covered, please ask me. If an assignment’s due date changes, students will be given adequate notice.

Fall term (Tuesday, September 3, to Wednesday, December 4, 2019)


Topics and units covered from textbook


(textbook pages in parentheses)


At-home study (homework assigned in class or through WebSAM/Supersite)

Evaluated work

Week of Mon., Sept. 2

Unit 1: Ciao, come va?

Sept. 2

(Labour Day: no classes)



Welcome & introduction to the course

Read syllabus; purchase textbook;

complete voice diary and online forum posting

Get into the habit of doing voice diary and writing in forum! J

Sept. 9

1A: Come va?


Come va? (p. 2); The Italian alphabet (p. 5)


1A1: Nouns & articles (10)


“Baci dall’Italia!” (8)


Sept. 16

1A: Come va?; 1B: Alla facoltà


1A2: Numbers 0–100 (12)


Alla facoltà (16); Letters c & g (19)

“All’università!” (22)


Sept. 23

1B: Alla facoltà


1B1: Subject pronouns & essere (24)


1B2: Adjective agreement (26)

“Dove si parla italiano?” (32–33)


Sept. 30

1B: Alla facoltà; Unit 2: Il tempo libero; 2A: I passatempi


1B3: Telling time (28)


Oct. 3

I passatempi (40); gl, gn, & sc (43)

“Giochiamo a pallone!” (46)


Oct. 7

2A: I passatempi


2A1: Regular
-are verbs (48)



Review of -are verbs; 2A2: Andare, dare, fare, & stare (50)

“In montagna o al mare?” (60)


MID-TERM RECESS, Oct. 14–20 (no classes)







Topics for Writing Assignment 1 posted online on Thurs., Oct. 17

Oct. 21

2B: Che tempo fa oggi?


Che tempo fa oggi? (54); Italian vowels (57)


Writing Assignment 1

(in class)

Reading on Halloween & Tutti i Santi / Ognissanti (online)

Writing Assignment 1 (in class on Thurs., Oct. 24)

Oct. 28

2B: Che tempo fa oggi?


2B1: The verb avere (62)


2B2: Regular
-ere verbs (64)

“Roma” (70); Online lesson on 2B3: Numbers 101 & higher (66)


Nov. 4

2B: Che tempo fa oggi?; Unit 3: La famiglia e gli amici; 3A: La famiglia di Alessia Bianchi

Nov. 4

2B2: Piacere (64); 2B3: Review of Numbers 101 & higher (66)



3A: La famiglia di Alessia Bianchi (78)

“La famiglia italiana” (84)


Nov. 11

3A: La famiglia di Alessia Bianchi


L’accento tonico (81); 3A1: Possessives (86)


3A2: Preposizioni semplici e articolate (88)

“L’amicizia” (100)


Nov. 18

3A: La famiglia di Alessia Bianchi; 3B: Come sono?


3A3: Regular
-ire verbs (90)



Intonation of questions & qu (97); 3B1: Descriptive adjectives (102)

“Amici a quattro zampe” (110)

Topics for Writing Assignment 2 posted online on Thurs., Nov. 21

Nov. 25

3B: Come sono?


3B2: Interrogatives & demonstratives (104)


Writing Assignment 2 (in class)

“Gli italiani nel mondo” (108–109)

Writing Assignment 2 (in class on Thurs., Nov. 28)

Dec. 2

Exam review

Dec. 2

Unfinished business; Exam review


No class; Office hour for picking up & discussing Writing Assignment 2


Pick up Writing Assignment 2 in office hour

Winter term (Monday, January 6, to Tuesday, April 7, 2020)


Topics and units


(textbook pages in parentheses)



At-home study


Evaluated work

Week of Mon., Jan. 6

Unit 4: Tecnologia e moda

Jan. 6

Capodanno e la Befana


4A: La tecnologia (116); Letter r (119)

“Gli italiani sempre raggiungibili” (122)

Don’t forget to complete voice diary and forum posting!

Jan. 13

4A: La tecnologia


4A1: Dovere, potere, & volere (124)


4A2: Dire, uscire, & venire & disjunctive pronouns (126)

4B: Letters s & z (133)


Jan. 20

4B: Facciamo spese


4B: Facciamo spese (130); Reading (pronunciation): Lo scoiattolo e la zanzara


4B1: The passato prossimo with avere (138)

“Un giro per i negozi” (136)

Topics for Writing Assignment 3 posted online on Thurs., Jan. 23

Jan. 27

4B: Facciamo spese


4B2: Conoscere & sapere (140)


Writing Assignment 3 (in class)

News article or short story using the pass. pross. (online)

Writing Assignment 3 (in class on Thurs., Jan. 30)

Feb. 3

Unit 5: Buon appetito!; 5A: La spesa

Feb. 3

5A: La spesa (152); gl (155)


5A1: The passato prossimo with essere (160)

“Mercato o supermercato?” (158)


Feb. 10

5A: La spesa


5A2: Direct object pronouns (162)


5A2: Cont. of direct object pronouns (162)

“I pasti in famiglia” (174)


MID-TERM RECESS, Feb. 17–23 (no classes)








Feb. 24

5A: La spesa; 5B: A tavola


5A3: Partitives & expressions of quantity (164)


5B: A tavola! (168); 5B1: Indirect object pronouns (176)

5B: Diphthongs & triphthongs (171)


Mar. 2

5B: A tavola


5B1: Cont. of indirect object pronouns; Diphthongs & triphthongs (pronunciation)


5B2: Adverbs (178)

Clip: I calamari fritti

Topics for Writing Assignment 4 posted online (Thurs., Mar. 5)

Mar. 9

Unit 6: La salute e il benessere; 6A: La routine del mattino


6A: La routine del mattino (190); 6A1: Reflexive verbs (198)


Writing Assignment 4 (printed) due at beginning of class; 6A2: Reci-procal reflexives in the passato prossimo (200)

“Farsi belli la mattina” (196)

Writing Assignment 4

due & submit-ted at begin-ning of class on Thurs., Mar. 12 (printed)

Mar. 16

6A: La routine del mattino; 6B: Dal dottore


6A3: Ci & ne (202)


6B: Dal dottore (206); Spelling plurals I & II (193 & 209)

Reading (on-line) using the imperfetto, the verb tense we’ll learn next week

Video Conver-sation topics posted online (Mar. 16)

Mar. 23

6B: Dal dottore


6B1: The imperfetto (214)


6B2: Imperfetto vs passato prossimo (216)


“L’importante è la salute” (212)

Confirm Video Convo group members via e-mail (Mar. 23) to instructor, if applicable

Mar. 30

6B: Dal dottore; Exam review


Video Conversation submitted before class; 6B3: The trapassato prossimo (218)

Apr. 2

Last class before exam; Exam review


Video Conversation

due on Mon., Mar. 30, at be-ginning of class (submitted online)

Other Course Information:

Helpful Hints to Succeed

  • Come to class: by increasing your exposure to the language of study, you will be strengthening your capacity to parse spoken and written Italian and increasing your opportunities to practise speaking in Italian in an informal setting.
  • Spread your homework over many days: for reasons akin to those above, interacting with the language of study on a daily basis mimics the immersive experience that we nurture in class.
  • Interact with your classmates: this is important not just in class but also in the class forum. Share what you have learnt or ask a question in a judgment-free space where grammar and form do not matter as much as the spirit of shared learning.
  • Ask for help (from me or your colleagues) when something is unclear—even if it seems small and insignificant: when learning a new language, each lesson provides a fundamental building block to construct our linguistic and cultural knowledge. If something is unclear, that can affect your grasp of a more complex concept that we will learn later, so it is better to address any confusion as soon as possible—and no issue is too small!
  • “Italianize” your life: small tweaks to everyday activities can make a big difference in your immersion experience. Try changing the language settings on your cell. phone or your e-mail provider, or turn on Italian subtitles and/or audio on Netflix on shows you have seen before!

Writing Assignments

There are four writing assignments (approx. 250 words each), each worth 5% of your total grade. All writing assignments, except for Writing Assignment 4, are completed in 50 minutes on paper and submitted during class time. One week before the assignment is to be completed in class, you will be informed of the format: either providing short answers to 50 questions you will see ahead of time, 25 of which will appear on assignment day; or writing about two topics, one of which will be chosen at random on the day of the in-class writing assignment. You will, thus, prepare answers to all 50 questions or write about both topics. Prepare for everything; don’t leave it up to chance! You will have one week to formulate your written responses, seeking assistance from me if necessary.

I encourage you to take advantage of the numerous useful resources offered by the University to improve your academic writing, research skills, and organization. The Student Success Centre is there to help, and you can visit them at for more information. In their own words: “From writing support and tutoring services to workshops and educational planning, we act as your central hub for academic support. We offer opportunities for you to meet individually with trained students and staff, to participate in workshops and gain access to tools for self-guided learning.”

Mid-term and Final Exams

The mid-term and final exams each are two hours long. They are held during the scheduled examination periods in December 2019 and April 2020 (respectively; exact dates to be confirmed). Approximately one month before each exam, I will provide you with a general outline of the exam and guidelines on how to review. To prepare for the exam, I encourage you to review and/or redo the exercises on the Sentieri Supersite and WebSAM; revisit comments on previous writing assignments; see me in my office hour or make an appointment with me to address any topics that are unclear. In-person or virtual (on YouTube) review sessions will be booked according to demand.

Voice Diaries and Online Forum Postings

Each week, students submit short online recordings (between 30 and 90 seconds each), called Voice Diaries or diari vocali, to practise speaking and pronunciation, to which the instructor provides personalized feedback. The topic of each private assignment (only the instructor listens) is made available on Avenue to Learn (Avenue) on Thursdays at 12:00 PM (noon) and submissions are due on Mondays at 11:59 PM (just before midnight). Each is worth 0.5% of the student’s final grade, with two opportunities given during mid-term breaks to submit bonus recordings worth 0.5% each.

Additionally, students post short messages, called Forum Postings or messaggi sul forum, on Avenue. These are public to the class: students can see each other’s posts and are invited to interact with others, though only their original post that fulfills the requirements of the assignment counts for marks. Each posting is worth just under 0.5% (0.4167%, to be precise!) of the student’s overall grade and is typically a response to a reading, in-class discussion, video, or song. The topic of the week is visible on Avenue on Thursdays at 12:00 PM (noon) and postings are due on Tuesdays at 11:59 PM.

Each Voice Diary or Forum Posting is worth very little, but they all add up! Due to the small amount of in-class time to practise speaking, the Voice Diary allows students the opportunity to speak in Italian in a judgment-free space where the instructor can provide feedback and encouragement.

Information Regarding Online Components

In this course, we will be using Avenue to Learn, e-mail, web pages, online forums, and audio- and video-recording software, in addition to purchasing the electronic version of the textbook online from the publisher’s web site, which is external to that of McMaster’s Campus Store. Students should be aware that, when they access the electronic components of this course on Avenue, private information such as first and last names, user names for their McMaster e-mail accounts, and program affiliation may become apparent to all other students in the same course. The available information and to whom it is visible are dependent on the technology used. Continuation in this course will be deemed consent to this disclosure. If you have any questions or concerns about this disclosure, please discuss with your instructor and/or visit the University Secretariat page for more information on privacy:

Mental Health

It is not uncommon for university students to experience a range of health and mental health issues that may result in barriers to achieving their academic goals. McMaster University offers a wide range of services at the Student Wellness Centre to assist you. You are encouraged to seek out these resources early and as often as needed. Know that you are never alone and there is no shame in asking for help; speak up if you are in need and you will be greeted with compassion and skillfulness.

Location: McMaster Student Wellness Centre at the Student Centre (MUSC), B101/B118, 1280 Main St. W.
Telephone: (905) 525-9140 ext. 27700
Web site:

Mental health resources and apps:
Off-campus help via Good2Talk, a post-secondary (24/7) helpline: 1-866-925-5454

Open and Safe Space

Our classroom offers a safe and open space, a place where we can feel free to be ourselves in a judgment-free zone. This is a space that is free of discrimination of any kind. We live by the Golden Rule in this class, that is, we treat others as we wish to be treated: with respect and with kindness. If you ever feel threatened or intimidated by anyone, in this class or on campus, please immediately alert me or anyone else that you trust. Please also consult the web site of the McMaster Equity and Inclusion Office (EIO) for more information and support: Finally, when interacting with your classmates, please ensure to respect their preferred pronouns (mine are she/her/hers).