Dianne Hales to Discuss New Book 'La Bella Lingua' at Garibaldi-Meucci Museum, 4/18

The Terza Domenica Heritage Series event at the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum on Sunday, April 18 at 1 p.m. will be a booksigning and presentation by author Dianne Hales of her acclaimed book La Bella Lingua: My Love Affair with Italian, the World's Most Enchanting Language.

On her first trip to Italy, Hales fell in love with all things Italian and made it her mission to become fluent in the language. She has spent over 25 years studying la bella lingua in every conceivable way-through Berlitz, books, CDs, podcasts, private tutorials and conversation groups, and most importantly, by spending lots of time in Italy. As she became more fluent she wanted to also comprehend the influences behind the development of the language. She wanted to immerse herself in, and inhabit, all aspects of Italian culture.

In short chapters full of information on linguistics, history and culture, Hales shares her passion and journey of discovery. In "My Italian Brain and How It Grew," she explains that "Learning a new language is like growing a new head. You see with new eyes, hear with new ears, speak with a new tongue." In "Eating Italian," she recounts the despair of Italy's founding fathers shortly after the unification of Italy. Unsure of how they would ever be able to unify the country that had such diverse dialects and customs, they realized "We have created Italy, now we must create Italians." But General Giuseppe Garibaldi predicted, "It will be spaghetti that will unite Italy."

In "Italian's Literary Lions," Hales explains her fascination with her "guys"-Dante, Boccaccio and Petrarca-even though in "To Hell and Back with Dante Alighieri" she admits that with Dante "it was dislike at first sight. Everything about Dante Alighieri put me off."

"The Unlikely Rise of a Vulgar Tongue" investigates the graffiti of ancient Pompeii, a city Hales calls "the Las Vegas of its day." In "Irreverent Italian," she describes her interview with Vito Tartamella, the man who wrote the book on turpiloquio, the Italian term for foul language. Maintaining that civilization couldn't exist without obscenities, Tartamella explained to her the differences in how the French, Germans, English and Italians express their anger, disgust, surprise and horror. "How Italian Civilized the West" tells the story of how a retired Italian Studies professor, while giving Hales a lesson in how to die, embodied the phrase "fare bella figura" so much more eloquently than our American equivalent of "keeping up appearances" ever could.

In "So Many Ways to Say ‘I Love You'" Hales contends that Italian qualifies hands down as the language of love. She notes that, unlike English that uses the word "love" to describe feelings for everything from hairstyles to spaghetti alla carbonara to the one true love of your life, Italian expresses love in all these nuances: affetto, affezione, amore, amoevolezza, benevolenza, inclinazione, passione, amicizia, amistanza, amista, carita, tenerezza, cordialita, svisceratezza, ardore and ardenza.

Books will be available for sale and can be personally autographed by the author. (Only books purchased at the event may be autographed.) Admission is $5, members are free. The event includes a light reception.

The Garibaldi-Meucci Museum was the home of Antonio Meucci, the true inventor of the telephone, and a refuge to Giuseppe Garibaldi, the legendary hero who championed the unification of Italy. For over 50 years the museum has fulfilled its mission to preserve the legacies of these great men, and to promote understanding of the Italian-American heritage through cultural, artistic and educational programs and classes.

Regular museum hours are 1 p.m.-5 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. Admission is $5 per person, members and children under 10 are free. Call ahead for groups of 10 or more. The first floor of the museum is wheelchair accessible, but the restroom is on the second floor. At press time, program funding has been provided through the Order Sons of Italy in America; by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; the Office of the Staten Island Borough President, Richmond County Savings Foundation; Northfield Bank Foundation, and by grants allocated by New York State Senator Diane Savino and New York City Council members Vincent Ignizio and James Oddo. The Garibaldi-Meucci Museum is owned and operated by the Order Sons of Italy in America.

Photo Courtesy of http://www.becomingitalian.com/


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