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The Italian Language Olympics: 2013-2014 Edition

Le Olimpiadi di Italiano: Edizione 2013-14

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Italian language students in Italy will soon be sharpening their proverbial linguistic ice skates, waxing their grammatical skis, and practicing their punctuation luge runs in preparation for the fourth annual Italian Language Olympics. The linguistic competition, organized by the Ministero dell’Istruzione, raises awareness of Italian language instruction in schools and encourages students to improve their mastery of the language via contests that will take place in several stages at both the national and international level.

The Italian Language Olympics are individual tests of the Italian language for students of secondary schools and are conducted under the patronage of the Comune di Firenze, the collaboration of the Ministero per gli Affari Esteri and Uffici Scolastici Regionali, the supervision of the Accademia della Crusca and the Associazione per la Storia della Lingua Italiana, and the participation of Rai Radio3 and Rai Educational.

The national finals will take place on April 12, 2014, in Firenze at the Palazzo Vecchio, during a cultural event called Giornate della lingua italiana, which the Ministero dell’Istruzione organizes to celebrate the anniversaries of the Italian language and literature and to explore themes of particular relevance. This year the Giornate will be devoted to the poetry of Mario Luzi, a hundred years after his birth, as well as the prose of Niccolo Machiavelli and Galileo Galilei, and to the promotion of reading, writing, and publishing in both print and digital.

The purpose of the Italian Language Olympics is to:

  • encourage and deepen the study of the Italian language, deemed an essential element of cultural education for every student and an indispensable basis for the acquisition and growth of academic knowledge and skills;
  • motivate students to improve their mastery of the Italian language;
  • promote and enhance excellence among students in the context of linguistic competence in Italian.

Calendar of Events
» Registration: deadline for institution and student registration is January 31, 2014
» Institution-level competition: Thursday, February 13, 2014
» Semi-final competition (provincial or interprovincial): Thursday, March 13, 2014
» National final in Firenze: Saturday, April 12, 2014

Sample Test Topics
The syllabus for the competition is extensive and covers a variety of subjects including:

Ortografia (Spelling)
1. spelling and in particular the use of accents, apostrophes, and the graphemes "h" and "i"
2. recognition and use of principal foreign graphemes

Interpunzione (Punctuation)
1. function and use of the principal punctuation marks

Morfosintassi (morphosyntax)
1. the main categories of analysis of nouns and adjectives (gender, number, alteration, composition, derivation), of verbs (conjugation, mode, tense, person, number, active, passive and reflexive, transitive or intransitive)
2. pronouns
3. prepositions, conjunctions, adverbs
4. components of a simple sentence
5. structure of a complex sentence and being able to distinguish: key phrases from the dependent clauses; the explicit form of subordinates; and the main types of subordinates

Lessico (Lexicon)
1. relation between meanings (synonymy , antonymy , gradation, hypernymy, hyponymy)
2. word formation
3. use of vocabulary in relation to regional varieties and registers

Testo (Text)
1. recognize in a text the principal connections
2. recognize and analyze mechanisms of cohesion of a text and be able to rearrange parts of a given text in a different order than the original
3. recognize and analyze words thematically relevant to a text
4. recognize texts according to their essential type
5. analyze and assess the relevance and adequacy of communicative expressions and linguistic messages based on the context of implementation
6. fill a text with gaps (cloze)
7. analyze and recognize basic forms of verse and rhyming schemes
8. recognize the main metaphors (e.g., metaphor, metonymy, litotes, hyperbole)

An awards ceremony will take place on the same day in the Salone dei Cinquecento in Palazzo Vecchio. Finalists and winners will receive a certificate from the Ministero dell’Istruzione dell’Università e della Ricerca.

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