Q&A WITH MELBOURNE'S FUTURE SPEAKERS

At Brunswick South Primary school, the children are not ‘taught’ Italian, they simply use the language to learn 50% of their curriculum. The school has been running a bilingual program since 2017. One unseasonably cold, windy spring morning, we took the opportunity to get to know some of these students, Melbourne’s future Italian speakers, and find out some of their favourite things about Italy, Melbourne, and life.

LOUKAS, AGED 5

Where were you born?

Australia

What languages do you speak at home?
Italian and Greek

Who do you speak Greek with?
Papa

Have you ever been to Italy?

Yes

What do you like about Italy?
The sea

What’s the first thing you like doing when you get up in the morning?
Having pancakes and playing!

What’s the first thing you like doing when you get to Italy?
Go to my Grandparents house

What fruit or vegetables would you most like to grow in your garden?

Apples

If you were to write a book, what would your book be about?
Clocks and watches.

If you were to open a shop, what would you sell?
It would be a nursery, trees.  

What do you think you’ll dream about tonight?
Pizza

What language do you dream in?
Italian

Would you like learn another language? Which Language?
Spanish.

What would your circus act be?
Tight-Rope walking.

If you had a pet dragon, what would you call it?
Draghino

RUGIADA, AGED 7

What language do you speak at home?
Italian

Where were you born?
Australia

Have you ever been to Italy?
Yes

Where have you been?
Milan

What is your favourite food?
Carrots

What is your favourite thing about school?
Learning.  

If you could do anything right now, what would it be?

Go back to class and keep learning.

What is the first thing you like doing in the morning?
Playing.  

If you wrote a book, what would it be about?
Gymnastics

Where would you most like to travel?  
Italy, or Japan

What is a memory that makes you happy?
Going to the beach in Italy, the Cinque Terre

How do you keep contact with your friends and family in Italy?

On the phone. We talk about what we’ve done during our day.

If you had a pet dragon what would you call it?

Dragondino

What type of books do you like reading?

Small books, and also big books.  

Do you read in Italian or English?

Both

Would you like to learn another language?
Yes, French.

FIONN, AGED 9


Where were you born?
Melbourne

What language do you speak at home?
English

What’s your favourite thing about school?
Lunchtime and recess

If you could do anything right now, what would you do?
Probably go and watch the cricket or the footy

What do you look forward to when you wake up in the morning?
Breakfast

If you had a shop, what would you sell?
Sports stuff.  

What is your favourite thing about Italy?

Venice, because there was lots of water and loads of modes of transport by which I mean boats.

If you wrote a book, what would it be about?
Sport

Where would you most like to travel?
China, because I want to go on a Chinese bullet train.  

If you were outside all day, what would you do?
Play sport, footy, lacrosse, rugby, all day.

Would you like to learn another language?
Yes, Irish.  

Do you like speaking Italian at school?
Yes.  

Do you ever speak Italian outside of school?
Yes. In Italy!

HANNAH, AGED 9

Where were you born?
Here in Melbourne

Do you speak Italian?
Kind of, I speak it here, and to annoy my brother at home

What is your favourite food?
Gozleme

What is your favourite book?
Harry Potter

What do you like daydreaming about?
Sleeping, I like sleeping!

If you could do anything right now, what would you do?
Read

If you opened a shop what would you sell?
Kittens. Not a pet shop, just a kitten shop, with supplies for cats.  

If you could grow anything in your backyard, what would it be?
Roses

If you wrote a book what would it be about?
Me and my many cousins.  

Have you been to Italy?
Yes

What did you like most?
Venice, and Milan

What was the biggest difference between Melbourne and Milan?

There was a lot of people selling things on the street, especially at il Duomo.  
There are a lot of old things in Milan, you don’t see much of that in Melbourne.

What are three things you would like to do this summer?
Go to Ireland, go boogie boarding, annoy my brother.

Would you like to learn another language?
Yes, Irish.  

Do you think you’ll speak Italian when you’re a grown up?
Yes, if I go to Italy, or if I need to do something Italian-based.  

CLEO, AGED 12

Where were you born?
Melbourne

Do you speak Italian at home?
Not really, but my parents try to make me speak Italian when we go to restaurants.  

And do you do it? Or do you feel embarrassed?
I don’t feel embarrassed, I just don’t really know what to say!

What is your favourite food?
Pasta, Ice cream, Noodles

What is your favourite thing about school?
Seeing my friends, Recess and lunch, and writing.  

If you could do anything right now what would you do?
Go shopping.

If you opened a shop, what would you sell?
Clothes.

If you wrote a book what would it be about?
Me and my cousins.

If you were a chef, what foods would you serve?
Pasta and Pizza.  

Where would you most like to travel?
Italy and Bali.  

Have you been to Italy?
yes I went last year with the school, to Florence, Rome and Pesaro.  

What was your favourite of the famous attractions you saw in Italy?
The colosseum, and this museum where all the water goes underneath

What about day-to-day experiences in Italy?

One day we went swimming at the beach, and then shopping, in Pesaro.  

What was the main difference between Italy and Australia?
At first it felt like Melbourne, but once you get into Rome, there wasn’t as many cars and there were cobblestones, and it felt different.  

Would you like to learn another language?
Yes, Spanish, I feel like its very useful, and my uncle just moved to South America.  

ROSIE, AGED 1

Where were you born?
Wollongong.  

Do you speak Italian at home?
With my little brother who goes to this school, and my Dad went to a language school to learn Italian, so he sometimes he makes jokes in Italian. We are trying to learn more Italian as a family.  

What is your favourite thing about school?
I love all the learning possibilities we have here, we are the only bilingual Italian school in Victoria, it feels special.  

What is your favourite food?
I love pizza, and dumplings.  

Have you ever been to Italy?
No, but I would love to go.  

If you could do anything right now, what would you do?
I’d want to be in Italy and explore their culture and see how my language skills would transfer there.  

Is Italy the first place you’d go if you could travel?
Yes Italy, then Finland, my Grandma is Finnish.  

What would you expect the biggest difference between Australia and Italy to be?

Probably the way they communicate with each other, Italians use their words and also hand gestures.  

What do you think makes Brunswick South Special?
Because we learn another language we get to look at learning in another way. It’s not really just learning another language, its learning in another language, so we don’t just know say, the names of the colours, but we learn to write a story in Italian.  

If you wrote a book, what would it be about?
How to be a feminist 101.