Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Carpets and walls

Many houses in the UK have carpets, but this is very rare in Italy. That's probably why we had to borrow the French word la moquette to indicate the carpet. I’ve noticed that the vast majority of students, when looking to translate carpet, resort to tappeto, perhaps because they are misled by their dictionary. But tappeto means rug not carpet! Unless what you are trying to convey is something slightly less mundane such as: carpet of leaves = tappeto di foglie.

And did you know that the walls in a house are called pareti?

Appendiamo il quadro su quella parete
Let’s hang the painting on that wall

La parete is an internal wall within a house or a building, which has been properly done up and decorated. Il muro is a much more generic expression which refers to any wall, in or out of a building. If the wall is a big one, for instance the one surrounding an old town, than it becomes feminine (and it is only used as a plural):

Le antiche mura della città
The ancient walls of the town

The big wall in China is la (grande) muraglia cinese

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Proiezione di Mar Adentro

On Tuesday 8th February at 6.45 pm in 03MS01 there will be the screening of the Spanish film Sea Inside (Mar Adentro - 2005) by Alejandro Amenábar

Runtime 126 minutes
Genre: Biography / Drama

More information about the film can be found on this link:


Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Un'altra comunicazione di servizio!

The screening of the film Io non ho paura has been rescheduled for Friday 4th February at 6.45 pm (all other details stay unchanged).

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Comunicazione di servizio!

Unfortunately the DVD player in the Management lecture theatre isn't working at the moment so I'll have to cancel my film screening scheduled for the 19th of January. There will be a new post once the film has been rescheduled.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Falsi amici

Should subject be translated as soggetto? It really all depends what you are trying to say. If the subject you are referring to is a grammar concept, than by all means. But if what you are referring to is "topic", than the answer is no, in that case the translation is argomento:

Let's change the subject
Cambiamo argomento

If the subject you have in mind indicates what you study at school or university, for instance mathematics, history etc. than the right translation is materia.

Che materie studi all’università?
What subjects are you studying at University?

Another extremely common false friend is classe, instead of lezione: “I'm going to my Italian class tonight", should not be translated as "Vado a classe di Italiano stasera". You should say instead “Vado a lezione di italiano”. Classe, in a school context, indicates a classroom or a grouping of students by age, level or subject.

Let’s not forget about unfortunately, or sadly, which tend to be translated as “tristemente”. And sadly this is wrong most of the time.. “Tristemente” in Italian is only used to indicate a really sad state of affairs. And when I say “sad”, I mean “weeping sad”. In most cases, it's unlikely the word you are going to need is “tristemente”, so better opt for purtroppo:

Sadly / unfortunately
I was forced to leave a job I really loved
Purtroppo sono stato costretto a lasciare un lavoro che mi piaceva molto

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Un commento di Aidan Marks

Pubblico un commento inviatomi da Aidan Marks, che mi ha contattato dopo aver letto il mio libro in Australia. Lo ringrazio caldamente per le sue parole di apprezzamento.

> I just finished reading your book, 50 Ways to Improve Your Italian and
> wanted to thank you for putting together a clear and concise reference
> that answered many of the questions that have come up during my first
> year of Italian study, especially the more subtle ones.
> Additionally, I would like to mention that you were able to explain
> certain things that even our experienced native teacher (who speaks very
> fluent english for over 25 years) could not. I suspect that your high
> proficiency in english had a lot to do with it.
> Naturally I will be recommending your book to others in my class here in
> Sydney, Australia. I hope that you plan to continue formalising more of
> your knowledge and experience into future books. Just in the area of
> grammar alone, I have five of them written in english and none of them
> are very satisfactory. It is a constant game to find answers.
> Once again, thank you for taking the time to put this book together.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Proiezione di Io non ho paura

On Wednesday 19 January at 6.45 pm in 03MS01 there will be the screening of the Italian film Io non ho paura (2003)by Gabriele Salvatores

Runtime 108 minutes
Genre: Crime / Drama

In southern Italy, Michele, a bright ten-year-old boy, finds a filthy, incoherent boy chained in a cellar hidden outside his village, but fears to speak of it. Putting together what he learns from television, he begins to connect the boy, his own impoverished parents, and a series of unexplained visiting strangers, with a high-profile kidnapping that has the entire nation on edge.

Seats allocated on a first come, first served basis

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Una Filastrocca di Capodanno di Gianni Rodari

Fammi gli auguri per tutto l'anno:

voglio un gennaio col sole d'aprile,
un luglio fresco, un marzo gentile,

voglio un giorno senza sera,
voglio un mare senza bufera,

voglio un pane sempre fresco,
sul cipresso il fiore del pesco,

che siano amici il gatto e il cane,
che diano latte le fontane.

Se voglio troppo non darmi niente,
dammi una faccia allegra solamente

Rick Stein's Taste of Italian Opera

Un altro programma interessante della BBC4, nel quale si analizza il ruolo che ha svolto il cibo nella creazione dell'Opera: