La Bella Lingua

My Love Affair with Italian, the World's Most Enchanting Language

By Dianne Hales
(Broadway Books, Paperback, 9780767927703, 314pp.)

Publication Date: April 20, 2010

List Price: $15.00*
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Description
""Italians say that someone who acquires a new language 'possesses' it. In my case, Italian possesses me. With Italian racing like blood through my veins, I do indeed see with different eyes, hear with different ears, and drink in the world with all my senses..."
"
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.
Throughout her first excursion in Italy--with ""non parlo Italiano"" as her only Italian phrase--Dianne delighted in the beauty of what she saw but craved comprehension of what she heard. And so she chose to inhabit the language. Over more than twenty-five years she has studied Italian in every way possible: through Berlitz, books, CDs, podcasts, private tutorials and conversation groups, and, most importantly, large blocks of time in Italy. In the process she found that Italian became not just a passion and a pleasure, but a passport into Italy's "storia" and its very soul. She offers charming insights into what makes Italian the most emotionally expressive of languages, from how the ""pronto"" ("Ready ") Italians say when they answer the telephone conveys a sense of something coming alive, to how even ordinary things such as a towel ("asciugamano") or handkerchief ("fazzoletto") sound better in Italian.
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.



About the Author
Dianne Hales is one of the most widely published and honored health writers in the country. Her bestselling textbooks include AN INVITATION TO HEALTH, AN INVITATION TO WELLNESS, and AN INVITATION TO PERSONAL CHANGE. Her trade books include the award-winning compendium of mental health information CARING FOR THE MIND: THE COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO MENTAL HEALTH; THINK THIN, BE THIN (with Doris Helmering); JUST LIKE A WOMAN: HOW GENDER SCIENCE IS REDEFINING WHAT MAKES US FEMALE; THE MIND-MOOD PILL BOOK; INTENSIVE CARING: NEW HOPE FOR HIGH RISK PREGNANCY (with Dr. Timothy Johnson); HOW TO SLEEP LIKE A BABY; THE U.S. ARMY TOTAL FITNESS PROGRAM; NEW HOPE FOR PROBLEM PREGNANCIES; and THE COMPLETE BOOK OF SLEEP. The president of Italy named Hales a "cavaliere dell'Ordine della Stella della Solidarieta Italiana" (Knight of the Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity) in recognition of her best-selling book LA BELLA LINGUA as an "invaluable tool for promoting the Italian language." Her other writing awards include prizes from the American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, the National Women's Political Caucus, California Psychiatric Society, CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder), Council for the Advancement of Scientific Education, and the New York City Public Library. Her latest general audience book is biography MONA LISA: A LIFE DISCOVERED.
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