Thursday, December 1, 2016

English Proverbs (with Italian equivalents or translations)

A bad workman blames his tools.
Il cattivo operaio dà la colpa agli attrezzi.
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
Meglio la gallina oggi che l'uovo domani.
A friend in need is a friend indeed.
Gli amici si riconoscono nel momento del bisogno.
A picture paints a thousand words.
Una foto è meglio di cento parole.
A stitch in time saves nine.
Prevenire è meglio che curare.
Absence makes the heart grow stronger.
La distanza ravviva la fiamma.
After a storm comes a calm.
Dopo la tempesta viene la quiete.
All's fair in love and war.
In amore e in guerra tutto è concesso.
Blood is thicker than water.
Il sangue non è acqua.
Don't bite the hand that feeds you.
Non sputare nel piatto in cui si mangia.
Don't count your chickens before they hatch.
Non dire "gatto" se non ce l'hai nel sacco.
Don't look a gift horse in the mouth.
A caval donato non si guarda in bocca.
Don't put all your eggs in one basket.
Non puntare su una sola chance, non concentrare tutte le energie in una sola cosa.
Drastic times call for drastic measures.
A mali estremi, estremi rimedi.
Eat, drink and be merry.
Goditela finchè puoi.
Every cloud has a silver lining.
Non tutti i mali vengono per nuocere.
He who lives by the sword, dies by the sword.
Chi di spada ferisce, di spada perisce.
Home is where the heart is.
Casa è dove hai il cuore.
Idle hands are the devil's tools.
L'ozio è il padre dei vizi.
If it ain't broken, don't fix it.
Finché la barca va, lasciala andare.
If the cap/shoe fits, wear it.
Avere la coda di paglia.
If you can't be good, be careful.
Divertiti ma fai attenzione.
If you can’t beat them, join them.
Se non puoi sconfiggerli, diventa loro alleato.
It takes all sorts to make a world.
Il mondo è bello perché è vario.
It takes two to tango.
Bisogna essere in due, è colpa di entrambi.
Let sleeping dogs lie.
Non svegliare il can che dorme.
Let the chips fall where they may.
Lasciare fare il proprio corso alle cose.
Let's cross that bridge when we come to it.
Non bisogna fasciarsi la testa prima di essersela rotta.
Look before you leap.
Rifletti prima di agire.
Love will find a way.
L’amore vince sempre.
Many are called but few are chosen.
Per pochi eletti.
Money is the root of all evil.
I soldi sono la radice di ogni male.
Necessity is the mother of invention.
Il bisogno aguzza l’ingegno.
Once bitten, twice shy.
Chi si scotta con la minestra bollente, soffia anche su quella fredda.
Seize the day.
Carpe diem.
Still waters run deep.
L’apparenza inganna.
There’s many a true word spoke in jest.
Nello scherzo c’è sempre un fondo di verità.
Truth will out.
La verità verrà a galla.
Variety is the spice of life.
Il mondo è bello perchè è vario.
What's good for the goose is good for the gander.
Ciò che vale per l’uno vale per l’altro.
You can't have your cake and eat it too.
Non puoi avere la botte piena e la moglie ubriaca.
You can't judge a book by its cover.
L'abito non fa il monaco.
You can't win them all.
Non si può sempre vincere.
You win a few, you lose a few.
A volte si vince, a volte si perde.

Thanks to Aurora Bonfiglio, Giuseppe Bonelli, Anna Martino and others. Help us add more proverbs to this list. You can download it from Dropbox.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016


Two make-up lessons (1st and 2nd years) will be held on Wed. Nov. 30 and Wed. Dec. 7 (1st: 14-1630, 2nd: 1630-18) for those students who have no scheduling conflicts. These extra lessons will not include essential information, but they will be useful and, hopefully, enjoyable. See you then.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Song lyric transcriptions 2

OASIS - WONDERWALL, transcribed by Anna Martino

Today is gonna be the day
That they gonna throwing back to you
But now you show to somehow
realize what you got to do
I don't believe that anybody
feels the way I do about she now
Back beat the word is on the Street
that the fire in your eyes is out
I'm sure you've heard it all before
but you never really had this out
I don't believe that anybody
feels the way I do about she now
And all the roads we have to walk are winding
and all the lights I lead there are blinding
There are many things that I would like to say to you
but I don't know how
Because maybe you are gonna be
the one that saves me
And after all you are my wonderwall
Today was gonna be the day
But they never throw it back to you
But now you show to somehow
realize what's you're not to do
I don't believe that anybody
feels the way I do about she now
And all the roads that lead you there are winding
And all the lights that light the way are blinding
There are many things that I would like to say to you
but I don't know how
I said maybe
you're gonna be the one that saves me
and after all
you're my wonderwall
I said maybe
you're gonna be the one that saves me
and after all
you're my wondewall
i said maybe
 you're gonna be the one that saves me (x3)

Film review by Alessia Vita


Genre: Period drama
Director: Joe Wright
Starring: Keira Knightley, James McAvoy, Vanessa Redgrave
Music: Dario Marianelli
Running time: 123 min

The film is set in 1935, when Briony Tallis, a 13-years-old girl and a wannabe writer, sees a moment of closeness between her older sister, Cecilia, and Robbie, a family friend. Some days later, she accidentally reads a love letter, sent by Robbie to Cecilia, which contained explicit sexual references, and starts worrying about her sister. During a dinner, she finds the two lovers together in the library, while they're having a passionate intercourse. This situation gets worse when her cousin Lola is raped by an unknow man, in which Briony is almost sure to have seen Robbie. The boy is arrested and take away from Cecilia, who firmly believes in his innocence.
Four years later, Robbie is released on condition that he joins the army: after many dangerous adventures as a soldier, he reunites with Cecilia in London. In the meantime Briony, now 18 years old, understands the serious consequences of her deposition to the police and tries to apologies to them, but Robbie and Cecilia wont forgive her: the only way to help was to go and tell their family about the truth.
Decades later, an elderly Briony, now a successful author, gives an interview on her latest book, "Atonement", in which she tells her story of the two star-crossed lovers. Then she confesses that the reunion and marriage of Cecilia and Robbie had never happened: the man had died of septicemia during the war and her sister had been killed by a flood in a tube station. Her fictional happy ending was a way to give them back what she had taken away from them.

This film is devided into three parts. The first one is devoted to Robbie and Cecilia's story and Robbie's arrest: the colours give a sens of progressive distance from the bright light of love, well represented in a daily scene near a fountain in Tallis holding, where they undestand their attraction to each other; the following arrest scene is set at night and represents the death of passion due to an external cause, Briony, who's still dressed in light blue and white, clues of her inner naivety.
The second part is characterised by a moving soundtrack which underlines Robbie's sad destiny and painful war experience, that he accepts although he perfectly knows it's savagely stealing his time with Cecilia. The photography is excellent too, because it gives us spectacular views of poppy fields alternated with catastrophic images of devastation and massive bombing.
The last part is the keystone to the entire plot and the final explanation for the title of our film: Briony's job place, a war hospital, is the perfect representation of regret and catharsis, the spiritual prison by which she forbides herself to have a successful writing carreer. She's a nurse now and she had to devote herself to people who suffer, even if this means that she herself has to suffer. The colours in which she's wrapped are grey, black and red, very different from those she experienced during her childhood: but the shades become more and more brighter when she tries to fix her mistakes, letting Robbie and Cecilia to their peaceful life together. The final time hop in the future shows us a wiser Briony, whose wrinkles reveal the profundity of her remorse and the amount of time spent thinking about what she did; but this condition is not enough to give this story a true happy ending: darkness and death make their last apparition, when Robbie and Cecilia's lives are taken by the tragic course of events. 

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Idiom Project: time's a wastin'

Hi First and Second Year Students,
Wondering what to do as your do-it-yourself English study in the next few days? We're starting an Idiom Project, collecting the most common English idioms. From your reading, TV/film watching, internet, vocabulary notebook, wherever, make a list of idioms and their corresponding Italian equivalent (if they have one) or a translation/explanation in Italian.
Send your list to my email (, and then we'll make a general list and post it on this site.
Idioms are used a lot in speech by native speakers and sometimes in writing. You should learn them, even if you won't use them until you feel comfortable. When you start looking you'll see them everywhere. And they're fun.
Can't wait to read your lists.
Mr. Pedersen

Monday, October 17, 2016

You said it (favorite English expressions)

When pigs fly
Break a leg
Every cloud has a silver lining
What the hell
Love conquers all
I'll keep my fingers crossed
Never give up
Are you kidding me?
Oh, my God!
Believe in yourself
Keep Calm and Carry On
What do you mean?
What a pity
Piece of cake
What else?
Don't worry, be happy
Follow your dreams (and they will come true)
Live while you're young
You're kidding
Sleep like a log
I don't mind
I don't care
May the odds be ever in your favor
Are you serious?
Hey man, what's up?
You know
You only live once
It sounds good.

"300: Rise of an Empire," film review by Gianluca Cirino

I want to talk about "300: Rise of an Empire" a 2014 American epic and drammatic war film, directed by Noam Murro. It's the sequel of 300. It's based on Artemisium and Salamis battles. At the beginning of the movie, Gorgo of Sparta tells her men about the battle of Marathon, in which Darius, the king of Persia, was killed by Themistocles an Athenian general. Darius' son, Xerxes, swore, influenced by Artemisia, his naval commander, swore to destroy Greece and the Greeks. He went through the desert where he found a cave and plunged into an otherworld liquid emerging as a God-king. So, he declared war on the Greeks and sent his forces towards Thermopylae against Leonida, king of Sparta. Themistocles tried to put together the Greek forces to defeat the Persian army, but Gorgo didn't want to send her forces. So, the battle of Artemisium started; Themistocles' army defeated many Persian men and destroyed  their ships. Impressed with Themistocles' skills, Artemisia brought him onto her ship where she had sex with him, to convince the general to join her, but he refused. A fire war started in the sea and both Greek and Persian ships were destroyed. At the same time, in the Thermopylae, Leonidas and his 300 men were killed by Xerxes, who wanted to burn Athens. So Artemisia sent her entire navy to fight the battle of Salamis. Themistocles and Artemisia started fighting, during the battle Gorgo arrived with ships from many Greek cities against the Persians. Themistocles killed Artemisia and the whole Greek army destroyed the Persian one. This is a great educational movie. In my opinion watching this film you can learn in a modern way the ancient Greek story. There are many of this kind of movies, watching them could be a good way to spend your free time smartly and you have the impression to fight with the warriors. This is a really attractive and impressive film.

John McWhorter: 4 reasons to learn a new language

See for the transcript, if you need it.

Review of the film "Rush" by Aurora Bonfiglio

Rush is an amazingly impressive and accurate film about the story of the F1 racers Niki Lauda and James Hunt. The story starts long before the tragic accident occurred to Lauda. Indeed, the focus is not on that, but on the competitiveness and the rare esteem between the two racers.
Firstly, this film is not only for F1 aficionados; everyone can find it interesting and engaging. In fact, there is a masterly combination of sports and introspection of the characters. The spectators can understand the feeling, halfway between bravery and recklessness, which pushes them to race.
Then, the whole film is incredibly accurate. The races scenes, especially the ones in bad weather conditions, are perfectly realistic. Of course, the actors were cast with the same accuracy. Indeed, they look a lot like the real protagonists of the events. Plus, some dialogues are in the native language of the racers and also their accents and parlances were precisely reproduced. Obviously, the recreation of Niki Lauda's accident and injuries is flawless too. 
Probably, the only relevant flaw is that the director excessively stressed the rivalry between the pilots. Indeed, he only let emerge the real amity between the two, at the end of the film. They were rivals, but they also respected each other. They were more similar than it seems; they supported and pushed each other, while competing.  
The most important message of this film is that two people can be rivals, but still respect each other. And, unfortunately, that is quite uncommon in sports. Nevertheless, there is still another important teaching: rivalry can lead people to do reckless things, but it also gives them a purpose.