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Lesson Transcript


Marco: Hello, and welcome to ItalianPOD101.com, where we study modern Italian in a fun, educational format!
Laura: So, brush up on the Italian that you started learning long ago, or start learning today.
Marco: Thanks for being here with us for this lesson, Laura, what are we looking at in this lesson?
Marco: In this lesson, you will learn five phrases to boost your Italian learning.
Laura: This conversation takes place in an Italian as a second language class.
Marco: The conversation is between a student of Italian and his teacher.
Laura: The speakers are speaking in formal Italian.
Studente: Professoressa, come si dice 'a fork' in italiano
Professoressa: Una forchetta.
Studente: Può ripetere? Lentamente, per favore?
Professoressa: “U-na for-chet-ta."
Studente: Può scriverlo per favore?
English Host: Let’s hear the conversation one time slowly.
Studente: Professoressa, come si dice 'a fork' in italiano
Professoressa: Una forchetta.
Studente: Può ripetere? Lentamente, per favore?
Professoressa: “U-na for-chet-ta."
Studente: Può scriverlo per favore?
English Host: Now let’s hear it with the English translation.
Studente: Professoressa, come si dice 'a fork' in italiano
Marco: Teacher, how do you say "a fork" in Italian?
Professoressa: Una forchetta.
Marco: "Una forchetta."
Studente: Può ripetere? Lentamente, per favore?
Marco: Can you repeat? Slowly, please?
Professoressa: “U-na for-chet-ta."
Marco: "U-na for-chet-ta."
Studente: Può scriverlo per favore?
Marco: Please write it down.
Post Conversation Banter
Marco: It's always nice to have in mind the necessary phrases that will boost your Italian learning.
Laura: Yes, especially when you are in a country where people speak fast, eat up their words, and have different regional accents.
Marco: True, Italian people tend to speak with very different accents, and at first it can be kind of confusing.
Laura: Not to say frustrating... So, even if learning a language implies that you need to align yourself with the native pace, don't hesitate to cut people off in the middle of their speech to have them repeat something.
Marco: …Maybe not in the middle of their speech.
Laura: Okay, not in the middle of their speech, especially in Italy.
Marco: Yes, listening to others and not cutting them off is a requirement in Italy.
Laura: At least if you want to make any friends.
Marco: Yes, being all excited or monopolizing the conversation can be seen as rude.
Laura: Although, of course, some Italians do it...but, if you feel lost in a conversation, or if you just wonder what the meaning of that funny-sounding word is, then use the phrases you just heard.
Marco: What people will really appreciate is if you say the magic words…
Laura: "Per favore,"
Marco: which mean "please."
Laura: Especially if you are addressing someone random. For example, you're in the subway and you need to ask someone the meaning of a sign.
Marco: Yes, in that case you should definitely start or end your sentence with "per favore."
Laura: Italian people are quite used to random conversations with strangers, for example while waiting for the bus or train. "Is this train going to be late again?" or "Is this bus going to Piazza Duomo?" People ask for directions all the time and sometimes carry on talking about general topics, like the weather.
Marco: So don't be afraid of joining other people's conversations, unless they are talking about something obviously private. Then, if you need directions, don't forget to say "per favore?" before or after you ask your question.
Vocabulary and Phrases
Marco: Let's take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson.
: The first word we shall see is:
Laura: come [natural native speed]
Marco: how
Laura: come [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Laura: come [natural native speed]
: Next:
Laura: forchetta [natural native speed]
Marco: fork
Laura: forchetta [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Laura: forchetta [natural native speed]
: Next:
Laura: per favore [natural native speed]
Marco: please
Laura: per favore [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Laura: per favore [natural native speed]
: Next:
Laura: può [natural native speed]
Marco: formal, you can, conjugated form of potere
Laura: può [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Laura: può [natural native speed]
: Next:
Laura: scrivere [natural native speed]
Marco: to write
Laura: scrivere [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Laura: scrivere [natural native speed]
: Next:
Laura: lo [natural native speed]
Marco: it, him
Laura: lo [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Laura: lo [natural native speed]
Vocabulary and Phrase Usage
Marco: Let's have a closer look at the usuage for some of the words and phrases from this lesson.
Laura: The first word/phrase we’ll look at is....
Marco: Let's have a closer look at the usage for some of the words and phrases from this lesson.
Laura: Okay, so the first phrase is not actually a phrase…it's a word. It's "professoressa," and it's used to call your female teacher in a polite and formal way.
Marco: It's the equivalent of "teacher." What if your teacher is a man? Does it change anything?
Laura: It does. If your teacher is a male, you should call him "professore." It's the most appropriate way of calling a teacher. An acceptable, less formal way is to call our teacher "prof." This works for both male and female teachers.
Marco: Okay. The second phrase is "come si dice 'a fork' in italiano?"
Laura: This phrase means "how do you say fork in Italian?" "Come" means "how" and "si dice" means "you say." Literally, this would be "How you say," since in Italian there is no particle like "do." "Si" is used as an impersonal subject instead of "you."
Marco: Is "si" used for formal speech only? To address your teacher, someone you don't know, or someone more important than you?
Laura: "Si" is impersonal, so that can be used in both formal and casual speech.
Marco: What shall we seen next?
Laura: Let's talk about our third phrase. "Può ripetere?"
Marco: This one is only used if you need someone to repeat something.
Laura: Ah, that's what people do with me…they always ask me to repeat. I speak way too quickly in Italian.
Marco: Yeah, too fast for non-Italian speakers...
Laura: Even for Italian natives. My grandma has always told me to slow down; otherwise, people get tired.
Marco: I'm happy we converse in English, then.
Laura: Again, you can notice that this is formal Italian thanks to the "può" at the beginning of the sentence, which is "can" at the third person singular. The third person conjugation tells you it's formal speech. Then, you have "ripetere," which means "repeat."
Marco: Okay, now the fourth phrase is "Lentamente, per favore?" which means "slowly please."
Laura: See, the magic words again?
Marco: Ah yes. And "lentamente" will be helpful with fast speakers like Laura.
Laura: Exactly!
Marco: And the last phrase is "Può scriverlo per favore," which means "Can you write it down, please?"
Laura: Yes, so the translation for "write down" is "scrivere" (SPELL). "Io scrivo" is "I write down."
Marco: Wait, but the student says "scriverlo," not "scrivere."
Laura: Well, "scrivere lo" or "write it" wouldn't sound too good, so you need to cut the last letter and replace it with "lo." So it becomes one word, "scriver-lo." "Write it."
Marco: It sounds complicated.
Laura: Just don't worry too much about it now. It will become natural!
Marco: And to wrap up with this phrase, you might have noticed that the word "lo" that stands for "it" is attached to the end of the verb it's related to, here "scrivere," meaning "write down." But don't forget to cut down the "-e" at the end of the verb. Let me repeat it…"Can you write IT down," "Può scriverLO?"
Laura: To finish up, I would like to mention something.
Marco: Please do so.
Laura: Since you will be asking all the requests in Italian, you will need the appropriate intonation.
Marco: Oh, that's right. Don't forget that in Italian, when asking a question, you should ALWAYS intonate up at the end of the question. Like this…"Può scriverlo per favore?"
Laura: Yes, it's important because you won't reverse the verb and the subject like in English. To say "Can you?" You will say "You can." Actually, you don't even use "you," so it will be "can." So only intonation tells you it's a question.
Marco: Okay, that's it for the vocabulary insights.

Lesson focus

Laura: Remember I kept saying that the word "può" is the hint that will tell you it's a formal conversation because the verb is conjugated at the third person singular?
Marco: Yes, "lei" is the pronoun used in formal situations. It's a polite "you."
Laura: Exactly. It translates as "she," but it's used for both women and men. And remember, the pronoun before the verb is almost never used in spoken Italian, unless we want to stress the subject. So "lei può?" becomes "può?"
Marco: How would you ask a friend to repeat, though?
Laura: You would ask "Puoi ripetere?" The informal pronoun for "you" is "tu." Once again, you skip the pronoun before the conjugated verb.
Marco: And the form of the verb completely varies whether you use "lei" or "tu." Listen…"lei può" and "tu puoi."
Laura: Okay, we don't want to overwhelm you with to much grammar, so we will just finish with a little note about two of our phrases, "Può ripetere?" and "Può scriverlo?"
Marco: Yeah, just a quick note on how, when two verbs follow each other in an Italian sentence, the second verb is usually at the infinitive form.
Laura: Okay, you probably don't know what Italian infinitives look or sound like, but that's fine. Just remember that in our two cases, the verbs "ripetere" and "scrivere" end with "-ere." Only it's a bit more difficult to detect that "scrivere" is an infinitive because of the "lo" put at the end.
Marco: You'll get more about infinitives later! First, go ahead and work on your phrases! They will help you feel immersed and are a great tool to improve quickly with native speakers!