Imágenes de página

of former writers, and especially of the chronicles of the middle ages, to which we see with pleasure the Italians have turned their attention, for in them are to be found the true elements of modern Italian civilization and nationality. Among the original works, we will mention a few that occur to us now ; Micali's Italy before the Roman dominion, Pignotti's excellent History of Tuscany, Botta's important History of Italy during the French invasions and late occupation of the country, and again his recent continuation of Guicciardini, Cicognara's History of Sculpture, Ferrario's History of Chivalry and Romance, Litta's splendid biographical and archæological work on the great Italian families, Inghirami's Etruscan Antiquities. Among the jurists and political economists, Romagnosi, Gioja, 'Tamburini, are illustrious names. The plays of Nota and Giraud ; the tragedies of Pellico, Manzoni, and Niccolini, are justly admired. Manzoni has given Italy the best, we may say the first, historical novel she ever had, and numerous writers have now followed the same career. Della Cella, Brocchi, Raddi, Breislak, Rosellini, have published their travels undertaken for objects of learning or science. Of poets and philologists, Monti, Foscolo, Pindemonte, are lately dead. Among scientific men, Vaccà, Piazzi, Volta, Scarpa, Oriani, are also departed. But Aldini, Brugnatelli, Configliacchi, Ferrara, Conti, and Mai are living. All the above names, and we have only mentioned those most generally known, afford a sufficient refutation to those who pretend to say, that Italy is “the land of the dead." There exists considerable difficulty in England in procuring new works from the various parts of Italy; there is, however, one Italian bookseller in London, Rolandi, of Berners Street, who keeps up a correspondence with the principal houses of Milan and Florence, and is pretty regularly supplied with most of the new works from the Italian press.

[ocr errors][merged small]

(From the Quarterly Journal of Education, No. XII.)

We promised in a former Number * to offer some suggestions to students of Italian in this country, with respect to the method of learning that language, and also to give a list of the best graminare, dictionaries, and other works, which may afford assistance. We cannot enter here into an elaborate grammatical dissertation; we shall merely make such remarks, and offer such hints as have occurred to us at various times.

The first thing is to acquire a good pronunciation. For this purpose it is requisite that the teacher, if not a native of Tuscany or Rome, should at least be familiar with the pronunciation of educated people in those countries, as we have already explained in our former article; and that he should pronounce, for instance, the letter u full and round, like the English 00; that he should be exact in discriminating between the two sounds of the e and of the o, as well as those of the s and the z; and also in pronouncing the syllables ce and ci, which ought to be sounded as the English ch, though somewhat more softly; the sce, sci, which latter have the sound of the English sh in shame, shin ;

* No. X. of the Journal of Education, p. 265.

the gl, which is pronounced as the French il in bouilli, and the gn, which sounds as in French in the word Espagne. These we consider as the principal tests of Italian provunciation, and the student himself will soon discover, by referring to a good grammar, such as that of Galignani, edited by Montucci, Lecture I., whether his teacher is deficient in any of these requisites. Let him not, however, carry his suspicion and fastidiousness to extremes, for he will find many well-educated Italians, and such most Italian teachers in this country certainly are, who are acquainted with the proper pronunciation in all the above cases, and who yet in common conversation occasionally deviate from it. If the pupil feels any doubts in some particular instance, he ought to call the attention of the teacher to the point, so as to define at once the proper sound of the word, which when acquired he will not easily forget. Of the aspiration by the Florentines of the ca, co, cu, che, chi, we have already spoken, and we can only add that it ought to be avoided. Montucci remarks that this habit is very ancient, and occurred in the Latin language, as appears by the epigram :

Chommoda dicebat, si quando commoda vellet • Dicere, et hinsidias, Arrius insidias. Arrius must have said chommoda, exactly as a Florentine would; and hinsidias, like a modern vulgar cockney.

The pronunciation of Italian is not difficult to acquire by natives of England. It is much easier for them to pronounce Italian than French. We have kuown persons read Italian pretty correctly after one or two lessons. The greatest difficulty is in the accent, of which there is one, and only one, in every polysylabic word. The stress is laid on the accented syllable by raising the voice. The Italian accent is seldom written, except when it falls upon the last syllable of a word where it is marked (); the Italians having adopted the grave accent for terminations, and reserved the acute for the middle of words. The accents do not, as in French, mark the broad or close pronunciation of the vowel itself. In the middle of words, the accent is used only where it is necessary to avoid ambiguity; as balía, 'power,' to distinguish it from bália

nurse,' in the latter word the accent being on the first a. Some monosyllables are written with an accent for the same reason : di, .day,' as distinguished from the preposition di, .of. Likewise piè, 'foot,' is distinguished by the accent from pie, plural of the feminine adjective pia, 'pious,' and già, 'already,' froin gia, a poetical word, signifying he went.' I these cases the accented word is invariably a monosyllabic diphthong, whilst its non-accented double may be counted in poetry as two syllables : pi e, gi-a. The first class of diphthongs are called raccolli, in which the first vowel is hurried over, and is less discernible by the ear than the latter; and the second class are called distesi, in which both vowels are equally sounded in pronunciation.

In dissyllables there can be no difficulty about the accent, for unless it is written on the last syllable, it lies necessarily on the first. But words of more than two syllables are often perplexing to a foreigner. Most dictionaries now, however, have the accented syllable marked.

We would advise the student to inake his teacher read to him loud and slowly separate Italian sentences, with the proper accent and intonation, and he should



« AnteriorContinuar »