La Bella Lingua: My Love Affair with Italian, the World's Most Enchanting Language

La Bella Lingua: My Love Affair with Italian, the World's Most Enchanting Language

by Dianne Hales
La Bella Lingua: My Love Affair with Italian, the World's Most Enchanting Language

La Bella Lingua: My Love Affair with Italian, the World's Most Enchanting Language

by Dianne Hales


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A celebration of the language and culture of Italy, La Bella Lingua is the story of how a language shaped a nation, told against the backdrop of one woman’s personal quest to speak fluent Italian.

For anyone who has been to Italy, the fantasy of living the Italian life is powerfully seductive. But to truly become Italian, one must learn the language. This is how Dianne Hales began her journey. In La Bella Lingua, she brings the story of her decades-long experience with the “the world’s most loved and lovable language” together with explorations of Italy’ s history, literature, art, music, movies, lifestyle and food in a true opera amorosa — a labor of her love of Italy.

Over the course of twenty-five years, she has studied Italian through Berlitz,  books, CDs, podcasts, private tutorials and conversation groups, and, most importantly, time spent in Italy.   In the process the Italian language became not just a passion and a pleasure, but a passport into Italy’s storia and its very soul. She invites readers to join her as she traces the evolution of Italian in the zesty graffiti on the walls of Pompeii, in Dante’s incandescent cantos and in Boccaccio’s bawdy Decameron.  She portrays how social graces remain woven into the fabric of Italian:  even the chipper “ciao,” which does double duty as “hi” and “bye,” reflects centuries of bella figura.  And she exalts the glories of Italy’s food and its rich and often uproarious gastronomic language:  Italians deftly describe someone uptight as a baccala (dried cod), a busybody who noses into everything as a prezzemolo (parsley), a worthless or banal movie as a polpettone (large meatball).

Like Dianne, readers of La Bella Lingua will find themselves innamorata, enchanted, by Italian, fascinated by its saga, tantalized by its adventures, addicted to its sound, and ever eager to spend more time in its company.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780767927703
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/20/2010
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 374,310
Product dimensions: 5.22(w) x 7.93(h) x 0.74(d)

About the Author

Dianne Hales is the author of La Passione; La Bella Lingua, a New York Times bestseller; Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered, translated into six languages; and more than forty trade and text books, including Just Like a Woman, Caring for the Mind and thirty editions of a leading college health textbook, An Invitation to Health. The President of Italy has awarded Dianne the highest recognition the government can bestow on a foreigner: honorary knighthood, with the title of Cavaliere dell’Ordine della Stella della Solidarietà Italiana (Knight of the Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity), for her contributions to promoting the Italian language.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xv

Introduction: My Italian Brain and How It Grew 1

Confessions of an Innamorata 13

The Unlikely Rise of a Vulgar Tongue 35

To Hell and Back with Dante Alighieri 59

Italian's Literary Lions 79

The Baking of a Masterpiece 102

How Italian Civilized the West 122

La Storia dell'Arte 142

On Golden Wings 164

Eating Italian 190

So Many Ways to Say "I Love You" 211

Marcello and Me 235

Irreverent Italian 256

Mother Tongue 274

Glossary 291

Bibliography 301

Reader's Guide 312

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