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Lesson Transcript

Consuelo: Ciao
Marco: Marco, here. Absolute Beginner Season 1 Lesson 2: You're Not from Italy, Are You? Hello and welcome to the Absolute Beginner and ItalianPod101.com where we study modern Italian in a fun educational format.
Consuelo: So, brush up all Italian that you started learning long ago or start learning today.
Marco: Thanks for being here with us for this lesson. Consuelo, what are we looking at in this lesson?
Consuelo: In today's class, we will focus on asking people where they are from and we'll also study the verb “essere”, “to be.”
Marco: This conversation takes place at the bus stop.
Consuelo: The conversation is between Melissa Cox and Alessio Martini.
Marco: In the first conversation, they will be speaking informal Italian. In the second conversation, they'll use formal Italian. Let's listen to the conversation.

Lesson conversation

Marco: Informal.
Alessio: Sono di Milano, e tu? Di dove sei?
Melissa: Io sono di Miami.
Alessio: Ah, non sei di Milano...
Marco: Formal.
Alessio: Sono di Milano. Di dove è Lei?
Melissa: Io sono di Miami.
Alessio: Ah, Lei non è di Milano...
Marco: Let's hear it slowly now.
Consuelo: Ciao
Alessio: Sono di Milano, e tu? Di dove sei?
Melissa: Io sono di Miami.
Alessio: Ah, non sei di Milano...
Marco: And now with the translation.
Alessio Sono di Milano, e tu? Di dove sei?
Marco I am from Milan, and you? Where are you from?
Melissa Io sono di Miami.
Marco I'm from Miami.
Alessio Ah, non sei di Milano...
Marco Ah, you're not from Milan.
Marco Consuelo, can you give our listeners some advice about Italian pronunciation?
Consuelo Sure! First of all, I have to say that Italian is a phonetic language, which means that each sound always corresponds to the same letter.
Marco …and what about vowels? I always hear them clearly.
Consuelo That's why vowels are always articulated sharply and clearly in Italian. They are never pronounced weakly, as it sometimes happens in English.
Marco I see… And consonants?
Consuelo They don't differ that much from English, but there are some exceptions.
Marco Such as…?
Consuelo The combination of "-c" with the letter "-h" gives the former a hard sound in Italian. For example, "mi Chiamo" is written "-C, -H, -I, -A, -M, -O."
Marco Thank you, Consuelo. This is useful for our listeners!
Marco: Let's take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson.
Consuelo dove [natural native speed]
Marco where
Consuelo dove [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Consuelo dove [natural native speed]
Consuelo Milano [natural native speed]
Marco Milan
Consuelo Milano [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Consuelo Milano [natural native speed]
Consuelo io [natural native speed]
Marco I
Consuelo io [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Consuelo io [natural native speed]
Marco: And today's last word is…
Consuelo: tu
Marco: You.
Consuelo: tu
Marco Consuelo, what expression are we studying today?
Consuelo That's the Italian expression "Lei, di dove è?" or "Lei, da dove viene?"
Marco If I am right, "Lei, di dove è" is the formal way in Italian to ask "Where are you from?"
Consuelo Yes, Marco, we use "Lei", with an uppercase "l", exclusively in formal situations.
Marco Wait a minute…what does "da dove viene" mean?
Consuelo It is another formal expression used to ask about origins. In English, we can translate it as "Where do you come from?" Consider that "viene" is the present tense of the verb "venire" conjugated at the third singular person, "lei."
Marco "Venire" is…"to come!"

Lesson focus

Consuelo: Let us take a look at today's Grammar Point.
Consuelo Let's take a look at today's grammar point.
Marco The focus of this lesson is on talking about origins and the verb "essere," meaning "to be."
Consuelo As we have seen, "di dove sei" is the exact equivalent of "Where are you from?"
Marco It indicates the precise place where one comes from.
Consuelo So you should answer by naming your home city or the nearest important city in order to let the listener easily understand.
Marco "Di" is a stationary preposition that we use with "essere." Let's now look at the conjugation of the irregular verb "essere," meaning "to be," when talking about a person's birthplace.
Consuelo "Io sono"
Marco "I am"
Consuelo "tu sei"
Marco "you are"
Consuelo "lui/lei è"
Marco "he/she/it is"
Consuelo "noi siamo"
Marco "we are"
Consuelo "voi siete"
Marco "you are"
Consuelo "loro sono"
Marco "they are"
Consuelo Since the verb "essere" is irregular, there are no learning tips to make the drilling of this verb easier.
Consuelo The easiest method to memorize it is to do some written verb drills.
Marco Please notice that in the dialogue, "di dove sei" is translated as "Where are you from?" but there is no "tu" (Italian for "you").
Consuelo This is because there is no need to specify it, as "sei" can only indicate "you" in the second singular person.
Marco This is always the way it is in Italian unless we want to stress the person clearly.
Consuelo Exactly.
Marco Let us look again at a very important aspect of the Italian language regarding formal speech. The informal way to ask "Where are you from?" uses the second person singular, "tu."
Consuelo However, when we want to use formal speech, we just have to switch to the third person, "lei," thus creating a distance between the speakers.
Marco So "di dove è" actually means "Where are you from?" in formal speech.
Consuelo What about negating a statement?
Marco Well, when negating a statement you should use the negative particle, "no," and "non" + verb. You can also skip the initial "no" and just answer with "non" + verb. For example…
Consuelo "Non sono di Milano."
Marco "I'm not from Milan." That’s just about does it for today. Okay, some of our listeners already know about the most powerful tool on ItalianPod101.com.
Consuelo: That’s the Line-by-Line audio.
Marco: The perfect tool for rapidly improving listening comprehension.
Consuelo: By listening to lines of the conversation again and again.
Marco: Listen until every word and syllable becomes clear. Basically, we break down the dialogue into comprehensible byte size sentences.
Consuelo: You can try the Line-by-Line Audio in the Premium Learning Center at ItalianPod101.com.