Il Nuovo Baby Pit Stop

Posted on 21. Oct, 2014 by in News, Vocabulary

You never know what might happen when you stroll across La Piazza Della Repubblica in Pontremoli. The other day, for example, I spotted the mayor, Lucia Baracchini, with a small group of ladies on one side of the piazza. I wandered over to greet her and have a quick chat, but much to my surprise found myself hijacked, and hustled into the ufficio di informazioni turistiche di Pontremoli for the inauguration of Pontremoli’s brand new Baby Pit Stop! Knowing that I’m an ‘International Blogger’ my services were spontaneously requested in order to share Pontremoli’s latest innovation with the the rest of the world.

baby-pit-stop

“Magari ci potresti scrivere un piccolo articolo”, suggested counsellor Clara Cavellini. “Volentieri, se mi mandi due righe che spiegano la storia, in Italiano ovviamente…” was my reply, “oh, in italiano … grazie!” … laughed Clara, who describes her English as molto scarso, “infatti ho appena scritto un comunicato stampa, te lo mando subito via posta elettronica”.

Now you all know what a Baby Pit Stop is, don’t you? Yes, it’s that cosy little space set aside to provide a bit of privacy for mothers wishing to breast feed their baby. Of course Pontremoli, like most small Italian towns, has more than its fair share of Adult Pit Stops, better known as bars. But up until now there was a distinct lack of such a facility in the Baby department. Hence the Comune di Pontremoli, working alongside the Pro Loco set out to resolve the problem. The following excerpt from the official Comunicato Stampa explains the philosophy:

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Dott.ssa Cinzia Luzi, dott.ssa Fabiola Salvetti and Pro.ssa Lucia Baracchini cut the ribbon at the inauguration of Pontremoli’s new Baby Pit Stop. Photo: Natalino Benacci by kind permission of La Nazione

COMUNICATO STAMPA BABY PIT STOP

Venerdì 17 alle ore 11 è stato inaugurato all’interno dell’ufficio di informazioni turistiche di Pontremoli in piazza della Repubblica un “Baby Pit Stop” ovvero un angolo dell’ufficio dove ogni mamma potrà allattare al seno in tranquillità durante le ore di apertura dell’ufficio stesso.
L’inaugurazione del Baby Pit Stop a Pontremoli rappresenta un piccolo ma importante gesto di attenzione da parte del Comune e della Pro loco per quella che costituisce un’esperienza unica nella vita della mamma e del suo bambino e fa parte del programma di iniziative intraprese dall’
ASL n.1 di Massa Carrara per la settimana mondiale della promozione dell’allattamento al seno.

Here’s my translation. Notice that as Italian sentences are frequently pretty long, it’s often a good idea to split them when translating into English, as I’ve done with the sentences below.

PRESS RELEASE, BABY PIT STOP

On Friday the 17th at 11 o’clock a “Baby Pit Stop” was inaugurated in the Pontremoli Tourist Information Office in piazza della Repubblica. The “Baby Pit Stop” is actually a corner inside the office itself where any mother can peacefully breastfeed during office opening hours.
The inauguration of the “Baby Pit Stop” in Pontremoli is a small but important gesture of care on behalf of the Council and the Pro Loco towards what is a unique experience in the life of a mother and her child. It’s part of a program of initiatives undertaken by ASL n.1, Massa Carrara, for the worldwide week promoting breastfeeding.

Bravi Comune di Pontremoli e Pro Loco Pontremoli, continuate così. What will happen next time I cross the piazza I wonder!

Pro loco = (Latin) literally: “in favor of the place”  Pro Loco wikipedia

ASL n.1 = Azienda Sanitaria Locale numero uno (Local Health Service number one) ASL wikipedia

How to use the Present Conditional in Italian

Posted on 16. Oct, 2014 by in Grammar

While I was replying a reader’s question last week about the differences between the congiuntivo presente and the condizionale, I realised that although I’ve covered the use of the congiuntivo presente I’d never written an article specifically on the use of the condizionale (conditional). So I’m going to make amends, beginning today with il condizionale presente (the present conditional). But first let’s have a look at how we conjugate it:

Coniugazione del verbo essere: Conjugation of the verb to be:
io sarei
tu saresti
lui/lei sarebbe
noi saremmo
voi sareste
loro sarebbero
I would be
you would be (singular, informal)
he/she would be
we would be
you would be (plural)
they would be

The present conditional is used:

1. to politely express a wish or a request:
vorrei un bicchiere d’acqua, per piacere = I would like a glass of water, please
mi potresti prestare una penna? = could you lend me a pen?
scusi, saprebbe dirmi dov’è Piazza del Duomo? = excuse me, could you tell me where Piazza del Duomo is? (literally: … would you know how to tell me …)

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Piazza del Duomo, Pontremoli. Photo by Geoff Chamberlain

2. to express a personal opinion, or to give advice:
secondo me dovresti andare dal dottore = in my opinion you should go to the doctor
io suggerirei di partire subito dopo pranzo = I would suggest that we leave immediately after lunch
sarebbe meglio se Marco rimandasse la partenza di qualche giorno = it would be better if Marco delayed his departure for a few days

3. to report a piece of news that has not been verified, or that we have doubts about:
secondo alcuni testimoni i rapinatori sarebbero ancora all’interno della banca = according to some witnesses the robbers are still inside the bank (literally: … the robbers would still be inside the bank)
ho sentito che il presidente del club starebbe pensando di presentare le sue dimissioni = I’ve heard that the president of the club is thinking of handing in his resignations (literally: … the president of the club would be thinking of handing in his resignations)
mi è stato detto che Marco vorrebbe trasferirsi in Inghilterra = I’ve been told that Marco would like to move to England

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… una casa al mare in Liguria. Photo by Geoff Chamberlain

4. to say what we would do if the conditions were different:
se non piovesse andrei a fare due passi = if it didn’t rain, I would go for a little stroll
se fossimo ricchi ci compreremmo una casa al mare in Liguria = if we were rich we would buy a house on the coast in Liguria
se ci fosse abbastanza basilico si potrebbe fare una pasta al pesto = if we had enough basil we could make pasta with pesto (literally: if there were enough basil, one could make pasta with pesto)

Next week I’m going to cover the past conditional. A presto!

Rita’s Story

Posted on 15. Oct, 2014 by in History, Italian Language

A few days ago we received a fascinating e.mail from one of our long-time readers, Rita. The mail was written in the form of a very brief autobiography, and her story reminded me of my aunt Vicky, who, like so many Italians, was forced by circumstances to leave Italy and begin a new life abroad. We liked Rita’s story so much that we decided to ask her if we could publish it as a blog. Rita graciously consented, so without further ado, here’s her story:

Carissimi amici e colleghi  italiani,

Dearest Italian friends and colleagues,

la vostra mail mi è stata molto gradita; per me ricevere una mail dalla mia bella Italia che ho lasciato più di cinquant’anni fa mi commuove e mi fa sentire molta nostalgia.

I really enjoyed your mail; to receive a mail from my beautiful Italy which I left over fifty years ago moves me and makes me feel nostalgic.

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La mia classe. Io sono quella col cappello arancione

Ho lasciato la mia bella terra per raggiungere mio padre che era emigrato cinque anni prima di me. Ho fatto il mio viaggio verso la terra straniera da sola a quindici anni con la nave Constitution. Sono stata cresciuta dai miei zii a Reggio Calabria dove ho frequentato il ginnasio Tommaso Campanella. I miei genitori erano separati da molti anni e io con l’eccezione di mio papà non conoscevo nessuno della famiglia paterna. Abituarsi a una nuova famiglia, a una nuova lingua e alle  usanze americane è stata una bella sfida per me, ma grazie a Dio e alla mia forza d’animo me la sono cavata.

I left my beautiful land to join my father who had emigrated five years before me. I made the trip towards the foreign land on my own at the age of fifteen on the ship Constitution. I was raised by my aunt and uncle in Reggio Calabria where I attended to the Tommaso Campanella grammar school. My parents had been separated for many years, and I didn’t know anyone from my father’s family with the exception of my father. Getting used to a new family, a new language, and to American habits was a great challenge for me, however thanks to God and to my own fortitude I managed it.

Ho finito la "high school" e mi sono laureata all’università di Saint Elizabeth nel N.J. e poi all’università di Montclair dove ho conseguito il mio Master in spagnolo, francese ed italiano. Quarantadue anni fa, durante una vacanza in Grecia, ho conosciuto mio marito ad Atene e un anno dopo lui mi ha rintracciato in N.J. e ci siamo sposati. Non abbiamo avuto la sorte di avere figli ma siamo contenti lo stesso. Ho insegnato lingue per trentanove anni nel N.J. e prima di andare in pensione ho avuto l’onore di ricevere il “Governor’s teacher of the year award” e anche una borsa di studio per l’università di Knoxville in Ten.

I finished high school and graduated from the university of Saint Elizabeth in N.J., and then from the university of Montclair, where I took my Master in Spanish, French and Italian. Forty two years ago, during a holiday in Greece, I met my husband in Athens, and a year later he traced me back to N.J. and we got married. We haven’t been lucky enough to have children but we are happy nevertheless. I taught languages for thirty nine years in N.J., and before retiring I had the honour of receiving the “Governor’s teacher of the year award” and also a scholarship for the university of Knoxville in Ten.

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Io e il mio amico francescano di Assisi durante una sua visita a Washington. Conoscete questo fratello? Ha una bella voce e ha registrato due CD. Si chiama Fra Alessandro Bustenghi

Dopo essere andata in pensione io e mio marito ci siamo trasferiti a Long Beach Island. Avendo ancora amore e passione per l’insegnamento delle lingue, ho incominciato a dare lezioni d’italiano e di spagnolo presso la "Foundation of the Arts and Sciences " dell’Isola. I miei studenti sono tutti professionisti in pensione che amano la Bella Lingua e gradiscono i vostri blog con le vostre belle avventure. Mi dimenticavo di dirvi che ho anche fondato una società chiamata ITALIAN CULTURAL SOCIETY OF L.B.I.

After retiring my husband and I moved to Long Beach Island. Still full of love and passion for teaching languages, I started to give Italian and Spanish lessons at the “Foundation of the Arts and Sciences” on the island. My students are all retired professionals who love “la Bella Lingua” and enjoy your blogs about your lovely adventures. I forgot to tell you that I also founded a society called ITALIAN CULTURAL SOCIETY OF L.B.I.

La vita nell’Isola è piena d’avventure durante l’estate ma quando i turisti sfollano la pace e la tranquillità ritornano. Oltre alla mia passione per l’insegnamento, aiuto i miei cari amici francescani con la preparazione delle Messe in spagnolo per la popolazione latina due volte al mese. Questa in breve è la mia vita.

Life on the island is full of adventures during the summer season, but when the tourists leave, peace and tranquillity return. Beside my passion for teaching, I help my dear Franciscan friends with the preparation of the Masses in Spanish for the Latin population twice a month. This in brief is my life.