Sons of Italy Italian language classes are returning

T-L Photo/ROBERT A. DEFRANK The Bellaire Sons of Italy are resuming Italian language classes and Belmont County Common Pleas Judge Frank Fregiato of the Sons of Italy invites anyone interested.

BELLAIRE — The Sons of Italy are bringing back Italian language classes and sharing the area’s rich Italian American culture after classes were curtailed in early 2020.

“We had stopped with the Italian language classes because of COVID-19. We have started them up,” Belmont County Common Pleas Judge Frank Fregiato, a member of the Sons of Italy, said. “We did it for years. We haven’t had it the last couple of years. … We’re off and running again.”

Classes will be taught by Francesca Maluzzi, a native of Rome, Italy, now residing in Wheeling.

“Our goal is to promote and preserve the Italian American culture and the heritage,” Fregiato said.

“We’re excited about it because we’re kind of revamping the whole program, and we have an excellent instructor who’s a native of Rome and speaks a really pure Italian,” Sons of Italy Cultural Committee Chairwoman Tina Busack said. “We’re getting a good response.”

She said the classes have been held for close to 20 years.

Cost is $60 per person, payable in advance. It is a 10-week course.

“Which is a great price,” Fregiato said. “We have checked around and tried to get our best price for our members possible.”

Classes will be held starting at 5 p.m. Oct. 4. Classes will be held at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. depending on interest shown and scheduling conflicts. Beginner classes will be held at 5 p.m. and intermediate classes at 6 p.m. Fregiato said there is no limit on class sizes, but past classes have usually had about 15 people.

“We’re trying to include everyone we can, just because I think it’s so important to disseminate the culture, if not, it will be lost,” Busack said. “Italian culture’s so interesting, and you don’t have to be Italian to appreciate it.”

Freigato said excitement is high as word has spread, with both people of Italian heritage as well as interested individuals.

“We are getting a lot, a lot of phone calls,” Fregiato said.

In addition, Fregiato said many people are planning a trip to Italy.

“It’s more fun if you know the basic Italian language, to visit in Italy,” he said. “In the big cities, they all speak English.”

Fregiato said many class attendees have gone to Italy and said the lessons had prepared them well.

“It’ll be fun, and you can put into it as much as you want, which is a lot or a little, and you get out what you put in,” Fregiato said. “Homework-wise, it can be a lot, or it can be very little, depending on what you want to do.

“We do have a lot of repeats,” Fregiato said.

Busack said anyone who qualifies for the intermediate class may start at that level. She said there will be an equal focus on bookwork and conversations.

“We have a lot of people who want to reconnect with their roots and want to pass their culture on,” Busack said. “Just as many people who have no Italian background…and just want to learn the language. We have a lot of that.”

“(Maluzzi) will be teaching the correct Italian dialect, that’s why she was selected,” Fregiato said. “That way we won’t sound broken. … The dialect is being preserved more … in America than it is in Italy, because the Italians who came over continued to speak the dialect they were taught as they grew up, but if you stayed in Italy the TV, the radio, everything has multiplied across the country and the countryside and the dialects are disappearing in Italy.”

Busack said they normally hold classes beginning in September, take a break in January and February, and hold another round of classes in March.

The Sons of Italy building is located at 3348 Belmont St, Bellaire. For more information, call Busack at 330-815-7511 or Fregiato at 740-699-2134.


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