Corso d'Italiano - Italian Lessons

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kanejam
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Re: Corso d'Italiano - Italian Lessons

Post by kanejam » 06 Oct 2013 10:16

Alessio wrote:Fine, your exercise was correct, apart from accogliere: accolsi, accogliesti, accolse, accogliemmo, accoglieste, accolsero. Verbs in -gliere form the simple past in -ls.
Okey doke.
Alessio wrote:/'venti/ means twenty.
This is handy! For my dialect these rhyme.
Alessio wrote:The cardinal points are:
Nord /nɔrd/ - north
Sud - south
Est /εst/ - east
Ovest /'ɔvest/ - west
These are the only Italian nouns which end in a consonant and aren't loanwords. They are all masculine and, of course, they never take the plural. I think their origin is somewhere in Latin... do you know anything, Kanejam?
Well French has the same cardinals which they borrowed from English and they come all the way from Proto-Germanic. It's weird that they're so widespread outside the Germanic languages. In French it's Ouest /'west/ so presumably the Italian version is a spelling pronunciation because of the lack of world-initial /w/ and at a time when the distinction between <v> and <u> was fuzzy. I don't know if it's true or not but would be cool [:P]
Alessio wrote:Study, as always... ah, also, never get lost in Ascoli Piceno. My father did with his truck and trailer, I was with him. We found ourselves in some nearby town (it was called Amandola, I think) where the main road was off-limits for trucks and we had to pass below a medieval arch... I still don't know how we managed to do that without damaging the truck. Or why in this world they would force trucks to pass below a medieval arch. This is Europe.
'This is madness!' 'No, this is Europe!'

[;)]

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Re: Corso d'Italiano - Italian Lessons

Post by Alessio » 06 Oct 2013 10:45

What's even more curious about <ovest> is that we do have word-initial /w/, in <uomo> /'wɔːmo/, man, and <uovo> /'wɔːvo/, egg, for example. Add that in French you say <homme> /ɔm/ and <œuf> /œf/, with no word-initial /w/, and that these words come from Latin "homĭnem" and "ŏvum", and you'll find out that in this case it's Italian that inserted it.
It really looks like somebody, reading a lowercase French "ouest", thought that it was Latin, thus assuming that <u> was the lowercase version of <V>. I'm sure it's more complicated than that; I don't think a word could have originated by such a trivial mistake. Although it happened back in a while...
Let me tell you this funny story. In Emilian, "condom" is /gʊl'dɒʊ̃/ (generally written as <goldoun>), whereas in Italian it's <preservativo> /preserva'tiːvo/ (as pre- is a prefix, the <s> doesn't get voiced) and in French it's <préservatif>. So why in this world would it be translated like that? Well, the first brand of condoms we saw here in Italy was (probably, I'm not sure) American, and it was called "the gold one". Seeing trucks with that writing on it, and not knowing English, our people pronounced that "word" /gol'doːne/, and they even bothered translating it into Emilian, using some common patterns like unstressed /o/ → /ʊ/ and /oːne/ → /ɒʊ̃/.
Well, I've got to go now. I'll write more this afternoon. You just get the daily proverb:

Can che abbaia non morde.
/kan ke ab'baːja non 'mɔrde/
A dog who barks doesn't bite: if someone shouts, it's probably the only thing they can do, they'll never hurt. Notice the final <e> dropping in <cane>; this is quite common in modern Italian, but only in infinitives and sometimes with adjectives ending in -le/-re. We never use <can> today.
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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...

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Re: Corso d'Italiano - Italian Lessons

Post by Alessio » 08 Oct 2013 18:13

Aaaand welcome back! I've been very busy in the last few days, I even went to see Rush (as a big Ferrari fan I couldn't miss it!), I liked it very much, but now it's time to get back to business!
As promised, today I'll post something new about asking and giving directions.

DIRECTIONS - PART II
Roads
The Italian language has more than one way to translate "road", just like English. The main ones are:
-Strada: the most accurate translation of "street", and also the general world used to define any road.
-Via /vi.a/: generally translated as "way". It precedes almost every street name: via Garibaldi, via Rossi, et cetera.
-Viale /vi.aːle/: usually the suffix -ale indicates some kind of container, or a collective noun; so "viale" could be defined as "a road with many side streets". Generally, it's translated as "avenue".
-Corso: used especially with wider roads, or ones with a certain importance (for example, the main road of the city center in Vignola, near home, is called Corso Italia). It's the only one among these words I've never seen begin with a lowercase letter, probably because of this usage. I would translate it as "boulevard".
-Piazza: this one is not a road, but you can live there, so I've put it here. It means "place". Actually, in some towns, you could find roads named "piazza", but that's quite rare and, in my opinion, senseless.

Types of road
Asphalt lines aren't always normal roads. There are several types of road:
-Strade (urbane/extraurbane/provinciali/statali): normal streets. They can be urban, suburban (and in these cases they are owned by the local municipality), provincial (owned by the local province) or statal (owned by the Italian State).
-Tangenziali (feminine, sing. -e): bypass roads, running around main cities and towns and generally having an urban counterpart, called circonvallazione /tʃirkonvallattsjoːne/ (<z> has a tendency to be geminated before <i>; it's written as a single <z> nevertheless), which is a circular road as well, but with a shorter radius. I'm not sure I expressed myself clearly... imagine a circle, the city. Around it there is a road, the circonvallazione, which is a normal urban street with crossroads and traffic lights. Then, around both there is another road, the tangenziale, which has no intersection at ground level and is very similar to a highway. Only main cities have a tangenziale, but most big towns have a circonvallazione. You can't enter tangenziali on foot, with a bicycle, with a tractor or with a motorbike whose (can I use "whose" with objects?) displacement is lower than 149cc.
-Autostrade: motorways. The rules to enter them are the same as with tangenziali, but these allow higher speeds (130 km/h versus 110) and you must pay to use them. In Italy there is a dense motorway network, the most important ones being A1 (Milano - Napoli, passing from Bologna, Firenze and Roma and known as Autostrada del Sole, Sun Motorway) and A14 (Bologna - Taranto, passing from Ancona and Pescara, also known as Autostrada Adriatica or just Autoadriatica, with reference to the Adriatic Sea that it borders).

Traffic control
These are the names of some instruments used to control traffic.
-Semaforo /se'maforo/: traffic lights.
-Rotatoria /rota'tɔːrja/ or in common speech rotonda /ro'tonda/: roundabout.
-Dosso /dɔsso/: bump. On the main road of my village - shorter than 1 km - there are FIVE. We're infamously known as "il paese dei dossi" (bump village).
These are the only ones you'll ever need for directions, so we'll leave other things such as speed cameras and other ways to enforce the law.

Asking and receiving directions
OK, so now you know a lot of words, but you don't know how to use them! Let's remedy!
The most used way to ask for directions is by far:
Mi scusi, per <place>?
where "mi scusi" /mi skuːzi/ means "excuse me" (polite form, so 3rd person... we'll see this in some lessons), and "per" is what's left of the more complete sentence "le indicazioni per..." (= directions to...).
So, if you want to get to my city:
Mi scusi, per Modena?
You will be probably answered with directions in polite Italian, but we haven't seen the courtesy form yet, so let's just assume you're younger than your interlocutor and they will address you as "tu". This is what I'd answer if someone asked me while in my little village:
Vai fino in fondo alla strada e gira a destra. Poi, in fondo, gira di nuovo a destra. Dopo il cavalcavia, gira a sinistra, passa il semaforo e continua sempre dritto.
So, let's try to get a translation of this. "Vai" is the verb andare, so "go". "Fino" is an adverb meaning "until", both in temporal and spatial sense. It can also be replaced by "sino", but that's antiquated. "In fondo" means "at bottom" literally, but in directions it means "at the end", so "fino in fondo" is "until the end". Let's skip to "poi", which is a temporal adverb meaning "then", as you should already know; then we find "in fondo" again, so you have to go on until the end of the street. You should understand "gira di nuovo a destra": "gira" is "turn", "di nuovo" means "again" and "a destra" means "to the right". "Dopo" means "after", as you know; "cavalcavia" /kavalka'vi.a/ means "overpass", and we haven't seen this one because I didn't know where to put it. You already know "Gira a sinistra"; "passa" is the verb "passare", which means "to go past". So you have to go past the traffic lights. Finally, "continuare" means "to go on", so you have to keep going straight.
Fine! It wasn't difficult, was it? Fine. Now... this time your exercise will be different.
This is the task: write a short text giving directions to some place in your village/town/city (if you don't know the place's name you can look it up), starting from your house. Good luck!
: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...

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Re: Corso d'Italiano - Italian Lessons

Post by kanejam » 08 Oct 2013 21:49

Maybe Ovest came into the language before the development of initial /w/. Also <u> and <v> have only been distinct letters for a short time, and in English were used the other way round: ovre God in heauen. It's very interesting words coming from spelling pronunciations. I might try to work that into one of my conlangs, although they mostly have a phonemic transcription. I'm trying to develop a logographic script for one of them though so maybe there could be mispronunciation of a character with multiple readings.

I don't know about using whose to refer to a motorbike. It's probably wrong in proper English but I would use it all the time, so for informal or spoken English that's fine.

Here's the homework:
- Mi scusi, per l'aeroporto da qui?
- É semplicissimo: vai fino in fondo della alla via e gira a sinistra. Continua dritto attraverso due semofori. Allora Poi, gira a diretto destra e ascende entra l'autostrade di Sud. Vai circa cinque chilometri e descende esci a sinistra. Continua dritto attraverso tre semofori e due rotonde, poi vai dritto per il terminale nazionale o giro a sinistra per il terminale internazionale.
- Molte grazie!
- De nada!
- Che?
Last edited by kanejam on 09 Oct 2013 20:08, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Corso d'Italiano - Italian Lessons

Post by Alessio » 09 Oct 2013 15:39

OK, you made some mistakes:

1) Semplicissimo.
2) In fondo alla via. This is not a big mistake, though. I wouldn't have noticed it if I hadn't read your text through twice.
3) You mean "poi", the other translation of "then", as I explained in my last post.
4) Diretto = direct. You mean destra.
5) Ascende? Damn Google Translate! Why not just "prendi" or "imbocca"?
6) Descende. Here Google Translate was wrong again... you can either use "gira a sinistra" as we've studied, or if you want you can use the verb uscire (irregular, so "esci a sinistra"). You don't get on or off motorways in Italian, you get in (entrare) and out (uscire = esco, esci, esce, usciamo, uscite, escono).

(De nada! - Che? hahaha)

Anyways your text is quite good. I mean, you've been studying Italian only for some months, it's perfectly acceptable for you to make some mistakes.
Now I will post another text with some directions. This is both because this way you can practice a bit, and because I'm bored but I don't have a new lesson ready. Read them through carefully; there are some notes between parentheses.

Parti (1) da casa mia (2) e gira a sinistra. Vai fino in fondo alla strada, poi gira di nuovo a sinistra. Dopo circa 2 chilometri, imbocca Via San Vito, a destra. Arriverai (3) a Castelnuovo Rangone. Segui la strada (4) fino in fondo, poi gira a sinistra; supera le prossime (5) due rotonde. Continua a seguire la strada, alla rotonda vai dritto ed arriverai a Pozza. Dopo 3 chilometri, sarai a Maranello.

1 - vb. partire = to start.
2 - this is one of the very few cases where the possessive adjective follows its noun. It happens with things you can describe as "your place": mainly, your house and your bedroom.
3 - vb. arrivare = to arrive.
4 - vb. seguire = to follow (no "root dilatation").
5 - vb. superare = to pass. Also, prossima = next.

Oh, these are indications to Maranello. Did I tell I'm a Ferrari fan already? Hahahahaha
: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...

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Re: Corso d'Italiano - Italian Lessons

Post by kanejam » 09 Oct 2013 20:07

Whoops... Ascende and descende weren't actually google translate's fault. I was trying to think how French did it and couldn't remember so I guess I just made something up. Prendi would have been the obvious choice. You won't believe me but I had entra written and then decided it was wrong [:P]

I forgot to ask, how was Rush? I have heard some very good things about it, even from non-Ferrari fans.

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Re: Corso d'Italiano - Italian Lessons

Post by Alessio » 10 Oct 2013 18:14

Rush was not only very good, but impartial. It's a goal that is very rarely achieved today... you'd expect one of the protagonists to be a total a**hole, and the other one to be kind and friendly. Instead, in Rush, they're both... kind and friendly? No, they're both total a**holes. Niki Lauda is the typical know-it-all-wannabe (but generally he's right; for example, he criticized his BRM car because it was too heavy and not powerful enough, and in facts his corrections made it two seconds faster), while James Hunt is an alcohol and drug addict, but his behaviour is so much "over the edge" that it makes him sympathetic. Plus, although the movie focuses a lot on year 1976, when the title was won by Hunt, it features some episodes from 1975, when Lauda won. They are treated equally. Really a good movie, a biographic movie, with a great filming and fantastic actors.

Fine, I've finally got some past simple irregular roots. I tried to make a (partial!) paradigm for these verbs, so that you can see their particularities in different tenses.

Code: Select all

INFINITIVE    1SG PRESENT   PAST ROOT   PAST PARTICIPLE   FUTURE ROOT   MEANING
Conóscere     Conosco       Conobb-     Conosciuto        Conoscer-     Know (people)
Créscere      Cresco        Crebb-      Cresciuto         Crescer-      Grow
Cuòcere       Cuocio        Coss-       Cotto             Cuocer-       Cook
Méttere       Metto         Mis-        Messo             Metter-       Put
Nàscere       Nasco         Nacqu-      Nato              Nascer-       Be born
Nuòcere       Noccio        Nocqu-      Nuociuto          Nuocer-       Hurt (very rare, but worth mentioning. Many people don't even know its present form)
Sapére        So            Sepp-       Saputo            Sapr-         Know (facts), can (skills)
Scrìvere      Scrivo        Scriss-     Scritto           Scriver-      Write
Spégnere*     Spengo        Spens-      Spento            Spegner-      Turn/switch off
Tenére        Tengo         Tenn-       Tenuto            Terr-         Keep (southern people use it for "have", as in Spanish)
Vìvere        Vivo          Viss-       Vissuto           Vivr-         Live (to be alive; to live somewhere = abitare)
Volére        Voglio        Voll-       Voluto            Vorr-         Want
*The Tuscans use also "spéngere" (with NG /ndʒ/ instead of GN /ɲɲ/), which is regular in the present and follows the patterns we've studied for the past participle as well as the remote past. You can use it if you prefer; you might be classified as Tuscan-sounding, but that's good as it is the "official" variety of 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...

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Re: Corso d'Italiano - Italian Lessons

Post by Alessio » 13 Oct 2013 16:00

Fine, I've got a new lesson ready. I am so bored I could write a hundred right now, but I would end up being bored by them too...
Anyways! Let our new lesson begin. From now on, you might see numbers in square brackets. They represent my notes; you can see them at the end of the post.

PROPRIO
This word is going to be our topic today. It's one of those pesky untranslatable things that have too many meanings. It reminds me of German "schon", which is completely different but, just like this one, has a dozen possible meanings.
Before we start, make sure to get the spelling right: P-R-O-P-R-I-O. Many Italians write (and pronounce) "propio", which does not exist.
This word has at least six usages.
1) (One's) own.
"Proprio" can be used as a possessive pronoun to mean "(one's) own". It can only be used with 3rd persons, and it doesn't need an additional possessive pronoun before it: it must be used alone. Just like "own" in English, it's used when two or more people have been named in a sentence, and using "his/her" wouldn't tell us which one of them is the owner of the object we're talking about; it is also used when the subject is unclear or generic, and especially after infinitives and reflexive forms.
Of course, being an adjective, it must decline.
> L'assassino confessò al poliziotto di avere ucciso [1] la propria ragazza [2]. - The assassin confessed to the policeman that he had killed his own girlfriend.
> Chi si fa i fatti propri, vive cento anni. [3] - Who minds his own business, lives for a hundred years.

2) Proper.
Used as a qualifier, "proprio" means "proper". I'd classify this usage as the rarest one.
> "Mi guardo" è un riflessivo proprio. - "I look at myself" is a proper reflexive.
> Ci sono frazioni proprie ed improprie. - There are proper and improper fractions.

3) Truly/Exactly/Perfectly
Here, "proprio" is used as an adverb. To quote a sentence from my middle school Italian teacher, who was trying to explain its usage to a foreign student from my class, "it is used to express purity and perfection". Let me show what I mean.
> La tua ragazza ha degli occhi stupendi e si muove con grazia. È proprio bella! - Your girlfriend has wonderful eyes and moves with grace. She's truly beautiful!
> Il tuo gatto è proprio nero! Me lo aspettavo grigio scuro. - Your cat is perfectly black! I expected him (to be) dark grey.
It is important to note that "proprio" indicates a qualitative perfection rather than a quantitative abundance. What I mean is: it does not mean "a lot", but rather "precisely, purely", however similar these meanings are. Note that, unlike most "strange" adverbs in Italian (example: ancora), it doesn't change meaning in negative sentences.
> Il tuo gatto non è proprio nero, è più grigio. - Your cat isn't perfectly black, rather, he's grey.
Notice how in situations like this one it's quite common for the following sentence to contain più, which in this case translates to "rather".

4) Right
"Proprio" can be used to mean "right" in sentences like this:
> L'ha colpito proprio in faccia. - He hit him right in the face.
This usage is quite similar to no. 3, but in this case there is a literal translation, so you can learn it by heart and that's all, luckily.

5) At all
In some negative sentences, "proprio" means "at all".
> Non ho proprio fame. - I'm not hungry at all.
With this meaning, it can be used to emphasize the negation; compare "non voglio proprio" (=I really don't want to do so), "non posso proprio" (=I can't, no matter how hard I try) and "non credo proprio" (=I don't think so at all; this is the typical movie sentence said by the "bad guy" when the "nice guy" says that he's going to do something that will make him triumph).

6) (uncertain translation) - expressing a thing that happened in spite of low probabilities
This is one of the most common usages of "proprio", and also the trickiest one. Before I start explaining, look at this example:
> Tra tutti gli studenti, ha chiamato proprio me! - Among all the students, she called ME!
I wrote "ME" in caps to show that it's the important word in this sentence. Who is speaking wants to underline the fact that the teacher, who was going to do an oral test, could call any other student, but he/she chose the speaker. The probability of being called was low; nevertheless, it happened. Another example:
> Hai vinto alla lotteria? Che fortuna! Avevo sentito che aveva vinto un Ettore, ma non pensavo che fossi proprio tu! - You won the lottery? What luck! (Google gives this translation, but I'm not convinced... is it correct?) I heard that an Ettore had won, but I didn't think it was YOU!


EXERCISE
You are asked to find a suitable place for "proprio" in the following sentences. Sometimes, you'll have to replace incorrect words (the translation in English will contain errors, too). Also, you have to indicate which one of the meanings you've used, marking them with a number from 1 to 6 (following the list above). This will make it possible for me to mark the sentence as correct even if "proprio" isn't where I expected, if the sentence makes sense and you acknowledge its meaning. Good luck.

1) Quel tipo non mi piace. È antipatico. - I don't like that guy. He's unpleasant.
2) Vorrei aiutarti, ma non posso. Non ne sono in grado [4]. - I'd like to help you, but I can't. I'm not able to do it.
3) Ognuno ha il suo carattere. - Everybody has his behaviour.
4) È vero che i gatti sono indipendenti! - It's true that cats are independent!
5) Ehi, tu! Sì, parlo con te! - Hey, you! Yes, I'm talking to you!
6) Ermanno raccolse il suo telefono, che era caduto poco prima [5]. - Ermanno picked up his phone, that had just fallen.

NOTES
1 - After verbs indicating a communication, such as confessare, dire, comunicare, rivelare, dichiarare (confess, say, communicate, reveal, declare), it's better to use an infinitive, introduced by the preposition "di".
2 - This literally means "his own girl". That's a very common translation for "girlfriend"; you could also use "fidanzata", but that would mean that the two people are engaged (and they are therefore going to get married). Actually, many Italians don't know this rule (or refuse to follow it on purpose) and use "fidanzata" to mean the girl they're dating, so they won't see this as a mistake.
3 - This is a revisiting of a common proverb: chi si fa i fatti suoi campa cent'anni. Here, "suoi" is not correct, as it often happens in proverbs. The verb "campare" is a slang term for "vivere", meaning "to live" but more in the sense of "to be alive" rather than "to live in a city" (which translates to "abitare").
4 - "Essere in grado di" is the best translation of "to be able to". In this sentence, I used "ne" to replace its argument; I could do so because it was introduced by "di".
5 - Note that the literal meaning is "little before".
: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...

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Re: Corso d'Italiano - Italian Lessons

Post by kanejam » 13 Oct 2013 22:38

Spoiler:
1) Quel tipo non mi piace. È proprio3 antipatico. - I don't like that guy. He's really unpleasant.
2) Vorrei aiutarti, ma non posso. Non ne sono proprio5 in grado [4]. - I'd like to help you, but I can't. I'm not able to do it at all.
3) Ognuno ha il suo proprio1 carattere. - Everybody has his their own behaviour.
4) È vero che i gatti sono proprio3 indipendenti! - It's true that cats are truly independent!
5) Ehi, tu! Sì, parlo proprio6 con te! - Hey, you! Yes, I'm talking to you!
6) Ermanno raccolse il suo proprio1 telefono, che era caduto poco prima [5]. - Herman picked up his phone, that had just fallen.

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Re: Corso d'Italiano - Italian Lessons

Post by Alessio » 17 Oct 2013 15:48

100% correct exercise. My congratulations.
I also wanted to thank everybody in this forum, as this thread has just reached 4000 views. I am very happy about this, and I hope everybody who's visiting this thread finds my lessons interesting. I never thought I was going to write so much when I started this project.
Now, let's get down to business again.

COURTESY FORM
As a child, I thought that English didn't have a courtesy form. Now I know I was wrong, as there are specific formal and informal expressions that can't be exchanged; still, my thought has an origin. In English, there is no more a separate personal pronoun for formal addressing - or better, there isn't one for informal addressing. The original 2sg pronoun "thou" (oblique "thee", possessive adjective/genitive "thy", possessive pronoun "thine") has been lost, and is nowadays replaced by "you", which was originally only a 2pl pronoun (and it was oblique, the nominative being "ye").
In Italian, we still have separate pronouns for informal and formal addressing. The informal pronoun, as you know, is "tu", but the formal pronoun isn't "voi" as you'd expect: it's "lei".
Lei is a third person oblique tonic pronoun that nowadays is also used as a subject pronoun. As a formal pronoun, it's both the subject and the object tonic pronoun as well, but there is no other subject pronoun; you can't use "ella" when addressing someone in formal speech. Also, note that Lei is 3sg, so the verbs must be conjugated according to this person.
Just like every other subject pronoun, Lei can be implied; however, probably this is a bit less frequent than with other pronouns.
So, let's see some informal sentences transformed in formal sentences.
Come ti chiami?Come si chiama? (What's your name?)
Scusami, per Modena?Mi scusi, per Modena? (Excuse me, how do I get to Modena?)
Devo darti una brutta notizia: tuo fratello ha avuto un incidente.Devo darLe una brutta notizia: Suo fratello ha avuto un incidente. (I have to give you some bad news: your brother had an accident.)
Look at the strange capitalization in sentence #3. It's not random; formal Lei and all its other forms must always begin with a capital letter, even in the middle of a word (as it happens with compounds involving infinitives: darLe, for example). So, there are 5 possible forms of Lei: the nominative, the atone oblique Le, the tonic oblique Lei, the dative Le and the genitive Suo. Look for those and when you find them, ensure they're capitalized.
What about formal 2pl? It is identical to informal 2pl, but the capitalization rule applies.
Devo darvi una brutta notizia: vostro fratello ha avuto un incidente.Devo darVi una brutta notizia: Vostro fratello ha avuto un incidente.
In southern Italy, there is a general tendency to use the 2pl pronouns in singular formal speech. This is considered archaic and historically less polite than a 3sg. I have proof for this: in the novel the Bethroted (i Promessi Sposi), a character named Lodovico, who will later become Brother Christopher (Fra' Cristoforo), is depicted while having a fight with a nobleman. Originally they talk to each other using the 3sg courtesy form, but as the argument gets worse they start using a 2pl. Manzoni (the writer) himself explained that using that form would mean being less respectful of the other person.
Another note: you should have now found out why we have a 3sg imperative, that seems useless. Its most frequent usage is with courtesy forms.
OK, so let's suppose you feel like you could start using informal speech with someone. How can you ask him?
Posso darLe del tu?
The best way to explain this sentence is a gloss:
Posso darLe del tu?
can.1SG give+2SG.POLITE.DAT PARTIT.MS 2SG
So, we have the verb "can", the verb "give" and a partitive article. "Dare del..." means "to talk using the pronoun...": so "dare del lei" means "to talk using a 3sg pronoun" whereas "dare del tu" means "to talk using a 2sg pronoun".
This reminds me of an old joke I've already told in another thread, but worth mentioning here.

Il direttore generale di una banca si preoccupa per un giovane funzionario rampante che, dopo un periodo in cui aveva lavorato al suo fianco senza mai fermarsi, a pranzo comincia ad assentarsi, spesso anche per metà giornata.
Il direttore chiama l'investigatore privato della banca e gli dice:
- Segua Marini per una giornata intera. Non vorrei che fosse implicato in qualcosa di sospetto.
L'investigatore esegue quanto richiesto, ritorna ed informa:
- Marini esce normalmente a mezzogiorno, prende la sua macchina, va a casa sua, pranza, fa l'amore con sua moglie, fuma uno dei suoi sigari e torna al lavoro.
- Ah bene, a quanto pare non c'è niente di male in tutto questo.
- ... signor direttore, posso darle del tu? - chiede l'investigatore.
- Sì, certo. - risponde sorpreso il direttore.
- Allora, ripeto: Marini esce normalmente a mezzogiorno, prende la TUA macchina, va a casa TUA, pranza, fa l'amore con TUA moglie, fuma uno dei TUOI sigari e torna al lavoro.

Translation
The CEO of a bank is worried about a young rampant clerk who, after having worked without stopping at his side for some time, started being absent at lunchtime, often even for half day.
The CEO calls the bank's private detective and says to him:
- Follow Marini for the whole day. I'd never want him to be involved in something suspect.
The detective carries out what requested, comes back and informs the CEO:
- Marini goes normally out at midday, takes his car, goes home, has lunch, has sex with his wife, smokes one of his cigars and comes back to work.
- Ah well, it appears there is nothing bad about all this.
- ... mr. CEO, can I talk to you in informal speech? - the detective asks.
- Yeah, sure. - answers the CEO, surprised.
- So, I repeat: Marini goes normally out at midday, takes YOUR car, goes to YOUR home, has lunch, has sex with YOUR wife, smokes one of YOUR cigars and comes back to work.

Of course the joke here is in the usage of the 3sg pronouns; as in common speech it is normal to use "suo" instead of "proprio" (although not 100% correct, but as long as there is no ambiguity it's permitted), the CEO supposed that "suo" was referring to the clerk. Instead, it was a formal pronoun, and was referring to him (the CEO).

Very well, that's all about the Italian courtesy form for today. In next lesson we'll talk about some properly formal expressions that you can use in contexts where a courtesy form is required. For today, it's enough for you to transform these informal sentences in formal ones.

1) Io abito a San Vito. E tu? - I live in San Vito. And you?
2) Non so darti altri dettagli, ma sono certo che tuo fratello si riprenderà presto. - I can't give you other details, but I'm sure your brother will recover soon.
3) Professore, non mi hai detto il voto della mia ultima verifica. - Professor, you didn't tell me the mark of my last test.
4) Questa è casa tua? È magnifica! - This is your house? It's wonderful!
5) Posso venire con te? - Can I come with you?
6) Scusami se ti do le spalle. - Sorry if I turn my back (ITA: excuse me if I give you the shoulders).
7) Non so se andrò a quell'incontro domani. Tu ci vai? - I don't know if I'll go to that meeting tomorrow. Will you go there?


Finally, our daily proverb.
Chi fa da sé, fa per tre.
Who does (things) by himself, does (things) for three (people). It means that working alone is way more productive than asking for other people's help, or working in a team. The curious fact is the existance of this other proverb:
L'unione fa la forza.
Union creates strength; it means that being together with a team will make you more productive than working alone. It's basically the opposite of the previous proverb.
: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...

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Re: Corso d'Italiano - Italian Lessons

Post by kanejam » 18 Oct 2013 08:27

Alessio wrote:As a child, I thought that English didn't have a courtesy form. Now I know I was wrong, as there are specific formal and informal expressions that can't be exchanged; still, my thought has an origin. In English, there is no more a separate personal pronoun for formal addressing - or better, there isn't one for informal addressing. The original 2sg pronoun "thou" (oblique "thee", possessive adjective/genitive "thy", possessive pronoun "thine") has been lost, and is nowadays replaced by "you", which was originally only a 2pl pronoun (and it was oblique, the nominative being "ye").
I don't know what's more difficult. Being a native English speaker I can naturally just 'be polite' whereas having to switch to a different set of pronouns or verbal conjugations is a bit taxing on the memory and I often use the wrong ones in French. But then I suppose that you would argue that the subtle differences are harder to get a hold of and makes it easier to accidentally put your foot in your mouth. Just as a side note, I like how French has two separate verbs specifically for these things: tutoyer - 'dare del tu' and vouvoyer - 'dare del Lei'.
Spoiler:
1) Io abito a San Vito. E tu? - Io abito a San Vito. E Lei?
2) Non so darti altri dettagli, ma sono certo che tuo fratello si riprenderà presto. - Non so darLe altri dettagli, ma sono certo che suo fratello si riprenderà presto.
3) Professore, non mi hai detto il voto della mia ultima verifica. - Professore, non mi ha detto il voto della mia ultima verifica.
4) Questa è casa tua? È magnifica! - Questa è casa sua? È magnifica!
5) Posso venire con te? - Posso venire con Lei?
6) Scusami se ti do le spalle. - Scusami se Lei do le spalle. (should the original be mi scusi? Why don't you say *mi scusa or *scusimi?)
7) Non so se andrò a quell'incontro domani. Tu ci vai? - Non so se andrò a quell'incontro domani. Lei ci va
I have to say that I'm not a fan of the mid-word capitalisation, no offense to your language [:P] it's the sole reason I don't like Klingon, or else I would participate in Thakowsaizmu's thread.
Alessio wrote:Finally, our daily proverb.
Chi fa da sé, fa per tre.
Who does (things) by himself, does (things) for three (people). It means that working alone is way more productive than asking for other people's help, or working in a team. The curious fact is the existance of this other proverb:
L'unione fa la forza.
Union creates strength; it means that being together with a team will make you more productive than working alone. It's basically the opposite of the previous proverb.

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Re: Corso d'Italiano - Italian Lessons

Post by Alessio » 18 Oct 2013 15:59

About sentence #6.
The informal way to say that is "scusami": it's a 2sg imperative, so you must use "scusa" and mandatorily merge it with the accusative pronoun "mi". The formal way becomes "mi scusi": being a 3sg imperative, (1) it doesn't merge with pronouns and (2) the correct form is the same as the subjunctive, therefore it ends in -i.
Actually, in very old Italian, "scusimi" would be correct: the pronoun merging rule applied to every imperative. Nowadays it isn't like that anymore, and only 2sg imperative can and must merge with pronouns. That's why, in everyday Italian, "mi scusa" and "scusimi" aren't acceptable.
Oh, also, "Le do"; there is no better place to use a dative than next to the verb "to give" :P you might have noticed that the past participle of "dare" is "dato", and that's where "dative" (it: "dativo") comes from. The origins of the name of some other cases can be found in Italian and come from Latin:
Nominative: IT "nominare", to name.
Accusative: IT "accusare", to blame. I don't know why, among all the transitive verbs, they chose this one.
Genitivo: IT "genitori", parents. This word is an irregular English-style present participle and comes from the verb "generare", to generate.
I find it very curious that English has borrowed the names of these cases from Latin rather than creating its own, or at least deriving it from a Germanic base. It really appears that English has borrowed much lexicon from Latin, whereas other Germanic languages, such as Norwegian, Dutch or German, have much fewer words coming from it. Most "long" English word, when they don't originate from agglutination, are very similar to their Italian counterparts: in this sentence I've already said three, "originate" (originare), "agglutination" (agglutinazione) and "similar" (simile). In German, these translate as "entstehen", "Agglutintation" and "ähnlich": 2 out of 3 are completely different.
Anyways, Germanic languages aren't our topic here. Today I have no lesson ready, so I got new lyrics for you.

ANTONELLO VENDITTI
Antonello was born in Rome, our capital located in central Italy, in 1949. In his youth days, he studied piano, and this made him know famous personalities such as Francesco de Gregori and Giorgio lo Cascio (both famous today, not then). Venditti's career began in 1970, when lo Cascio refused to go on a trip to Hungary that he and de Gregori had won as a prize in a contest. Francesco asked Antonello to take his place; they were already friends, but this travel brought the friendship to an even higher level, and the two of them created a duo. They published only one album together, then they took separate roads.
The first success is dated back to 1975 and is called Lilly: it will dominate the hit parades of both 33 and 45r records for the following period. From then, Antonello's success never stopped. He still sings today, and he's regarded as one of the best Italian singers of all times.
His most famous songs are Sara (Sarah), Grazie Roma (Thanks Rome, the official anthem of AC Roma, the Roman football club), In questo mondo di ladri (In this world of thieves, soundrack of the homonymous film) and Notte prima degli esami (Night before the exams), which is the one we're going to listen to today.

Io mi ricordo quattro ragazzi con la chitarra
e un pianoforte sulla spalla:
come i pini di Roma la vita non li spezza.
Questa notte è ancora nostra!
Come fanno le segretarie con gli occhiali a farsi sposare dagli avvocati?
Le bombe delle sei non fanno male,
è solo il giorno che muore, è solo il giorno che muore.
Gli esami sono vicini e tu sei troppo lontana dalla mia stanza,
tuo padre sembra Dante e tuo fratello Ariosto,
stasera al solito posto la luna sembra strana:
sarà che non ti vedo da una settimana.
Maturità, t'avessi preso prima! Le mie mani sul tuo seno,
è fitto il tuo mistero,
e il tuo peccato è originale come i tuoi calzoni americani, (notice that we don't capitalize nationalities)
non fermare ti prego le mie mani
sulle tue cosce tese, chiuse come le chiese
quando ti vuoi confessare.
Notte prima degli esami, notte di polizia,
certo qualcuno te lo sei portato via!
Notte di mamme e di papà col biberon in mano,
notte di nonne alla finestra, ma questa notte è ancora nostra!
Notte di giovani attori, di pizze fredde e di calzoni,
notte di sogni di coppe e di campioni...
Notte di lacrime e preghiere,
la matematica non sarà mai il mio mestiere!
E gli aerei volano alto tra New York e Mosca,
ma questa notte è ancora nostra!
Claudia non tremare, non ti posso far male, se l'amore è amore.
Si accendono le luci qui sul palco,
ma quanti amici intorno che mi viene voglia di cantare,
forse cambiarti, certo un po' diversi
ma con la voglia ancora di cambiare,
se l'amore è amore...

I remember four guys with a guitar
and a piano on their back:
just like the pines in Rome, life can't break them.
This night is still ours!
How do secretaries with eyeglasses manage to marry lawyers?
Six o'clock bombs don't hurt,
it's just the day dying, it's just the day dying.
The exams are close and you're too far from my room,
your father looks like Dante and your brother like Ariosto (famous Italian writers),
tonight at the usual place the moon seems strange:
perhaps it's because I haven't seen you in a week.
Maturity (we call the high school final exam "esame di maturità", maturity exam), if I only had got you sooner! My hands on your breast,
your mystery is deep,
and your sin is as original as your American trousers,
please don't stop my hands
on your tense thighs, closed like churches
when you want to confess (your sins).
Night before the exams, night of police,
for sure you took someone with you!
Night of moms and dads with a feeding bottle in their hand,
night of grandmothers looking out of the window, but this night is still ours!
Night of young actors, of cold pizzas and calzone's (a type of pizza),
night of dreams of cups and champions...
Night of tears and prayers,
maths will never be my job! (popular saying)
And the airplanes fly high between New York and Moskow,
but this night is still ours!
Claudia don't tremble, I can't hurt you, if love is love.
Lights turn on here on the stage,
there are so many friends around that I feel like singing (this is a bit complicated in Italian: "but how many friends around that the willing to sing comes to me", it's not even fully correct under a grammatical point of view. The "but" at the beginning is, however, and it means "look" in this sense: "look how many"...),
maybe (I feel like) changing you, sure (we're) a bit different,
but still willing to change,
if love is love...



Here you can listen at Notte prima degli esami: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tztc4wKihWw
: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...

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Re: Corso d'Italiano - Italian Lessons

Post by Alessio » 26 Oct 2013 22:03

Good evening to those living in Europe and good whateverpartofthedayitis to everybody else.
I've spent the last week wondering about what I could write in my next lesson, and I've come out with this new topic.

FROM VERBS TO NOUNS
Sometimes, when speaking, you need to use a noun coming directly from a verb. Authorization, investment, consumption are examples of such nouns. In Italian, just like in English, there is a number of ways to do this.

The suffix -zione
This suffix is a tricky one for Italian children, that have a tendency to write it as -zzione, with a double <z>. In facts, before /j/, /ts/ and /dz/ are always geminate, but they don't require a written doubling. Thus, the suffix <zione> is pronounced /'ttsjoːne/.
This suffix is used with most verbs, especially ARE verbs with a regular past participle. These verbs can be made into nouns by dropping the -to in their past participle, before adding, of course, -zione.
Autorizzare (to authorize) → Autorizzato (authorized) → Autorizzazione /au̯toriddzat'tsjoːne/ (authorization)
Trasformare (to transform) → Trasformato (transformed) → Trasformazione /tra.sformat'tsjoːne/ (transformation)
Notice how these words are very similar to their English counterpart. Generally, if you use -tion in English, you use -zione in Italian.
Similarly, you could find nouns in -sione /zjoːne/, generally coming from verbs in -dere: scindere → scissione, decidere → decisione, vedere → visione. You will find traces of ablaut in most of these verbs.

The suffix -mento
OK, before I start saying anything about this suffix, remember that every language has its irregularities, stupid things, and things you just have to learn by heart.
In facts, there is no rule to decide when the suffix -mento should be used instead of -zione.
It behaves in the exact same way - take the past participle, remove -to, add -mento -, it has the exact same meaning and generally it's used in the same manner. These are some verbs taking -mento:
Cambiare (to change) - Cambiamento /kambja'mento/ (change noun)
Versare (to deposit money) - Versamento (deposit noun)
Investire (to invest, in every sense) - Investimento (investment, in every sense)
Some of these are similar to their English counterpart, but some others aren't even close, so they have to be learnt by heart.

The suffix -ura
This suffix is applied to most verbs with an irregular past participle. It is added after dropping the final -o.
Chiudere (to close) → chiuso (closed) → chiusura (closing)
Aprire (to open) → aperto (open) → apertura (opening)
Leggere (to read) → letto (read) → lettura (reading)
Cuocere (to cook) → cotto (cooked) → cottura (cooking)

Nouns using the feminine past participle
Some nouns come from the feminine past participle of the verb they belong to.
Mangiare (to eat) → Mangiata
Scoprire (to discover) → Scoperta (discovery)
Camminare (to walk) → Camminata (walk noun)
Promettere /pro'mettere/ (to promise) → Promessa (promise noun)

Verbs deriving from nouns and nouns deriving from infinitives
Some verbs drop the infinitive ending and add -o (rarely -e for some IRE verbs) to form the corresponding noun; it really looks like those verb were created after the noun itself.
Iniziare (to start, to begin) → inizio (beginning)
Finire (to end, to finish) → fine (end noun)
Acquistare (to purchase) → acquisto (purchase noun)
Other nouns are identical to the infinitive of the verb they come from (especially modal verbs behave this way), or they are predictably formed by applying some kind of ablaut.
Sapere (to know) → sapere (knowledge)
Volere (to want) → volere (will, behest)
Dolere /do'leːre/ (to hurt, only used in high registry, and only body parts can be the subject) → dolore /do'loːre/ (pain, used in everyday Italian)
Tremare (to tremble) → tremore (trembling)

Fine, this lesson is over. I can't expect you to be able to make a verb into a noun, but I can expect you to work the other way around. Guess what verbs these nouns come from (and if you want, the meaning of that verb)!
1. Dormita
2. Rassicurazione
3. Venuta (watch out, you know this verb...)
4. Arrivo
5. Pagamento
6. Potere
7. Amore
8. Realizzazione
: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...

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Re: Corso d'Italiano - Italian Lessons

Post by kanejam » 05 Nov 2013 01:50

Sorry, it's exam time so I've been a bit busy and haven't had time to come to the forum as often. I'm only here now because I'm procrastinating [:P]
Spoiler:
1. Dormita - sleep, from dormire to sleep
2. Rassicurazione - reassurance? From rassicurare to reassure?
3. Venuta - coming? from venire to come
4. Arrivo - arrival, from arrivare to arrive
5. Pagamento - no idea lol
6. Potere - power? Guessing from French pouvoir
7. Amore - love, from amare
8. Realizzazione - realisation, from realizzare. Does this mean 'to understand suddenly' or 'to make real' or both as in English?

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Re: Corso d'Italiano - Italian Lessons

Post by Alessio » 07 Nov 2013 20:47

OK, everything correct. Pagamento is from "pagare" = to pay, so it means "payment". And yes, "realizzare" can be translated literally as "realize", meaning that it can mean both things you wrote. However, it's mainly used for "to make real", whereas in English the most used meaning is "to understand suddenly" (at least, as far as I know).

Very well, this thread has been inactive for a while, so it really needs some new posts!
First of all, in all this time I've been revising the previous posts and I've realized some things that can be helpful.

1) WORD-FINAL E AND O
A friend of mine made me notice that letters E and O at the end of a word, at least in my dialect (and I mean a proper dialect, not Emilian), are neither open nor close. They are mid vowels /e̞ o̞/. I don't know if there is a precise rule for this because I can't find it anywhere, but I'm pretty sure that I pronounce them like this, and all of my friends do. Anyways nobody'll notice if you pronounce /e o/. Anyways, making my E's and O's mid vowels for Spanish is much easier now that I realized that I pronounce them so often.

2) PARADIGM
I've finally come out with a decent, complete and functional paradigm of Italian verbs. I made this all by myself, as I couldn't find anything even remotely useful on the net. Anyways, here it is, complete with an explanation of how to use it correctly.

INFINITIVE - 1SG PRESENT - 1PL PRESENT - 1SG SIMPLE PAST - 1SG SIMPLE FUTURE - PAST PARTICIPLE - AUXILIARY

OK, the first thing you might notice is that there are two present persons. 1sg is the one you should use to determine the irregularities in the present. These are the situations you might come across:
-1SG is regular. Then, probably, the whole present tense is regular.
-1SG is regular and monosyllabic. In this case, 2SG will end in -ai rather than -i: do → dai, sto → stai, so → sai.
-1SG has a -g- before -o that doesn't come from the root. In this case, 3PL will also end in -gono instead of just -ono. Example: 1SG of tenere is tengo, so 3SG will be tengono. Also, if the infinitive ends in -nere, 2SG and 3SG will have an -i- before the stressed vowel: tieni, tiene. The remaining persons (1PL and 2PL) will be regular. Venire follows this scheme, for example.
-1SG ends in -isco, with -isc- not being part of the root and the infinitive ending in -ire. You've come across a verb undergoing root dilatation, that's all.
-1SG has other irregularities. The verb is probably completely irregular in the present.
You can get the present subjunctive root by removing the -o.

Then, look at 1PL. If the verb ends in -are or -ire it will generally be regular (if it's not, then the verb is completely irregular), but if it ends in -ere or -rre you can get the verb's present root from there. An example is bere, whose 1PL is beviamo; the whole present tense comes from the root bev-. This will be the same root you'll use for the imperfect subjunctive.

On to the next column. The 1SG of simple past will give you the simple past root, that applies to 3sg and 3pl as well, as you know; remember that 2sg, 1pl and 2pl are always regular, except in auxiliaries.

Then, 1SG from simple future will get you the future root, which, as you know, is used to form the conditional present tense.

The last two columns are clear: the past participle is used to form compound tenses, and the auxiliary... well, sometimes it's better to learn it by heart than to apply a rule to find out which one to use, because there are really a lot (and we've only seen some - I'm talking about the rules).

Fine, that's all! I'll work to get some irregular verbs and their paradigm, and I'll post some as soon as possible. "See" you soon!
: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...

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Re: Corso d'Italiano - Italian Lessons

Post by kanejam » 08 Nov 2013 03:41

Imponente! (sorry for Google Translate [:P] )

Io voglio ameleriorare il mio italiano, così tenterò di rispondare in italiano d'ora in avanti (sorry, google translate again). Le correzioni (or should it be i correzioni?) sono sempre gradito!

Quando si utilizza 'venuta'? É stesso che arrivo? (also, was that the proper use of the impersonal/middle voice?)

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Joined: 03 Sep 2012 20:27
Location: Modena, Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Re: Corso d'Italiano - Italian Lessons

Post by Alessio » 09 Nov 2013 19:47

OK, I'll begin by rewriting your text corrected.
But before that, by "imponente"... did you mean "amazing", "awesome" or what? Google has a tendency to translate those words like that, but when they're used to mean something like "fantastic!" or "wonderful!" I'd rather use a literal "fantastico" or "meraviglioso!". "Imponente" is only used to mean that something is awesome in the sense that when you look at it you feel awe; generally it's something really big, towering. So:

Meraviglioso!

Io (I know it's hard to leave out the subject, but if you put it, you'll give a different meaning to the sentence, as we studied) Voglio migliorare (nice try with your translation from French haha) il mio italiano, così tenterò di rispondere in italiano d'ora in avanti. Le correzioni sono sempre gradite (predicate nominative = it requires a proper declension of the adjective, unlike in German. And "le correzioni" is correct, singular is "la correzione")!

Quando si utilizza (but "usa" is way more common... yes, this is the proper use of the impersonal voice) "venuta"? È lo stesso di/uguale a(d) "arrivo"?

Now, if we focus only on the words, "venuta" and "arrivo" have the same meaning, except they're viewed from differen perspectives ("venuta" = as seen from somebody who didn't move, "arrivo" = as seen from the one who did move); however, in nowadays Italian we always use "arrivo", and "venuta" is used exclusively in religious speech when referring to the Messiah. Take a look at this text:

Annunciamo la Tua morte, o Signore,
proclamiamo la Tua resurrezione,
in attesa della Tua venuta.

= we announce Your death, o Lord,
we proclaim your resurrection,
waiting (lit. "in wait of") Your coming.

(also notice how we use 2sg - informal - pronouns, but capitalize them. This is unique to religious speech, too. The vocative, as in "o Signore", is also quite uncommon nowadays)
"Arrivo" is also the proper translation for "finish line", when talking about races. Generally, use "arrivo" and it will never be wrong.

OK, today I will introduce a topic that I had planned to teach much time ago, but, erm, I forgot. It doesn't matter!

NOMI ALTERATI - ALTERED NOUNS
In Italian, "alterato" can both mean "altered" or "angry" (especially in colloquial speech). I wouldn't be surprised if Google translated it as such, so remember that the literal translation is the one we're using it. (Really, Google sucks. Once the Harry Potter official FB page posted a status saying: "You're a wizard, Harry". I accidentally pressed the translation button... it said "Sei una procedura guidata, Harry" - "procedura guidata" does mean "wizard", but as in "installation wizard". I laughed so hard I almost peed my pants)
Anyways, I don't know if this is common among languages, so let me explain what altered nouns are. They are basically nouns that embed an adjective. In Italian, there is a series of suffixes you can add to a noun to add "big", "small", "good/nice" and "bad" to it. These are called alterations, and there are four: AUGMENTATIVE (accrescitivo), DIMINUTIVE (diminutivo), ENDEARMENT (vezzeggiativo; the translation is literal, because I couldn't find an official one) and PEJORATIVE (dispregiativo or peggiorativo, from peggio, worse).

Augmentatives
Probably the most common of the alterations, the augmentative modifies a noun so that it's considered bigger. Look at these examples:
Cassetto (drawer) → cassettone (big drawer)
Porta (door) → portone (big door = gate)
The most used (if not the only) augmentative suffix is -one /'oːne/, which declines with an -e in the masculine singular form instead of the usual -o. This means that if the name is masculine, it takes -one/i, and if it's feminine it takes -ona/e. It's quite common, however, to make nouns masculine regardless of their original gender when they are altered with an augmentative; that's the case of porta → portone, maglia (t-shirt) → maglione (sweater, referring to its higher thickness), et cetera.

Diminutives
Diminutives are used to "shrink" things ideologically. Here, the suffix is generally -ino /'iːno/ (which declines regularly), but some diminutives are formed using suffixes belonging to the endearment alteration, so watch out.
Tavolo (table) → tavolino (small table = coffee table)
Letto (bed) → lettino (small bed, typically a crib)
Scatola (box) → scatolina (little box)
but:
Casa (house) → casetta (little house; "casina" is simply wrong, and don't apply the masculine rule we've seen for the augmentative here, because "casino" means "brothel")
Libro (book) → libretto (little book; "libriccino" is also used. "Libretto" can also mean "registration certificate")

Endearments
Altering a noun with an endearment means that you personally feel kindness and/or sympathy towards the thing you're naming. There are a lot of suffixes for this; the most used are -etto /'etto/ and -ello /'εllo/.
Orso (bear) → orsetto (a nice and sweet bear, typically a cub)
Rondine (dove) → rondinella (a nice or beautiful dove)
Tromba (trumpet) → trombetta (nice trumpet... guess where "trumpet" comes from?)
Remember that often the difference between a diminutive and a term of endearment is not very clear; nouns such as "casetta" can be classified as both. The context, in these cases, plays a vital role in determining which one is being used.

Pejoratives
Using a pejorative means that you disapprove or hate something. It often shows disrespect, although the degree of "worsening" of the inflected nouns has decreased a lot with time. The most used suffixes for pejoratives are -accio and -astro (both declining regularly).
Ragazzo (boy) → ragazzaccio (bad boy, one you shouldn't hang out with)
Poeta (poet) → poetastro (bad poet, one who can't write properly)
Note that fratellastro and sorellastra[/i] could be considered "borderline pejoratives"; in this case, the suffix -astro is equivalent to the English prefix step- (so these names mean "stepbrother" and "stepsister"). They were originally pejoratives, probably because the old Italic culture, based on Christianity, didn't look favorably on stepsiblings.

Falsi alterati - fake altered nouns
Watch out, because some nouns seem altered, but they aren't. These are only some of the many examples:
bottino (booty), bottone (button), pulcino (chick), fumetto (comic), spaghetto (piece of spaghetti), bacino (basin/pelvis), tacchino (turkey), cartella (folder), grilletto (trigger)...
These don't come from:
botte (barrel, x2), pulce (flea), fumo (smoke), spago (string), bacio (kiss), tacco (heel), carta (paper), grillo (cricket)...

Altering adjectives and adverbs
Adjectives, and more rarely adverbs, can be altered as well, with mostly the same suffix. Of course, some adjectives and adverbs are fake altered [adj/adv]s, such as carino, meaning "nice" and not "a little expensive" (= caro). You will rarely come across altered adjectived or adverbs, but be aware that they exist.

Fine, this is the end. With all the irregularities in the alteration system, it would be meaningless to post an exercise now. I'll see if I can get some rules, and after that I'll try to post some exercises. For the time being, here is a proverb, as usual.

Se non è zuppa, è pan(e) bagnato!
= if it's not soup, it's wet bread. It's used when you had a 50% chance of giving the right answer and you missed it, so who asked the question expects you to give it next (or you've already given it). Both people can use the proverb. Example:
«L'Italia ha vinto o perso la Prima Guerra Mondiale?» (Did Italy win or lose World War One?)
«... l'ha persa.» (It lost.)
«... sbagliato.» (Wrong.)
«Allora l'ha vinta!» (Then it won!)
«Ah, se non è zuppa è pan bagnato, eh?» (Ha, if it's not soup, it's wet bread, isn't it?)
: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
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Joined: 03 Sep 2012 20:27
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Re: Corso d'Italiano - Italian Lessons

Post by Alessio » 24 Dec 2013 17:55

Hi everybody, this thread has been dead for a while, so I figured up it would be time to relive it.
The motive of this "death" is that the lessons are pretty much over. I thought everything I could about basic Italian grammar; from now on, occasional posts will be dossiers about particular aspects or words of the Italian language, and maybe you might see some thematic content on special days. Today, for example, is Christmas Eve, so let's see some Italian Christmas traditions!

Christmas in Italian is Natale, literally meaning birthday (only the very day when you were born, not the anniversaries). Notice the capitalization that distinguishes Jesus Christ's birthday from anybody else's. Also, we don't use the word "natale" a lot; we prefer "data di nascita" (date of birth), so that it's not confused with the festivity.
Italy has no official religion, but since the Vatican is an Italian enclave (and it was part of Italy before Mussolini signed the Lateran Pacts) the Italian traditions are highly influenced by the Catholic church, and therefore most of the Italian-born citizens are Catholic.
Hence, on Christmas Eve we generally don't eat meat - mostly, we eat fish - whereas on Christmas day there are a lot of typical delicacies including every sort of meat: the most widespread originates from my beloved city of Modena and is called tortellini. (trivia: we say you are not a real Modenese unless you can pronounce the word turtlein, Emilian for tortellini, as /turtˡlεɪn/ without pronouncing a [ǝ] or [ɤ] between the /t/ and the /l/, but rather with a lateral release of /t/)

Image

Tortellini (sing. -o) are a special type of pasta all'uovo (pasta with eggs in the dough) filled with chopped mortadella and ham, Parmesan cheese and minced beef and pork. They are generally eaten in three ways: with broth (which must be made with capon, to follow the tradition, and not just normal chicken or even with a stock cube - sacrilege!), with cream (and a lot of Parmesan on it) or alla boscaiola (lit. woodman-style), with mushrooms and peas. In this case, the pasta should be made with spinach or chards so that it becomes green, and generally mushrooms are added to the filling, too.
Other meat dishes are the zampone /dzam'poːne/ (lit. "big paw") and the cotechino /kote'kiːno/, the first being basically a pig's leg, and the second being an insaccato (lit. "bagged"), that is, a pig's gut filled with the pig's minced meat (that's the same way salami is made, but cotechino uses different meat and it's wider). Both are usually eaten with lentils.

Zampone:
Image

Cotechino:
Image


As for Christmas Eve (Vigilia di Natale /vi'dʒiːlja di na'taːle/), well... I'm getting ready for my cenone ("big dinner", from cena) as I'm writing this post. And I'm already a bit late - so hear you all tomorrow for my Christmas greetings to the CBB and something new for these lessons, maybe. Merry Christmas!
: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
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Posts: 350
Joined: 03 Sep 2012 20:27
Location: Modena, Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Re: Corso d'Italiano - Italian Lessons

Post by Alessio » 26 Dec 2013 16:56

Looks like I had no time for this yesterday so let me write this today.

Buon Natale a tutti voi, alle vostre famiglie, ai vostri amici ed a tutte le persone a cui volete bene!
good.MS Christmas to all.MP 2PL.OBL to.FP 2PL.GEN.FP family.PL to.MP 2PL.GEN.MP friend.PL and to all.FP DET.FP person.PL to which want.2PL good

Volere bene is a special Italian verb. As far as I know, it does not exist in any other language. It's used to say "I love you" when you don't actually feel love as you'd feel for your girlfriend/boyfriend, but rather affection, friendship, or whatever makes you want the other person to be fine all the time. That's what it literally means: I want you to be fine. And this world would be much better if more people said "ti voglio bene" more often!

Merry Christmas and merry St. Stephen (for Dec 26 is some kind of festivity here - Santo Stefano, St. Stephen) to you all!
: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
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Re: Corso d'Italiano - Italian Lessons

Post by Valosken » 26 Dec 2013 18:16

"I wish you well."?
First, I learned English.
Dann lernte ich Deutsch.
Y ahora aprendo Español.

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