Complex Clause Syntax in the Italian Classroom – the Learners Between Transfer and Interference
When teaching Italian as a foreign language, learners’ insecurities about using conjunctions and tenses in subordinate clauses can be noticed very early. Temporality, relative temporality and modality are signalled by Italian verb forms which function in a largely different (or apparently similar) way in comparison to Slovene. If ‘true’ similarities can be exploited in the process of teaching/learning by means of a positive transfer, apparent ‘similarities’ and ‘differences’ between the two language systems should, on the other hand, be clarified to avoid negative transfer (interference). During the whole learning process language awareness should be developed, also through contrastive insights into the linguistic systems concerned. Taking as a starting point a text suitable for level B1, some problematic points are presented, for which a series of tasks can be suggested with the aim of helping the learner master complex clause syntax and develop language awareness.
Key words: Italian, foreign/second language, complex clause, syntax, transfer, language awareness
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