mercoledì 20 maggio 2009

Learning with youtube

I've just finished enjoying the activities Sarah suggested us to do using youtube sources. They were really interesting, funny and absolutely useful! How much it is possible to learn from a song or a short video...I think that youtube can be a wonderful indrect source of language learning!

As far as comedy on youtube is concerned, the video about translation is definitely funny! I laughed watching it really a lot although I'm not an English native speaker! I think that this video moves from English stereotipes about foreign people speaking English and shows how British people and culture perceive the fact that their language is spoken by people from all over the world. Watching the video I would say that they laught a lot!

Let's move to the music scene and talk about my experience singing the refrain of This is the Life...oh, that was practically impossible! I needed to hear the song at list 4 times before being able to sing it correctly...but if I had to repeat the refrain now I'd have difficulties in remembering it and repeatig it so quickly!
Anyway, in the end it was a very useful activity to learn some new words and a new song!

I appreciated the activities linked to the song of the Coldplay because I learned new words and reflected on the use of verbs and rhymes. In my opinion Viva la Vida is a song about the concept of power and all its implications. It is the story of an old king who looks back at his glorious past and reflects on his experiences, he realises that his power was vain and that there were revolutionary people who wanted to kill him...Power as something vain (it was as a castle built on the sand and salt) and power as a ciclical entity: once a king or a person looses it, there is always someone ready to take his place. Accorsing to this idea, this song may have political meanings and be addressed to those powerful people who can be considered the kings of the world.

martedì 19 maggio 2009



My PLE is basically divided into two main areas: formal and informal sources of language learning. In the former I included whatever is linked to my university career, whereas in the latter informal sources that regard my everyday life and experiences. I defined as source those activities, tools and people which put me in contact with a foreign language and enrich my linguistic and cultural eritage. Comparing both formal and informal inputs I think that they are equally important and complementary.

As far as the formal instruction is concerned, university has been giving me (this year in particular) a great number of occasions and possibilities to learn foreign languages, as you can see listed in my PLE map. Moreover, it provided me with tools, materials and advices that will be useful in my future as well. I'd like to point out how important this aspect of my academic language learning is and how I appreciate it!

On the other side of the map I added experiences and tools that are part of my everyday life but excluded from the academic environment. These are at hand and linked to my personal interests and passions. I'd say that they will be very important for me in the future, especially if I won't have further accademic opportunities to go on studing foreign languages! Consequently I can affirm, as other people and professors have already done, that language is really a lifelong experience! So it is necessary for me not to underestimate them!!

In conclusion, my PLE provided me a complete snapshotof my current language learning situation. What I keep in mind is that it is necessary to be continuously in contact with languages to maintain a ood level of lingui

lunedì 11 maggio 2009

How to use the Internet critically

Hi everybody!!

Hope everything's going on well...let's reflect on the risks connected to the Internet and all its different uses.

I think that the Internet is a great tool, expecially for those people who know how to use it properly. Unfortunaltely, it is necessary to pay attention and be aware of the fact that it can be dangerous as well. In class we discussed the risks of the Internet and I realized that my opinion of the Internet is too optimistic.

I'm not afraid of all these problems because I use the Internet cautiously and not very often. As a consequence, I hope that this attitude prevents me from facing serious and unpleasant consequences. Moreover, I tend to ask people to help me or give advices when I'm not sure how to use the Internet properly. My point of view is that if I wonder about how dangerous the Internet can be, eventually I won't use it at all. So, I prefer to be cautious and asks for advices in order to avoid risks and keep on using this great source.

I've recently become a member of Facebook and I'm perfectly aware that my personal information have become public. In a way I think that it can be dangerous because someone can "steal my identity" or use them unproperly without my consent, but on the other hand I accepted this risk when I decided to join the social net.

So, I think that awareness is the best way to use the Internet properly.

mercoledì 29 aprile 2009

Google docs

What a nice discovery!!

Today I created my own space on Google Docs. It is a space on the web where I can save my documents and works and share them with other people. Some friends of mine already used it and told me how it simplifies the way you work; however, I thought it was too difficult to use and so I never thought about creating my own space on Google Doc. Moreover, I had the impression that this instrument was quite unuseful for me.

I enjoyed our activity in class because I had the opportunity to create my space on Google Doc (otherwise I would have never done it) but I could see how useful it can be .

Infact, it has a lot of advantages:

  • documents are saved on a web space, so it is possible to have access to them and work wherever I find myself (provided computer and connection!);
  • I don't have to keep papers, notes, drive pens with me;
  • I can change my work and add notes in any moment;
  • I can share my work easily;
  • I can decide with whom I want to share my work (trustfulness).

So, now I have a positive opinion about Google Doc and I'm going to use it very soon. Infact, I have to write some papers for my English Literature classes and nodoubtly I will use Google Doc to ask some friends of mine to revise them and give me some advices. It will be a very good opportunity for me to use Goole Doc and practise but also to introduce my friends this wonderful instrument!

sabato 25 aprile 2009

Style Guides

As far as a comparison between MLA and APA is concerned, I decided to compare books, online newspapers and movies because these are the sources I used to write my BA thesis. I wanted to check if I used a proper quotation style and I discovered that it was not correct and that I should have been preciser. I had difficulties because I didn't know if there was a proper style to list movies in the final references and now I know how to do it correctly.
Analysing these style guides I realized that I made mistakes in the way I cited online newspaper articles: in the final reference list I wrote the entire URL, on the contrary it is necessary to cite the article in the same way you cite a book (author, date, title of the article and of the newspaper, when the article was retrivered).
I think that good and precise references add professionality to a thesis, so it is necessary to write them correctly!
These style guides provided me useful instruments to erase any doubts and avoid mistakes in the future!


According to the style guides provided, both APA and MLA put the author's name at the beginning and the location of the publisher at the end. The difference between them is the style of the title ( title for APA and title underlined for MLA) and the year of publication (APA puts it after the suthor'd name, MLA at the end).


In this case the style guide provided by APA is simpler and shorter; the order is: author's name, (yeasr, month date). Title of the article. Title of the newspaper. Retrived from (URL). The style of the MLA guide is longer and more complex: author's name. "Title of the article". Title of the newspaper (underlined) day month year, edition.Day month year of access (URL).


The MLA style guide requires the title (underlined) at the beginning, then the director's name, the performers' names, the distributor and the date. The APA style guide cites the movie references in the same way it cites written resources: firstly the producers' and director's names, then the date in brachets, the title of the movie, the country and the distributor. After the title of the movie it is necessary to specify the type of movie, for example [motion picture].

giovedì 23 aprile 2009

Is my academic article readable???

Hi friends!
Here is the link to the academic article I chose to analyse; it is a critic of a novel I had to read for my American Literature classes. The novel is "Praisong for the Widow" and it is beautiful: let me suggest you to read it! The article is a bit long but I think it is very well written and readable.

"Embodying Cultural Memory in Paule Marshall's Praisong for the Widow" by Susan Rogers:

Text cohesion:

There seems to be no sense of incompatibility between (pointing forward) the body as a source of knowledge and the importance of separating mind from body. These pointing backward) disparities will be discussed for what they can productively reveal about the difficulties of negotiating autonomy in a racist society. My thesis is that these contradictions (pointing backwards), rather than undermining the novel's integrity, go to the heart of the sense of diaspora disconnection which the book communicates. These tensions (pointing backwards)are expressive of attempts to escape bodies' limiting associations, while finding in an individual's body a source of identity denied by ideological denigration of black bodies.

Logical flow of ideas:

Through the processes of extreme physical discomfort, illness, purging, healing, bathing, and dancing, Avey is able to make an emotional journey that restores her awareness of he r cultural inheritance. I will argue, however, that the novel's portrayal of Avey's emotional and physical rebirth, while raising important questions about the cultural identity of African and Caribbean Americans, is disconcerting in terms of the suggestion that it is possible to return to an unmediated state of being, to a tabula rasa of mind and body.

Avey does not pity these people, however, but feels awe and respect for their determination to preserve their heritage against the odds. Furthermore, their fete livens up when they begin the creole dances which acknowledge not a specific traceable connection with African groups but a general ancestral connection

The novel's conclusion, then, posits a solution to Avey's crisis of cultural disinheritance that calls attention to the plural origins of African American culture. However, although much of the novel proposes that cultural identity has a certain grounding in physicality, its conclusion, by repeating her ancestor's refrain, remains anxious about such a grounding. The shifting approaches to physicality within the novel, therefore, communicate powerfully the impact of cultural disinheritance created by the African diaspora.

Text cohesion:

This paper aims to examine the way the body functions in the text not only as an indicator of personal consciousness, but also as a metaphor for African people's cultural disinheritance created by the African diaspora. It also aims to draw attention to the disparity presented in the novel between acknowledging the body as an avenue of expression and yet wanting to escape its limitations.

The text explicitly acknowledges the workings of social practice in contributing to an individual and collective understanding of physicality. Yet, simultaneously, events in the novel present a body's inherent knowledge as a resource for overcoming social and cultural disenfranchisement. Marshall's text does not confront its own contradictions: The differing attitudes to Avey's body are not addressed, but are presented as a coherent solution to her personal crisis.

The separation of mind and body, Christian states, "is characterized not as! fragmentation but as a source of Wisdom" (150). This separation was initially enabling for people of African descent because, while their bodies might have been enslaved, they were able to determine their freedom by recalling Africa "as the source of their being" (152).

In Marshall's novel the body, as a source of collective memory, functions as a crucial symbol of the need to discover, to recall the self, outside of hegemonic social and political prescriptions. Yet the text also imparts an astute awareness of the dangers, for black Americans, of focusing on corporeal locatedness in a society whose ruling classes designate blackness as subordinate. Despite Avey's search for a culturally complete self, the novel is unable to reconcile two very different understandings of bodily existence. Yet through this irreconcilability, as much as through the depiction of cultural reclamation, the novel exposes a pivotal feature of the diaspora experience it is concerned with relating.


The idea, suggested in the novel, that Avey's memories of Africa are an essential part of her being, while her American identity is a socially constructed one, is problematic.

It is in this section that Avey Johnson, the novel's protagonist, becomes aware of her body as a repository of memory, as a place where physical sensation echoes emotional feeling. This awareness is pivotal in Avey's progress from a state of denial to acceptance of her heritage. This essay aims to explore Marshall's construction of a fictional body as a site of cultural expression and memory. Avey's body communicates to her what she has taught her conscious mind to ignore: her disconnection from her own sense of herself and from the African-American and Caribbean heritage which is a crucial part of that self.

In my opinion these examples show that the text has a clear structure because the main topics are expressed in short simple sentences separated by full stops. Moreover, further clarification are introduced by semicolons.

The audience:

I think that this article is addressed both to university students as well as professors because it was written by a graduate student. Its style is simple but its content (in terms of theories and concepts) is complex and requires an educated audience.

Susan Rogers is a graduate student at Hull University in England. She is currently completing her Ph.D. thesis on constructions of embodiment in contemporary fiction concerned with the legacies of slavery.

In conclusion, I think that this article is readable because it developes different topics but they are linked in a logical way. Therefore, the text has cohesion and it is easy to read it critically.

As far as blog posts are concerned, I believe that they should be clear and cohesive and have a logical structure. They should be readable as well, I mean. They would become more attractive and easier to understand!

I think that writing blog posts is a nice and useful writing practice because it forces you to organise your thoughts in a logical way. Blogging is communication: an efficient communication on blogs is an efficient communication elsewhere!