★★★  Inter Act  ★★★
with
Cinzia Scafetta
Cinzia Scafetta
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1
Emma:
Would you say that language production in innately connected to national personality traits?
Cinzia:
I would not think so. Referring to the Italian language, I must say that there are so many young Italians who do not use standard/academic Italian. I don’t think they lack the ability or the knowledge, but it is rather a social factor, it is their way to define their social identity. The young generations seem inclined to speak with an intonation and a register that connotes a communication based on an informal/friendly register, very often mixed with some approximative dialectal expressions. Unfortunately, especially the regional inflections do get in the way when speaking also in standard Italian. Although regional influences are not per se to be avoided or discredited, and on the contrary I consider them a patrimony to guard, I don’t think they should interfere with the way one speaks in everyday context, unless there is a specific need for regional connotations.
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2
Cinzia Scafetta
Emma:
Both I and my students were lucky to work with you in 2020, both individually and as part of a workshop, just before March. Are there particular aspects of Italian pronunciation that English people typically find hard? After native Italians, who makes the best job of good Italian sound ?!
Cinzia:
The difficulties are individual and, I must say, this is what makes my job interesting, that is the possibility to help each person individually. I honestly don’t believe that some foreign speakers are better than others in picking up the Italian language, it all depends on one’s determination.

Of course, though, there are common problems. At the beginning, it is hard to pronounce the double consonant; the rolling “R” most of the time is more a mental block than anything else; the position of the dentals, the trigraphs <GL> and <GN>…. And then later in the learning process, I would say that the concentration must be maintained on keeping the brightness of the vowels and on achieving a more natural flow of the language, which is a combined work on diction and syntax.
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3
Emma:
What things did you put into your year last year (2020)?
Cinzia:
As for everyone, last year was difficult, but in a way I was lucky. I believe Diction is quite a sustainable subject to be taught remotely. I am also very proud though that most of my piano students, both adults and children had been ready to switch to remote leaning, and they have been so committed that, by the summer, we collected some of the best results with the examinations.
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4
Emma:
There are often audible differences in classical singers from England and America. From your work at Harvard, are the environments and learning styles also different?
Cinzia:
Yes, American and English are two different languages, but as I said, it is the individual that can make the difference. The environment and learning styles are peculiar to the two countries, and in my experience, given that the universities are international places, I believe that the difference is more in the way the idea of learning a second language is embraced. Americans perhaps are more willing to throw themselves in the game.
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5
Emma:
Do you sing?
Cinzia:
I used to sing in a choir when I lived in Italy.
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6
Emma:
How did you become a language coach?
Cinzia:
Just by chance, when I was working at Harvard University, I was approached by record companies such as Harmonia Mundi and Hyperion Records. By working for them, I found out that being a language coach could bring together my life’s different experiences, my Italian studies combined with my musical ones. I liked it.
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7
Emma:
Do you coach contemporary singers as well as classical and opera singers?
Cinzia:
So far only classical and opera singers.
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8
Emma:
What is your preferred music to listen to when you are relaxing? What did you listen to the most in 2020?
Cinzia:
It depends on my mood, sometime classical music, sometime Italian songs … Italian songwriters.
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9
Emma:
Can you offer any advice to singers who might lack confidence in singing in a non-native language?
Cinzia:
It is a game, you can’t win it if you don’t play it.
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10
Emma:
Italy is all about beauty - in art, architecture, sound - everything really. What do you miss most when you are not in Italy?
Cinzia:
I come from a town that is located on the beautiful Adriatic coast, so I certainly miss the turquoise of the sea, the warmth of the sunshine and the sea breeze.
I am so very grateful to Cinzia for taking the time to answer my questions. I am looking forward to when we can schedule our next Italian workshop.
Cinzia Scafetta
Cinzia has a web site, where there are also links to her social media:

Web site: https://www.sounditalian.com

You can make contact with Cinzia through the site.


Cinzia also has an Instagram page dedicated to her paintings - painting is her hobby!

Instagram: scafetta_paintings

Return to Emma's Voiceblog
26th. January, 2022