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Lesson Transcript

Marco: Marco here! Basic Bootcamp Lesson 2, Basic Italian Simple Phrases with the Verb "essere" ("to be")
Marco: Hello, and welcome to ItalianPod101.com, the fastest, easiest, and most fun way to learn Italian!
Laura: I'm Laura, and thanks again for being here with us for this Basic Bootcamp lesson.
Marco: In this lesson, you will learn how to introduce yourself and use "essere" in basic simple phrases.
Laura: This conversation takes place on the streets of Italy.
Marco: The conversation is between Carla and Paul.
Laura: The speakers will be speaking informally.
Marco: Let's listen to the conversation.
Laura: Ciao, sono Carla. Sono francese.
Marco: Ciao, sono Paul. Sono americano.
(One time slowly)
Laura: Ciao, sono Carla. Sono francese.
Marco: Ciao, sono Paul. Sono americano.
(One time natural native speed with the translation)
Laura: Ciao, sono Carla. Sono francese.
Laura: Hello, I am Carla. I am French.
Marco: Ciao, sono Paul. Sono americano.
Marco: Hello, I am Paul. I am American.
Marco: Which nationalities do you think are interested in learning Italian?
Laura: It really varies. I'd say that obviously countries bordering Italy tend to learn Italian.
Marco: Like France and Slovenia?
Laura: Yes, and Switzerland.
Marco: It's funny to see the variety of people who learn Italian.
Laura: Yes, it's quite a spread-out community. From Asia to Alaska...I once met a person from Guam who spoke Italian!
Marco: Really?
Laura: Yes, he had retired and employed his time studying Italian.
Marco: So, Carla from our dialogue is francese.
Laura: Yes, she is French.
Marco: And Paul "is American," "è americano."
Laura: Now what you need to know is that in Italian, nationalities have genders.
Marco: Yes, whether you're a man or a woman sometimes changes the end of the word.
Laura: For example, let's take "American." If Marco says "I am American," it will be…
Marco: "Sono americano."
Laura: But if I say "I am American," which you figured I'm not, it will be "sono americana."
Marco: Did you hear that the end of the word was modified when feminine?
Laura: That's because the feminine form of American takes an "-a" at the end, so the last syllable sounds different. The masculine form usually takes an "-o" at the end.
Marco: What about "francese?" Is the female form different from the male form?
Laura: No, it remains the same…"francese" and "francese."
Marco: You said many Italians were studying French as well.
Laura: Yes, quite a lot. So an Italian man would say "sono italiano," and a woman would say "sono italiana."
Again, an "-a" at the end usually indicates a feminine word. There are exceptions, but don't worry about that yet.
Okay, why don't we take a closer look at these nationalities?
Marco: Let's take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson.
Laura: sono [natural native speed]
Marco: I am
Laura: sono [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Laura: sono [natural native speed]
Laura: francese [natural native speed]
Marco: French
Laura: francese [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Laura: francese [natural native speed]
Laura: americano [natural native speed]
Marco: American
Laura: americano [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Laura: americano [natural native speed]
Marco: Let's have a closer look at the usage for some of the words and phrases from this lesson.
Laura: Okay, so basically in Italian, there are no actual rules that can make you guess the word for a nationality.
Marco: Even if I know the name of the country in Italian?
Laura: Yes, even if you know the name of the country in Italian. I mean, it's more or less logical, but there's no solid rule.
Marco: But right now we're making it sound like it's super difficult when it's actually not that hard.
Laura: No. I guess the best way to find out what the nationality is when you have the name of the country would be to look it up!
Marco: You'll get there eventually. Today, we saw two different ways of saying a nationality in Italian.
Laura: Yes, we saw "francese."
Marco: It ends with an "-e" and has the same spelling and pronunciation regardless of whether it describes a male or a female. Do you have other examples?
Laura: Then we saw "americano"/"americana."
Marco: It ends with the letters "-ano" for the masculine and "-ana" for the feminine…"-a" for feminine and "-o" for masculine.
Laura: Woo, that's a lot to remember.
Marco: And we haven't even started the grammar part...
Laura: The grammar is really easy here, no worries!

Lesson focus

Marco: So, if you've listened to our first Bootcamp lesson, you already know about "sono," meaning "I am." Let's examine it in closer detail.
Laura: Yes, "I am" is the conjugated form of the verb "essere," "to be."
Marco: Last time, we saw that in order to say "I am Marco," "sono Marco."
Laura: Well, you can use it to say anything about yourself! For example, "I am American" will be "sono americano" for a male or "sono americana" for a female.
Marco: Easy!
Laura: Yes, remember that "io," meaning "I," is used only for emphasis. So usually you simply say "sono americano," which literally means "am American," rather than "I am American." The listener understands who you are speaking about from the context. It really is easy!
Marco: Can you give me an example?
Laura: Yes. If you want to emphasize that you are French, you can add "I," "io." "Io sono francese."
Marco: Oh, I see, so that sounds a little exaggerated?
Laura: Yes, you'd be better off with a simple "sono francese."
Marco: Okay, now we're going to talk about the word order in Italian sentences.
Laura: Well, let's look at the sentence, "sono americano."
Marco: Yes, it's "io," which is the subject that is usually omitted + "sono," which is the verb, + "americano," which is the complement.
Laura: A complement is a group of words that stick together that either depends on the verb or is totally independent.
Marco: Sort of like journalists with the government.
Laura: Ah, nice analogy.
Marco: So, here is another example of how it works. "Io mangio una mela." "I eat an apple."
Laura: "Io" is the subject, "mangio" is the verb, and "una mela" is the complement, also called the object.
Marco: That's easy I think. But are you really eating an apple right now?
Laura: Ha ha. Okay, it's time to conclude...
Marco: Why don't we conclude by you telling us that you're Italian?
Laura: "Sono italiana." It probably won't be used by you guys...
Marco: Work on your pronunciation though!


Marco: That just about does it for today.
Marco: Premium members, use the review track to perfect your pronunciation.
Laura: Available at the website,
Marco: and through iTunes via the premium feed,
Laura: the Review Track gives you vocabulary and phrases followed by a short pause so you can repeat the words aloud.
Marco: It's the best way to get good at speaking Italian fast!
Marco: Okay.
Marco: Have a nice day!
Laura: Bye! "Arrivederci!"