Corso d'Italiano - Italian Lessons

A forum for guides, lessons and sharing of useful information.
Post Reply
Alessio
sinic
sinic
Posts: 350
Joined: 03 Sep 2012 20:27
Location: Modena, Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Corso d'Italiano - Italian Lessons

Post by Alessio » 09 Jan 2013 19:04

Ciao a tutti!
Hello everybody!

This topic was created to teach you some Italian. Of course, I am not going to teach you everything about italian, but you will learn the basics.
OK, let's start with the pronunciation.

The Italian language tries to follow the concept "one character, one sound". However, it doesn't always succeed. Generally speaking the Italian writing depends much more on the pronunciation than the English writing does.
Some consonants are pronounced exactly as in English:

Code: Select all

Writing: b f l m n p s   v
IPA:     b f l m n p s/z v
but, as you can see, they are very few.
Some consonants are pronounced almost the same:

Code: Select all

t  d
t̪ d̪ 
The R is trilled, as in Spanish; but, it's never a flap, as in the Spanish word "pero": it is always a trill, as in "perro".
Double consonants geminate, so <tt> is /tː/, for example. Letter L is never a "dark" L, it's always /l/. No dialect, apart from some varieties of Sicilian, has a dark L.
The Italian alphabet, as it is tought at school, does not contain the letters J, K, W, X and Y.

OK, now let's take a look at the behavior of two letters, C and G.
-> Before E and I, they are considered "soft". Soft C, however, is not pronounced /s/ as in English, but /͡tʃ/ (english CH). Soft G is /͡dʒ/ as in English.
-> Before a consonant or A, O, U they are considered "hard" and are pronounced respectively /k/ and /g/.
-> To write /k/ and /g/ before E or I, write CH and GH. Therefore <che> = /ke/, <chi> = /ki/ etc.
-> To write /͡tʃ/ and /͡dʒ/ before A, O or U, write CI and GI. REMEMBER: in this case letter I is NOT pronounced UNLESS it is stressed (it is in some words, such as "farmacia", pharmacy, or "magia", magic).
-> To write /͡tʃ/ and /͡dʒ/ before a consonant... well, just don't do it. There are no words where these sounds are followed by a consonant, therefore there is no way to write them in this case.

The letters S and Z have similar behavior. S can be pronounced /s/ or /z/. Z can be pronounced /ts/ or /dz/.
Letter S's pronunciation is quite easy: pronounce it voiceless (/s/) normally, and voiced (/z/) when between two vowels. THIS IS THE GENERAL, OFFICIAL RULE. Every dialect has its mispronounciations; southern people tend to pronoune /s/ all the time. This is not considered an error by Accademia della Crusca, since originally the Italian language did not have the /z/ sound; however, they consider intervocalic /s/ "deprecated". I can't think of any minimal pair.
Letter Z's pronunciation, instead, is unpredictable most of the times. There are about 30 rules to learn where to pronounce it so or so - too many to learn, even for an Italian like me. It doesn't matter, since there is only one minimal pair: <razza>. /rattsa/ means "ethnic group, race", whilst /raddza/ means "stingray".

Ok, this was quite consistent. We are going to talk about the other letters (vowels and di/trigraphs included) in the next lesson. The Italian pronounciation is very complicated, though it follows some strict rules that make it easy, once you know them, to write whatever you hear and pronounce whatever you read.
:ita: :eng: [:D] | :fra: :esp: [:)] | :rus: :nld: [:|] | :deu: :fin: :ell: [:(] | :con: Hecathver, Hajás

Tin't inameint ca tót a sàm stê żǒv'n e un po' cajoun, mo s't'armâgn cajoun an vǒl ménga dîr t'armâgn anc żǒven...

Valosken
cuneiform
cuneiform
Posts: 178
Joined: 07 May 2012 11:37

Re: Corso d'Italiano - Italian Lessons

Post by Valosken » 09 Jan 2013 21:17

I'm grateful for the lessons, but I must tell you; as a linguist, please realise that dialects do not "mispronounce" their language.

Don't wanna seem dark. I really am glad about these!
First, I learned English.
Dann lernte ich Deutsch.
Y ahora aprendo Español.

User avatar
Shrdlu
greek
greek
Posts: 523
Joined: 22 Jan 2012 18:33

Re: Corso d'Italiano - Italian Lessons

Post by Shrdlu » 09 Jan 2013 21:48

^Remember that "dialect" to an Italian has a slightly different connotation.
I kill threads!

Alessio
sinic
sinic
Posts: 350
Joined: 03 Sep 2012 20:27
Location: Modena, Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Re: Corso d'Italiano - Italian Lessons

Post by Alessio » 10 Jan 2013 16:10

Shrdlu is right. Dialects of Italian are not actually dialects. When I refer to what you call "dialects", I talk about "accents". Dialects of Italian are distinct languages, most of which are in the ISO standard, and many times most of their grammar is unrelated to the Italian language. For example, Emilan e Rumagnól, my dialect, has many words of Celtic and Germanic origin, and generally speaking most idiomatic sentences that make sense in Italian, do not in Emilian.
However, since the modern Italian language was born only after Manzoni in the 18th century, many old people still know their dialect (the former language they spoke before the Italian language was "created") better than the actual Italian; therefore their sons and grandsons have some kind of accent that origins from the dialect.
OK, I wanted this to be crystal clear. Thank you Shrdlu.

Next, I would like to explain some things I forgot in the previous lesson.
Letters C and G MAY be followed by "ie". In that case, ignore the I, unless it is stressed. Generally speaking, think of that E as an A, O or U. This spelling is very rare, but is found in some common words (eg cielo, sky) and in some plurals. We'll talk about the second ones later.

OK, you might have noticed that yesterday I didn't explain anything about letter H, apart from its use with C and G.
Extremely important rule: never, for any reason, pronounce letter H.
We call letter H lettera muta (mute letter), because you never pronounce it. There is no /h/ sound in Italian. However, you will not only find it after C or G, to "harden" their sounds; you will find it at the beginning of some words, to distinguish them from others. In these cases, ignore it. To tell the truth, it would shorten a bit the vowel that follows; however, this actually happens only in some accents, so we're going to ignore this rule.
Generally, mute H happens in the present indicative forms of the verb avere, to have:
-ho, hai, ha, hanno
(I, you, he/she/it, they have)
to distinguish them from
-o, ai, a, anno
(or, to the, to, year)
It is an awful mistake to put an H where you shouldn't, or to forget it. It is acceptable if you are 6 years old (or a foreigner), but otherwise the Italians will think you're retarded. Yes, we are very strict when it comes to grammar. This is probably the only stereotype about us Italians that is true (along with the fact that we eat pasta all days [:D]).

Letter Q is used as in English, but more often. Generally speaking, the sound /kwV/ is written "quV", with V=any vowel except U.
However, some words, known as parole capricciose (whimsical words), are written with "cu" instead of "qu". Most of them have the sound /kwo/ or /kwɔ/; the opposite is also true, most words with the sound /kwo/-/kwɔ/ are capricciose. Some of these are: cuore (heart), cuoio (leather), cuoco (cook).
Usually, letter Q is doubled with letter C. I mean, to write /kkwV/ you usually write <cquV>. There is only one exception: soqquadro (mess, confusion), written with a double Q.

OK, now, the di/trigraphs.
SC(I) GL(I) GN
SC(I) follows the general hard/soft rule: it is hard when before A, O, U or a consonant, and soft before E and I. Its hard sound is /sk/; its soft sound is /ʃ/. Oh, I forgot: southern people tend to pronounce the I that softens a consonant (or digraph), even if the general rule says it should be mute. So, I was saying that, for example, some words with SC(I) are sciame (swarm), pronounced /'ʃaːme/, and scellino, shilling, pronounced /ʃel'liːno/. Some words with a hard SC are schema /'skεːma/ (scheme) and scabbia /'skabːja/ (scabies). You have probably noticed that you can "harden" this group using letter H. /ʃ/ is always geminated between vowels.
GL(I) represents the Spanish, non-"yeista" LL group, or the Portuguese LH group. This means it is pronounced /ʎ/. Its sound is always geminated between vowels; Southern people (and Romans) tend to pronounce it /jː/ or sometimes even /ʝːj/. GL is soft only before letter I; <gle> is pronounced /gle/. To "soften" it elsewhere, use letter I, as usual (glia, glie...). GL is always hard in the beginning of a word, except in the article gli /ʎi/ and in the word gliommero /'ʎɔmːero/, an old Neapolitan poetic genre. You can't harden it. This means that a word where you hear /gli/ (not at the beginning of the word) is irregular. I can't think of any, though.
The last digraph is GN. It only has one pronunciation, that is that of the Spanish Ñ, /ɲ/. This sound is always geminated between vowels, too. There is no /gn/ sound in Italian.

That's all for this second lesson. We've covered the full set of consonants. I might come up with some more things I forgot to write; in that case, forgive me: I'll write them as soon as they come to my mind. The third and last pronunciation lesson will cover the vowels topic. I might also introduce some grammar in that lesson. For now, you could practice writing this sounds (I will write the graphic representation of the vowels, instead of their actual pronunciation, so that you can write these words. The pronunciation might not be 100% accurate). REMEMBER the gemination rules: the di/trigraphs are always geminated, whilst the other letters - even the affricates; it doesn't matter if the letters are hard or soft - are geminated by writing them twice, except Q, that is geminated as "cq".
kaza - gatːo - me'renda - dzona - ra'gattso - attʃen'dino - maʎːa - baɲːo - 'tʃena - tramed'dzino - akːwa - ɲomo - aʃːa
That will be enough.
:ita: :eng: [:D] | :fra: :esp: [:)] | :rus: :nld: [:|] | :deu: :fin: :ell: [:(] | :con: Hecathver, Hajás

Tin't inameint ca tót a sàm stê żǒv'n e un po' cajoun, mo s't'armâgn cajoun an vǒl ménga dîr t'armâgn anc żǒven...

User avatar
Zontas
roman
roman
Posts: 1037
Joined: 31 Jul 2011 00:30
Location: Menulis, Miestas, Pragaras

Re: Corso d'Italiano - Italian Lessons

Post by Zontas » 10 Jan 2013 16:55

Spoiler:
/kaza/ - <casa>
/gatːo/ - <gatto>
/me'renda/ - <merenda>
/dzona/ - <zona>
/ra'gattso/ - <ragazzo>
/attʃen'dino/ - <accendino>
/maʎːa/ - <maglia>
/baɲːo/ - <bagno>
/'tʃena/ - <cena>
/tramed'dzino/ - <tramezzino>
/akːwa/ - <acqua>
/ɲomo/ - <gnomo>
/aʃːa/ - <ascia>
Hey there.

Alessio
sinic
sinic
Posts: 350
Joined: 03 Sep 2012 20:27
Location: Modena, Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Re: Corso d'Italiano - Italian Lessons

Post by Alessio » 10 Jan 2013 21:28

Congratulation Helios!
You spelled them all correctly! I suppose this means that my lessons were clear. Good! Here's some more if anyone else wants to try:
'ʎelo 'rottʃa dʒe'lato ʃoʎːi'liŋgua (I forgot: /n/ has the allophone /ŋ/ before /k/ and /g/, and /ɱ/ before /f/ and /v/) ʃena inkwa'drare can'tsone
Here are their translations, if you give up and want to look them up on Google Translate:
it to him (may sound strange, but it's like that; pick the 3rd translation from the list), rock (2nd translation), ice-cream, tongue-twister, scene, to frame (2nd translation), song.
:ita: :eng: [:D] | :fra: :esp: [:)] | :rus: :nld: [:|] | :deu: :fin: :ell: [:(] | :con: Hecathver, Hajás

Tin't inameint ca tót a sàm stê żǒv'n e un po' cajoun, mo s't'armâgn cajoun an vǒl ménga dîr t'armâgn anc żǒven...

User avatar
Zontas
roman
roman
Posts: 1037
Joined: 31 Jul 2011 00:30
Location: Menulis, Miestas, Pragaras

Re: Corso d'Italiano - Italian Lessons

Post by Zontas » 11 Jan 2013 01:24

Spoiler:
/'ʎelo 'rottʃa dʒe'lato ʃoʎːi'liŋgua ʃena inkwa'drare kan'tsone/
<Glielo roccia gelato scioglilingua scena inquadrare canzone.>
Hey there.

Alessio
sinic
sinic
Posts: 350
Joined: 03 Sep 2012 20:27
Location: Modena, Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Re: Corso d'Italiano - Italian Lessons

Post by Alessio » 11 Jan 2013 15:15

OK everybody, time for some vowels!

The Italian language features 7 vowels plus 2 semi-consonants represented with 5 letters: A, E, I, O, U. The Italians tend to say their language has 5 vowels, since their concept of "vowel" merges with that of "vowel signs". So, when I talk about a "vowel", I mean "vowel sign"; otherwise I'll say "vowel sound".

Letter A is the only vowel that has always the same pronunciation, /ä/. It is a central open vowel; however the difference with the front open vowel /a/ is minimal. So, basically, whenever you find an A, pronounce /ä/, no matter what.

The letters E and O have a double pronunciation: they can be "closed" or "open". Phonetically, the right definition is that they represent either close-mid vowels (/e/ and /o/) or open-mid vowels (/ε/ and /ɔ/). There are many (too many!) complex rules to determine whether they're closed or open; the rule that is usually taught to foreign students is that they're closed when unstressed, and open when stressed. The first part is absolutely correct; the second is not, but it is accurate enough.
There are some minimal pairs with E and O, but they appear in different contexts; for example <pesca> is /'peskä/ when it means fishing, or /'pεskä/ when it means peach. These two words are completely unrelated, therefore there should be no mistake.

The letters I and U can either represent a vowel or an approximant consonant (the Italians use to call these latter "semi-consonants"). The vowels are, respectively, /i/ and /u/. Remember that these are always fully closed vowels, so pronouncing them as /ɪ/ and /ʊ/ gives you an extremely foreign accent. Resist the temptation ;)
The approximant sound of these letters are, respectively, /j/ and /w/. These are found on syllable onsets whenever <i> or <u> precede another vowel. They are never approximants when stressed. In syllable coda after a vowel, instead, they make diphthongs, eg. <ai> = [ai̯]; however phonetically they should be /j/ and /w/ even in this case. I'll always write /j/ and /w/.

The difficulty in learning the Italian vowels might be the accented vowels. For those of you who don't know much about diacritics, this ˋ is a grave accent, while this ˊ is an acute accent.
In Italian there are six more vowels: à, è, é, ì, ò and ù. These vowels are only found at the very end of a word and mark the stress: an accented vowel is, therefore, always stressed. Because of this the Italians merged the word "stress" with "accent", so that now accento means both. To distinguish them, we use to say accento tonico when referring to the stress, and accento grafico when referring to the accent.
You have to learn some rules for these vowels:
1) First and foremost, Ì and Ù are NEVER pronounced /j/ or /w/: they CANNOT make diphthongs.
2) Accented vowels are always extremely short; this does not necessarily apply to any and all stressed vowels, since these latter can be long.
3) È differs from É in that <è> is /ε/ while <é> is /e/.
4) Ò is always /ɔ/. There is no word ending in a stressed /o/, so there is no need for <ó> to be used.
5) The accented vowels can sometimes be found within a word to distinguish between minimal pairs. This rule is applied very seldom, except on the words <prìncipi> (princes) and <princìpi> (principles), where we usually write it. However, it is mandatory to put the accent to distinguish between monosyllable minimal pairs: <e> means "and", <è> means "is"; <da> means "from", <dà> means "gives", etc.
6) There would be another accented vowel, carrying the circumflex: <î>. It can be used to abbreviate <ii>, but it has been deprecated.

Now you know everything about the Italian spelling & pronunciation. Let's start with some lexicon, and we'll discuss grammar in the next lesson.

NOTE: I'll mark the stress on the new words I introduce, and I'll also use <ó> to indicate a stressed /o/. I won't put an accent on bi-syllables, though: if there is no stress on the last vowel, where it is compulsory, it is clear that it is on the first. Remember that you should be putting the accent ONLY ON THE VERY LAST LETTER of a word. These accents are only for simplicity's sake.

Greetings
Ciao! - Hello! (this has become a widely used word; "ciao" is present as an italianism in many languages)
Buongiórno! (from buono, good, and giorno, day) - Good day!
Buona giornàta! - In free alternation with "buongiorno", though this one is usually used when you say goodbye.
Buon pomerìggio! - Good afternoon!
Buonaséra! - Good evening!
Buonanòtte! - Good night!
Arrivederci! - Good bye!
Addio! - Farewell!
A + time expression - See you + time expression (arrivederci = a + rivederci = a + ri (iteration prefix) + vedere (see/meet) + ci (us) = see you when we will meet again)

That's all for lesson 3. Keep up studying these rules!

Excercises: Here are some words you have to write the pronunciation of. I don't request that you find the stress, unless it can clearly be found according to the last part of this pronunciation lesson. Also, don't bother about open/closed Es and Os, use /e/ and /o/.
Easy:
coda - spada - tuono - alleanza - Roma
Medium:
uovo - uomo - ghiaccio - chiave - miniera - però - attualità - colibrì
"Hard":
equazione - distruzione - assoggettare - alchimia (watch out for the last I - that's all I can say) - farmacia (remember from the very first lesson...)
:ita: :eng: [:D] | :fra: :esp: [:)] | :rus: :nld: [:|] | :deu: :fin: :ell: [:(] | :con: Hecathver, Hajás

Tin't inameint ca tót a sàm stê żǒv'n e un po' cajoun, mo s't'armâgn cajoun an vǒl ménga dîr t'armâgn anc żǒven...

User avatar
Zontas
roman
roman
Posts: 1037
Joined: 31 Jul 2011 00:30
Location: Menulis, Miestas, Pragaras

Re: Corso d'Italiano - Italian Lessons

Post by Zontas » 12 Jan 2013 00:01

coda - spada - tuono - alleanza - Roma
/co'da/ - /spa'da/ - /twon'o/ - /al.le'antsa/ /rom'a/
uovo - uomo - ghiaccio - chiave - miniera - però - attualità - colibrì
/wo'vo/ - /wo'mo/ - /giat'tSo/ - /kia've/ - /min'jera/ - /per'O/ - /at'twalit.a/ - /ko'lib.ri/

equazione - distruzione - assoggettare - alchimia - farmacia
/e'kwadz.jon'e/ - /dis'tru.dzjon'e/ - /as.sod'dZett.ar'e/ - /alk'im.ja/ - /far.ma'tSja/
Hey there.

Alessio
sinic
sinic
Posts: 350
Joined: 03 Sep 2012 20:27
Location: Modena, Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Re: Corso d'Italiano - Italian Lessons

Post by Alessio » 12 Jan 2013 15:13

Almost all the stresses are wrong, Elios. They are unpredictable; when I said "you should put it on the final letter" I meant the ACCENT, the GRAPHICAL ACCENT, not the stress. I want to make crystal clear that Italians never mark the stress if it isn't on the very last letter. I said I would mark them to let you know where they are, but if this causes confusion, then I will not. Instead, I'll write the pronunciation. In these exercises, don't mark the stress unless it is graphically marked with an accent.
Apart from this, the pronunciations were correct. I forgot to tell that it didn't matter about Zs - they were wrong, but it was my fault, their pronunciation is unpredictable.

Then, some friends made me notice how <s> is /z/ before voiced consonants, and /s/ when it begins the second word of a compound, typically those made of ri + another word (eg riserva /ri'sεrva/). Add these rules to the ones I have already taught to you.

OK, I will now begin with some grammar. Today's topic will be nouns.
Rather than sostantivi, the proper word for "noun", the Italians use the word nomi, "names". Nouns are divided into common and proper nouns - nomi comuni and nomi propri (notice that the adjective follows the noun: this will be the topic of our next lesson). Proper nouns are always capitalized, whilst common nouns are not, as in English.
Common nouns have a gender. It can be either masculine or feminine; we do not have a neuter gender, as Latin had. Some neuter pronouns exist, but they're used for specific purposes we'll talk about in the verbs lesson. The good news is that gender is almost always predictable: masculine nouns end in <o> (male = maschio), feminine nouns end in <a> (female = femmina). There are, of course, some exceptions; the most noticeable is mano, meaning "hand", which is feminine. Italians make fun of foreign people saying il mano (il = masculine article, we'll see this later), so don't make this mistake. Also, some - singular - nouns end in <e>; in this case most of them are masculine.
Why did I put that "- singular -" thing in there? Because nouns ending in <e> are usually feminine plural. Let's talk a bit about plurals.
Generally:
-to form the plural of a masculine noun ending in <o>, remove it and add <i>.
-to form the plural of a feminine noun ending in <a>, remove it and add <e>.
-to form the plural of a feminine noun ending in <o>, remove it and add <i> (thus applying the normal rule for nouns ending in <o>).
-to form the plural of any noun ending in <e>, remove it and add <i>.
So, for example:
-gatto (m) → gatti
-casa (f) → case
-mano (f) → mani
-capitale (can be both; has a different meaning depending on its gender) → capitali (regardless of the gender)

Simple, isn't it? OK, let's add some difficulty.
Some very basic masculine nouns you'll use every day change their gender when they become plural. These nouns form the plural removing the final <o> they always end with and adding <a>.
This is the case of uovo (m, egg) → uova (f!), braccio (m, arm) → braccia (f!), dito (m, finger) → dita (f!). It is, of course, a terrible mistake to say "uovi", "bracci" and "diti" (these latter 2 can be used in some very specific cases, the first when referring to an old unit of measurement and the second where referring to more of a certain finger - ring, middle etc -, but we won't consider this hypothesis).

Ready for some more? Here it is:
Some nouns have two meanings, depending on their gender.
Dont' worry too much for these - their gender is, most of the time, predictable. What you should remember is both meanings.
Examples:
Caso (case) → casa (house)
Colpo (hit) → colpa (fault)
Busto (torso) → busta (envelope)
BUT ALSO the noun we said before: capitale. It has a single translation in English, too, that is "capital"; but, il capitale (male) means the money, la capitale means the city.

The lesson about genders and plurals is not yet complete. I illustrated the very basics. Next lesson will be covering the remaining aspects, such as the exceptions (gender of words ending in accented vowels, plural of words in <cia>/<gia> and <io>...).

A noun in Italian is not complete without the article. Singular nouns carry it almost always; I don't seem to be able to define specific cases, but I'll search some on the web and post a link or an explication ASAP. In Italian, there are nine articles: six are definite, three are indefinite. The definite articles are divided in three singular and three plural articles; both groups are divided in two masculine and one feminine article. Here is the full table:

Code: Select all

Definite Articles - Articoli Determinativi
  M1|M2 |F
S il|lo |la
P i |gli|le

Indefinite Articles - Articoli Indeterminativi
M1|M2 |F
un|uno|una
OK, so there are two possible variations for each masculine article - definite singular, definite plural and indefinite. When to use each?
In general (definite articles):
-Use "il" when the noun begins with a consonant, unless the third of these rules says you have to use M2. Also, use "un" for nouns
-Use "lo" when it begins with a vowel. In this case, to avoid a vowel encounter, shorten it in <l'>, unless the vowel is a semi-consonantal I.
-Use "lo" also when the noun begins with Z, X (borrowed words only), impure S (that means S + another consonant), PS (the pronunciation /ps/ in this case is deprecated; it should be pronounced /sː/, but only Tuscan people do this as now), PN and GN.
The plural of "il" is "i", the plural of "lo" is "gli". These follow the rules of their singular "versions".
As for the indefinite articles, use "un" where you use "il", "uno" where you use "lo"; BUT always use "un" with nouns beginning with a vowel.

As for the feminine article, all I have to say is that <la> and <una> shorten to <l'> and <un'> when the following noun begins with a vowel, unless it is a semi-consonantal I. Notice how the rules applying to this latter are not applied to semi-consonantal U (so lo iato /'jato/ but l'uomo /wɔmo/). Also, notice that <le> does not shorten in <l'>, though both <lo> and <la> do.

Choose whether to use a definite or and indefinite article according to what you'd use in English. If you don't put an article in English before a certain noun, in Italian you usually put it. The principle for choosing one or the other stays the same: definite articles for specific objects, a single object; indefinite articles for generic objects, any object of a kind.

OK, now, according to this lesson, pick the gender and number of these regular nouns (there is no singular noun in <e>), then write their singular if they're plural and vice-versa. Finally, place both the definite and indefinite article before the original noun I wrote.
rospo - penna - sveglie - telefoni - montagna - cassetto - nastri - armate - quadro - mostro
:ita: :eng: [:D] | :fra: :esp: [:)] | :rus: :nld: [:|] | :deu: :fin: :ell: [:(] | :con: Hecathver, Hajás

Tin't inameint ca tót a sàm stê żǒv'n e un po' cajoun, mo s't'armâgn cajoun an vǒl ménga dîr t'armâgn anc żǒven...

User avatar
Zontas
roman
roman
Posts: 1037
Joined: 31 Jul 2011 00:30
Location: Menulis, Miestas, Pragaras

Re: Corso d'Italiano - Italian Lessons

Post by Zontas » 14 Jan 2013 04:42

Spoiler:
il rospo
la penna
le sveglie
gli telefoni
la montagna
il cassetto
gli nastri
le armate
il quadro
il mostro
Hey there.

User avatar
Jarhead
cuneiform
cuneiform
Posts: 165
Joined: 28 Oct 2010 20:53

Re: Corso d'Italiano - Italian Lessons

Post by Jarhead » 14 Jan 2013 22:46

It's funny because italian it's my L1 and it's still interesting to read this :P
L1: :ita:
Fluent (on a good day): :eng:
Written: :lat:
Beginner: :esp:
Working on: :con: ~ Eil

User avatar
Zontas
roman
roman
Posts: 1037
Joined: 31 Jul 2011 00:30
Location: Menulis, Miestas, Pragaras

Re: Corso d'Italiano - Italian Lessons

Post by Zontas » 15 Jan 2013 02:53

Jarhead wrote:It's funny because italian is my L1 and it's still interesting to read this :P
I can tell [xP].
Hey there.

Alessio
sinic
sinic
Posts: 350
Joined: 03 Sep 2012 20:27
Location: Modena, Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Re: Corso d'Italiano - Italian Lessons

Post by Alessio » 18 Jun 2013 18:34

Hello guys! It's been a while since I last wrote a lesson here! Today I thought that I might continue.
Last lesson was about plurals and genders. Today, we'll see how to form the plural of some nouns that are a bit tricky.

First of all, there are some nouns that are irregular in the plural.
Uomo /wɔmo/ (man) → Uomini /'wɔmini/ (men)
Bue /'bue/ (ox) → Buoi /bwɔːi/ (oxen)
Dio /'dio/ (god) → Dèi /dεːi/ (gods) BUT the feminine version Dea → Dee is perfectly regular. Note: the accent on "dèi" /dεːi/ is optional, but it would be better if you always marked it, because "dei" /dei/ alone may mean "of the" (masculine plural).
Arma /arma/ (weapon) → Armi /armi/ (weapons) NB they are both feminine, the gender doesn't change!
Some of these nouns are irregular in English, too.

Then, we have a thing that's been tricking the Italians for centuries: the soft C/G endings.
Check these nouns.
Valigia /va'liːdʒa/ - suitcase
Arancia /a'rantʃa/ - orange
Camicia /ca'miːtʃa/ - shirt
Marcia /'martʃa/ - gear, march
The general rule would say that you have to remove the final -a and add -e to get the plural. Easy, isn't it?
Valigie - Arancie - Camicie - Marcie
But tell me, do you notice anything?
Yes, exactly. What's the purpose of that <i> before letter <e>? The previous letter would be soft anyways!
So, you'd think: "Sc**w that! I'll just remove it"
Valige - Arance - Camice - Marce
Want to hear some bad news? None of the alternatives is correct. The right solution is somewhere in between:
Valigie - Arance - Camicie - Marce
Here is the general rule:
When a noun ends in <cia> or <gia>, in the plural form, assuming it's a regular plural, it retains the <i> only if the group <cia>/<gia> is preceded by a vowel. It does not if it is preceded by a consonant.
There is a little exception: <ciliegia> /tʃi'ljεːdʒa/, meaning "cherry", is the only word that can be written both ways: <ciliege> and <ciliegie> are both correct, though the second one is preferable.

That's all, I want to make these lessons shorter than the previous ones. Otherwise it gets too complicated. And... it's supper time! Enjoy learning Italian!
:ita: :eng: [:D] | :fra: :esp: [:)] | :rus: :nld: [:|] | :deu: :fin: :ell: [:(] | :con: Hecathver, Hajás

Tin't inameint ca tót a sàm stê żǒv'n e un po' cajoun, mo s't'armâgn cajoun an vǒl ménga dîr t'armâgn anc żǒven...

User avatar
atman
greek
greek
Posts: 470
Joined: 05 Dec 2012 17:04

Re: Corso d'Italiano - Italian Lessons

Post by atman » 18 Jun 2013 23:30

Even as an Italian-Argentine, who has lived in Italy for many years, I still find little surprises here and there with Italian.

[quote=Alessio]Bue /'bue/ (ox) → Buoi /bwɔːi/ (oxen)[/quote]

Now you reminded me of the irregular plural of bue. I had totally forgotten it! Image

It inspired me to create a couple of tongue-twisters, full of diphthongs and hiatuses:

O Dio dei buoi, dei miei buoi ne vuoi? E dei suoi?
Oh God of oxen, do you want any of my oxen? And of his/her (oxen)?
and
L'aiuola viola della villa di Iole.
The purple flowerbed of Iole's villa.

Alessio, keep up the good work! Image
Երկնէր երկին, երկնէր երկիր, երկնէր և ծովն ծիրանի.

User avatar
kanejam
greek
greek
Posts: 872
Joined: 07 Jun 2013 06:50
Location: NZ

Re: Corso d'Italiano - Italian Lessons

Post by kanejam » 19 Jun 2013 03:06

I might try my hand at these:

/'ʎelo 'rottʃa dʒe'lato ʃoʎːi'liŋgua ʃena inkwa'drare can'tsone/
Glielo, roccia, gelato, scioglilingua, scena, inquadrare, canzone.


coda - spada - tuono - alleanza - Roma
/cɔda | ˈspada | ˈtwɔno | alleˈantsa | ˈrɔma/

uovo - uomo - ghiaccio - chiave - miniera - però - attualità - colibrì
/ˈwɔvo | ˈwɔmo | ˈgjattʃo | ˈkjave | miˈnjɛra | peˈrɔ | attwaliˈta | koliˈbri/

equazione - distruzione - assoggettare - alchimia - farmacia
/eˈkwatsjone | diˈstrutsjone | assoddʒetˈtare | alkiˈmi.a | farmaˈtʃi.a/ *I guessed the accents a little bit.


un rospo - il rospo - i rospi
una penna - la penna - le penne
una sveglia - la sveglia - le sveglie
un telefono - il telefono - i telefoni
una montagna - la montagna - le montagne
un cassetto - il cassetto - i cassetti
un nastro - il nastro - i nastri
un'armata - l'armata - le armate
un quadro - il quadro - i quadri
un mostro - il mostro - i mostri *I don't think there were any lo/gli words in this set.

O Dio dei buoi, dei miei buoi ne vuoi? E dei suoi?
/o ˈdiːo dei̯ ˈbwɔːi | dei̯ ˈmjɛːi ˈbwɔːi ne ˈvwɔːi | e dei̯ ˈswɔːi/

L'aiuola viola della villa di Iole.
/lai̯ˈwɔːla viˈɔːla dɛlla 'villa di 'jɔːle/
Just for a bit of fun I tried to transcribe the last sentences as well. Did a bit of guessing on the vowel lengths and qualities etc. L'aiuola is just a wild guess!

Thanks for these lessons, keep them up [:)] I request something about verbs next [:D]

Alessio
sinic
sinic
Posts: 350
Joined: 03 Sep 2012 20:27
Location: Modena, Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Re: Corso d'Italiano - Italian Lessons

Post by Alessio » 19 Jun 2013 15:55

A wild guess that you got completely right! I'm very happy to see that, it means that I've been capable of teaching the pronunciation basics! By the way, watch out, hard C is /k/ and not /c/. That's not a big mistake however, [c] in Italian can only be found as an allophone of /k/ before front vowels and /j/, it's not phonemic. And, as for the vowel length, generally stressed vowels in open syllables are long, the others are short. Finally, it would be /'vjɔːla/... not a big mistake either.
OK, I have to make just another precisation about plurals, then we will go into the wonderful world of verbs!
Here are some words ending in <io>:
zio - rio - studio - aglio
(uncle - stream - study - garlic)
Their plural form would have two I's at the end, which is ugly to be seen.
zii - rii - studii - aglii
So, the Italians developed an additional rule: if the I is not accented in the singular form, just remove the -o to get the plural.
So, "zii" and "rii" (very rare) are correct, but "studio" and "aglio" become "studi" and "agli" (note: "agli" is also an articulated preposition, don't make confusion; it's used much more in this way than as a noun). When a word ends in double I, you could write <î> instead, but that's... archaic as hell. And: geni is the plural of gene (meaning... well, gene) and genii or genî is the plural of genio (genious), even if the I in "genio" is unstressed.

OK, into verbs!

Italian verbs in the infinitive form always end in -re.
Parlare - cadere - dormire
(to speak/talk - to fall - to sleep)
The vowel before -re tells you which of three conjugations you should use. It can be (for regular verbs) A, E or I.
Verbs in -are follow the 1st conjugation (prima coniugazione /'priːma konjuga'tsjoːne/), the ones in -ere the 2nd conjugation (seconda /se'konda/ coniugazione) and the ones in -ire the 3rd conjugation (terza /'tεrtsa/ coniugazione; I'm not very sure the E in "terza" is open, it depends on where you live; standard Italian is the Tuscan variation, but I can't seem to remember how they say that).
The Italian language uses 7 moods, which are:
-3 impersonal moods (infinitive, gerund and participle)
-1 realis moods (indicative)
-3 irrealis moods (imperative, subjunctive and conditional)
Yes, unfortunately for you we do have the subjunctive.
Now, let's see the very basics: the indicative mood (modo indicativo /mɔːdo indika'tiːvo/). It is divided into 8 tenses (tempi verbali /'tempi ver'baːli/, again I'm not sure about the E), 4 of which are simple tenses (tempi semplici /'tempi 'semplitʃi/) and 4 are compound tenses (tempi composti /'tempi com'pɔːsti/, notice how /s/ cannot end a syllable, very important rule).
The tempi semplici are:
-Present (presente /pre'zente/)
-Imperfect past (imperfetto /imper'fεtːo/)
-Remote past (passato remoto /pas'saːto re'mɔːto/)
-Simple future (futuro semplice /fu'tuːro 'semplitʃe/)
The tempi composti are:
-Present perfect (as you'd call it in English), or better recent past (passato prossimo /pas'saːto 'prɔsːimo/)
-Past perfect, or better recent pluperfect (trapassato prossimo /trapas'saːto 'prɔsːimo/, "trapassato" also means "who has departed" and so "who is dead", the Italians joke a lot about this)
-Remote past perfect, or better remote pluperfect (trapassato remoto /trapas'saːto re'mɔːto/)
-Future perfect, or better anterior future (futuro anteriore /fu'tuːro ante'rjoːre/)

Today, we will study the indicative present.
Conjugatin a verb in Italian is not as easy as in English. The verb changes according to the person who carried out the action. Since we have this feature, the subject is, most of the times, unnecessary; hence the implied subject, a feature that lets you say a verb without saying the subject, assuming it's a pronoun. OK, enough talking! These are the present endings.

1ST CONJUGATION - PARLARE - To speak, talk
Io parlo
Tu parli
Egli/ella parla
Noi parliamo
Voi parlate
Essi parlano

Just a single note about the stress. The endings iamo and ate are stressed, the others are strictly not. If you said "parlàno" many people would understand "per l'ano", meaning "for the sake of my anus". So try to avoid that!
Also, you might have noticed that I didn't introduce personal pronouns. We'll see them in another lesson.

2ND CONJUGATION - CADERE - To fall
Io cado
Tu cadi
Egli/ella cade
Noi cadiamo
Voi cadete
Essi cadono

I underlined the endings that are the same as those of the 1st conjugation.

3RD CONJUGATION - DORMIRE - To sleep
Io dormo
Tu dormi
Egli/ella dorme
Noi dormiamo
Voi dormite
Essi dormono

As you can see, the difference between the 2nd and the 3rd conjugation is minimal (only the 1pp is different). In facts, these two conjugations behave in similar ways in other moods. This will help a lot.
OK, that's all for today. Tonight I might write another lesson, it depends on whether someone posts a reply. Enjoy!
:ita: :eng: [:D] | :fra: :esp: [:)] | :rus: :nld: [:|] | :deu: :fin: :ell: [:(] | :con: Hecathver, Hajás

Tin't inameint ca tót a sàm stê żǒv'n e un po' cajoun, mo s't'armâgn cajoun an vǒl ménga dîr t'armâgn anc żǒven...

Ambrisio
greek
greek
Posts: 497
Joined: 31 Jan 2013 07:48

Re: Corso d'Italiano - Italian Lessons

Post by Ambrisio » 19 Jun 2013 23:38

Do I have the meanings right?

coda - spada - tuono - alleanza - Roma
conclusion - spade - tone - ??? - Rome

ghiaccio - chiave - miniera - però - attualità - colibrì
ice - key - ??? - but - actuality - ???

equazione - distruzione - assoggettare - alchimia - farmacia
equation - destruction - to subject - alchemy - pharmacy (troppo facile!)

Glielo, roccia, gelato, scioglilingua, scena, inquadrare, canzone
???, rock?, gelato/ice cream, tongue twister?, scene, box someone in?, song

Alessio
sinic
sinic
Posts: 350
Joined: 03 Sep 2012 20:27
Location: Modena, Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Re: Corso d'Italiano - Italian Lessons

Post by Alessio » 20 Jun 2013 07:27

coda - spada - tuono - alleanza - Roma
conclusion - sword - thunder - alliance - Rome

ghiaccio - chiave - miniera - però - attualità - colibrì
ice - key - mine (noun) - but - actuality - hummingbird

equazione - distruzione - assoggettare - alchimia - farmacia
equation - destruction - to subject - alchemy - pharmacy (troppo facile!)

Glielo, roccia, gelato, scioglilingua, scena, inquadrare, canzone
lit. "it to him/her" (glielo do = I give it to him), rock, gelato/ice cream, tongue twister, scene, to frame, song

New lesson coming in a couple of hours!
Last edited by Alessio on 20 Jun 2013 10:42, edited 1 time in total.
:ita: :eng: [:D] | :fra: :esp: [:)] | :rus: :nld: [:|] | :deu: :fin: :ell: [:(] | :con: Hecathver, Hajás

Tin't inameint ca tót a sàm stê żǒv'n e un po' cajoun, mo s't'armâgn cajoun an vǒl ménga dîr t'armâgn anc żǒven...

Alessio
sinic
sinic
Posts: 350
Joined: 03 Sep 2012 20:27
Location: Modena, Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Re: Corso d'Italiano - Italian Lessons

Post by Alessio » 20 Jun 2013 10:37

OK, here we are! A new lesson is ready to be taught!

Today, we'll talk about personal pronouns.
In a certain sense, like in English, Italian personal pronouns decline, and follow mainly three cases: nominative, oblique and dative. Note: only pronouns decline, other words do not. Besides, we don't even call them by their case, we call them subject, object and indirect object pronouns, respectively.
These are the nominative pronouns.

Io /'i.o/ (often realized as [ʔio̯ ])
Tu /tu/
Egli /'eʎːi/-Ella /'elːa/-Esso /'esːo/-Essa /'esːa/
Noi /noi̯/
Voi /voi̯/
Essi /'esːi/-Esse /'esːe/

OK, let's make some notes.
I've always said that you can understand many things about a language from its 1st person singular pronoun. For example, English <I> is pronounced /aɪ/, with an /a/ apparently coming out of nowhere, as it happens many times in English. In other words, from this pronoun you can know that there is no "one-sign-one-sound" concept in English. In our case, you can get this rule from <io>: whenever an <i> appears in a monosyllabic word, it is stressed except where otherwise stated. For example, <mio> is /'mi.o/ but <più> is /pju/.

As you can notice, there are as many as four third person singular pronouns. Egli and ella are reserved for people, esso is for male nouns and essa is for female nouns. You won't be using these pronouns very much for many reasons. The first one is the implied subject, a feature we already discussed: you'll never hear an Italian saying io parlo italiano (I speak Italian), he'll say parlo italiano (speak.1PS Italian). The second is that egli and ella have by now been completely replaced by their oblique counterparts, lui and lei. The same happened to esso and essa, both replaced by loro. We'll see these pronouns right now.

We'll start with the oblique atone pronouns.
Mi /mi/
Ti /ti/
Lo /lo/ - la /la/
Ci /tʃi/
Vi /vi/
Li /li/

As you can see, these pronouns are very short. Also, they are called atone because they never carry the stress. Atone pronouns are used only as the object of a verb and should be put before the verb they go with.
Mi vuole. - (he/she/it) wants me.
Ti amo. - (I) love you. (yeah, by the way, keep this one in mind, it might be useful someday!)
Pronunciation: /mi'vwɔːle/, /ti'aːmo/

Here are the oblique tonic pronouns.
Me /mε/ - don't let the spelling confound you!
Te /te/ (many Italians say /tε/, I'm among them, but /tε/ would be "tè" - tea)
Lui /lui/ - Lei /lεi/ - Esso /esːo/ - Essa /esːa/
Noi /noi/
Voi /voi/
Loro /loːro/

These pronouns are used as objects and with all of the prepositions. So:
Parlano di me. - They're talking about me.

Why tonic pronouns? Because they're always stressed. In facts, the previous sentence is pronounced /parlanodi'mε/
You can decide if you want to use tonic or atone pronouns when they represent the object of the sentence. Keep in mind that Italians use atone pronouns much more than the tonic ones; these latter are used mainly to express an emphasis. Tonic pronouns should be after the verb they go with:
Vuole me. - It's me who (he/she/it) wants.
Amo te. - It's you who (I) love.

Note - northern people tend to use "te" instead of "tu" when they are in highly informal situations. It could happen that you are addressed as "te" - don't let this trick you. You are still the subject!

So, here's a quick recap:
-Use atone pronouns as the object of a verb. Prefer them to tonic pronouns in this case.
-Use [/b]tonic pronouns[/b] with prepositions and when you want to underline who the object is. You could use them as normal objects, but you'd better not. It makes you sound extremely foreign.

Now, let's end this lesson with dative pronouns. Apart from "loro", these ones are always atone.
Mi /mi/
Ti /ti/
Gli /ʎi/ - Le /le/
Ci /tʃi/
Vi /vi/
Loro /loːro/

Notice how 4 out of 7 dative pronouns are exactly the same as oblique atone pronouns, two are also articles and the last one is also an oblique tonic pronoun. Yeeeah! Confusion level: over nine thousand!
You really don't know how many Italians make mistakes because of this, and how annoying it is. But, enough complaining, let's jump to some theory.
These pronouns, just like oblique atone pronouns, should precede the verb they go with.
Marco mi dà una mela. - Marco gives me an apple.
Ti do una mano? - Do you want any help? (lit. Shall I give you a hand?)
"Loro" is an exception: it must always follow the verb it modifies. Also, it is tonic.
Do loro una mela. - I give them an apple. /dɔ'loːr(o)unamela/
As you might have guessed, "gli" is for men and masculine nouns (NB it agrees with the gender of the person who is receiving the object) and "le" for women and feminine nouns. Many Italians use gli instead of loro because they find annoying to use "loro", which is tonic and generally makes sentences "flatter". This is a big, humongous mistake. One of those that (alone) will get your essay a score of 3/10. Use loro!

When you need to put emphasis on a dative pronoun, use its full form: preposition a plus the tonic oblique pronoun.
Marco dà una mela a me. - It is me who Marco gives an apple to.
:ita: :eng: [:D] | :fra: :esp: [:)] | :rus: :nld: [:|] | :deu: :fin: :ell: [:(] | :con: Hecathver, Hajás

Tin't inameint ca tót a sàm stê żǒv'n e un po' cajoun, mo s't'armâgn cajoun an vǒl ménga dîr t'armâgn anc żǒven...

Post Reply