Italian Language Blog

Archive for April, 2010

Mattina o Mattino? Posted by on Apr 29, 2010

A couple of weeks ago I was asked to explain the difference between the words mattina  and mattino, which both mean "morning" in English. The two words are often interchangeable, although mattino (masculine singular) is less common than mattina (feminine singular). Here are a few examples in which either word may be used: era una…

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Santa Zita da Lucca Posted by on Apr 26, 2010

Every year on the 27th of April Lucca celebrates the life of its most beloved patron saint, Santa Zita, with a spectacular floral tribute. For the occasion, Piazza dell’Anfiteatro (an oval shaped medieval piazza built over the remains of the Roman amphitheatre) hosts a flower market, where azaleas and rhododendrons, with their incredible shades of…

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Ce La Fai? Posted by on Apr 23, 2010

Farcela is a very commonly used idiomatic expression which means ‘to manage’ [to do something], or ‘to succeed’. It is composed of the verb fare (to make/to do) and the pronouns ‘ce’ and ‘la’. It can be used on its own, e.g. ce la fai? (can you manage?), or it can be followed by the…

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Polvere Vulcanica Posted by on Apr 20, 2010

There’s something missing in the clear blue skies above our house today, what could it be? Sì, le scie degli aerei! (Yes, aircraft vapor trails!) Thanks to la polvere vulcanica (volcanic dust), and what now seems to have been an over reaction on behalf of the aviation authorities, we are temporarily able to enjoy i…

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La Pubblicità Posted by on Apr 17, 2010

A few days ago we went to visit a friend who lives in the little hilltop town of Vezzano Ligure. Wandering down the main street, we noticed a hand written sign that someone had put next to their cassetta della posta (mail box). It read: "Siete liberi di lasciare la pubblicità consapevoli che verrà usata…

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Bureaucratic Italian part 2, I tuoi Doveri Posted by on Apr 14, 2010

In the first part of this blog I explored some of the bureaucratic language found in a ‘health and safety at work’ leaflet. If you’ve studied that blog you will all be familiar with ‘I Tuoi Diritti’ (Your Rights), but, of course, as an employee you also have ‘I Tuoi Doveri’ (Your Duties). Let’s find…

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Bureaucratic Italian part 1, Conosci i tuoi Diritti? Posted by on Apr 11, 2010

Every now and then I write a blog  about ‘colloquial Italian’, explaining everyday language and expressions that you don’t normally find in grammar books and language classes. At the other end of the spectrum we have ‘bureaucratic Italian’, and although it won’t help you much if you want to fare due chiacchiere (have a chat)…

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