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Archive for January, 2009

Maschile o Femminile Posted by on Jan 30, 2009

One of the most confusing aspects of Italian for English speakers is trying to get to grips with the gender of words. This is further complicated by he fact that we don’t use the letter ‘s’ to pluralize but ‘i’, or ‘e’ depending on the gender of the word. Therefore constructing a sentence can be…

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Essere o Stare? Posted by on Jan 29, 2009

I recently received an e-mail from a reader asking if I could explain the difference between essere and stare and how they are used. I got out my faithful Vocabolario della Lingua Italiana Treccani and … oh povera me! (poor me!) Under the entry stare there are 5 columns of information and for essere? well…

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I Mesi dell’Anno Posted by on Jan 27, 2009

I mesi dell’anno (the months of the year) have very similar names in most cultures that use the Giuliano (Julian) and Gregoriano (Gregorian) calendar. In the first century B.C. Julius Caesar reformed the Roman calendar, giving it its familiar structure of 365 days (366 every fourth year which is known as an anno bisestile), divided into 12 months. Apart from…

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La Settimana Italiana Posted by on Jan 23, 2009

The Italian word for week is settimana which comes from Latin and means ‘in numero di sette’ (lit. in number of seven) because, yes you’ve guessed it, there are seven days in the week. The first five of these take their names from the planets. lunedi’ (Monday) is from the Latin Lunae dies, or ‘day…

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Calamari Ripieni Posted by on Jan 21, 2009

A reader recently asked if I knew a recipe for calamari ripieni (stuffed squids); this is my mother’s recipe and, as always happens with handed down family recipes, it’s very ‘approximate’, just un pizzico di questo (a pinch of this), un po’ di quello (a little bit of that), percio’ vi chiedo scusa (therefore, please…

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Rainy Day Blog Posted by on Jan 20, 2009

Stamattina mi sono svegliata col rumore della pioggia che batteva sul lucernaio. This morning I woke up to the sound of rain beating on the skylight. Hmm, inspiration for a rainy vocabulary blog! As is true of just about anywhere, us Italians like talking about the weather. It’s nearly always too hot, too cold, too…

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Memorie Siciliane Posted by on Jan 17, 2009

Recently I received a comment from a reader whose family is originally from Monreale in Sicilia (Sicily). These two names, Monreale and Sicilia, immediately brought back a stream of memories from a holiday I enjoyed many years ago in this beautiful region. My adventure started in Rome where I caught a night train to Palermo. Making…

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