A great big GRAZIE MILLE to SALLY from the Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore for her review of my Conversational Italian for Travelers series reprinted below!
Delighted to welcome Kathryn Occipinti to the Cafe and Bookstore with her language books in Italian and French. Very useful now that the world is opening up again.
About Conversational Italian for Travelers
Your traveling companion in Italy! Truly different from other phrase books – this book is friendly, humorous, and also provides a method to understand and remember important Italian phrases. There are many tips for the reader on how to create their own phrases and how to ask questions to get around Italy comfortably. Includes sections not found in other phrase books so the traveler can really fit into the culture of Italy. Light weight book of phrases slips easily into a pocket or purse. Keep handy simple phrases of greeting, how to change money, or how to take the train. Learn about how to communicate politely in any situation. And, of course, learn how to read those Italian menus and order at an Italian restaurant! This book is contains excerpts from the larger work, Conversational Italian for Travelers textbook. All the phrases you need to know with tips on how to create your own!
Travelling to a foreign country can be a terrible experience if you don’t know how to communicate. Kathryn thus solved this potential problem for all foreign visitors to Italy with her book picking on just the important phrases.
To start with, the book is both exciting and humorous. The reader discovers the Italian alphabethas 21 letters and borrows some additions from Latin. There are surprising differences from English, like z becomes zeta and is pronounced zeh-tah. I spent some time translating my name and found the result amusing. Learning to pronounce the words correctly was an enjoyable experiment in which I found myself closer and closer to sounding very foreign and learned.
I discovered “buongiorno” is all I need to say from morning to early evening, and if I am not yet in my hotel then “buonasera” will do until bedtime. For hi and bye to friends there is just one word to learn – “ciao”, but there are so many ways to say goodbye you really have to take your time to learn them. “Millie Gracie” means thanks a lot (a thousand) though I expected it to be “thanks a million”.
The writer takes the reader through the basic everyday conversational Italian in an interesting manner. You learn to be polite and formal and at the same time to be friendly and appreciative of any assistance. You also learn how to form important phrases, how to ask for the important things and making friends. The book teaches you to get comfortable at the hotel, at a restaurant and when sightseeing. It is indeed a comprehensive guide I would recommend to anyone travelling to Italy who does not speak Italian.
As for me if someone says “Parla italiano?” (Do you speak Italian?), I will just say “Si, un po’” (Yes, a little) even though sono di Zimbabwe (I am from Zimbabwe). Si, I loved this book.
Dr. Kathryn Occhipinti is a radiologist of Italian-American descent who has been leading Italian language groups in the Peoria and Chicago areas for about 10 years. During that time, she founded Stella Lucente, LLC, a publishing company focused on instructional language books designed to make learning a second language easy and enjoyable for the adult audience.
Using her experiences as a teacher and frequent traveler to Italy, she wrote the “Conversational Italian for Travelers” series of books, which follow the character Caterina on her travels through Italy, while at the same time introducing the fundamentals of the Italian language.
Nada Sneige Fuleihan is a native French speaker and translator who now resides in the Chicago area.
The two writers have teamed up to create the pocket travel book, “Conversational French for Travelers, Just the Important Phrases,” using the same method and format as found in the Italian pocket book for travelers “Conversational Italian for Travelers,” originally created by Kathryn Occhipinti.
You can connect to Kathryn on her websites, blogs and social media at these links
As an independently published author, I am always thrilled when asked to give a video interview, since this is such a personal way for me to connect with my readers. And I do I love to talk about my reasons for venturing into the realm of Italian language learning as much as I love to write about the Italian language and culture!
So I was very excited when Dawn Mattera, a professional speaker and an author herself who writes about Italian culture, interviewed me last week. Dawn and I have become friends through an internet community focused on the Italian culture called The Modern Italian Network (m.i.o). There is no charge to join the m.i.o online community of Italians and Italophiles and receive daily updates on all things Italian. From their homepage:
mi.o is a community for people who wish to share their passion for Italy with others, learn about all aspects of Italian culture including the Italian language, and find the best ways to experience Italy and Italian culture both in Italy and around the world.
I’d also like to include a few words about Dawn Mattera, who kindly took time out of her day to interview me about my Conversational Italian for Travelersbooks, my tips to learn Italian, and my travels to Italy.
Dawn Mattera is an author and speaker who has helped people for over 25 years achieve personal success and overcome challenges. She has written articles and newsletters for international organizations, hosted and spoken at packed seminars and virtual events, and starred in monthly TV spots. Dawn holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering, a Diploma for the Italian Language, and is a Microsoft Office Master (but, would rather be a Jedi master). She is also a Certified Unhackable® Coach, Speaker and Trainer.
Finally, if you would like to hear me — Kathryn Occhipinti — talk about why I wrote the Conversational Italian for Travelers books, listen to my tips on how to learn Italian, and learn why knowing even a few Italian words will greatly enrich your trip to Italy, just click on the link below!
If you are interested in my Conversational Italian for Travelers books and the FREE material to learn Italian that I talk about in the video, click on the link below for my website, www.learntravelitalian.com.
For the Interactive Audio Dialogues that tell the story of Caterina, the Italian-American girl who travels to Italy and at the same time teach us “everything we need to know to enjoy our trip to Italy, click here.
To “look inside” my Conversational Italian for Travelers books and to purchase a book for delivery –or– to purchase the right to download a book in PDF format onto two electronic devices, go to the website purchase page at www.learntravelitalian.com.
Do you want to speak Italian more easily and confidently by the end of 2020?
Many Italian verbs have a similar use to those in English, which simplifies translation from one language to the other. However, many times the use of an Italian verb will vary from the usual English connotation. And in many situations, the same verb can have many different meanings in both languages, depending on the context. Prendere, the Italian verb that most commonly means“to take” is one of those verbs that is used in many ways in Italian and is important to “take seriously” if one wants to use it correctly.
As I’ve said before, 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 use the Italian verb prendere, we will be able to communicate just as we do in our native language!
This post is the 39th in a series of Italian phrases we have been trying out in our Conversational Italian! Facebook group. If you’d like to read the earlier posts in the series, “Italian Phrases We Use EVERY Day!” just click HERE
Many “commonly used phrases” in conversation
use the Italian verb prendere.
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?
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.
Let’s Talk About…
The Many Uses of the Italian Verb
Prendere most commonly means “to take,” but can also be translated as “to bring,” “to pick up,” “to get,” or“to buy/acquire.” The past participle preso can also be used to describe liking someone or something a lot. This use stretches the meaning of prendere a bit, but there is a similar expression in English — being “taken with” someone — that also expresses the same idea. In its reflexive form, prendersiis used to convey how a person can “catch/come down with” an illness.
When you are able to visit Italy, use prendere when ordering food in a restaurant to really sound like a native! Prendereis also commonly used by Italians in reference to earning money, taking medicine, or being “overtaken” by an emotional or physical condition. Finally, the Italian expressions for “to tease” and “to sunbathe” use prendere. As you can see, this verb is used in many ways in Italian!
The present tense, familiar imperative (command) tense, and future tenses of prendere have a regular conjugation, and are used frequently in daily conversation.
Prendere is also commonly used in the past tense in order to describe what we “took,” “brought,” “picked up,” “got,” or “caught.”
To describe a one-time event that occurred in the past with prendere,we will most often use the helping verb avere(to have)with the irregular past participle preso.
For conversation, we will focus on the ioand tu forms. We can begin a statement with the ioform, such as,“Ho preso….”for “I took…” We can ask questions with the tuform by simply stating, “Hai preso…?”
In the expressions that describe the subject “liking,” or “being taken with” a person or a thing, essere(to be) is used as verb that links the subject with the past participle preso.
The passato prossimo for the reflexive verb prendersineeds the helping verb essere, as do all reflexive Italian verbs. Remember to leave out the subject pronoun iowhen you want to say, “Mi sono preso un raffredore ieri.”(I caught a cold yesterday.)
And, of course, when using essere as the helping verb with prendere,remember our usual rule for past participles: if you are female, or your subject is a group of people, make sure to change the past participle preso to presa, presi, or prese!
Examples follow below for the many ways to use the Italian verb prendere:
1. Use prendere to describe the act of “taking,” “bringing” or “picking up” something
In order to direct someone to take something and put it in a different place, use prendere. This includes when the object is on the ground or resting on another object, and you must literally “pick it up” from that place.
When directing someone to take something in Italian, it is important to use the command form of prendere, which has the same “i” ending as the tu form in the present tense. (To use the familiar command form, just use the present tense subjunctive mood ending. The familiar command form will not be used in our examples, but more information can be found at Italian Subjunctive (Part 7): Italian Subjunctive Commands).
Remember that for events in the recent future, Italians use the present tense. To emphasize that something will happen for sure in the recent future or well into the future, use the future tense.
Notice that in the past tense we must use avere as the helping verb with the irregular past participle presoto describe what we “took,” “brought,” or “picked up.”
“Prendi quella roba che nessuno vuole e mettila lì!”
“Take that stuff that no one wants and put it there!”
“Prendi il vino a tavola per cena!” (Porta il vino a tavola.)
“Take/Bring the wine to the table for dinner!”
“Quando faccio la spesa domani, prendo la tua macchina. Non voglio camminare con troppi bagagli pesanti.
“When I go grocery shopping tomorrow, I (will take) your car. I don’t want to walk with so many heavy bags.
Prenderò tante cose da portare alla famiglia quando viaggerò in America tra cinque anni.
I will take many things to bring to the family when I travel to America in 5 years.
“Prendi il piatto che tu hai lasciato cadere per terra!
“Pick up the plate that you let drop on the floor!”
“Prendo tutta la spazzatura nella tua stanza e la butto via domani.”
” I will pick up all the garbage in your room and throw it out tomorrow.”
“Hai preso il vino da portare alla nonna per la cena?”
“Did you take the wine to bring to grandma for dinner ieri?”
“Si, ho preso una buona bottiglia di vino specialmente per la nonna ieri sera.”
“Yes, I took/brought a nice bottle of wine especially for grandma last night.”
2. Use prendere to describe “picking up” someone
Use prendere with the verb passare when you want to “pass by” and “pick someone up.”As we’ve already seen in our blog about passare,these two verbs are combined to make the important every day expression “passare a prendere,” which means “to pick (someone) up.”The reference now-a-days is usually to driving in a car, but the same expression could be used when taking someone on a walk.
In the examples given below, the pronouns tiand mi are given in red to demonstrate that they are attached to the end of prendere.
“Passerò/Passo a prenderti alle otto.”
“I will (pass by and) pick you up at 8 AM.”
Grazie! Passa a prendermialle otto! Sto aspettando!
Thanks! Pick me up at eight. I (will be) waiting!
Side note: if you want to ask someone to “pick you up” from a particular place, venire is used with prendere:
“Può venire alla stazione a prendermi?”
“Can you (polite) come to the station and get me?”
3. Use prendere when describing what food you would like to order/eat
“Prendo un piatto di spaghetti per il primo piatto.”
“I will take (have) a plate of spaghetti for the first course.“
“Stammatina prendo un buon caffè prima di andare al lavoro.”
“This morning I will take (have) a good (cup of) coffee before going to work.”
“Dai, prendi l’ultima fetta di pane!”
“Come on, take the last slice of bread!”
“Che cosa vuole prendere per dolce, signore?”
“What would you like to have (take) for dessert, sir?”
4. Use prendere to describe the act of taking medicine
“Devo prendere una pillola ogni mattina per l’ipertenzione .”
“I have to take one pill every morning for hypertension.”
5. Use prendere to describe buying, acquiring or earning something
“Ho preso un chilo di mele ieri dal fruttivendolo in piazza.”
“I bought a kilogram of apples yesterday from the fruit vendor in the piazza.”
Lui ha preso la casa per pochi soldi la settimana scorsa.
He aqcuired (bought) the house for very little money last week.
“Ho preso cinquanta euro al lavoro iera sera.”
“I earned 50 euros at work last night.”
Lui non ha preso molti soldi l’anno scorsa a vendere le scarpe.
He did not earn much money last year selling shoes.
6. Use the past participle preso with these expressions to describe liking something or someone a lot.
The phrase “Sono preso da…” is similar to the phrase “Sono innamorato di…” and conveys the ideas of “I really like/I’m in love with…”
Other Italian expressions that describe the different ways we can like someone are: “Sono cotto di…”” I have a crush on…” and “Sono colpito da…”“I am impressed with..”
Notice that some of these phrases take the conjunction da, while others use the conjunction di.
To form the past tense for these phrases, we must add the past participle of essere, which is stato,and change the ending of stato to (a,i,e) as necessary to reflect the gender and number of the subject.
“Sono preso(a) da questo libro.”
“I like this book a lot.” (I am really taken with this book.)
“Sono preso(a) da te.”
“I like you a lot!” (“I am really taken by you!”)
“Sono stato(a) preso da questo libro.”
“I liked this book a lot.” (I was really taken with this book.)
“Sono stato(a) preso da te.”
“I liked you a lot!” (“I was really taken by you!”)
“Io e Anna siamo presi molto l’uno dall’altra.”
“Ann and I (we) like each other very much.”
Anna e Michele non sono presi molto l’uno dall’altra.
Ann and Michael (they) don’t like each other very much.
Side note: if you want to describe how someone or something has so enthralled or dazzled you, in effect “blinding you” literally or figuratively (abbiagliarsi) so that you make a mistake, use the expression prendere un abbaglio.
“Ha preso un abbaglio.”
“I made a mistake.”
7. Use prendersi to describe getting sick, as in “catching a cold,” or “coming down with” an illness
Remember the Italian use of reflexive verbs to indicate “to get” in English. If you would like to review this topic, check out our blog How to Say “To Get” in Italian.
“Mi sono preso un brutto raffredore improvvisamente.”
“I caught a bad cold all of a sudden.”
“Mi sono preso l’influenza ieri.”
“I came down with the flu yesterday.”
8. Use prendere to describe “being overtaken” by an emotion or sickness, and prendersela when offended/angered
“Sono stato preso(a) da un grand tristezza quando ho incontrato il mio amore perduto.”
“I was overtaken by a great sadness when I met my lost love again.“
Me la sono presa con te ieri sera durante la riunone!
I was offended by you last night during the meeting!
9. Two more common phrases that use prendere
Prendere in giro = to make fun of, to tease
Mio fratello maggiore mi prende sempre in giro. My big brother is always teasing me.
Non mi prendere in giro! (negative command) Don’t make fun of me!
Prendere il sole =to sunbathe
Oggi prendo il sole sulla spiaggia per tutta la mattina. Today I will sunbathe on the beach all morning.
Remember how to use the Italian verb prendere in conversation and I guarantee you will use this verb every day!
Last month I had the pleasure of speaking with Bob Sorrentino on his podcast for Italiangenealogy.com, and I’ve included the link to our 30 minute conversation, entitled “How to Learn Italian for Travel” at the end of this blog.
If you listen, you’ll hear about my effort to find my Occhipinti relatives in Sicily and also about Bob’s fascinating family tree. Bob was kind enough to ask me the story behind why I wrote my Conversational Italian for Travelers books, and of course I couldn’t resist including some of my tips for learning Italian near the end of the podcast!
As many of you probably know, I have been building the Occhipinti family tree with my cousin, Jennifer Petrino of Sicilianfamilytree.com for over 4 years now. Actually, I should say that Jennifer has been building my Occhipinti family tree, as she has done all the research, with me serving only to outline the information I want her to find! This effort finally culminated in a long-anticipated trip last September to the Occhipinti home town of Ragusa, Sicily, which I wrote about in the blog Your Italian Travel Tips – Visit Ragusa, Sicily and Experience Centuries of Culture.
Jennifer introduced me to Bob Sorrentino’s website, Italiangenealogy.com, and I was immediately impressed. Bob has compiled a treasure trove of information about Italian Genealogy that covers many details of the field and he makes this information free to his readers. On his website one finds information on Italian family lines, Italian history, and Italian law and politics, with articles such as, “How Professional Genealogists Determine Ancestral Nobility in Italy” and “Medieval Genealogical Research.” I was also fascinated by the research he did to find his relatives back to the 900s AD and what he uncovered about his relatives along the way. I even found a video map of the peoples who have inhabited Sicily over the ages, which I was so enthralled with that I’ve copied it to this blob at the end of this section.
Here is what Bob has to say about his work, in his own words:
I was always a history buff and enjoyed going though the family photo albums. One item in the album was my great grandfather’s “calling card” that my maternal grandmother brought from Italy. The story was that he was a Count or at least Italian Nobility.
About 12 years ago I began the research into both my parents Italian families… I thought it would be fun to not only share my findings, but potentially help others find their roots. Not being a professional genealogist, I figured the best way to do this would be to create a website and a blog http://www.italiangenealogy.blog.
The blog is fun, but it is only a one way medium, so in early 2020 I create my podcast to interview not only professionals, that can help people with research and getting Italian citizenship, but just regular people that want to tell their story.
And now, through the magic of the internet, I’m happy to be able to share my experiences searching for my Italian heritage and my tips to learn Italian!
Here is the link to the Podcast on Italiangenealogy.com
Ciao a tutti! For March 2020 and for the rest of the year, I have decided to change the name of my series, “Your Italian Travel Tips,” to “Our Italy.” In this series, I will share bloggers’ experiences of Italy, a country whose culture has captivated the world for thousands of years. I think now is the time to share these memories, knowing that one day we will all be able to return, inspired anew by the Italian people and their country.
Today I am happy to share a guest blog written by my friends Ilene and Gary from Our Italian Journey.
Ilene and Gary are a retired couple from the United States who, after a “journey” that started in 2015, became dual American-Italian citizens in 2019. They have been traveling to and blogging about their experiences in Italy since 2010. Read on for their post La Traviata by Verdi — A Spectacular Evening, from their visit to Verona in 2019.
Ilene and Gary experienced their first Opera, La Traviata, in Verona’s outdoor amphitheater. Reading the account of the special evening Ilene and Gary shared together brought back fond memories for me, as La Traviata is also the first opera I ever attended. I was only in the 4th grade, and the entire 4th grade of my public school, about 80 children, was bused into New York City to the Metropolitan Opera House and treated to a weekday matinee.
The Metropolitan Opera House was the most stunning building I had ever entered, with red velvet on the floors, gold leaf on the walls, and a large, starburst-shaped crystal chandelier hanging down to greet us as we passed into the grand foyer. There were thousands of children there from neighboring schools. The excitement in the air was palpable. The singing, and the period sets and costumes were unforgettable. Even though we were young, and most of us did not understand Italian, we sat still and our eyes were fixed on what was happening on the stage. I have been an fan of Italian opera ever since and will never forget this first experience.
Reading about Ilene and Gary’s spectacular evening during their first viewing of La Traviata made me realize that I need to put this type of opera experience on my bucket list for when I can return to Italy. And I hope that those of you who are not opera buffs — as Ilene and Gary were not when they experienced La Traviata in Verona — will think of Opera as something you might enjoy as well.
Below is just one of the fantastic images Ilene and Gary share on Our Italian Journey from this evening. Also included in the blog is short recording of the most famous aria of this opera, “Brindisi” (The Drinking Song).
Please leave a comment about your first or your most memorable opera.
Where were you? How did the experience make you feel? I’d love to hear from you!
And… Ilene and Gary have graciously included a copy of my pocket travel book, “Conversational Italian for Travelers “Just the Important Phrases” on their website, under the section “My favorite Travel Tools.” Now you can order my book directly from their site!
Grazie mille, Ilene and Gary for including me on your blog and for your kind words about my book: “Author Kathryn Occhipinti has become a friend through social media. She sent us this book to get our thoughts about it. We love it. It is a great little book – packed with just the right information. A must as a traveling companion in Italy.”
Here is the link to Ilene and Gary’s blog from “Our Italian Journey.”
As an independently published author, I am pleased to announce that I have become a member of “The Independent Author Network of writers” for 2020.
IAN is a partner member of the Alliance of Independent Authors and has been helping to promote independent authors since 2010 by providing support through their website and social media accounts.
This is why, as you may have noticed, there is now a link to my “Independent Author Network” IAN page you can find by scrolling down on the right sidebar of my blog.
Visit my IAN author page for all the links to my websites and social media, nicely set out on one page for easy access!
Also, my IAN author page features a cover photo for each of my books. Just click on the image and “look inside” each of my books to see the table of contents and read the first chapter of each. If you like what you see, there are also links to purchase the books on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com.
I should mention that readers of my IAN author page site may be surprised to see that last year I published a second pocket travel book, Conversational French for Travelers “Just the Important Phrases.”The concept and style of this book is identical to my popular lightweight and compact Conversational Italian for Travelers “Just the Important Phrases.” I owe a huge “merci beaucoup” to Nada Sneige Fuleihan for providing the French translation and collaborating with me to adapt my original Italian book into French. After a “trial run” by myself when I visited France in 2018, I am happy with the results and I believe this book will be just as useful to French travelers as my Italian book has been for Italian travelers.
Of course, the restaurant section in my Conversational French for Travelers “Just the Important Phrases”book had to be changed from the original Italia version, and many wonderful French dishes are now listed in place of the Italian. For this, I have to give my utmost thanks to the well-known chef and restaurateur in Chicago, Chef Dominique Tougne, the current owner of the French restaurant Bistro Chez Moi in Chicago, where I have had the pleasure to enjoy many authentic and delicious French meals.
I have also set up a new website for this French book, under my publishing company’s name, Stella Lucente. Check out my Stella Lucente.com website for more information on all things French! I enjoy posting French language tips and information about French culture and current events from a wide variety of sources on my Stella Lucente French Facebook page.
This year I have started “almost a phrase a day” tweets from Monday to Friday from my new book on @travelfrench1, with the same phrase tweeted simultaneously in Italian on my Twitter @travelitalian1. I follow many other interesting bloggers, magazines, and news media outlets that post about France and Italy on Twitter and retweet their articles on my sites. Check out my Twitter feeds when you check in to Twitter for up-to-date news and information about your favorite places to visit!
If you are planning a trip to France this year, I hope you will check out my social media sites and consider my new French pocket travel book as a guide.
Conversational French for Travelers “Just the Important Phrases” pocket travel book is now available! YOUR traveling companion in France! All the Italian phrases you need to know to enjoy your trip to France are right here and fit right into your pocket or purse.
Finally, if anyone is curious about how I came to write my books and what I have planned for the future, you can visit my IAN Author review on the IAN Occhipinti review. Grazie mille! Mille mercis!