One word leads to another. Since some of Yabla's videos have included scenes of construction, the topic of scaffolding has come up from time to time, even though it's certainly not a topic you run into every day. But there is a false cognate we may run into whenever we go to a supermercato (supermarket) or grande magazzino (department store), so a closer look might be merited.
One word for "scaffolding" is il ponteggio or, more often, i ponteggi. We can detect the noun il ponte (the bridge) in the word, and can easily imagine the wooden planks as "bridges" from one set of poles to the next.
Ha ceduto un ponteggio.
Some scaffolding collapsed.Play Caption
Impalcatura is often used in the singular, as a generic term, but can also be used in the plural. Here, we might detect the noun il palco, which can mean "the stage" (as in a theater) or "the platform." L'impalcatura is a series of platforms on top of each other.
È caduto da un'impalcatura del cantiere.
He fell from a scaffold at the construction site.
Caption 9, La Ladra EP. 7 - Il piccolo ladro - Part 3Play Caption
No, Spartacus, non credo che gli faccia piacere avere un ricevimento in mezzo a impalcature e betoniere.
No, Spartacus, I don't think he is happy to have a reception in the middle of scaffolding and cement mixers.
Captions 66-67, Sposami EP 4 - Part 24Play Caption
"Platform" has a cognate, too: la piattaforma (the platform, the board).
La parte centrale del Colosseo, dove accadeva tutto, era una piattaforma lignea che veniva, eh, riempita di sabbia,
The central part of the Colosseum, where everything took place, was a wooden platform that was, uh, filled with sand,
Captions 25-27, Marika e Daniela Colosseo, interno - Part 1Play Caption
But, when we find the word scaffale in Italian, it doesn't mean "scaffolding." It is, instead, the kind of shelving you find in a store, supermarket, or department store.
Se andate a fare la spesa in un supermercato italiano, vi troverete davanti allo scaffale del riso indecisi sul tipo di riso da comprare,
If you go grocery shopping in an Italian supermarket, you'll find yourselves facing the rice shelf, uncertain about the type of rice to buy,
Captions 1-3, L'Italia a tavola Risotto alla milanese - Part 2Play Caption
It's used a lot in the plural as a general term: gli scaffali.
Se voi mangiaste meno, il supermercato sarebbe sicuramente più pieno e io non troverei gli scaffali vuoti. -Esagerata, eh!
If you ate less, the supermarket would surely be fuller and I wouldn't find the shelves empty. -Over the top, huh!
Captions 44-45, Daniela e Francesca Il verbo mangiare
We can also use the noun lo scaffale in a house. If the shelves are for books, we'll usually say, una libreria.
False friend alert: Una libreria is also a bookshop! A library, on the other hand, is una biblioteca. If you have a dedicated room or lots of shelves for books, you can talk about una biblioteca in your house, too.
When we are speaking generically, we can use scaffale. Marika talks about lo scaffale, because, as she mentions, it contains all kinds of things.
A fianco alla televisione, ho un mobile. Questo mobile si chiama scaffale. Io lo uso per conservare tantissimi oggetti.
Alongside the television, I have a piece of furniture. This piece of furniture is called a shelving unit. I use it to store many objects.
Captions 26-28, Marika spiega Il salonePlay Caption
If this web of words has brought you more confusion than anything else, just stick with learning gli scaffali. That's where you will find food and products at the supermarket, and eating is essential.
Svolgere is yet another verb starting with S, meaning there is likely a verb without the S, at its roots.
The use of the "prefix" S to give a word the opposite meaning is a common Italian phenomenon. It comes up frequently (see, for example this lesson). There is no fool-proof "rule," but knowing about the S-prefix can often give us a clue about a word. If we try a search of the word without the S, we might gain a deeper understanding of the word. Sometimes the S provides a different slant on a word, and isn't necessarily a negation or an opposite.
So if we look up volgere, we find that it does exist. We just don't use it very often in everyday conversation. Svolgere, on the other hand, is very common, but it's not easy to guess its meaning.
Let's take a closer look.
When the verb is in its non-reflexive form it can be translated as "to carry out," "to conduct," "to do," or "to perform." It's transitive. We use it a lot when the question is, "What does it do?" or "What do you do (as a job)?"
Ha una capacità di memoria elevatissima; può svolgere la stessa funzione di cinquemila calcolatori meccanici messi insieme, ma in un tempo infinitamente più breve.
It has a very high memory capacity; it can perform the same function as five thousand mechanical calculators put together, but in an infinitely shorter time.
Captions 3-5, Adriano Olivetti La forza di un sogno Ep.2 - Part 19Play Caption
Ci troviamo nel centro tartarughe WWF di Lampedusa, fa parte del progetto italiano del WWF, che svolge attività di conservazione sulle tartarughe marine,
We are at the WWF center in Lampedusa, it's part of the Italian WWF project, which conducts work on conserving sea turtles
Captions 36-38, WWF Italia Progetto tartarughe - Part 1Play Caption
Espressione del lavoro di ricerca che svolgono durante il loro soggiorno romano.
An expression of the research work they carry out during their stay in Rome.
Caption 10, Villa Medici L'arca della bellezza - Part 4Play Caption
When we use the reflexive form of the verb, we often translate it as "to take place." We could also say "to unfold" in certain contexts. The reflexive form is intransitive.
Una parte del film si svolge qua dove sembra veramente che il passato e il futuro siano coesistenti.
One part of the film takes place here where it really seems that the past and the future coexist.
Captions 34-35, Fratelli Taviani La passione e l'utopia - Part 6Play Caption
The reflexive form svolgersi, is extremely common, but not all that easy to guess at, since it's not a cognate... or is it?
If we look up the etymology of the verb svolgere, we do find volgere, but another, archaic, version of volgere — volvere, no longer in use, is mentioned as well. And if we try hard, we can see the verb "to evolve" as a sort of cognate. If we think of the verb svolgersi as something like, "to evolve," it might help us remember it.
How does this story evolve? Come si svolge questa storia?
If we look at the conjugation chart of the verb svolgere and we look at the conjugation chart of the verb svoltare (to change directions, to turn) there are some similarities, so this can be a bit confusing.
Both the non-reflexive and the reflexive form of the verb svolgere can mean "to unfold." So they intersect in a way. But we should just keep in mind that the non-reflexive form is transitive (it takes a direct object) and the reflexive form is intransitive (you won't find a direct object after it).
If you do a search of svolgere, and svolgersi on the Yabla videos page, you will have an overview of how these verbs are used. If you then go to the transcript for a given video where the word is used and hit command or control F to search the word there, you'll see the larger context, together with the English translation. You will see that the translation isn't consistent. Sometimes it's tricky to find the right word, since there really isn't a good, reliable English cognate.
Certainly, the two forms of svolgere are great verbs to have in your toolbox. If you pay attention, you will start hearing both of them a great deal. And now you know what they mean!
We've talked various times about the noun il conto. It can refer to "the bill" or "the account," but it's also used in expressions such as per conto di..., or to put it in more personal terms, per conto mio/suo.
What's perhaps important to remember is that it has two distinct (but related meanings). It can mean "of one's own."
Nilde, tu c'hai già mille problemi per conto tuo, il ristorante, Enrica fra i piedi, lascia perdere.
Nilde, you already have a ton of problems of your own, the restaurant, Enrica on your back, forget about it.Play Caption
Perché la mi' figliola [mia figlia] c'ha già tanti problemi per conto suo.
Because my daughter has enough problems of her own.Play Caption
But it also means "on one's own."
Allora, lei è una che fa finta di starsene per conto suo, ma poi te la ritrovi sempre fra i piedi, una grandissima ficcanaso.
So, she is someone who pretends to be on her own, but then you always find her underfoot, hugely nosy.
Captions 45-47, Provaci ancora prof! S1E4 - La mia compagna di banco - Part 30Play Caption
Poi, se ne andarono ognuno per conto suo [sic: proprio].
Then they went away, each on his own.
Caption 33, Ti racconto una fiaba I tre porcellini - Part 1Play Caption
You will have to rely on the context to help decide what per conto means in each case.
In a previous lesson we talked about the verb seguire (to follow). Here are two other words that have the same root and are related, but mean something else: Proseguire and inseguire.
In Italian, we can use the verb continuare, an easy cognate, but sometimes it's nice to change. Proseguire is a verb you will hear a lot, especially when someone is giving you directions.
Come posso arrivare alla spiaggia più vicina? Guarda, se proseguite sulla strada che fat' [sic] stavate facendo...
How can I reach the closest beach? Look, if you continue on the road you tak [sic] were taking...
Captions 17-18, Una gita al lago - Part 1Play Caption
Il nostro viaggio prosegue in Piemonte,
Our journey continues in Piedmont,
Caption 7, Meraviglie EP. 5 - Part 4Play Caption
You might ask, "Is there a difference between continuare and proseguire?" Well, much of the time they are interchangeable, but sometimes continuare can imply that you keep doing the same thing.
Continuo a non capire (I still don't understand).
But with proseguire, you continue on, you advance, you proceed. Think of an arrow in one direction.
Prosegua pure, prego.
Go ahead and continue, please.
Caption 35, PsicoVip La lavatrice - Ep 23Play Caption
We could also have translated this with the verb "to proceed."
There is a noun form of this word: il proseguo.
...questa è diventata una, una realtà e sicuramente, eh, anche per il proseguo...
...this has become a, a reality and surely, uh, also for the aftermath...
Caption 40, Calcio Intervista con il Prof. CraveroPlay Caption
When you are saying goodbye to someone, instead of saying buona giornata or buona serata, you might say, buon proseguimento if you know that whomever you are saying goodbye to is off to do something else, not just going home.
Buon proseguimento (I wish you well in whatever you do next).
Per il telegiornale oggi è tutto, io vi auguro un buon proseguimento di giornata.
That's all for the newscast for today. I wish you a good rest of the day.
Captions 56-57, Anna e Marika in TG Yabla Italia e Meteo - Part 4Play Caption
Allora, il ragioniere, terrorizzato, scappa verso il salone, ma Menicucci lo insegue e gli spara una seconda volta.
So the accountant, terrified, runs towards the living room, but Menicucci chases him down and shoots him a second time.
Captions 51-52, Provaci ancora prof! S2EP1 - La finestra sulla scuola - Part 23Play Caption
We can also use the word "to follow" as a translation, but the intention changes from seguire.
We have a noun associated with this word, too: l'inseguimento (the chase, the pursuit).
Ma i bolidi sfreccianti verso Parma sembrano sfidare il nostro inseguimento celeste.
But the race cars speeding towards Parma seem to defy our airborne pursuit.Play Caption
We have inserted this verb with its reflexive ending, which is actually a reciprocal form, and is used as a noun in our example, something that's quite common.
Ora è il turno della parola: tempo, con la quale indichiamo il susseguirsi dei minuti, delle ore, dei giorni.
Now, it's time for the word "tempo," with which we indicate the passing of minutes, hours, days.
Captions 46-47, Marika spiega Parole con più significati - Part 1Play Caption
We can visualize the seconds following one another on a clock... We can talk about un susseguirsi di eventi (a chain of events or a series of events).
For more on the reflexive versus reciprocal verbs, see this video, presented by Marika.
For a lesson in English that explains the reciprocal form of verbs, see this lesson.
We hope we haven't filled your brain with words that are too similar. Please work on each one separately if you if that works best for you!
Looking at the word verso, we can detect a couple of cognates: "verse" and "versus," abbreviated as "vs" or "v." We can also see the word in words like "reverse..."
Verso is actually a wonderful word that can be used in so many circumstances. But where to start? Let's start in earlier times.
If you look at a medieval manuscript, for example, and think of how they numbered the pages, it's pretty interesting.
Instead of pages, they considered the whole sheet or leaf. Think of a looseleaf notebook. A leaf, or a sheet of paper (or parchment), has two sides. When scribes started numbering these leaves (in the twelfth century "foliation" became a rule. Before that there were different ways of keeping track), the number would be placed in the upper right-hand corner, for example: "XXX" (roman numerals were commonly used). This was the right side, the front side, the "recto." The backside of the leaf was called the "verso," the reverse side. So if you were indicating where a song or chapter started, you would say folio XXX r or XXX v.
The word verso comes from the Latin verb "vertĕre," meaning "to turn" — in its past participle form, "versus." The Italian verb meaning "to turn" is voltare which has common origins with volgere, the Italian for Latin "vertere." So the backside of a sheet is the one you have "turned."
Considering the above, it seems appropriate to discuss the noun form il verso next.
Il verso can certainly mean, as we have seen, "the reverse side," especially when talking about a coin, medal, or sheet or leaf of parchment.
It can also mean "direction" or "way."
...e per trenta minuti si gira in un verso, lentamente,
...and for thirty minutes, you stir it in one direction, slowly,
Caption 35, Adriano L'arancello di MarinaPlay Caption
Le parti basse dell'ulivo vanno tolte perché sono secche e non permettono alla pianta di, di crescere nel giusto verso.
The lower parts of the olive tree have to be removed because they're dry, and they don't allow the plant to, to grow in the right direction.
Captions 25-26, Gianni si racconta L'olivo e i roviPlay Caption
In colloquial speech il verso can mean "the way," used figuratively.
Pezzo di pane... -Bisogna saperlo prendere per il verso giusto.
Piece of bread... -You have to know how to handle him the right way.Play Caption
...ma non c'è stato verso di farla ragionare.
...but there was no way to get her to reason.Play Caption
When talking about marble, it means "the correct direction," or "the grain."
Eh, il verso e il contro sono due termini, eh, conosciuti diffusamente tra gli art', gli artigiani del marmo,
Uh, the grain and against the grain are two terms, um, well known to art', marble artisans,
Captions 6-8, Claudio Capotondi Scultore - Part 1Play Caption
We also have the word inverso in Italian, meaning "inverse" or "opposite."
Quando "venire" è contrapposto esplicitamente ad "andare", indica movimento inverso, perché i due verbi esprimono insieme un movimento alternato e ripetuto nei [due] sensi.
When “venire” is explicitly juxtaposed with “andare,” it indicates an inverse movement, because the two verbs together express alternate and repeated movements, direction-wise.
Captions 42-45, Marika spiega I verbi venire e andare - Part 2Play Caption
Other meanings of il verso as a noun are:
-the sound an animal makes.
-a line of poetry
Verso is a preposition, too, again having to do with direction.
Verso can mean "towards." It can also be interpreted as "facing,"
Perciò ti volti verso di lui. -Certo.
So, you turn towards him. -Of course.Play Caption
Note that when we use personal pronouns as an object, we need the extra preposition di. If it's a noun, then no extra preposition is needed.
Poi andando sempre più verso il Duomo, si vede appunto il Duomo
Then still going towards the Duomo, you can see just that, the Cathedral,
Captions 27-28, In giro per l'Italia Firenze - Part 4Play Caption
When we're talking about directions rather than concrete destinations, we use neither an extra preposition nor an article.
Poi, andando verso sinistra si vede il Palazzo Vecchio,
Then, going towards the left you can see the Palazzo Vecchio [the old building]
Caption 34, In giro per l'Italia Firenze - Part 4Play Caption
The English word "versus," has the same Latin origin as the preposition verso, but has come to mean "against." Two people or teams face each other when they are against each other.
Verso can mean "around" especially when talking about time.
La signora ha cenato e poi verso le nove è uscita.
The lady had dinner and then around nine, she went out.Play Caption
Finally, we mention the verb versare, because the first person singular happens to be verso. But versare deserves a lesson all to itself, because it's used often, but with various nuances in specific contexts.
There is an Italian cognate for the noun exam: It's esame, but there are a few basic things to know about using the word.
First of all, if you are in college (which is always called università in Italy), you take exams, right? Well in Italy, first of all, exams are generally oral exams, where you have to speak and answer questions at length, and often in public, before your peers. The final exam of high school is called l'esame di maturità, or just la maturità.
Cioè, come ho potuto io, che alla maturità ho preso sessanta?
That is, how could I have, when I got sixty in the finals?Play Caption
Second of all, instead of taking an exam, you give it: dare un esame. At least this is how it is in colloquial speech.
Che importa se non ha dato nessun esame.
What does it matter if he didn't take any exams?Play Caption
That's one way to say it. We can also use the more "correct" verb sostenere. Sostenere means plenty of things as you can see in the link (including a close cognate — "to sustain"), but in the case of exams, it means "to undergo."
Per avere l'elenco degli esami che ha sostenuto tuo nipote, ci vuole il [sic: la] password, no, eh. -Ah, sì, sì, ho capito. -Ecco.
To have the list of the exams your nephew took, you need the password, right? -Ah, yes, yes, I get it. -Here.Play Caption
And sometimes Italians use the all-purpose verb fare (to make, to do).
Ma mi avevi detto che era una freccia, era... faceva gli esami, uno dopo l'altro.
But you told me that he was as fast as an arrow, he was... he took the exams one after another.Play Caption
When you pass an exam, the right word is superare l'esame but people use the verb passare, too.
Non ho mai visto Alberto dispiaciuto di aver passato un esame.
I've never seen Alberto unhappy to have passed an exam.Play Caption
Che se non superi quegli esami non puoi fare gli altri esami che poi ti permettono di passare al secondo, al terzo, al quarto e poi al quinto anno e prendere la laurea.
That if you don't pass those exams you can't do the other exams that then allow you to go on to the second, third, fourth, and then to the fifth year and get your degree.
Captions 36-38, Serena sistema universitario italianoPlay Caption
If you flunk an exam, sei bocciato or bocciata.
Invece, all'università, se prendi un voto inferiore al diciotto sei bocciato e non passi l'esame.
Instead, at the university, if you get a grade below eighteen, you fail, and you don't pass the exam.
Captions 49-50, Serena sistema universitario italianoPlay Caption
There are also the exams you do for your health (and sometimes when you are already dead).
Non ti consegno il rapporto perché ho richiesto un esame necroscopico.
I won't give you the report because I requested a post-mortem exam.Play Caption
In the U.S. we make an appointment to see a doctor. In Italy, prediamo un appuntamento (we take an appointment) and a visit to the doctor is called una visita, but when the doctor examines you, he or she "visits" you: visitare.
Dopo che sei stato accolto o accolta dagli infermieri e visitato o visitata dal dottore del Pronto Soccorso, ti diranno cosa è meglio per la tua salute.
After you have been asked to come in (m) or come in (f) by the nurses and examined (m) or examined (f) by the emergency room doctor, they will tell you what's best for your health.
Captions 55-57, Marika spiega Il pronto soccorsoPlay Caption
...tanto che una volta andai da un medico a farmi visitare...
...so much so that once I went to a doctor to get a checkup...Play Caption
Both words we want to talk about in this lesson have to do with the root word tono (tone). It means pretty much the same thing in both languages.
Ora delle due è una: o mi sta raccontando una balla adesso o mi ha preso in giro sin dall'inizio. Questo tono con me! Si rende conto che questa è insubordinazione?
Now it's one of the two: Either you're bullshitting me now, or you've been giving me the runaround from the beginning. This tone with me! Do you realize that this is insubordination?
Captions 13-16, Il Commissario Manara S1EP8 - Morte di un buttero - Part 12Play Caption
We use the words tono and "tone" a lot in music, too. Un tono is a whole tone or whole step of a scale. In Western music, for example, we have a series of whole tones and semi tones — toni e semitoni — that make up a particular musical scale.
Remaining in the realm of music, the verb intonare can mean "to start singing."
When someone sings the right notes, with accurate relationships between the notes, we can say this person is intonato or intonata (in tune). He or she has good intonazione (intonation).
When the opposite happens, when someone is not singing in tune, he is stonato, she is stonata. So once again, we have the S prefix that transforms a word into one with an opposite meaning. If this use of S at the beginning of a word is unfamiliar to you, check out this lesson.
In the example below, Martino, the guitarist, hears a woman singing onstage. He complains:
Ma quella è stonata.
But she's out of tune.
Caption 4, Chi m'ha visto film - Part 2Play Caption
In Italian, we often use the verbs intonare and stonare or their past participles, intonato and stonato in a figurative way, or in referring to colors and designs, anything, really. In the example below, it's used with a reflexive si.
La sua maglietta non si intona col mio rossetto e quindi Le metto sette.
Your t-shirt doesn't harmonize with my lipstick, and so I'm giving you a seven.
Caption 92, L'Italia a tavola Interrogazione sulla LiguriaPlay Caption
In this next example, an acquaintance of the famous film directors, the Taviani brothers, is describing how they were and how they worked together.
Erano sempre, ehm, eleganti, se si può dire la parola usata in maniera e... appunto non manierata, ma in maniera intonata no, sempre intonati, ecco.
They were always, uh, elegant, if one can use the word used in a manner and... just that, not mannered, but in a manner — harmonious, right? Always harmonious, that's it.
Captions 45-49, Fratelli Taviani La passione e l'utopia - Part 8Play Caption
In a recent episode of Meraviglie, Alberto Angela uses the verb stonare figuratively, imagining what kind of play could be performed in the piazza of Lecce, a piazza that is reminiscent of a theatrical stage.
Tutto sembra disposto e ornato per un lieve gioco teatrale. Una commedia di Goldoni non vi stonerebbe.
Everything seems set up and decorated for a lighthearted play. A Goldoni play would not be out of place here.
Captions 9-10, Meraviglie S2 EP3 - Part 7Play Caption
So we can use stonare to mean "to clash," "to go together poorly."
Another noun, stemming from tono, is sintonia, which is used quite a bit in Italian when talking about people who are on the same wavelength, who seem to be in sync. For example, when two people are thinking the same thing at the same time.
Loro due sono in sintonia (Those two are attuned to each other, they're on the same wavelength).
Non tutte le ciambelle escono col buco
Let's look at the main, individual words in this expression.
Ciambella: Una ciambella is often a donut or doughnut. But actually, it can refer to anything that is ring-shaped with a hole in the middle. It can be an "inner tube" you use in the pool, or a life-preserver. Un ciambellone is a large-size coffee cake, usually in the shape of a ring, with a hole in the middle. For more about turning a feminine noun like la ciambella into a big, masculine version such as il ciambellone using the ending -one, see this lesson.
Bona 'sta [buona questa] ciambella.
Good, this doughnut.Play Caption
Escono: This is the third person plural of the verb uscire (to exit, to come/go out). In this case, we are talking about a donut or ring-shaped cake coming out of the oven or deep-frier. Sometimes there's a mistake, and one might not have its hole in the middle, it might be lopsided.
Buco: Un buco is a hole. Just like in the middle of a donut.
Cominciamo a piantarne uno. Allora bisogna fare un buco.
Let's start planting one. So we need to make a hole.
Captions 46-47, Gatto Mirò EP 10 Piantiamo un alberoPlay Caption
A word about the other words:
Non is a negating word, like "not."
Tutte means "all." In this case, it refers to the plural feminine noun, le ciambelle, so it has a plural feminine ending.
We have the conjunction col. This is a combination of con (with) and il (the).
A variation on this expression is: Non tutte le ciambelle riescono col buco.
The verb changes from uscire to riuscire. While riuscire can mean "to come/go out again," as in when you come home but have to go out again because you forgot to buy milk, it also means "to succeed," "to turn out," "to manage to do something."
Però, non tutti riescono a farlo bene.
However, not everyone succeeds in doing it well.
Caption 10, Anna e Marika Il panePlay Caption
So the meaning of the two variants is essentially the same, but with escono, we can visualize the donut coming out of the oven, and with riescono, we can visualize how they turn out.
Yet another variation is: Non tutte le ciambelle vengono col buco. Here the verb is venire (to come). "Not all donuts come with holes." The concept doesn't change.
Literally, the sentence means: "Not all donuts come out [of the oven] with holes." The figurative meaning of the expression is that not everything goes according to plan. Sometimes things turn out imperfectly, but it's not a huge deal. A nuance is that the donut will still taste good even if it is a bit misshapen or lopsided.
When you or someone else does a job that didn't come out perfectly, it's also a way of minimizing the error, as if to say, "Oh well..."
Instead of using adjectives to talk about size, Italian has the device of altering the noun itself, thus producing a new word. Different endings are added onto the root word. Let's look at how this works with some nouns with feminine endings.
An example of this is pentola. Una pentola is a pot. It's already pretty big, big enough for cooking pasta. Un pentolone is an even bigger pot for if you're cooking lots of pasta or canning tomatoes, as in the second example below. We could also say una pentola grande, (a big pot) but sometimes it's easier to say pentolone. So, when you hear a word that ends in -one, it's likely a large version of something that comes in various sizes.
Ci serve, naturalmente, anche qualcosa per cuocere la pasta. Una pentola, un'altra pentola per la pasta,
We also need, naturally, something for cooking the pasta. A pot, another pot for the pasta,
Captions 79-81, L'Italia a tavola Tonnarelli cacio e pepe - Part 1Play Caption
Here, a woman is describing how to make tomato sauce to can. She's going to make a big batch.
Alcuni, eh, lo fanno appassire un po' dentro i pentoloni sul fuoco...
Some, uh, cook them down a bit in big pots on the burner...
Caption 28, Giovanna spiega La passata di pomodoriPlay Caption
When the item in discussion is the smalller version, the ending -ino is typical:
E per farlo, prendiamo un pentolino come questo e ci mettiamo un pochino di olio extravergine di oliva.
And to do that we take a saucepan like this and we put a little extra virgin olive oil in it.
Captions 18-19, Marika spiega La Parmigiana di melanzane - Part 1Play Caption
Una capanna is a shack, shed, or hut. It's a feminine noun.
...oppure costruivamo una capanna con delle sedie e delle coperte
...or else we'd build a hut out of chairs and bed covers
Caption 8, Anna e Marika ricordi di infanziaPlay Caption
Un capannone can either be called a "shed," even though it's big, a "hangar," or, in the case of a mechanic's workplace, a "garage." It will have a different name in English depending on its use. It may or may not have 4 walls. It may or may not be makeshift.
...che segnalava la presenza di auto truccate in un capannone al Quadraro e trac. Va be', allora vogliamo brindare?
...that reported the presence of souped-up cars in a hangar in Quadraro, and boom. OK, so do we want to make a toast?
Captions 35-37, La Ladra EP. 8 - Il momento giusto - Part 14Play Caption
If the shack or hut is tiny, as it would be for a hunter's blind, then il capannino is the word of choice. There might be room for just one person.
Although una macchina can be any kind of machine, it's also the word for car. The more official Italian word is automobile, just like in English. The stress goes on the second O, however.
Infatti, quando ho compiuto venti anni, mi ha regalato una macchina nuova.
In fact, when I turned twenty, she got me a new car.
Captions 31-32, Adriano NonnaPlay Caption
Ci porta Giampi, che lui c'ha un macchinone.
Giampi will take us. He has a big car.
Caption 53, Sposami EP 3 - Part 7Play Caption
Sometimes the resulting word can retain the gender of the original word, as in the case of macchina.
E sotto c'era un altro cartellino bianco con disegnato su un camioncino con un gancettino che si porta via una macchinina.
And below it was another little white sign picturing a little truck with a little hook on it, which is towing a little car away.
Captions 89-91, Provaci ancora prof! S2EP1 - La finestra sulla scuola - Part 1Play Caption
As you listen to more videos, you will start noticing the endings -one and -ino. Look for the noun within the noun and you'll often be able to figure out what a word means.
Let's make some sense of fitto and fitta. Sometimes they mean the same thing, as when they are adjectives, but they each have a noun form as well, which has little to do with the adjective meaning.
Fitto is an adjective meaning "dense."
Come la chiesa di San Matteo, nascosta nel fitto tessuto medievale della città, che appare così all'improvviso.
Such as the church of Saint Matthew, hidden in the dense medieval fabric of the city, which appears so suddenly.
Captions 8-10, Meraviglie S2 EP3 - Part 2Play Caption
In the following example fitto describes Iimpalcatura (the scaffolding), a feminine noun, so it has a feminine ending in this case: fitta.
Lavorando senza aiuto alcuno, nascondendo il suo David dietro una fitta impalcatura di legno per impedire a chiunque di vedere l'opera prima della conclusione. Fino al giungere al capolavoro: il suo David.
Working without any help, hiding his David behind a dense wooden scaffold to prevent anyone from seeing the work before its conclusion, before it became the masterpiece: his David.
Captions 33-37, Meraviglie EP. 3 - Part 13Play Caption
Il fitto is a noun that means the same as l'affitto (the rent).
Ho soltanto preso una casa in affitto, Ada.
I only rented a house, Ada.Play Caption
When you rent a place, you "take it as a rental," prendere in affitto. But when we talk about "the rent," as in "paying the rent," it's l'affitto. Pago l'affitto (I pay the rent). However, some people say, Pago il fitto. It means the same thing but is rather old-fashioned. You will find this definition of fitto way at the bottom of the page.
Keep in mind that there's the verb affittare (to rent) as well.
Una fitta is a stabbing pain.
In the following example, instead of fitta, Renzo says fittina to minimize it.
Ah, colonna vertebrale, già m'ha fatto una fittina.
Ah, spinal column, that's already given me a slight stabbing pain.Play Caption
As more and more people are living to old age, they often can no longer take care of themselves.The person who is hired to look after an old or infirm person at home is called la badante (the caregiver, the home-health aide). If the caregiver is a male, then it's il badante.
Sì, La moglie fa la badante a una signora. Si chiama Adele.
Yes. The wife is a home-health aide for a woman. Her name is Adele.Play Caption
The verb this noun comes from is badare "to take care" or "to look after."
We don't only use it with the old and infirm...
Ci devo badare io a mio fratello Radu, ma io non volevo mancare [a] scuola e così l'ho portato.
I have to take care of my brother Radu, but I didn't want to be absent from school and so I brought him.
Captions 11-13, Provaci ancora prof! S1E4 - La mia compagna di banco - Part 2Play Caption
Guarda che io so badare a me stesso, eh.
Look, I can take care of myself, huh.
Caption 48, La Ladra EP. 7 - Il piccolo ladro - Part 1Play Caption
We also use it to mean "to pay attention."
Non ci badare, è matto.
Don't pay attention to him, he's crazy.
Caption 16, Psicovip Cappuccetto Rosso - Ep 7Play Caption
Ma, io non ci bado molto ai piedi.
Well, I don't pay much attention to feet.
Caption 12, Psicovip Cappuccetto Rosso - Ep 7Play Caption
Non ho badato se facevo del male a qualcuno.
I didn't pay attention to whether I was hurting someone or not.
Caption 62, Sposami EP 3 - Part 22Play Caption
For grammar nerds: If we look at the conjugation of badare, we see that the noun la badante is actually the present participle of the verb badare.
If you want someone to pay attention, be careful, or take note, you can say:
Quindi is a word you will hear thousands of times a day when listening to Italians talk. Just think how many times a day you use the word "so" in English. "So" is what quindi means, much of the time.
Siamo quattro persone, supponiamo, quindi useremo quattro uova.
We're four people, we're assuming, so we'll use four eggs.
Caption 11, Adriano Pasta alla carbonara - Part 2Play Caption
Italians often use quindi at the end of a sentence. It can turn into a question (just like "so"). In English, we might even end our question with "and...?" and mean the same thing.
Possiedo diverse aziende nel novarese. Sì, sappiamo che Lei è molto potente e quindi?
I own various businesses in the Novara area. Yes, we know that you are very powerful, and so?
Captions 57-58, Adriano Olivetti La forza di un sogno Ep. 1 - Part 8Play Caption
Quindi can also mean "therefore," or "in other words." Even though we don't use the word "therefore" in everyday English all that often, it might be helpful to think of quindi meaning "therefore," because as opposed to "so," which has its own position in a sentence or subordinate clause (usually at the beginning), we can insert "therefore" just about anywhere, often enclosed by commas. Quindi works much as "therefore" does, in practical terms. Therefore, we at Yabla often translate quindi with "therefore" when we want to retain the word order in the caption.
Eh, per quanto riguarda la nostra azienda, noi siamo in particolare localizzati nell'alto casertano, e quindi tutta la nostra produzione è incentrata in, in questa zona. In quali città, quindi?
Uh, regarding our company, we happen to be located in the upper Caserta area, and so our entire production is centered in, in this area. In which city therefore? / So, in which city?Play Caption
La mozzarella, per noi campani, è solo quella di bufala. Quindi, prodotta con latte delle bufale.
Mozzarella for us Campanians, is solely the buffalo kind. Therefore, made with milk from buffaloes.
Mozzarella for us Campanians, is solely the buffalo kind. In other words, made with milk from buffaloes.Play Caption
Lots of times, a sentence ends with quindi plus an ellipsis... as if the speaker wanted to go on but leaves the rest of the sentence to our imagination. Or, the speaker has no idea what to say next.
Guarda, ho letto sul menù che guarda caso fanno le fettuccine ai funghi porcini, quindi...
Look, I read on the menu that, as fate would have it, they make fettuccini with porcini mushrooms, so...
Captions 27-28, Anna e Marika Trattoria Al Biondo Tevere - Part 1Play Caption
If you watch Yabla videos, or have listened to Italian conversation, you will likely have noticed that people have pet words. They may not even realize they always use a particular word. So some people say quindi a whole lot. Others might pepper their conversation with perciò (for this reason). In Tuscany sicché (the informal version of cosìcché) is very popular. These are alternate ways to say "so."
Note that when "so" means "to such an extent," we can't use quindi. In that case, we'll use a word like talmente or così.
Quindi can also mean "then" when talking, for instance, about what to do next. Some GPS systems with a voice use quindi to say "then, turn right..." quindi girate a destra...
This can also happen in recipes or instructions, where there is a sequence of actions to be taken.
In current, everyday Italian, it's more common to use poi when we talk about the next in a series of actions.
Poi... quindi avvolgiamo l'alice con mezza fetta di prosciutto, poi mettiamo [sic: lo mettiamo] nel pangrattato, si tuffa così, ecco qui.
Then... then, we roll the anchovy in half a slice of prosciutto, then we'll put it in the breadcrumbs, we immerse it like so, here we are.
Captions 29-31, L'Italia a tavola Involtini di alici - Part 2Play Caption
You might be thinking of the word allora, which is also used to mean "so" as well as "then," but the interesting thing is that allora has more to do with the past and present than the future, whereas quindi can be about the future (the next thing).
For more about allora, see our lesson: The Underlying Meaning of Allora
Every language has different ways to say "a lot." Let's look at what Italian has to offer. We covered some of the ways in a previous lesson, but let's look at a few more.
Ricci mi ha chiesto un mucchio di soldi.
Ricci asked me for a pile of money.Play Caption
Un mucchio is a heap, a pile. Think of a pile of dirty laundry, a pile of leaves, heaped one on top of the other.
perché t'ha raccontato una marea di frottole. -No!
because he told you a bunch of tall tales. -No!Play Caption
La marea is "the tide." A tide of tall tales.
Considerate che di colle ce ne sono una marea: colla per il tessuto, colla per le pietre, corla [sic], corla [sic], eh, colla per, per la pelle.
Consider that there are a bunch of different glues: glue for fabric, glue for stone, glue, glue, uh, glue for, for skin.
Captions 61-63, Professioni e mestieri Belle Arti - La pasta modellabilePlay Caption
Ho speso una valanga di soldi per questa macchina fotografica (I spent an avalanche [a whole lot] of money for this camera).
Sto facendo il viaggio più bello della mia vita, mamma. Ci divertiamo un casino.
I'm having the best trip of my life, Mom. We're having a lot of fun.
Captions 16-17, Ma che ci faccio qui! Un film di Francesco Amato - Part 13Play Caption
Casino is a colloquial term that originally meant "brothel." It currently means, colloquially, "mess," "a lot of noise and confusion," or "a lot of trouble," but it has also come to mean "a whole lot." It's best to use it exclusively among friends, in view of its original meaning.
In a future lesson, we'll talk about ways to say "a lot," when it's used as an adverb.
In our previous lesson we talked about the difference between giorno and giornata. We learned that saying buona giornata is a nice thing to say when taking one's leave.
When saying goodbye, we can replace giornata with another -ata word, perhaps one more specific to what the other person is about to do. For example, we want to wish someone a good ride (on horseback) as in the example below, or, if they are taking a walk, we can say buona passeggiata.
Va bene. -Buona giornata. Buona cavalcata. -Buona cavalcata. Buona giornata e buon lavoro. -Grazie.
All right. -Have a nice day. Have a nice ride. -Have a nice ride. Have a nice day, and good luck with your work. -Thank you.
Captions 14-16, Fratelli Taviani La passione e l'utopia - Part 23Play Caption
Note: The -ata ending can't always be applied. If someone is about to get back to work or start on a project, you might say, buon lavoro, as in the example above (NOT buona lavorata!). We don't really have the equivalent in English, except for perhaps, "Have a good work day," but in Italy, buon lavoro is a very nice and very common thing to say to someone you're taking leave of. And if they are going to take a nap, you might say, buon riposo (have a good rest).
Let's take a closer look at this -ata ending or suffix. We'll find it on a great many nouns. One helpful thing to keep in mind is that it's always feminine. It is usually connected in meaning to the root noun, but has more movement to it.
L'onda (the wave) is what you see in the sea or ocean.
L'odore del mare, il, il suono delle onde... eh? -Sì.
The smell of the sea, the, the sound of the waves... huh? -Yes.Play Caption
We also have the waves of sound and energy, and when we are on the air, for example on the radio or TV, we say, Siamo in onda (we're on the air).
Ma non c'è tempo per provare, tra cinque secondi andiamo in onda.
But there's no time to rehearse, we're on the air in five seconds.Play Caption
L'ondata (the surge, the onrush)
We use ondata to describe a wave in motion. It's often used figuratively.
Dopo il suo primo devastante arrivo, la peste, la morte nera continuò a colpire con varie ondate negli anni, decimando la popolazione,
After its first devastating emergence, the plague, the Black Death continued to strike in various waves over the years, decimating the population,
Captions 1-2, Meraviglie EP. 3 - Part 7Play Caption
In many cases, verbs come from nouns, and nouns also come from verbs. So a noun ending in -ata might come from a verb just as easily as from a noun, for example, when we mentioned cavalcata, above, it came from the verb cavalcare (to ride a horse).
il volo - volare - la volata
With un volo, you are in flight, but with la volata, you are moving quickly.
Assomiglia a un volo nel cielo.
It resembles flying in the sky.
Caption 21, Inno all'acqua un bene prezioso da difenderePlay Caption
Ho fatto una volata (I tripped and fell-- through the air)
Ho fatto una volata a casa (I rushed home for a moment)
More nouns with an -ata ending:
la girata (a short walk) [from the verb girare (to turn around), but we also have the noun un giro]
una nottata (the duration of a night - from when you go usually go to bed until the morning) [from the noun la notte]
una sgridata (a scolding) [from the verb sgridare]
la nevicata (the snowfall) [from the verb nevicare (to snow), but also the noun la neve (the snow)]
una chiacchierata (a chat) [from the verb chiacchierare (to chat)]
Certo che da una semplice chiacchierata, sei riuscita a capire tutto di Malvina, eh?
Just from a simple chat, you were able to understand everything about Malvina, weren't you?Play Caption
This is just a small sampling of nouns ending in -ata. Let's stay on the lookout for more, and if you see more words like these in videos, let us know, and we will add them to the list!
What's the difference between giorno and giornata? They both refer to "day." To start off with, we can say that one difference is that un giorno is 24 hours. But una giornata is roughly from dawn to dusk. In some cases, giorno and giornata can be used interchangeably, but let's look at the ways we generally use one or the other.
It might also be helpful to think of giorno as rather static and giornata as something in motion, or progressing.
Since we have to greet people most days, it's good to mention buongiorno, which actually means "good morning," as a greeting. We use it up to lunchtime, or noon, to be more precise. After that it's buonasera (good afternoon, good evening).
Buongiorno, signora Caterina.
Good morning, Missus Caterina.Play Caption
Let's keep in mind that, used as a greeting, buongiorno is one word.
For more about greetings, check out this lesson
If we say buona giornata, we are saying, "Have a nice day." I hope your day goes well. It's kind of a progressive thing, thinking ahead to the day. We say it when we are leaving or when someone else is leaving.
Va bene. -Buona giornata. Buona cavalcata. -Buona cavalcata. Buona giornata e buon lavoro. -Grazie.
All right. -Have a nice day. Have a nice ride. -Have a nice ride. Have a nice day, and good luck with your work. -Thank you.
Captions 14-16, Fratelli Taviani La passione e l'utopia - Part 23Play Caption
We can replace giornata with another -ata word: if we want to wish someone a good ride (on horseback) as in the example above, or, if they are taking a walk, we can say buona passeggiata.
Let's look at other situations in which we will want to use giornata, not giorno, or vice versa. It may be helpful to think of giornata as the progression of the day towards night.
Let's say you are waiting for a package.
The corriere (the shipping company) says:
Il pacchetto sarà consegnato in giornata. This means the package will be delivered anytime before the end of the day.
If it's going to arrive before lunchtime, they might say arriverà in mattinata.
When you get off work, and you are thinking about what a difficult (or fantastic) day you have had, you can say:
Che giornata (what a day)!
But then, you might use a mix of giornata and giorno. The important thing is to remember that giorno is a masculine noun and giornata is a feminine noun.
You can say:
Ho lavorato tutto il giorno (I worked all day).
You can also say:
Ho lavorato tutta la giornata (I worked all day).
It kind of depends on what you are thinking or visualizing. They are both correct. Google says tutto il giorno is more common.
When we are talking about the weather, we'll usually use giornata.
Oggi è una bellissima giornata, un po' fredda,
Today, it's such a beautiful day, a bit cold,Play Caption
When describing the day, especially in a personal way, we use giornata:
Ti sto rovinando la giornata, scusami.
I'm wrecking your day, forgive me.Play Caption
If I ask you how your day went, I might say?
Come'è andata la giornata (how did your day go, how was your day)?
When we're talking about a length of time, then it's usually giornata. In some cases, we can talk about una mezza giornata (a half day')
La prego, solo mezza giornata.
Please, just half a day.Play Caption
While we tend to use giorno for birthdays and the days of the week (we think of the calendar), giornata is more common for describing special commemorative occasions or major historical events, for example, Giornata mondiale della pace (International peace day). It's connected with the activity.
If you have questions about giorno and giornata, please let us know and we'll expand this lesson.
How do we talk about frequency — how many times in a period of time something happens or should happen? Let's find out.
Just as English has "every" and "each," so does Italian. Italian has tutti (all) and ogni (each). For more about tutti see this lesson.
In Italia, come ben sapete, la pasta è un alimento consumato tutti i giorni.
In Italy, as you well know, pasta's a food that's eaten every day.
Caption 1, Anna e Marika La pasta frescaPlay Caption
Note that with tutti, we use the plural. Both the noun giorni and the adjective tutti are in the plural. Not only that. If we replace giorni (days) with settimane (weeks), we have to change tutti to tutte, as settimana is a feminine noun. Note also that we have tutto il giorno, which means "all day." Here tutto is singular, so try not to get mixed up (we'll talk about this in a different lesson).
Usciamo quasi tutte le settimane, il sabato sera,
We go out almost every week, on Saturday night,
Caption 40, Erica e Martina La nostra amiciziaPlay Caption
When we use ogni (each), on the other hand, it's always singular.
Qui in Sicilia, in estate si va ogni giorno al mare e la sera si esce.
Here in Sicily, in the summer we go to the beach every day and in the evenings we go out.
Caption 49, Adriano Le stagioni dell'annoPlay Caption
What if we want to talk about "every other day?" We can say ogni due giorni (every two days) or we can say un giorno sì e un giorno no (one day yes and one day no).
Ah no, eh? E tu come lo chiami un bambino che vomita un giorno sì e un giorno no?
No? And what do you call a little boy who vomits every other day?Play Caption
When it comes to doing something once a day, once a week, once a month, or once a year, we use the noun volta, which we can also use in the plural when appropriate. It is followed by the preposition a (at, to, in)
Allora, amici di Yabla, all'interno del mio negozio, una volta al mese ospito degli artisti...
So, Yabla friends, inside my shop, I host artists once a month...
Captions 56-57, Adriano Negozio di Antichità SgroiPlay Caption
Note that the noun volta has other meanings and connotations, so consider checking out the dictionary entry linked to above. Learn more about the noun volta meaning "time" in this lesson.
una volta al giorno (once a day)
due volte al giorno (twice a day)
una volta alla settimana (once a week)
due volte alla settimana (twice a week)
una volta al mese (once a month)
due volte al mese (twice a month)
una volta all'anno (once a year)
due volte all'anno (twice a year)
There is a lot to talk about regarding time. We've covered one aspect of frequency in this lesson, but in future lessons, we'll talk about ways to say "usually," "sometimes," "always," "never," and so on.
We say Auguri! when it's the new year or when someone has a birthday. Tanti auguri a te is how Italians sing, "Happy Birthday to you." But we also have the verb augurare, which is used quite frequently, even on ordinary days.
Non le posso augurare una buona sera perché non è una buona sera.
I can't wish you a good evening, because it isn't a good evening.
Caption 21, La Tempesta film - Part 22Play Caption
When you wish for something, you hope it will come true. In English, we either use the imperative of the verb "to have," or we can change the construction and use the verb "to hope."
Ti auguro una buona giornata (have a good day/I hope you have a good day).
If you follow Marika's videos, she almost always wishes you a marvelous day at the end.
Io ti auguro una giornata meravigliosa e ci vediamo la prossima volta.
Have a marvelous day and I'll see you next time.
Captions 56-57, Marika commenta -La Ladra Espressioni idiomatiche - Part 1Play Caption
We can use augurare with a reflexive ending, too: augurarsi. We use this form when we want to say, "I hope so!" We say:
Me lo auguro (I hope so).
Mi auguro di sì (I hope so).
No, scusi, mi auguro che Lei abbia una motivazione plausibile, perché se no io... -Ma un istruttore a che Le serve?
No, excuse me. I hope you have a plausible reason, otherwise, I... -But what do you need an instructor for?
Captions 9-10, Il Commissario Manara S2EP7 - Alta società - Part 13
Note that after mi auguro comes che, and some of us know what that can mean. It likely means we'll need the subjunctive. In the example above, we do indeed need the subjunctive of the verb avere (to have). For more about cases like this one, see our lessons on this topic.
Using me lo auguro can have a somewhat negative nuance and we might translate it as, "I should hope so!" So it's not really hope, but rather expecting something to be a certain way. It's also quite a mouthful of vowels. Luckily, you can also say:
Lo spero (I hope so)!
On the other hand, if we want to say "I hope not," we can simply say mi auguro di no.
Hai imparato qualcosa (did you learn something)? Mi auguro di sì (I hope so).
When we want to talk about going or being upstairs or downstairs, we're not going to find a direct translation in Italian. We have to use other words.
No, vado di sopra a prendere la borsa e le chiavi e scendo giù subito.
No, I'm going upstairs to get my bag and the keys, and I'll be right down.Play Caption
If you are upstairs and want to go downstairs, you could just as well say,
Vado di sotto a prendere la borsa...
I'm going downstairs to get my bag...
When we are talking about the other room, or another room, or "over there," then we use the same little preposition di (of, from), but we use là (there) instead of above or below.
Vado di là (I'm going in the other room, I'm going over there).
Pietro è di là (Pietro is in the other room).
Using the above formula to talk about "upstairs," "downstairs," or "in the other room," is one way to express this. You might also hear simply su and giù.
È su (he/she is upstairs), sta su (he/she is upstairs).
Vado su, vengo giù (I'm going up, I'm coming down).
If we imagine an apartment building where you have to go downstairs to go out of the building, it's easier to imagine the Italian use of sotto casa (right in front of the house). I may have a little market right near my house. It's sotto casa. It implies "very close by" or "in front of."
Fortunatamente ci hanno messo un bidone sotto casa.
Fortunately, they put a garbage can in front of the house.
Caption 25, COVID-19 6) La guarigionePlay Caption
Sono sotto casa tua. Scendi un attimo?
I'm in front of your house. Will you come down a moment?
Caption 30, La Ladra EP. 7 - Il piccolo ladro - Part 3Play Caption
When we want to say, "down here," or "down there," then we can use qui sotto or qua sotto. They are interchangeable and can refer to either "here" or "there," depending on one's point of view.
E qua sotto c'è il fiume Tevere.
And down there is the river Tiber.Play Caption
Infatti, vedi le strutture che sono qui sotto, qui sotto a questo monumentale... -Sì.
In fact, do you see the constructions that are down here, below this monumental... -Yes.
Caption 44, Marika e Daniela Colosseo, interno - Part 1Play Caption
While sopra and sotto with di often refer to "upstairs" and "downstairs" as we have shown above, su and giù can also be used to indicate the direction of where someone or something is or where someone or something is going. They often go hand in hand with qui or qua (here) and là (there).
Qui and qua basically indicate something that is close to the person who is speaking. Su basically means "up" and giù basically means "down." If we want to refer to something far away in an upward or downward direction, we can say, lassù (up there) or laggiù (down there).
E tu che ci fai lassù?
What are you doing up there?
Caption 8, Dafne Film - Part 5Play Caption
E poi si vede in fondo, laggiù sull'Arno, il ponte più caratteristico di Firenze, uno dei simboli della città, che è il Ponte Vecchio.
And then you can see, down there, on the Arno, the most characteristic bridge of Florence, one of the symbols of the city, which is the Ponte Vecchio [the old bridge].
Captions 36-38, In giro per l'Italia Firenze - Part 4Play Caption
Sopra and sotto are also used to mean other things, also figuratively, and hopefully, they will come up by and by in videos and lessons. Meanwhile, you now have some ways to describe where you are going or where you are in a house, or what you can see from your house or what you'll find in front of your house. As you will have noticed, there are various ways to say the same thing. Let us know if you have questions! You can write to us at email@example.com.