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Archive for March, 2009

STOP! Posted by on Mar 19, 2009

Such a seemingly simple word, ‘stop’. In English it is used in many different situations: Stop the bus, stop eating too much chocolate, stop the cat from climbing on the bed. In Italian, as usual, why bother using one word when twenty will do? Yes, we have various ways of saying stop, and in this…

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The human body Posted by on Mar 17, 2009

Today we are going to study anatomy: il corpo umano (the human body)! The human body in fact presents an incredible array of irregular words in the Italian language, which can be very confusing for a non-Italian speaker when constructing sentences. This is not a comprehensive list of the parts of the body however as…

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Il Riccio e’ … Posted by on Mar 14, 2009

Firstly, well done everyone who had a go at my little competition. Here is the translation of the clues together with the answers: 1. Il primo si trova sulla testa di chi non ha i capelli lisci, assomiglia a una molla. 1. The first is found on the head of someone who hasn’t got straight…

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Transitive and Intransitive Verbs Posted by on Mar 13, 2009

A reader has asked me to explain the difference between verbi transitivi (transitive verbs) and verbi intransitivi (intransitive verbs), so I’ll try my best. This is always a difficult but, none the less, important topic in Italian grammar. OK, let’s start. Transitivo comes from Latin transire meaning ‘to pass’, ‘to cross’, ‘to go beyond’, therefore it describes…

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Il Riccio, che cos’e’? Posted by on Mar 10, 2009

Students of the Italian language often complain that us Italians have far too many different words that say the same thing. So, in order to prove that this is not always the case, a little challenge for you: Il riccio, che cos’e’? (What is a riccio?). Well a riccio can be four different things! Below I will give you some clues as to…

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La Festa della Donna e La Mimosa Posted by on Mar 7, 2009

Sunday the 8th of March is International Women’s Day, a festival which will be celebrated around the world. Here in Italy this very popular festival is called  La Festa della Donna. In 1946 the Unione Donna Italiana (Italian Woman Union), whilst preparing for the celebrations of the 8th of March, decided to choose an object to symbolize the event. The…

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Reflexive Verbs Posted by on Mar 5, 2009

Mi chiamo Serena. Come ti chiami? (my name is Serena. What is your name?). This is the first thing I say to my students whenever I start a new Italian class, and it’s probably the first thing you’ll find in most phrasebooks. But it’s also a sentence that illustrates really well one of the many differences between Italian and…

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