For information about a minor in this or another foreign
language, see the academic
Assistant Professor of English and Languages
If anyone knows the value of knowing a foreign language to get out of a jam, Dr. Vince Redder is that person. Sent to Rome, Italy to study theology, he had been in Italy only one week when he ran afoul of a ticket-taker on a double-decker bus in Rome. He accidentally knocked out one of the light bulbs on the upper deck, which fell at the feet of the ticket-taker right below him.
The ticket-taker stomped up the stairs and spent five minutes yelling, waving, and gesticulating. Although he understood no word what was being directed at him, Dr. Redder responded with the only phrase he could remember: “Mi dispiace” (I’m sorry). The man was satisfied with this and stomped back down the stairs; the residents of the upper deck gave Dr. Redder a round of applause. Not only did he learn to like applause, but he also learned that it was helpful to know the language of the country one was visiting.
With four years of study in Rome, Dr. Redder learned quite a bit more Italian; he learned at least enough to take class in Italian, write exams in Italian, and converse quite easily in the language. Living in Rome gave him an appreciation for the past and present contributions of the Italians to the world, and as a scholar with a PhD in Renaissance literature, being surrounded by the Italian Renaissance for four years was definitely a plus.
Dr. Redder is drawn to the Italian of Dante and Petrarch, partly because of their contributions to the Renaissance, but also because their language is so beautiful. Sometimes you may find him in his office, mumbling Petrarch or Dante out loud to himself. He likes to read Italian newspapers like Corriere della Sera online, and teaching Italian keeps his Italian sharp.
Italian is spoken by one in five of the population of Europe.
- Italian is the fourth foreign language most spoken in U.S. homes,
according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
- Italy is one of the top five economies in the world, ahead of Great
Britain, Russia, and China. It is also a leading member of the G7 group
of the wealthiest democracies in the world.
- An estimated 7,500 American companies do business with Italy and more
than 1,000 U.S. firms have offices in Italy, including IBM, General
Electric, Motorola, Citibank, and Pricewaterhouse Coopers.
- Italy is a world leader in the culinary arts, interior design, fashion,
graphic design, furniture design, etc. Those planning careers in such
fields greatly benefit from knowing Italian.
- Italy has long been a magnet for the tourism industry: In 1996, 55
million people visited Italy.
- Italy's economy is changing: state-owned companies are becoming privatized,
opening up the Italian market to American companies and professions
in aerospace, transportation, insurance, finance, shipping, telecommunications,
and other commerce.
- With the Italian market opening, American companies like AT&T
and IBM will be establishing ties with Italian companies in the areas
of cable TV, international cellular telephone systems, the Internet
and more, and will need employees who speak Italian and English.
- Italian is the language of Dante and Machiavelli, the language of
poetry, the lingua franca of music, and the language of one of the finest
cuisines in the world.
- Italy is the cradle of the Renaissance and the inventor of modern
- Italy has had a profound influence on the shaping of European culture
from the Middle Ages onwards, not merely in the visual arts and in design
but in political thought and the cinema. Italy's cultural and economic
significance within the European Union and beyond generates an increasing
demand for competent and informed speakers of Italian.
- Graduates of languages enjoy one of the highest employment rates of
any subject. The many transferable skills you will have acquired through
living and studying abroad will give you a competitive edge in an increasingly
global job market.
- Art and art history
Conversational Italian I
- No prior knowledge of Italian
- Three hours
- Fall, 2006
Conversational Italian II
- Spring, 2006, continuation of LAN 115
- More conversation
For more information, contact Dr. Vince Redder: email@example.com