It’s Love That Counts

Posted on 12. Feb, 2016 by in Music

Italian music has the tendency to be very conservative, but search for a love song for Saint Valentine’s day and you’ll be overwhelmed by the millions of results. Now, out of that mass of results, at least 90% are going to be embarrassing clichés or just horribly tacky. But here’s a song about love that, in my humble opinion, falls into the 10% of what I’d call good, uplifting, but not cringeworthy love songs: Giorgia’s E’ l’amore che conta. N.B. Our translation is quite liberal in places as the original lyrics require a bit of interpretation in order to make sense.

Di errori ne ho fatti
ne porto i lividi
ma non ci penso più
Ho preso ed ho perso
ma guardo avanti, sai,
dove cammini tu
Di me ti diranno che sono una pazza
Ma è il prezzo di essere stata sincera

I’ve made lots of mistakes
I’ve got the bruises
but I don’t think about it anymore
I’ve taken and I’ve lost
but I look forward, you know,
to where you walk
They’ll tell you that I’m crazy
But it’s the price of having been honest

E’ l’amore che conta
non solo i numeri, e neanche i limiti
E’ una strada contorta
e non è logica, e non è comoda
Nell’attesa che hai
Nell’istante in cui sai
che è l’amore che conta
non ti perdere, impara anche a dire di no

It’s love that counts
not just the numbers, nor the limits
It’s a winding road
and there’s no logic, it’s not easy
While you’re waiting
In the instant that you know
that it’s love that counts
don’t loose yourself, learn to say no as well

Di tempo ne ho perso
certe occasioni sai
che non ritornano
mi fa bene lo stesso
se la mia dignità
è ancora giovane
Di me ti diranno che non sono ambiziosa
E’ il prezzo di amare senza pretesa…

I’ve wasted a lot of time
you know that some opportunities
never come back
it does me good anyway
if my dignity
is still untainted
They’ll tell you that I’m not ambitious
It’s the price of loving without pretensions

E’ l’amore che conta
non solo i numeri, e neanche i limiti
E’ una strada contorta
e non è logica, e non è comoda
Nell’attesa che hai
Nell’istante in cui sai
che è l’amore che conta
non ti perdere, impara anche a dire di no

It’s love that counts
not just the numbers, nor the limits
It’s a winding road
and there’s no logic, it’s not easy
While you’re waiting
In the instant that you know
that it’s love that counts
don’t loose yourself, learn to say no as well

No, No, No
No a questo tempo
d’ira e di cemento
No, No, No, NO!

No, No, No
No to this period
of rage and dullness
No, No, No, NO!

E’ l’amore che conta
non solo i numeri, e neanche i limiti
E’ una strada contorta
e non è logica, e non è comoda
Nell’attesa che hai
Nell’istante in cui sai
che è l’amore che conta
non ti perdere, impara anche a dire di no

Un bacione a tutti i nostri lettori per San Valentino

At The Clothing Store in Italy

Posted on 10. Feb, 2016 by in Italian Language, Vocabulary

The setting: un negozio di abbigliamento in una città italiana (a clothing store in an Italian town)
The caracters: una coppia e la commessa (a couple and the shop assistant)

Moglie: “Guarda, ci sono i saldi, perché non ne approfitti per comprarti un bel giaccone per l’inverno”
Wife: “Look, the sales are on, why don’t you make the most of it and buy yourself a nice winter coat”

Marito: “Cosa c’è che non va col mio giaccone?”
Husband: “What’s wrong with my coat?”

coat2-001

“Cosa c’è che non va col mio giaccone?”

Moglie, guardando disgustata il giaccone del marito: “Ce l’hai da 9 anni, è scolorito, ha i polsi lisi … vuoi che continui?”
Wife, giving her husband’s coat a disgusted look: “You’ve had it for 9 years, it’s faded, the cuffs are threadbare … do you want me to carry on?”

Marito, con un sospiro di rassegnazione: “Va bene, va bene, entriamo”
Husband, giving a sigh of resignation: “Ok, ok, let’s go in”

Commessa: “Buongiorno, desiderate?”
Shop assistant: “Good morning, can I help you?”

Moglie: “Vorremmo vedere un giaccone per mio marito”
Wife: “We’d like to see a winter coat for my husband”

Commessa: “Che taglia?”
Shop assistant: “What size?”

Moglie: “Elle”
Wife: “L”

Commessa: “Nella large abbiamo questo bel modello di cashmere molto caldo, con doppia abbottonatura, cerniera e alamari, come vanno di moda ora”
Shop assistant: “In large we have this beautiful style made of very warm cashmere, with double fastening, zip and toggles, which is fashionable at the moment”

Moglie: “Com’è morbido! Su, provalo”
Wife: “It’s so soft! Come on, try it on”

Marito, riluttante: “Hm, è troppo elegante per me, proprio non mi ci vedo. Preferisco qualcosa di più sportivo e meno impegnativo”
Husband, reluctantly: “Hmm, it’s too smart for me, I can’t see myself in at all. I’d prefer something more sporty and less demanding”

Commessa: “Vuole provare questo piumino? E’ molto in fashion quest’anno, specialmente in blu”
Shop assistant: “Would you like to try this padded jacket? It’s very fashionable this year, especially in blue”

Moglie: “Ah sì, questo è proprio il tuo stile”
Wife: “Oh yes, this is exactly your style”

Il marito lo prova. Moglie: “Come ti va?”
The husband tries it on. Wife: “How does it fit?”

Marito, non molto convinto: “E’ un po’ piccolo”
Husband, not very convinced: “It’s a bit small”

Commessa: “Quest’anno vanno di moda così, aderenti e appena sotto la vita”
Shop assistant: “That’s this year’s fashion, tight fitting and just below the waist”

Marito: “Ma io me lo sento che tira sulle spalle e le maniche sono troppo corte. Avete una ics-elle?”
Husband: “But I feel that it’s tight on my shoulders and the sleeves are too short. Do you have an XL?”

La commessa porta una XL. Il cliente lo prova ed esclama: “Ecco, sì, questo mi va proprio a pennello, mi piace!”
The shop assistant brings an XL. The customer tries it on and exclaims: “Yes, this fits me perfectly, I like it!”

Moglie: “Sono contenta! Quanto viene?”
Wife: “I’m pleased! How much is it?”

Commessa: “230 euro. E’ un’ottima occasione”
Shop assistant: “230 euros. It’s a real bargain”

Marito: “Duecentotrenta euro? Alla faccia dei saldi!”
Husband: “Two hundred and thirty euros? So much for the sales!”

Moglie: “Te lo regalo io, amore, per San Valentino, ti sta proprio bene!”
Wife: “I’ll but it for you for Saint Valentine’s my dear, it really suits you!”

The shop assistant dabs at her eyes with a hanky, moved by the romantic scene …

Spot The Italian Accent

Posted on 08. Feb, 2016 by in Vocabulary

As a student of the Italian language, do you have trouble rolling your ‘r‘s? What about you aiuole and aerei … how are they?
Yes, Italian has a few tricky points of pronunciation, but things aren’t exactly easy for Italians when they try to speak English. In my experience of teaching conversational English to Italians there are several aspects of pronunciation that they find particularly challenging. When you understand how Italian pronunciation works it becomes obvious why it’s fairly easy to spot an Italian when they speak English.

Check out this hilarious (but rude – you have been warned!) video based on the problems encountered when an Italian mispronounces English.

I like your ouse!

In Italian, ‘h’ is considered ‘invisibile’, ‘muta’, and ‘fantasma’. In short, the Italian ‘h’ is silent and mostly forgotten about except where it plays the role of modifier with the letters ‘c’ and ‘g’. In that role ‘h’ transforms sounds from dolce (soft, literally: sweet) to duro (hard), e.g.: marce/marche, magi/maghi.
That’s why when you invite your Italian friend out to the restaurant, she tells you that she’s very angry! Angry … why, how have I offended her? Then the penny drops … she’s not angry, but hungry!

Tights or Thighs?

The English ‘th’ is a curse for Italians. The problem is that there is no approximation of it in Italian, hence no clue as to what to do with one’s teeth, tongue and palate in order to pronounce it.
Not being able to perform the necessary tongue yoga to pronounce ‘th’ Italians typically use the following workarounds to the ‘th’ problem.
1. ‘f’, as in “I fink it will be sunny”
2. ‘d’, as in “dis is de station”
3. ‘z’, as in “zese are very nice shoes”
4. ‘t’, as in “my tights (thighs) are aching”

I don’t kenow!

Italian is one of the few languages in which every letter is pronounced. Therefore, Italian logic when encountering the way in which an English word is spelt is: “if it’s there it must have a purpose”. Having been educated in this way it’s almost impossible for Italians to let go of the need to pronounce every letter in every word, even if that letter is silent or toned down in English.
Hence the English word ‘know’, which us mother tongue English speakers understand to be pronounced ‘no’, becomes ‘kenow’ for an Italian, and walking becomes walkin-G.
I remember an Italian friend once telling me that he’d visited Laychetser in England, and it was only when he described this Laychester as a big city south of Nottingham that I realised he was referring to Leicester (pronounced ‘Lester’ in English).

Don’t roll you r’s!

It really seems a shame to waste that lovely rolling Italian ‘r’. But the English ‘r’ (setting aside some regional accents) is a fairly bland affair, and Italians have nearly as much difficulty flattening out their lovely ‘r’ as English speakers generally do in acquiring its wonderfully tongue vibrating Italian counterpart.

Not enough vowels!

Unlike English, very few Italian words end with a consonant. This is one of the qualities that we all love about the Italian language, a quality which renders it exceptionally musical. But that vocale finale (final vowel) can be an irritating habit to loose for an Italian who wants to sound English.

How’s your Italian pronunciation?

Are there any aspects of Italian pronunciation that you find particularly difficult, or perhaps there are words that you can never seem to get right no matter how hard you practice? Please share in the comments section.