Italian consulate launches week-long cultural event

October 17, 2017
Speakers at the launch of the Italian Language Week at the Italian Consulate in Jeddah, Monday. — Courtesy photo
Speakers at the launch of the Italian Language Week at the Italian Consulate in Jeddah, Monday. — Courtesy photo

Saudi Gazette report

— The Italian Consulate on Monday launched a week-long cultural event to celebrate the 17th week of “Italian Language in the World”.

Italian Consul General Elisabetta Martini noted that this year’s theme of the cultural event is “Cinema and how cinema has influenced the language”.

She said it was the perfect time to hold such an event in Saudi Arabia as there are expectations of having cinema soon in the Kingdom. Italy is a cultural superpower and it is eager to contribute to the implementation of the Saudi Vision 2030 also as far as the creative industry is concerned,” she said.

She explained that the Italian Language Week has been celebrated by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 2001.

“This remarkable initiative is part of the overall effort undertaken by the Italian government to promote the study of the Italian language and the knowledge of the Italian culture abroad,” she said.

For this initiative the Italian Consulate in Jeddah has organized a series of events including a standup comedy show by Savirio Raimondo (author and anchorman of ‘Comedy Central News’), a show that is about to be launched in Dubai too.

Raimondo said it was a pleasure and an honor to be in Jeddah for the Italian Language Week.

His show about Fantozzi, one of the most famous comedy characters in Italy, is an experiment: comedy is a ‘strange thing’ to export in a foreign country; it’s also an important cultural experience. The character of Fantozzi had such an important influence on Italian language in a way that epitomizes the influence of cinema on a language.

The consulate is also organizing some movie nights and debates, seminars held by Mondadori Education about Italian language. These events will be held at Italian Cultural Center, Italian School and at private universities.

At the press conference held at the Italian cultural center, Fabio Ferri and Biancaria Gismondi from Mondadori education company underlined that Italian is a European language spoken in Italy and Switzerland. And it is the fourth most studied foreign language in the world.

Italy has always been a a crossroads of trades and this is why many Arabic words were adopted in Italian. Most Arabic words are related to business and traded goods, such as tariffa (English tariff, Arabic a‘rīfa ‘notification, publication’) or arancia (English orange, Arabic nāranǧ). Nowadays, some new Arabic words are commonly used in Italian, mostly referring to very popular food, such as hummus and couscous (Arabic kuskūs e kuskusū).

A dictionary like New Devoto-Oli, published by Mondadori — the leading publishing company in Italy — shows spelling, pronunciation, meanings and the stories of words: this will help one to not only learn a language but also to understand a culture.

As a final note, Elisabetta Martini Consul General of Italy said: “The aim of the initiative is to underline what unites Arab and Italian cultures and not what divides us, namely creativity and common words.”

October 17, 2017
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