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ESAMI DI STATO 2011/ Maturità, seconda prova, liceo linguistico, tema di lingua straniera inglese, spagnolo e francese, le tracce ufficiali

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(comprensione e produzione in lingua straniera)
She turned the page; there were only a few lines more, so that she would finish the story, though it was past bed-time. It was getting late. The light in the garden told her that; and the whitening of the flowers and something grey in the leaves conspired together, to rouse in her a feeling of anxiety. What it was about she could not think at first. Then she remembered; Paul and Minta and Andrew had not come back. She summoned before her again the little group on the terrace in front of the hall door, standing looking up into the sky. Andrew had his net and basket. That meant he was going to catch crabs and things. That meant he would climb out on to a rock; he would be cut off. Or coming back single file on one of those little paths above the cliff one of them might slip. He would roll and then crash. It was growing quite dark.
But she did not let her voice change in the least as she finished the story, and added, shutting the book, and speaking the last words as if she had made them up herself, looking into James's eyes: "And there they are living still at this very time." "And that's the end," she said, and she saw in his eyes, as the interest of the story died away in them, something else take its place; something wondering, pale, like the reflection of a light, which at once made him gaze and marvel. Turning, she looked across the bay, and there, sure enough, coming regularly across the waves first two quick strokes and then one long steady stroke, was the light of the Lighthouse. It had been lit.
In a moment he would ask her, "Are we going to the Lighthouse?" And she would have to say, "No: not tomorrow; your father says not." Happily, Mildred came in to fetch them, and the bustle distracted them. But he kept looking back over his shoulder as Mildred carried him out, and she was certain that he was thinking, we are not going to the Lighthouse tomorrow; and she thought, he will remember that all his life.
No, she thought, putting together some of the pictures he had cut out-- a refrigerator, a mowing machine, a gentleman in evening dress-- children never forget. For this reason, it was so important what one said, and what one did, and it was a relief when they went to bed. For now she need not think about anybody. She could be herself, by herself. And that was what now she often felt the need of--to think; well, not even to think. To be silent; to be alone. All the being and the doing, expansive, glittering, vocal, evaporated; and one shrunk, with a sense of solemnity, to being oneself, a wedge-shaped core of darkness, something invisible to others.
From To the Lighthouse by V. Woolf

(comprensione e produzione in lingua straniera)
Answer the following questions.
1. What is the lady doing? 2. Why is she distracted? What is she thinking about? 3. How does she feel? 4. What does she think James is going to ask? 5. Why is the trip to the lighthouse cancelled? 6. Why is she afraid of telling James that they are not going to the lighthouse? 7. What represents a relief for her? 8. What does she feel like doing?
SUMMARIZE the content of the passage in about 150 words.
Do you ever happen to feel the need to be silent and alone, almost “invisible to others”? What to do you do in such cases? How do you react? Write a 300-word paragraph on the topic by referring to your experience.

(comprensione e produzione in lingua straniera)
The way we speak now
What's in a word? The English language has almost doubled in size in the past century as we are living in a rich linguistic peak.
A recent report concluded that the vocabulary is expanding by 8,500 words a year. After researchers from Harvard University and Google scanned five million books, they came to a total of 1,022,000 words in the language – including "dark matter" that will never make it into a dictionary.
Professor David Crystal, author of Evolving English, says vocabulary growth is never steady but depends on new concepts in society. "There was a peak in Shakespeare's time around the Renaissance, another during the Industrial Revolution, and another peak now with the Electronic Revolution," he says.
While there's a theory that English has more words than other languages, David Willis, Professor of Linguistics at Cambridge University, says it is impossible to know: "Some say English and Russian have huge vocabularies but I'm not sure if that says more about languages or dictionaries."
Vocabulary predominantly evolves through exposure to other languages. Island lexicons tend to be conservative in terms of progression, such as Icelandic. In contrast, our island's language is innovative: its Germanic roots have been influenced by the Danish, Welsh and French spoken on our soil over two millennia, and Old English is now foreign to us.
But while English is expanding, the loss of linguistic diversity is rapid. There are said to be between 4,000 and 6,000 languages, though that is falling. In February, when 85-year-old Boa Sr, the last member of the Bo tribe on the Andaman Islands, died, the language of her people, thought to date to the first migrations of man, died too.
"We'll certainly lose half of the world's languages in the next 200 years," Professor Willis says. Fewer new languages are coming into existence. But in the last 30 years Nicaraguan sign language arose when the deaf community was brought together, while over the last century tok pisin, the national language of Papua New Guinea, has emerged.
Safeguarding language seems almost impossible. The French Academy has long been obsessed with protecting elements of identity through language, denying words such as "le chewing gum" and "le strip tease" official status, though "le pipeline" and "le bulldozer" have been deemed acceptable, on condition they are accompanied with suitably Gallic pronunciation. And last month Germany's Transport Minister Peter Ramsauer enforced a strict ban on the use of 150 English words and phrases, including "laptop", "ticket" and "meeting" within his ministry.

(comprensione e produzione in lingua straniera)
But Professor Willis says the rejection of single words has very little effect. "Language changes and it is a futile exercise to try to stop it," he says.
As for new-fangled words – the Collins dictionary added "Cleggmania", "tweetheart" and "fauxmania" to their latest edition – some come and go. Professor Willis says the verb "to google" is now so established that it would survive even if the brand didn't, just as "to Hoover" is in common use. Other innovations may vanish: he gives "cougar" a five-year shelf life.
In general, the creation of new words is a sign that languages are surviving: the Welsh language recently added the verb "trydaru", meaning "to tweet", to their lexicon.
"If a language is creating words, it shows it's alive," Professor Willis says. "If it doesn't change then it's dead."
Adapted from The Independent, 3 January 2011
Answer the following questions. 1. What is the present tendency of the English language as regards the vocabulary? 2. According to Professor David Crystal, what is vocabulary growth connected with? 3. What is Professor David Willis’s idea about the size of vocabulary of English? 4. Why does English represent an exception if compared to other islands’ languages? 5. Why does linguistic diversity represent a challenge nowadays? 6. How are France and Germany trying to safeguard their languages? 7. Why is the verb “to google” likely to survive, according to Professor Willis? 8. What does the creation of new words in a language show us?
SUMMARIZE the content of the passage in about 150 words.
There are many languages: sign language, national, regional and minority languages, languages of migrants and also languages of other continents. Why do you think it is important to preserve and enhance linguistic diversity? Make reference to your linguistic and social environment. Write a 300-word essay on the topic.