Chapter 64: Oche farcite (Geese stuffing)

My readers might be expecting a small treatise on the stuffing of geese in the Mezzogiorno, but we Calabresi don’t stuff geese.

The new geese stuffers are language textbook publishers. For decades, they have been stuffing our ganders with the unabridged corpus of the Italian language, all within one year of language instruction. Their goal: to produce the best possible oca ripiena, “plump from the passato prossimo,” “fattened from fare expressions,” round from reciprocal verbs and reflexive pronouns.

So how do we stuff our geese on behalf of the language textbook publishers? We jam them into large pens with 40 or 50 students. We stuff them with subjunctives, conjunctives, disjunctives, with interrogatives, demonstratives, and hypotheticals, with participles, gerunds, and pronouns, with agreement and disagreement, with contractions, subtractions, and additions. At the end of several weeks the geese are in “prime condition.”

By then end of the school year, our students’ brains are ready to blow. They are in need of an enema!

So, what happens to our geese in prime condition?

The masochistic stay with us; they review the unabridged corpus of the Italian languages in their intermediate-level courses.

Then, they review it again in their third-year grammar and composition courses.

Then, they act in commercials for Rosetta Stone.


About growingupcalabrese

Professor of French and Italian at San Diego State University
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One Response to Chapter 64: Oche farcite (Geese stuffing)

  1. This is both entertaining, and sadly, true!

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