Reading Italian Menus: Il Secondo (cont’d)

Roman restaurant
Kathryn Occhipinti, MD
Kathryn Occhipinti, MD, for Learn Travel Italian.com

As I mentioned in the last blog post on this topic, when I first traveled to Italy as a college student, I had difficulty at first when I tried to read and order at an Italian restaurant. I thought back to how many lessons I had had in Italian through high school and college and then realized that the reason was simple: Italian courses in school did not focus on the vocabulary I needed as a traveler.

Years later, when members of the Italian-American Society of Peoria asked me if I could help them with Italian before a trip to Italy they had planned—for vacation or to visit long-lost Italian relatives—I remembered my own difficulties, and I created the Conversational Italian for Travelers series of books. These books focus on the vocabulary and phrases we all need to know to enjoy our trip to Italy!

Along these lines, members of the Conversational Italian! Facebook group have been discussing their favorite main course dishes and, of course, these include fish dishes. The Italians know many wonderful ways to prepare fish—as you would expect, because they are surrounded by the sea and fresh fish are in abundance. They also import fish from their Scandinavian neighbors.

Fish is also important as an appetizer in Italy. One of my favorites is called “fritto misto,” fresh fish and shellfish fried in a light batter and presented beautifully on a large platter for all to share.

I’d love to hear about more Italian favorites! Continue the conversation on this blog, and join us on our Facebook group if you like!

Read the list below of common fish and shellfish that are served as a delicious main course or appetizer in Italy, taken from Chapter 17 of Conversational Italian for Travelers. See if this list reminds you of one of your favorite Italian dishes!

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Fish and Shellfish in Italian

 

la sogliola filet of sole
la trota trout
il merluzzo cod
il baccalà cod (dried)
 il pesce spada swordfish
il branzino sea bass
il tonno tuna
il salmone salmon
i calamari squid
la seppia cuttlefish (like squid)
i gamberi shrimp
gli scampi large, shrimp-like crustacean from the
Mediterranean Sea
le capesante scallops
l’aragosta lobster
le cozze mussels 
le vongole clams
le ostriche oysters
le acciughe anchovies
le sardine sardines
l’anguilla eel
i granchi clams
le lumache snails
il polpo octopus
l’aringa affumicata smoked herring

 

Learn Conversational Italian for Travelers
Conversational Italian for Travelers Textbook

Available on  www.Learn Travel Italian.com

The Italian Subjunctive Mode Part 2: Easy to Conjugate but Tricky to Use!

Conversational Italian for Travelers Book Display

This blog about the Italian subjunctive mode, or il congiuntivo, is the second in a series on this topic that I’ve created for advanced students and teachers of Italian. Each blog post will focus on real-life situations and give examples of when the Italian subjunctive mode should be used. Below is an excerpt from the original post.

Visit the Learn Italian! blog post from June 5, 2016, to read the entire article and get started with learning how to express yourself more naturally and fluently in Italian!

Italian Subjunctive Mode:  Easy to Conjugate but Tricky to Use!

Verbs in Italian can have a subjunctive mode that is used to express doubt, uncertainty, desire, or a feeling.

The subjunctive mode is said to “open up” a conversation to discussion about a particular topic.

Certain phrases are commonly used to start a sentence in order to introduce the subjunctive mode, and these initial phrases will be in the indicative tense (the “usual” present or past tense). These initial phrases imply uncertainty and trigger the subjunctive mode in the phrase to follow.

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Points to remember about the subjunctive mode:

 In Italian, the introductory phrases usually end with a linking word, also known as a conjunction, which will be che.  In this situation, che means that.  The clause that follows our introductory phrase will then describe what the uncertainty is about.

Note that the simple present or past tenses can also be used after the introductory phrases listed below, rather than the subjunctive mode, if you are speaking about a fact or something you believe to be true. This use will make perfect sense to the Italian listener, even when the subjective mode is otherwise commonly used.

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In each blog post in the “Speak Italian” series about the subjunctive mode (“il congiuntivo”), phrases that take the Italian subjunctive mode will be presented. Then we will review the Italian conjugation for the subjunctive mode in the present and past tenses. Finally, examples of common phrases used in daily life with the subjunctive mode will be presented. Remember these examples as “anchors” in your knowledge for when you must speak Italian, and try out the subjunctive mode in your next Italian conversation!

Enjoy the second blog post in this series: Italian Subjunctive Mode (Part 2): Speak Italian!
—Kathryn Occhipinti

Some of this material is adapted from our textbook, Conversational Italian for Travelers © 2012 by Stella Lucente, LLC, found on www.learntravelitalian.com. Special thanks to Italian instructors Simona Giuggioli and Maria Vanessa Colapinto.

Reading Italian Menus: Il Secondo

Roman restaurant
Kathryn for learntravelitalian.com
Kathryn Occhipinti, MD, for Learn Travel Italian.com

When I first traveled to Italy as a college student, I had difficulty at first when I tried to read and order at an Italian restaurant. I thought back to how many lessons I had had in Italian through high school and college and then realized that the reason was simple: Italian courses in school did not focus on the vocabulary I needed as a traveler.

Years later, when members of the Italian-American Society of Peoria would ask me if I could help them with Italian before a trip to Italy they had planned—for vacation or to visit long-lost Italian relatives—I remembered my own difficulties, and I created the Conversational Italian for Travelers series of books. These books focus on the vocabulary and phrases we all need to know to enjoy our trip to Italy!

Along these lines, last week, I asked the Conversational Italian! Facebook group, “What is your favorite Italian dish for Il Secondo, or the second course?” I posted about one of my favorite dishes my mother would make when I was growing up as a child, called braciole, and the family tomato sauce recipe she would cook this rolled-up meat in.

I’d love to hear about more Italian favorites! Continue the conversation on this blog, and join us on our Facebook group if you like!

Read the list below of cooking methods and types of meats found on menus in Italian restaurants, taken from Chapter 17 of Conversational Italian for Travelers and see if it reminds you of your favorite Italian dish!

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Cooking Methods in Italian

fritto fried
bollito boiled
arrostito roasted
brasato/stufato braised/stewed
affumicato smoked
farcito(a)/ripieno(a) stuffed
al forno baked (lit. from the oven)
alla brace broiled
alla griglia/ai ferri grilled
alla cacciatora stewed in a pot (as a hunter would make)

 

Meat Dishes in Italian

 

la cotoletta cutlet (meat without bone)
la scaloppina very thin cutlet
la costoletta chop/rib (bone in meat)
l’arrosto the roast (to be sliced)
la bistecca* steak*
bistecca alla fiorentina steak florentine style
al sangue rare meat
ben cotto well-done meat
cotto a puntino cooked just right
il sugo di carne gravy
le polpette meatballs
il vitello veal
il pollo chicken
il petto di pollo chicken breast fillet
il tacchino turkey
l’anatra duck
la quaglia quail
il fagiano pheasant
il coniglio rabbit
il maiale pork
la pancetta bacon
il guanciale bacon from pig cheeks
l’agnello lamb
l’abbacchio young lamb
la capra/il capretto goat/kid
il fegato liver

*When ordering a steak in Italy (wonderful grilled steaks, called bistecca alla fiorentina, can be found in Tuscany, for example), it is not really possible to order how the steak should be cooked. Instead, it is usually left for the chef to decide, based on the cut of meat and the style of the dish.

 

Learn Conversational Italian for Travelers
Conversational Italian for Travelers Textbook

Available on  www.Learn Travel Italian.com

Braciole: Italian Beef Rolls for Dinner

Braciole - Italian Beef Rolls

My grandmother came to this country as a young woman in the 1920s to wed my grandfather, who had been her childhood sweetheart some 8 years before, when they both lived in the same small town in Sicily. She left her family behind, but brought with her the knowledge of how to cook the Italian food that she grew up with and that my grandfather loved so well.

As a child, one of my favorite dishes that my grandmother, and then my mother, would make at home was called braciole (meat rolls with a surprise filling in the center).  The recipe for my family’s braciole and the tomato sauce to cook them in was originally posted on 5/9/16 on the Learn Italian! blog for Stella Lucente, LLC  and www.learntravelitalian.com. Below is an excerpt. Click on the link for the recipe!

I’d love to hear if your family makes this dish and your favorite recipe!

Italian beef rolls—involtini di carne,  also known as braciole, bracioli, or  bruciuluni (in Palermo Sicilian dialect)—are a favorite southern Italian treat that are often served for the Sunday family dinner. What I enjoy most about this dish is that there are so many different variations, and every family that makes braciole has its own special traditional recipe. My family hides a whole hard-boiled egg in the center for a surprise when the braciole is cut open. Other families chop the egg in half or into smaller pieces, and some families do not use egg at all!

By the way, I am not sure of the origin of the word braciole used here in America, but in Italy, braciola refers to a cut of pork (usually grilled), and this dish can be made with pork cutlets. My friend Peter Palazzolo from the Speak Sicilian! Facebook group mentioned to me that long ago this rolled-up meat was cooked with grapevine twigs cured like coal, or bracia. But, I think my friend and Italian teacher Maria Vanessa Colapinto (blog eleganza per me), is correct with her idea that the real origin of this word comes from the Italian for the old-type grill that the rolled-up meat for this dish was cooked on. This grill is still used today and is called a “brace.” Meat cooked in this way is “all’abrace,” or “on the grill.”

The Italian Subjunctive Mode: Easy to Conjugate but Tricky to Use!

Italian for Fun and Travel Class displayed with Conversational Italian Books

This blog about the Italian subjunctive mode, or il congiuntivo, is the first in a series on this topic that I’ve created for advanced students and teachers of Italian. Each blog will focus on real-life situations and give examples for when the Italian subjunctive mode should be used. Below is an excerpt from the original post.

Visit the Learn Italian!  blog from April 25, 2016 to read the entire article, and get started learning how to express yourself more naturally and fluently in Italian!

 How to Use the Italian Subjunctive Mode

Can you speak Italian? By now, many of you have passed the beginning stages of learning how to speak Italian and can read and comprehend quite a bit of the language. Meraviglioso!

But have you tried to take the next step to speak Italian fluently? Can you use the Italian subjunctive mode in the correct situations? To express complex feelings in Italian correctly, it is important to use the Italian subjunctive mode. Using the subjunctive mode is difficult for English speakers, as we only rarely use this tense in English, and it’s something that I am always working on! The next three blogs in the “Speak Italian” blog series will focus on how to conjugate and use the Italian subjunctive mode, or “il congiuntivo.”

To take that giant step from simple beginning sentences to more complex and fluid sentences in Italian using the subjunctive, in this segment, we will discuss the phrases that take the subjunctive mode and the how to conjugate the subjunctive mode for avere, essere and stare. Example sentences to follow!

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In each blog in the “Speak Italian” series about the Italian subjunctive mode (“il congiuntivo”), phrases that take the Italian subjunctive mode will be presented. Then we will review the Italian conjugation for the subjunctive mode in the present and past tenses. Finally, examples of common phrases used in daily life with the Italian subjunctive mode will be presented. Remember these examples as “anchors” in your knowledge for when you must speak Italian and try out the subjunctive mode in your next Italian conversation!

Click on the link and enjoy the first blog in this series, Italian Subjunctive Mode (Part 1): Speak Italian!
—Kathryn Occhipinti

Some of this material is adapted from our textbook, Conversational Italian for Travelers © 2012 by Stella Lucente, LLC, found on www.learntravelitalian.com. Special thanks to Italian instructors Simona Giuggioli and Maria Vanessa Colapinto.

Italian Language… Read All About “Ema”

Kathryn for learntravelitalian.com
Kathryn Occhipinti, MD, for Learn Travel Italian.com

Interesting fact I found out recently: Italian words that end in “ema” like “problema” are masculine even though they end in the letter “a” and therefore should be feminine in Italian. The reason is because they originally come from the Greek language.

So today I have solved un problema”! The “un” I used is the masculine word for “a” and needs to precede all of these feminine-looking but actually masculine Italian words.

Remember to use “il,” which is the masculine word for “the” before masculine words that begin with a consonant and “l” for those that begin with a vowel.

Last week, I asked the Conversational Italian! Facebook group, “How many more commonly used Italian words that end in “ema” can everyone think of?” Below are some replies. I’d love to hear more! Continue the conversation on this blog, and join us on our Facebook group if you like!

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Italian Words That End in “EMA”

“You can say, “Ho un problema.” (I have a problem.) or “Ho dei problemi.” (I have some problems.) 😉 (wink emoticon) Now you have no more problems! =D (grin emoticon)”
C’è un dilemma.   
This is a dilemma/predicament.
“Un po’ di crema se si screma non crea patema e non c’è problema, cara Kathryn!”
A little bit of cream if you skim it doesn’t create worries, and there is no problem, dear Kathryn!
Non c’è problema!  
There is no problem!

 

 

 il tema  the subject, topic, theme
il sistema the system
l’anatema the anathema
il teorema  the theorem, theory, hypothesis
il cinema the film, films, movies, movie theater, film industry
il schema the tactic, method, strategy, outline
il poema the epic, epic poem
il clima the climate
il fantasma  the ghost

 

Conversational Italian for Travelers: Book Review

Conversational Italian for Travelers Just the Important Phrases
Kathryn for learntravelitalian.com
Kathryn for Learntravelitalian.com

Conversational Italian for Travelers: Just the Important Phrases Thank you, Margie, for a wonderful review on your blog, MargeinItaly!

Note redesigned cover for 2019! Same great Italian phrases you love!

Conversational Italian for Travelers Just the Important Phrases
Conversational Italian for Travelers Just the Important Phrases (with Restaurant Vocabulary and Idiomatic Expressions) is YOUR traveling companion in Italy! All the Italian phrases you need to know to enjoy your trip to Italy are right here and fit right into your pocket or purse.

Available on   Amazon.com
and http://www.LearnTravelItalian.com

 

margieinitaly

Photoby Kathy Occhipinti

Occasionally I like to introduce an author or  feature a book about Italy or anything Italian. Today I am honored to recommend a book I recently discovered, and I think you’ll like it too.

Conversational Italian for Travelers Just the Important Phrasesby Kathryn Occhipinti is the perfect travel companion for your trip to Italy. Concise and well organized, only 4 inches by 6 inches, this pocket-sized Italian language book can travel with you wherever you go in Italy. Beginning with pronunciation of the Italian alphabet this book is full of practical information about every aspect of travel in Italy.

Conversational Italian is what you need in Italy and you can learn it so quickly here  with the author’s focus on “just the important phrases.”

From meeting people to transportation, to renting a car, to shopping, to ordering food in a restaurant,  to money, all topics of importance are…

View original post 188 more words

How to say “I love you”… in Italian!

Kathryn for learntravelitalian.comThere are many phrases in Italian for those relationships that are friendship or more… and, of course, many ways to say to that special someone, “I love you,” in Italian! Here are a few phrases from Conversational Italian for Travelers textbook and the Just the Important Phrases travel pocket book on  Amazon.com and www.Learn Travel Italian.comAmazon.com to help you out!

*Featured photo from thereadables.tumblr.com

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All About Italian Love

l’amicizia friendship
l’amico the friend (male)
gli amici the friends (male group or male + female group)
l’amica the friend
le amiche the girlfriends

 

Tu sei… You are…
il mio amico del cuore.
la mia amica del cuore.
my close friend.
(Italians call many their close friends!)
il mio migliore amico.
la mia migliore amica.
my best friend. 
(There is only one best friend!)

 

Mi vuoi bene?  Do you love me/care for me?
(for family and friends, and also your true love)
Ti voglio bene.  I love you/care for you/wish you well.

 

amare to love in a romantic way
l’amore romantic love
innamorato(a)  in love
Mi ami? Do you love me?
Ti amo!  I love you!
Conversational Italian for Travelers Just the Important Phrases
Conversational Italian for Travelers Just the Important Phrases (with Restaurant Vocabulary and Idiomatic Expressions) is YOUR traveling companion in Italy! All the Italian phrases you need to know to enjoy your trip to Italy are right here and fit right into your pocket or purse.

 

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

 

Italian style… Let’s talk about it!

Kathryn for learntravelitalian.com
Kathryn Occhipinti, MD, for Learn Travel Italian.com

For the last week on our Conversational Italian! Facebook group, we have been discussing how to talk about what we are wearing. With so many shops that carry beautiful clothing in Italy, you will probably want to talk about what you are wearing in Italian! It seems tricky at first, but just follow our method, and you will have it down in no time!

Here is a summary of this topic, adapted from the “Important Phrases” section in Chapter 10 of our textbook, Conversational Italian for Travelers © 2012 by Stella Lucente, LLC,  available on Amazon.com and www.Learn Travel Italian.com

Here are some important verbs to know and how to use them when talking about Italian clothing. Look for the shop signs that say saldi for “sale” and get started buying some fabulous clothes in Italy!

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How to Wear Italian Clothes

Vestirsi = to get dressed. Notice that getting dressed is reflexive in Italian. Remember that with reflexive verbs, we drop the subject pronoun (io, tu, lei, lui, noi, voi, loro) and understand who is getting dressed from the reflexive pronoun and verb ending.

Mi vesto.  (I) get dressed.
Ti vesti. (You) get dressed.
Si veste. (She/He) gets dressed.

Don’t confuse the verb vestirsi with the noun vestito, which means dress!

 

Mettersi = to put on. Notice the many English phrases that are simply spoken with short Italian phrases using mettersi.

Mi metto il vestito. (I) put on the dress.
(I) put the dress on.
(I) put on my dress.
Ti metti l’anello. (You) put on the ring.
Si mette le scarpe. (She/He) puts on the shoes.

 

If you want to say “I am wearing…” or “I take the size…” use the regularly conjugated verb portare, which in other situations means “to bring” or “to carry.”

Porto il mio vestito preferito.     (I) am wearing my favorite dress.

Porto la taglia quarantotto.        (I) take size 48.

 

If you really want to be a part of Italian culture, use this idiomatic expression, which refers to shoes and means something fits perfectly. It is the equivalent of the English saying, “It fits me like a glove,” or, “It fits me to a T”!

Mi calza a pennello!      It fits me perfectly!… Like a glove! …To a “T”!

Learn Conversational Italian for Travelers
Conversational Italian for Travelers Textbook

Available on  www.Learn Travel Italian.com