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  • 17 Dec 2016 8:58 AM | Anonymous

     due to the upcoming weather the party and all the activities today, Saturday, December 17th have been CANCELLED.

  • 03 Mar 2016 8:52 AM | Anonymous

    THE WASHINGTON POST By Tanya Lewis November 18, 2014

    People who speak two languages may have brains that are more efficient at language processing and other tasks, new research suggests.

    Scientists have long assumed that the “bilingualism advantage” — the enhanced ability to filter out important information from unimportant material — stems from how bilingual people process language. The new study confirms that assumption and goes on to suggest that bilingual people are more efficient at higher-level brain functions such as ignoring irrelevant information, said Ellen Bialystok, a psychologist at York University in Toronto, who was not involved in the research.

    Working harder

    In the study, published last week in the journal Brain and Language, brain scans showed that people who spoke only one language had to work harder to focus on a single word.

    People who are bilingual are constantly activating both languages in their brain, choosing which to use and which to ignore, said the study’s leader, Viorica Marian, a linguistic psychologist at Northwestern University.

    Compared with people who speak only a single tongue, “bilinguals are much better at ignoring irrelevant words,” Marian said.

    Brain bodybuilders

    In previous studies of people’s eye movements, Marian and her colleagues found that when bilingual people heard a word in one language, they often looked at objects whose names sounded similar to that word in their second language. In the new study, the researchers looked at how the ability to filter information manifests itself in the brain.

    The researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to scan the brains of 17 people who were fluent in both Spanish and English and 18 who spoke only English.

    During the experiment, volunteers heard the name of an object and simultaneously were shown a picture of that object, as well as an object with a similar-sounding name, and two unrelated objects. For example, they might hear the word “cloud” and see pictures of a cloud, a clown and two other things. As fast as they could, the volunteers had to pick the picture that showed the word they heard.

    Bilingual people were no faster at performing the task than monolinguals. However, their brain activity was markedly different, the scans revealed.

    The brains of people who spoke only one language lit up much more than those of their bilingual counterparts in regions involved in controlling higher-level functions, including suppressing competing word meanings. In other words, monolinguals’ brains had to work much harder to perform the task, the researchers said.

    The researchers compared the task with lifting weights at a gym. “The bilingual has to lift more weight than the monolingual, because bilinguals experience competition within and between both their languages while listening to speech,” the researchers said in an e-mail. “But the bilingual is also stronger, because they’ve been mentally ‘working out’ like this for their whole life.”

    Bilingual benefits

    Other scientists praised the research team for its approach to studying the brain activity of bilingual people. “This study fills in one of the important missing pieces in our understanding of how bilingualism leads to cognitive benefits,” Bialystok said.

    Most of the previous research on the benefits of bilingualism has focused solely on behavior, which has drawn criticism from some scientists.

    “There is actually a big discussion about whether the bilingual advantage exists or not,” said Jubin Abutalebi, a cognitive neurologist at the University San Raffaele in Milan, Italy.

    The new study added to the field by showing that the task of filtering information activates different brain areas in bilinguals and monolinguals, Abutalebi said.

    Knowing multiple languages may have other benefits, too. In a previous study, Marian and her colleagues found that bilingual children were able to ignore classroom noise more easily than monolingual children.

    Some research suggests that being bilingual may also help stave off Alzheimer’s disease and dementia for a few years by keeping the brain nimble and increasing the amount of gray matter, though other studies have had conflicting results. More research on that issue is needed, according to the Mayo Clinic.

  • 18 Dec 2015 12:56 PM | Anonymous

    On December 14th, the Youth Language School celebrated the “Festa di Natale” .The very talented kids -for the enjoyment of parents and grandparents- showcased their Italian knowledge through a repertoire of poems, songs and theatrical performances. A room filled with happy faces and tasty treats was the testimony of a very productive semester. Buone Feste!!

      

  • 09 Oct 2015 9:37 AM | Anonymous

     

     The youth language school is off to a great start for the fall semester! We welcome new and returning families, new young students and the new Program director Luisa O’Gara.

    Our language program offers classes for children age 3 to 17. The youngest kids are learning Italian while having fun through games, songs and a series of interactive activities performed in the class and repeated at home with their families. The oldest students are following a program that gives great emphasis to the grammar structures as well as to the cultural aspects of Italy.

    To learn more about our classes follow this link http://www.theitalianculturalcenter.org/Hyouthlanguageschool

  • 03 Jun 2015 9:53 AM | Anonymous

     

    Dear families,

    The ICC Youth Language School is offering a summer camp for the week of August 10th to the 14th. The camp will be based on Italian culture, art, music, food and language. The participants don't need to know Italian to enroll. On the first and the last day of the camp will offer a field trip to an Italian market to experience the process of pasta making and enjoying Italian baked goods. The last day will take the kids to a Pizzeria to make and eat their own pizza.
    We will have two native Italian instructors to lead the kids through all the activities. You can check their Bio
    http://www.theitalianculturalcenter.org/youthlanguageschoolinstructors
     
    the hours are 9am to 2pm

    Age 6-12
    the cost is S189 for members and $209 for non-members. The fee includes lunches and snacks plus the cost of the field trips.
    We still have openings; since the space is limited I suggest enrolling soon to guarantee your spot. To register  
    http://www.theitalianculturalcenter.org/event-1922210
     
    Also if you would like to became a member and take advantage of the discount follow this link
    http://www.theitalianculturalcenter.org/jointoday
     
    For any other inquiry please don't hesitate to contact me

     My best,

     Luisa O'Gara
    Youth Language School Director
    651 276-2070
    The Italian Cultural Center
    528 Hennepin Avenue, Suite 502
    Minneapolis, MN 55403

  • 09 Apr 2015 4:29 PM | Anonymous

     Questa e' la storia della famiglia di Cristina, una studentessa di italiano iscritta nel corso beginner. Cristina e' di discenzenza ispanica che nutre un forte interesse nell'apprendimento della lingua e della cultura italiana. I suoi genitori sono molto contenti per la sua scelta e noi insegnanti siamo orgogliosi di lei e dei suoi traguardi

    This is  the story of Cristina's family, she is a student enrolled in the course of Italian beginner corso C. Cristina has an Hispanic background, she has a strong interest in learning about Italian language and culture. Her parents are very happy with her choice and us teachers are proud of her and her goals.

    My wife Beatriz López López was born in Toluca, Estado de Mexico and I was born in Zitácuaro, Michoacán in the central region of México.  All our relatives are in México and our parents and grandparents were born there within the same region as far as we know.  We are Roman catholic and are part of the St. Francis community in West St. Paul. Our native language is Spanish. We did not practice English until we settle here in the twin cities area in 1999. We migrated to USA in February 1999, we wanted to start the new century in the USA. We live currently in Eagan where we bought our house in 2000. Our son Salvador Alonso Suarez Lopez was born in 2/12/2000 and Cristina two years later on 9/30/2002. Learning English has been a pleasure experience. Our children speak fluently both languages, Spanish and English. They both take the advance class of Spanish at the high school level and French as part of the middle school grade they go to. We all have discovered the amazing experience, confidence, and ability that speaking other language provides. Cristina developed a high interest in Italian. She asked for a way to learn it. Alonso in the other way is interested in German. As part of my research I was not just looking for Italian classes but something more complete that could give Cristina a better experience on the Italian culture. I found the Italian Cultural Center through the internet.  We are interested not only on the language but the actual Italian culture, music, food, art, etc. and interacting with people with Italian heritage is just great.  We believe all this could fill Cristina’s Italian experience and interest.

    Cristina just got recently enrolled on the beginner’s class. As parent we see Cristina excited to go every Sunday. She has a spark about it and shows a nice smile when talking about her Italian classes. We are looking forward to get more involved to get a better experience for Cristina and all the family with the Italian culture.

    Thank you,

    Cristina’s dad.

  • 17 Dec 2014 2:52 PM | Anonymous

    I came across this interesting article on the HUFFPOST and I thought how appropriate is it for people who face a long winter in Minnesota.

    Winter weather doesn't just affect your physical health -- it can affect your mental health, too.

    We may feel more tired during winter because we are exposed to less sunlight throughout the day, which can have a significant impact on how fatigued and drowsy we feel.

    Our bodies respond to darkness by producing melatonin, a hormone that helps us sleep. Thus, when the days get shorter and we spend more of our waking hours in darkness, we naturally begin to feel less energetic.

    However, a sleepy brain is a sluggish brain, and your fatigued mind certainly won't help you stay on top of your work or home life this winter.

    One of the exercise to keep your brain active and healthy, and maintain your mental energy all season long is to learn a language.

    Whether you're learning new words in your native language or learning a foreign language, expanding this knowledge pool is a great way to get your mental juices flowing.

    One recent study even found that people who speak two languages tend to have higher-functioning brains than those who speak only their native language. Bilingual people are also better at separating important information from non-important information. Thus, this can be a great way to not only exercise your brain, but also learn very practical and useful communication skills.

  • 16 Nov 2014 9:32 PM | Anonymous

    Who says you cannot have it all?

    Even better if you learn while having fun. During our meeting on Sunday, October 26th, we celebrated Halloween with stories and games and we managed to find the time to do a lesson too--though a bit shorter than usual.
    We learned that in many Italian towns, Italians are celebrating a sort of Halloween on November 2nd (All Souls Day).  For example, in Sardinia, our ancestors used to carve pumpkins in the shape of a skull and illuminate them with a candle inside, just like the jack-o-lantern. These were called Sa conca e mortu. In Sicily, November 2nd is a particularly joyous holiday for children, because if they have been good and prayed for the souls of the dead, in the morning they would get a traditional Pupo di zucchero (sugar doll).  Did you know that on that occasion it was a tradition to make cookies in the shape of bones that kind of resemble doggy treats! The thought of it does not seem appealing, but considering they are homemade, they surely will be delicious!

    Chi dice che non si puo' avere tutto?
    Ancora meglio se s'impara divertendosi. Durante il nostro incontro di domenica 26 ottobre abbiamo celebrato Halloween con storie e giochi e siamo riusciti a trovare il tempo di fare una lezione sebbene un po 'piu' corta del solito.
    Abbiamo imparato che in molti paesi italiani si celebra una sorta di Halloween il 2 novembre (giorno dei morti). Per esempio in Sardegna, i nostri avi usavano scavare zucche a forma di teschio e illuminarle dall'interno con una candela, proprio simili ai jack-o-lantern e venivano chiamate sa conca e mortu. In Sicilia  il 2 novembre e' una festa particolarmente gioiosa per I bambini,perche se sono stati buoni e hanno pregato per le anime dei defunti, al loro risveglio andar anno alla ricerca per casa dei tradizionali pupi di zucchero (bambole di zucchero).Lo sapevate che per quella occasione si preparano dei biscotti  a forma  di ossa che ricordano grossomodo   i doggy treats! Al pensiero non sembrano allettanti ma considerando che sono fatti in casa di sicuro saranno deliziosi.

                                                                                              

                                                                                                                                    Luisa Narducci O"Gara

                                                                                                                                   

  • 23 Oct 2014 2:58 PM | Anonymous

    Bilingualism in our Youth Language School: a round-trip ticket

    You might think of our school as a train station busy with people who want to share ideas, an espresso at the bar, some new recipe (often moms), soccer formations (usually dads) and especially the endless "Ciao” . The train with all its components is the bilingual child who perceives, communicates and breathes two cultures--constantly traveling on two parallel tracks. On a practical level, the train is a means of locomotion widely used in Italy to travel between cities and is often used by young Italians to reach the school or the university. Like the train that transports travelers from a place to another, the bilingual child carries language and knowledge between two distant cultures, making them closer. The bilingual child take on specific roles by becoming the conductor--when translating between grandparents and family members who speak two different languages--and other times the passenger sharing new adventures, experiences and souvenirs with their fellow travelers.

    For the bilingual child, an independence of language is triggered that allows them to get by in both cultures without having to resort to the help of an adult to continually translate. This freedom and independence is one of the most important benefits, because with it comes the confidence of never feeling lost or off track.  Thus, languages become their own round-trip ticket.

    Il bilinguismo nella nostra scuola: un biglietto di andata e ritorno.

    Si potrebbe  pensare alla nostra scuola come una  stazione ferroviaria  trafficata da gente che ha voglia di scambiarsi  idee,  un caffe’ al bar, qualche nuova ricetta (spesso  le mamme), improbabili formazioni calcistiche (di solito I papa’) e soprattutto interminabili “ciao”.

    Il Treno, con tutte le sue componenti e’ Il bambino bilingue che  percepisce, comunica e respira costantemente due culture viaggiando su due binari paralleli.
    A livello pratico Il treno e’ un mezzo di locomozione molto usato in Italia per sportarsi  fra le varie citta’ e viene spesso utilizzato dai ragazzi italiani  per raggiungere la scuola o la sede universitaria.
    Come il Treno  che  trasporta i viaggiatori da una localita’ ad un'altra, il ragazzo bilingue trasporta i suoi linguaggi e i suoi saperi fra due culture lontane facendo si’ che si avvicinino. Accade cosi’ che  il bambino bilingue assuma di volta in volta un ruolo specifico, diventando macchinista quando si propone di tradurre fra i nonni e I familiari che parlano due lingue diverse e  diventando passeggero quando, con I suoi compagni di viaggio, condivide la sua avventura e scambia esperienze e souvenirs.

     Nel bambino bilingue s’innesta un’indipendenza di linguaggio che gli  permette di potersela cavare in entrambe le culture senza dovere ricorrere continuamente all’aiuto di un adulto che traduca per lui. Il ruolo piu’ importante e’ dato dalla sicurezza di non sentirsi mai perso o fuori binario diventando cosi’ il suo proprio biglietto di andata e ritorno.

                                                                                                     Luisa Narducci O'Gara

  • 21 Aug 2013 9:58 PM | Anonymous
    We are so excited to introduce our new teachers Francesca Bortoletti and Luisa Narducci O'Gara. Check out the instructor bio page to learn all about them. The other big change this year is our move from Saturday mornings to Sunday afternoons. The communal snack at 3:00 pm will allow families from both tracks to mix and mingle and get to know each other better.
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The Italian Cultural Center of Minneapolis/St. Paul is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization
 528 Hennepin Ave | Minneapolis, MN 55403 | (612) 295-4111 

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