The Department of French and Italian will be offering an Italian course designed specifically for Spanish-speaking students beginning Winter quarter.

Coordinator of the Italian Language Program and Italian for Spanish Speakers course professor Valentina Padula designed the course as a two-class sequence that allows students who are native in Spanish or have completed at least three years of high school Spanish to fulfill the general education language requirement and complete one year of Italian in two quarters rather than three. The new language course will reflect similar courses currently offered at UC Riverside, as well as CSU Riverside and CSU Long Beach.

According to Padula, the course helps Spanish-speaking students learn Italian by using the commonalities between the two languages to catalyze the learning process.

“In the case of Italian for Spanish Speakers, the idea is that if a student is proficient in Spanish, he/she can use the similarities between Italian and Spanish to learn Italian,” Padula said in an email. “The learning process will be faster than in a regular class since the teaching is based on bridges that allow students to learn Italian by relying on his/her previous knowledge of Spanish.”

Padula said the Italian for Spanish Speakers course will also give students a deeper understanding of Latin culture and tradition.

“For Spanish speakers they will be very beneficial from a practical but also a cultural point of view,” Padula said in an email. “Italian for Spanish speakers emphasizes not only the language similarities but also brings in the classroom the study of the Hispanic culture as part of a Latino tradition. Therefore, at the end of this sequence, students will have a deeper understanding of both the Spanish language and the Hispanic culture.”

First-year biochemistry major Marjoree Fargas, a fluent Spanish-speaker who is currently enrolled in an Italian course, said the Italian for Spanish Speakers course will be an accommodating and less confusing alternative to standard Italian courses.

The addition of this course is pretty awesome because I confuse Spanish and Italian sometimes,” Fargas said. “It’ll be very convenient to have a class that suits Spanish-speakers perfectly. I’m looking forward to seeing how this course will turn out since many students are Hispanic or Latino at UCSB.”

Professor of Italian at SBCC Carla Pattone said she advised Padula in the creation of the Italian for Spanish Speakers course at UCSB and said students who are interested in the Romance Languages will “find satisfaction” in the new the course.

“Because of grammatical similarities, students whose native language is Spanish will certainly benefit from the new UCSB course in Italian aimed at this particular group,” Pattone said. “Language study and its cultural underpinnings will clearly be useful: linguistic dexterity and knowledge of social-historical peculiarities associated with other countries.”