Learn Italian Cognates – Italian/English Best Friends!

Italian Cognates on via Dante, Milan
Kathryn for learntravelitalian.com
Kathryn Occhipinti, MD, for Learn Travel Italian.com

Anyone who has studied Italian for even a short time has probably noticed how similar to English many Italian words are.  This is because both languages have words with origins that date back to the Latin language spoken by the Romans.  These words are called cognateswords that have a common origin and a similar meaning.

English/Italian cognates can be the best friend of one who is trying to learn either language.  But beware!  Not all words that sound alike have the same meaning in both languages.  There is a pattern, though, and if you can recognize the different groups of cognates, this will greatly increase your vocabulary with very little effort.

For words that are similar in both Italian and English, the stem of the word will provide a clue to the actual meaning, and the ending will also follow a common pattern.

See how this works below with an excerpt reprinted from the grammar section of our Conversational Italian for Travelers  textbook, courtesy of publisher Stella Lucente, LLC.

For an easy-to read reference book on grammar, the same section is found in the easy-to-read reference book Conversational Italian for Travelers “Just the Grammar.”

 

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Grammar Note: Cognates

Italian Nouns Ending in -tà

Some Italian -ire Verbs

 

The ending –tà in Italian is equivalent to the ending –ty in English.

All of the nouns in the group listed in this group are feminine and invariable; therefore, these words will take the definite article la for the singular form and le for the plural form, although the ending of these nouns remains –à.  For instance, one city is la città and many cities is le città.

città = city
communità = community
elettricità  = electricity
facoltà = faculty, department course of study
ability/power
festività  = religious holiday
identità  =  identity
località  =  locality/place/small town
nazionalità = nationality
ospitalità = hospitality
società = society
company (business)
specialità  = speciality
unità = unity
università  = university

For some –ire verbs, the –ire ending will be equivalent to the ending –ish in English.  

finire  = to finish
punire  = to punish

 If you can think of another cognate to add to either of these lists, please join our Conversational Italian! Facebook group and leave a post, or leave a message below. I’d love to hear from you!

 

Just the Grammar from Conversational Italian for Travelers
Conversational Italian for Travelers “Just the Grammar”

Available on Amazon.com and www.Learn Travel Italian.com

 

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Apocalypse now: Why Italy flamed out of World Cup qualifying for first time since 1958

Italy's Ciro Immobile lays stunned after Sweden eliminated Italy Monday. Photo NBC News Italy’s Ciro Immobile lays stunned after Sweden eliminated Italy Monday. Photo NBC News
The Abbey Theatre Irish Pub sits on a corner of one of the narrow, windy streets near Piazza Navona. Rome doesn’t have sports bars, and this is about as close as it comes. It’s loud. It’s crowded. It’s passionate. Monday night, a passionate crowd turned silent. A nation lowered its head in shame. Upstairs in Abbey I watched a German TV station interview Italians on the national history they just witnessed. As two bubbly, blonde babes in Sweden shirts bounced nearby, I heard an Italian in a sharp business suit mumble into the camera “Disastro storico” (Historic disaster). My comprehension of Italian isn’t great but some words stand out when you watch the national sport hit a low not reached in 60 years.

Abisso (Abyss). Apocalisse (Apocalypse). Che cazzo! (What the fuck?).

They are all being spoken…

View original post 1,948 more words

Buon Fine Settimana con Proverbio!

Italian Proverb 

Il 18 di Novembre 2017

 

Buon fine settimana con proverbio! from our Facebook group, Conversational Italian!

Isn’t it interesting the way the Italian proverb has an English equivalent, but the exact phrasing is a little bit different?  I guess we all think about the same things, but in a slightly different way, depending on where we are from!

I’d love to hear more Italian phrases or English phrases similar to this one!  Please write if you know of others.   -Kathryn

Proverb in Italian meaning "it's not as good as it seems"
This proverb is the Italian way of saying that things may not be as good as they seem to the outsider.

Five Tips to Celebrate San Martino in Venice, a Legend and Traditional Menu — La Venessiana

Venice, Italy

 

San Martino's Day Candy
Candy for sale to celebrate San Martino in Venice, Italy 2017, courtesy of La Venessiana

You can best witness the Feast of San Martino in Venice at the Rialto Market. This is a “hub” offering all the ingredients we need to prepare traditional spicy dishes, reflecting the harvest now arriving in the city because it’s the end of the agricultural year, the ancient Venetian capodanno agricolo. November is a transition…Read…

via Five Tips to Celebrate San Martino in Venice, a Legend and Traditional Menu — La Venessiana

Italian Phrases We May Have to Use SOME Days! I don’t feel well…

Burano in Venice, Italy
Kathryn for learntravelitalian.com
Kathryn Occhipinti, MD, for Learn Travel Italian.com

Do you want to speak Italian more easily and confidently by the end of 2017?

I believe that “commonly used phrases” are the key for how we can all build fluency in any language in a short time.

If we learn how to incorporate “commonly used phrases” when we speak Italian, we will be able to express ourselves more easily and quickly. We will be on our way to building complex sentences and speaking more like we do in our native language!

This post is the eighth in a series that originates in our Conversational Italian! Facebook group. Our group has had a chance to use these phrases.  Now I am posting them on in this blog for everyone to try! 

Another of our “commonly used phrases,” that will help us talk more easily is
 “I don’t feel well..”
This will lead us to discuss how to describe what is making us feel unwell, 
using the verbs avere, essere and fare

 See below for how this works.

As we all master these phrases, so will you. Try my method and let me know how it works. What sentences will you create with these phrases?

Please reply. I’d love to hear from you! Or join our Conversational Italian! group discussion on Facebook.

This material was adapted from the Conversational Italian for Travelers textbook and reference books  Just the Verbs and Just the Grammar  

                       found on amazon.com and Learn Travel Italian.com.

The rights to purchase the Conversational Italian for Travelers books in PDF format on two electronic devices can also be obtained at Learn Travel Italian.com.

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I don’t feel well …

in Italian

We learned in our last blog that the present tense form for “I feel…” is rendered in Italian with the reflexive verb  sentirsi,  and is, “Io mi sento…” But, of course, we always leave out the Italian subject pronoun, so the phrase that Italians use is conversation is just, “Mi sento…”

To complete the phrase, just add how you are feeling after the verb!  The most common way to use this verb in conversation is to say, “Mi sento bene!” which means, “I feel well!” (Notice Italians do not say, “I feel good,” which is actually grammatically incorrect, although we say this in English all of the time.)  

Unfortunately, sometimes we may not be feeling well when someone asks, “Come ti senti?” or “Come si sente?” which both mean, “How are you feeling?” (the first in the familiar form and the second in the polite form).

Then, we can simply add the negative to the phrase we have just learned, and say, “Non mi sento bene, ” for, “I don’t feel well.”

Or, we can say, “Mi sento male,” which means, “I feel badly/sick.” 

To ask someone if they are feeling unwell, you can say, “Ti senti male?” “Do you feel badly/sick?”  “Si sente male?” “Does she/he feel badly/sick?”

 

(Io) Mi sento bene. I feel well.
(Io) Non mi sento bene. I don’t feel well.
(Io) Mi sento male. I feel badly/sick.
Come ti senti?
(Tu) Ti senti male?
How do you feel? (familiar)
Do you feel badly/sick? (familiar)
Come si sente?

(Lei/Lui) Si sente male?

How do you feel? (polite)

Do you feel badly/sick? (polite)
Does she/he feel badly/sick?

Alternatively, you can simply say you have an illness with the following two phrases:

Io sono malato(a). I am sick.
Io ho una malattia. I have an illness.

A male who is sick is “un malato” and a female who is sick is “una malata.”

The word malattia can also be used to indicate a craze,  habit, or addiction.

 

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If a friend hears that you are not feeling well, the next question in the conversation will likely be something like, “Perché?”  for “Why? or “Che succede?”/“Che è successo?” for “What is happening?”/“What happened?”

The phrases I hear in response to this question the most in Italian movies are:

Ho un febbre. I have a fever.
Ho 38 di febbre. I’ve got a 100 degree fever.
Ho un raffreddore. I have a cold.

 

In order to more completely describe what the problem is when we are not feeling well, we can use the verb  fare and follow the simple sentence structure described below.

In order to describe a headache, for instance, the phrase to use would be, “ (Io) Mi fa male la testa.”  The literal translation is, “To me, the head is hurting,” but the correct English would be, “I have a headache.” Notice that in this case “mi” is now a direct object pronoun, rather than part of a reflexive verb.  Once again, leave out the subject pronoun “io,” for our final phrase, “Mi fa male la testa.”

Sound confusing?  Well, if we think in Italian, we find that describing what part of the body hurts us is actually quite easy.  In the examples below we use the same phrase, “Mi fa male,” over and over again, substituting the different parts of the body that are hurting in each case, of course!  Just remember that if more than one part of the body is hurting (like both feet, for instance) to change the verb to the plural fanno.

Mi fa male la testa. My head hurts.
Mi fa male la gola. My throat hurts.
Mi fa male lo stomaco. My stomach hurts.
Mi fa male la schiena. My back hurts.
Mi fanno male i piedi. My feet hurt/ache.

 

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The verb avere can also be used to describe discomfort or the feeling of sickness when combined with the phrase, “il mal di.”  The definite article il is used in the phrase for emphasis, rather than the equivalent of the English “a.”  Examples follow, but hopefully you will be able to enjoy your trip to Italy without having to use any of these phrases! 

Ho il mal di testa.  I have a headache.
Ho il mal di gola. I have a sore throat.
Ho il mal di stomaco. I have a stomach ache.
Ho il mal di schiena. I have a backache.
Ho il mal di mare. I have seasickness/feel seasick.

 

Remember these phrases you may (unfortunately) have to use on some days!

Conversational Italian for Travelers
Conversational Italian for Travelers “Just the Grammar”

 Available on amazon.com and Learn Travel Italian.com.

Italian Phrases We Use EVERY Day! How I Feel…

Burano in Venice, Italy
Kathryn for learntravelitalian.com
Kathryn Occhipinti, MD, for Learn Travel Italian.com

Do you want to speak Italian more easily and confidently by the end of 2017?

I believe that “commonly used phrases” are the key for how we can all build fluency in any language in a short time.

If we learn how to incorporate “commonly used phrases” when we speak Italian, we will be able to express ourselves more easily and quickly. We will be on our way to building complex sentences and speaking more like we do in our native language!

This post is the seventh in a series that originates in our Conversational Italian! Facebook group. Our group has had a chance to use these phrases.  Now I am posting them on this blog for everyone to try! 

Another of our “commonly used phrases,” that will help us talk more easily is
 “How I feel..”
We will discuss the Italian expressions for our everyday experiences and how they make us feel, leading into
“How you feel…” and “How she/he feels…” 

 See below for how this works.

As we all master these phrases, so will you. Try my method and let me know how it works. What sentences will you create with these phrases?

Please reply. I’d love to hear from you! Or join our Conversational Italian! group discussion on Facebook.

This material was adapted from the Conversational Italian for Travelers textbook and reference books  Just the Verbs and Just the Grammar  

                       found on amazon.com and Learn Travel Italian.com.

The rights to purchase the Conversational Italian for Travelers books in PDF format on two electronic devices can also be obtained at Learn Travel Italian.com.

************************************************

How I Feel …

in Italian

The present tense form for “I feel…” is rendered in Italian with the reflexive verb  sentirsi,  and is, “Io mi sento…” But, of course, we always leave out the Italian subject pronoun, so the phrase that Italians use is conversation is just, “Mi sento…”

To complete the phrase, just add how you are feeling after the verb!  The most common way to use this verb in conversation is to say, “Mi sento bene!” which means, “I feel well!” (Notice Italians do not say, “I feel good,” which is actually grammatically incorrect, although we say this in English all of the time.)

If we remember how to use our reflexive verbs, we know that if we want to ask someone how they are feeling, we can simply say, “Ti senti bene?”  “Are you feeling well?”

To have a conversation with one person about another person’s health, we can use the same phrase to relay a fact or to ask a question: “Si sente bene.”  “He/she is feeling well.” “Si sente bene?”“Is he/she feeling well?” 

(Io) Mi sento bene. I feel well.
(Tu) Ti senti bene. Do you feel well?
(Lei/Lui) Si sente bene. She/he feels well.
(Lei/Lui) Si sente bene. Does she/he feel well?

We  had fun in our Conversational Italian! group  “discussing” how we all felt after I posted our talking point one week in September.  Below is a list of adjectives you can use to describe how you are feeling.  Remember that male speakers must use the “o” ending and female speakers the “a” ending for these adjectives.  If the adjective ends in an “e,” the ending does not need to be changed, of course.

bene well
contento(a) / felice happy 
male badly, unwell
nervoso(a) nervous
triste sad

Notice, also, that both “contento(a)” and “felice” mean “happy” in Italian.  But when an Italian wants to describe a happy feeling they have, the word chosen is usually “contento(a).”  Contento also translates into the English word, “content.” The phrase, “Contento lui!” translates as, “Whatever makes him happy!” 

Even when wishing someone “Merry Christmas,” or “Happy New Year,” (two holidays that are right around the corner once again, it seems) felice is again not the word of choice.  In these cases the English words “merry” and “happy” are replaced with the word “buon.”  Italians wish each other “Buon Natale!” and “Buon anno nuovo!” in conversation, but usually reserve, “Felice anno nuovo!” for a written greeting.

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Speaking about feelings… we commonly talk about a person’s state of mind or personality traits. “Lei è… /Lui è… “  means, “He is…/She is… “

Of course, we can also describe our own state of mind with, “(Io) sono… for  “I am…” or directly tell someone how we think they are with “Tu sei…”  for “You are…”

Below are two lists of adjectives that describe some good personality traits, and other personality traits that are considered… not as good.

Adjectives of Personality – Postive

bravo(a) upright/talented intelligente intelligent/smart
buono(a) good saggio(a) wise
bello

bella

good-looking
handsome
pretty
beautiful
raffinato(a) refined
felice happy dolce sweet
allegro(a) cheerful carino(a) pretty/cute
gentile nice/kind/polite  diverso(a) different
piacevole agreeable  speciale special
simpatico(a) likeable/friendly
onesto(a) honest  emotionato(a)  excited
sincero(a) sincere  emotivo(a)
emozionale
 emotional

I find it interesting that here in America, we are always “excited” about things – what we are about to do, an event we will attend – while in Italy, the word that translates into, “excited or thrilled” is “emotionato(a).”  These types of words, which sound like they should have similar meanings in each language, but do not, are often called, “false friends.” Although the Italian word emotionato sounds to the English speaker like “emotional,” the Italian adjectives for emotional are actually, “emotivo(a),” or “emozionale.”  

 

Adjectives of Personality – Negative

cattivo(a) bad/mean stupido(a) stupid
triste sad sciocco(a) silly
arrabiato(a) angry pazzo(a) crazy
scortese rude matto(a) crazy
crudele cruel brutto(a) ugly
antipatico(a) disagreeable/nasty noioso(a) boring
falso(a) dishonest/fake seccante annoying
pigro(a) lazy fastidioso annoying
bugiardo(a) liar vigliacco(a) coward

 

Finally, the word “bravo” is worth a few words of explanation.  The word “bravo” has many connotations, which include, “upright/good, talented, kind, well-behaved, brave, or courageous.”  When one wants to recognize another for a special talent, competency, or a job “well-done“bravo(a)” is the word to choose. To say that a person is a “brava persona” is to give a compliment to another of the highest sort.  (Remember, persona is always a feminine noun, so this phrase applies to both men and women.)

And, remember that bravo must be changed to match the gender of whom you are complimenting.  For instance, anyone who attends the opera will no doubt hear “Bravo!” above the applause at the conclusion of the show as a way to show appreciation for the performance.  Keep in mind, though, that “Bravo!” refers only to a single male performer!  To compliment a female performer, one would yell, “Brava!”  For the entire ensemble, “Bravi!” is appropriate.

Remember these phrases, and I guarantee you will use them every day!

 

"Just the Verbs" from Conversational Italian for Travelers books
Conversational Italian for Travelers “Just the Verbs”

 

   Available on amazon.com and Learn Travel Italian.com

Discovering Pesto alla Genovese

Metropolitan Farms grows Genovese basil.
Kathryn for learntravelitalian.com
Kathryn Occhipinti, MD, for Learn Travel Italian.com

Last May, I attended an event organized by Catherine Lambrecht, director of the Chicago Foodways Roundtable . The event was called Metropolitan Farm Tour: Explore an Urban Ag Destination. Metropolitan Farms uses a relatively new technique called aquaponics to create a closed-loop greenhouse system that can produce hydroponically grown herbs and lettuce and fish for local sale year round.

As part of their crop, Metropolitan Farms grows high-quality Genovese basil from seed, year round, as is done in the region of its origin, Liguria, in Italy. Most of their basil is sold wholesale. They also make their own pesto (several varieties) for local sale.

Walking through the Metropolitan Farms greenhouse, I could almost smell the fragrant pesto that would come from this ingenious system.

Visit the recent Learn Italian! blog post from October 11, 2017, to read all about my experiences trying to create an authentic pesto for my family. Learn (probably) more than you’ve ever wanted to know about pesto history, making pesto, and growing basil! Below is an excerpt:

 

Pesto alla Genovese Meets American Aquaponic Farming in Chicago

Pesto alla Genovese is the famous bright green “pasta sauce” from the northern Italian region of Liguria, whose capital is the city of Genoa. My introduction to pesto, which was not a part of my southern Italian upbringing, was from one of those little glass jars labeled “pesto” by an Italian company that I found in a grocery store in Peoria, Illinois. Back then, I was trying to learn true Italian “regional” cooking and specifically trying to expand my sauce-making techniques beyond the ubiquitous and well-loved southern Italian red tomato sauce.

Diary of my first experiences making pesto…

So, on the day of my first foray into northern Italian sauces, I put a pot of salted water on the stove to boil, added some spaghetti, and dusted off my jar of Italian-labeled pesto that had probably been sitting on the grocery shelf for many, many months before I had purchased it. I opened the jar and saw that olive oil was floating on top, separate from the basil that makes up the major component of the sauce. I mixed the basil and olive oil together, not knowing if this was the correct thing to do. (It was. The olive oil layer on top helps to preserve the pesto.)

When the spaghetti was ready, I drained it and poured some of the thick, dull green pesto from the jar over my hot spaghetti and mixed it to coat. Was I supposed to use the entire jar? I wasn’t sure. I tasted it. It wasn’t too bad, but really, it wasn’t very good either, and I wasn’t really sure why. After all, pesto is a famous dressing for pasta. Millions of people love it!

Not one to give up easily, a few weeks later, I tried to make a pesto sauce for my pasta again. The second time, I emptied the contents of my jar of pesto into a small pan to warm the sauce. Even worse! Now, I know that pesto is a “cold emulsion” type of “dressing” for pasta and should never be cooked! But, as I said, back when I was first introduced to pesto, I really had no experience about how it should be prepared or how it should taste.

Pesto success at last?

Finally, one year when I had an overabundance of fresh basil in my garden one late summer, I remembered pesto alla Genovese. Perhaps fresh basil was the secret. I turned to my favorite Italian cookbook, Italian Regional Cooking by Ada Boni. I had purchased this cookbook in 1992 while in training in San Francisco and credit it with sparking my interest in discovering true Italian cuisine for the home cook. Each region is beautifully introduced with photographs of beautiful platters of food set in the Italian countryside. Translated from the Italian, and beautifully compiled with all regional specialties included, detailed notes on each specialty, and clear directions, Italian Regional Cooking is my “bible” of Italian cooking, even today. Unfortunately, when it comes to the recipe for making pesto alla Genovese, the directions are a bit vague. Read more…

Visit www.learntravelitalian.com for more of my Italian and Italian-American recipes, cultural notes and  advanced Italian language blog posts updated monthly. Click on the link “our blog” in the upper right hand corner to reach blog.Learn Travel Italian.com.