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Italian Academic Reading for HEC


Italian 205

Academic Reading 

CEFR level A2-B1

Reserved HEC

Length of course:

20 hours 


Course starts on 25 January 





Place & Instructor


Wittgenstein room

Gaia Pieraccioni



The course is addressed to HEC students with an elementary/ pre-intermediate knowledge of Italian (A2-B1) who need to improve their reading comprehension of historical sources for their research.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course you will have improved your ability to read and understand primary and secondary historical sources in Italian. 

Specifically, you will be able to:

  • analyse the discipline-specific language of history texts at different levels
  • identify the underlying structure of the historical text, particularly by recognizing the key words, key concepts, and relationships between parts of the text
  • recognize (passive knowledge) the most frequent grammatical structures of the historical text, and understand their function
  • deconstruct complex sentences in context
  • understand a broad spectrum of specific vocabulary

Course content





Course materials are provided by the EUI Italian Unit 

The coursework focuses on teaching you to recognize the form and understand the function of the structures below in a written text; you are not expected to use these structures actively (speaking and writing).

Linguistic structures typical of the historical text:

  • impersonal form
  • past tenses: passato remoto/ imperfetto/ trapassato prossimo (the past perfect) 
  • the passive form 
  • the function of the gerund in casual, time and modal sentences
  • connectors: conjunctions, pronouns, expressions which connect the parts of the historical text 
  • complex sentences


  • Lexical collocations, typical of the historical text
  • Frequent prefixes and suffixes in the language of History
  • Synonyms and antonyms
  • Nominalization 
  • Figurative expressions

Learning methods and activities

  • General and specific reading strategies in a foreign language to facilitate the global comprehension of a text
  • Comprehension strategies between languages
  • Meta-cognitive strategies
  • Individualised course materials: Every participant will propose a short text in their field to work on. During the course, we will work on the selected texts using specifically tailored activities



Teacher's bio

Gaia Pieraccioni has been teaching Italian at the Centre for Academic Literacies and Languages (CALL) since 2006.

After graduating in Modern Literature from the University of Florence with a thesis on the History of the Renaissance, she obtained a Master's degree in Didactics and Promotion of Italian Language and Culture to Foreigners from the University of Venice and specialised in teaching Italian for academic purposes. She also began a doctoral programme at the Scuola Superiore di Studi Storici ,San Marino University)

She has collaborated with the Universities of Parma, Bergamo and Florence as a trainer on Educational Linguistics courses for teachers of Italian as a foreign language and as a coordinator of language education projects in multicultural contexts.

She worked as a lecturer in Modern Languages Educational Linguistics at the University of Parma from 2012 to 2015, within the University's Laboratory of Educational Linguistics. There, she conducted research on teaching academic Italian to foreign students with an elementary level of knowledge of the language.

She is the author, among other publications, of a coursebook in Academic Italian (Bonacci ed.), an Italian grammar for schools (Loescher ed.) and articles on Italian for study purposes. Her teaching and research activities at IUE currently focus on the design of Italian curricula for cultural and academic purposes, multilingualism and intercomprehension between Romance languages.











Page last updated on 26 January 2024

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