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Lesson Transcript

Cinzia: Ciao a tutti!
Marco: Marco here! Beginner series Season 1, Lesson 23 - Are Italian False Friends Catching You Off Guard?
Cinzia: Hello, everyone! I’m Cinzia and welcome to ItalianPod101.
Marco: With us, you’ll learn to speak Italian with fun and effective lessons.
Cinzia: We also provide you with cultural insights…
Marco: And tips you won’t find in a textbook. In this lesson, you will learn about words that behave as false friends.
Cinzia: This conversation takes place in a cinema.
Marco: And it’s between Anna and Peter.
Cinzia: And they are friends, therefore, they will be speaking in informal Italian.
Marco: Now, before we listen to the conversation…
Cinzia: We want to ask…
Marco: Do you read the lesson notes while you listen?
Cinzia: We received an email about the study tip.
Marco: So we were wondering if you tried it, and if so…
Cinzia: What do you think of it?
Marco: You can leave us feedback in the comment section of this lesson. Okay, let’s listen to the conversation.
Peter: Niente sottotitoli?
Anna: No, mai. Be’, effettivamente a volte si possono trovare i sottotitoli, ma solo in casi particolari.
Peter: Casi particolari?
Anna: Sì, per gli amanti della lingua originale.
Sconosciuto: Shhhh... Per cortesia, fate silenzio.
Marco: Let's hear it slowly now.
Cinzia: Ascoltiamolo lentamente.
Peter: Niente sottotitoli?
Anna: No, mai. Be’, effettivamente a volte si possono trovare i sottotitoli, ma solo in casi particolari.
Peter: Casi particolari?
Anna: Sì, per gli amanti della lingua originale.
Sconosciuto: Shhhh... Per cortesia, fate silenzio.
Marco: And now, with the translation.
Cinzia: E ora, con la traduzione.
Peter: Niente sottotitoli?
Peter: No subtitles!?!
Anna: No, mai. Be’, effettivamente a volte si possono trovare i sottotitoli, ma solo in casi particolari.
Anna: No, never. Well, actually you can find subtitles sometimes, but only in special events.
Peter: Casi particolari?
Peter: Special events?
Anna: Sì, per gli amanti della lingua originale.
Anna: Yes, for original language lovers.
Sconosciuto: Shhhh... Per cortesia, fate silenzio.
Unknown person: Shhhh...please, be quiet.
Marco: Now, this happens often in cinemas, doesn’t it?
Cinzia: Oh yes, it always happens to me. I keep talking to my neighbour about the movie because, you know, I want to share opinions and ideas, but…
Marco: Yeah, I understand, I understand. Always like, “Look, this is gonna be happening in a few minutes” and my neighbor says, “Doint spoil the movie!” “But it’s gonna be happening! Look, look, look!” And it never happens anyway.
Cinzia: Yes. And the one behind you says - Per favore, state zitte.
Marco: Yeah. One difference between Italian movie theaters that is cinema and American or other country’s cinemas, I mean movie theaters is that we usually don’t bring so much food with us when we watch a movie.
Cinzia: Mm, yes. In the US, normally, they have the habit to buy popcorns or…
Marco: Yes, or…
Cinzia: Chips.
Marco: Yes. Crunchy stuff, usually, or also chocolate bars, but usually, lots of also tall drinks. For example, supersized Coca-Cola and stuff.
Cinzia: So, that kind of things that make noise.
Marco: Also, also. Instead in Italy, we actually don’t usually bring food.
Cinzia: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Marco: I think if I started opening just a sweet from its wrapping, I think somebody would be looking at me like, what are you trying to do with that sweet? You’re gonna try to eat it in the cinema?!
Cinzia: Yeah, this is true, but actually, this difference, I think depends on the fact that we used to have little cinemas.
Marco: Also, also.
Cinzia: And not Multisala, like big movie theaters.
Marco: Yes. With many, many rooms. And one more reason maybe is because in other sort of let’s say in-house entertainments that we have in Italy, like opera, like theater, you can never eat anything there.
Cinzia: Oh yes. You cannot eat inside.
Marco: So maybe that also came from that side, both things.We usually have small cinemas and we usually also go to the theater or to listen to opera and you can’t start munching something when somebody is going, “Ahh!!!” can you?
Cinzia: Yes, this is true, but let’s move on now.
Marco: Yes, yes.
Cinzia: And now, let’s take a look at today’s vocabulary.
Marco: And the first word is…
Cinzia: niente [natural native speed]
Marco: nothing
Cinzia: niente [slowly - broken down by syllable] niente [natural native speed]
Marco: Next
Cinzia: sottotitoli [natural native speed]
Marco: subtitles
Cinzia: sottotitoli [slowly - broken down by syllable] sottotitoli [natural native speed]
Marco: Next
Cinzia: mai [natural native speed]
Marco: never
Cinzia: mai [slowly - broken down by syllable] mai [natural native speed]
Marco: Next
Cinzia: effettivamente [natural native speed]
Marco: actually
Cinzia: effettivamente [slowly - broken down by syllable] effettivamente [natural native speed]
Marco: Next
Cinzia: casi [natural native speed]
Marco: cases, events
Cinzia: casi [slowly - broken down by syllable] casi [natural native speed]
Marco: Next
Cinzia: particolari [natural native speed]
Marco: special, characteristic
Cinzia: particolari [slowly - broken down by syllable] particolari [natural native speed]
Marco: Next
Cinzia: amanti [natural native speed]
Marco: lovers
Cinzia: amanti [slowly - broken down by syllable] amanti [natural native speed]
Marco: Next
Cinzia: per cortesia [natural native speed]
Marco: please
Cinzia: per cortesia [slowly - broken down by syllable] per cortesia [natural native speed]
Marco: And last expression…
Cinzia: fare silenzio [natural native speed]
Marco: to be quiet
Cinzia: fare silenzio [slowly - broken down by syllable] fare silenzio [natural native speed]
Cinzia: And now, let’s take a look at usage for some of the words and expressions. The first word we will look at is sottotitoli.
Marco: And the first example sentence is…
Cinzia: Perchè i film italiani non hanno i sottotitoli?
Marco: Why don’t Italian movies have subtitles?
Cinzia: And this is a good question, actually.
Marco: Yes, very good question. So why don’t they?
Cinzia: Bella domanda.
Marco: Well, somebody might say Italians don’t know foreign languages.
Cinzia: Okay. I have one first answer, which is a good answer, I think.
Marco: That is…
Cinzia: Because, first of all, in Itally, the dubbing industry is very important.
Marco: Yes, yes. We have some of the best dubbers out there in the world.
Cinzia: Yes.
Marco: So, it became maybe a tradition because we wanted to import movies, but we wanted to keep the Italian voices.
Cinzia: Actually, many famous dubbers are famous actors also.
Marco: True! So if you come to Italy and want to watch a foreign movie, please note that unless it’s a special event, for example, original language movies events, you will always find them with the Italian dubbing.
Cinzia: Yes, this is true.
Marco: And please note that, if for example, you like cartoons, foreign cartoons maybe for example, English, or Japanese anime, well, you will maybe note that the original version, the lips are out of synch with the voice.
Cinzia: Oh.
Marco: But we Italian dub- you noticed it, right?
Cinzia: Yes, yes, many times.
Marco: But Italian dubbers actually manage to get the movement of the lips and the voice in synch.
Cinzia: Yes, that is so true. Who can’t forget the voice of Marlon Brando in The Godfather.
Marco: Yes, yes, yes, so many.
Cinzia: Do you remember who it was?
Marco: No, who was it?
Cinzia: Oh come on! Ferruccio Amendola.
Marco: Yes, he had such an important voice for these movies.
Cinzia: Yes, and they gave the voice also to actors like Robert De Niro or Al Pacino.
Marco: True, true, very true! So don’t be surprised if you don’t find subtitles when going to the movies.
Cinzia: The next word we will look at is effettivamente.
Marco: And the next example sentence is…
Cinzia: Effettivamente non so cosa dirti.
Marco: “Actually, I don’t know what to tell you.”
Cinzia: The next word we will look at is casi.
Marco: The example sentence, please.
Cinzia: In certi casi.
Marco: “In certain cases.”
Cinzia: The next word is amanti.
Marco: And the next example sentence is…
Cinzia: Ginevra e Lancillotto erano amanti.
Marco: “Ginevra and Lancelot were lovers.”
Cinzia: Oh, do you know Ginevra and Lancelot, Marco?
Marco: Yes, ye, yes, but per cortesia, that’s the next word we have to see. Let’s go forward.
Cinzia: Hmm, okay, so this next word is, well, actually, this next expression is per cortesia.
Marco: And the example sentence is…
Cinzia: Mi passeresti il vino per cortesia?
Marco: Would you pass me the wine, please?
Cinzia: And the last expression we will look at is fare silenzio.
Marco: And the last example is…
Cinzia: Ora che entriamo in aula fa' silenzio.
Marco: "Now that we walked into the classroom, be quiet." And now, let’s take a look at today’s grammar point.

Lesson focus

Cinzia: Oh, today’s grammar is very, very interesting, Marco.
Marco: Yes. We’re gonna be talking about “false friends.”
Cinzia: Oh, false friends? Amici falsi?
Marco: No, not the literal translation. Careful, careful. “False friends” is a label used to identify those words, which have a similar written form in different languages, but a total diverse meaning.
Cinzia: Oh yes, now I understand. Did we find the “false friend” in the dialogue?
Marco: Yes, we did. Anna starts her sentence with…
Cinzia: effettivamente
Marco: And adverb that corresponds in English to “actually.”
Cinzia: And “actually” can be a false friend because it’s very similar to the Italian word attualmente.
Marco: Yes. So let’s hear them together. First, English…
Cinzia: actually
Marco: Then Italian…
Cinzia: attualmente
Marco: But attualmente means “presently,” at the present moment.
Cinzia: Yes.
Marco: So, no connection between the meanings.
Cinzia: No! None at all.
Marco: Only the sound.
Cinzia: Yes.
Marco: So, listeners, please be careful that false friends can often make or break your understanding of what’s being said to you or of what’s being written.
Cinzia : Mm, yes. But Marco, basta con questa grammatica, can we have some examples, please now?
Marco: Sure. So, first example is…
Cinzia: Factory and…
Marco: And…
Cinzia: fattoria
Marco: So, “factory” is, in Italian, fabbrica.
Cinzia: Yes! But the word “factory” is so similar to fattoria which is actually “farm.”
Marco: Yes, so careful. A “farm” is a…
Cinzia: fattoria
Marco: And a “factory” is a…
Cinzia: fabbrica
Marco: So don’t confuse them. And what else? Oh, oh, me, my turn, my turn, my turn!
Cinzia: Okay.
Marco: So, don’t confuse “parents” and “parenti.”
Cinzia: Oh yes, this is funny.
Marco: Yes, yes. So…
Cinzia: If in Italian you say i miei parenti doesn’t mean “my parents.”
Marco: No! It means “my relatives.”
Cinzia: Yes. Because “my parents,” in Italian, it has to be translated as i miei genitori.
Marco: So, parenti means…
Cinzia: “relatives”
Marco: And genitori means…
Cinzia: “parents”
Marco: Okay, so be careful also there. And let’s give them one last example.
Cinzia: “Attendere” and “to attend.”
Marco: So, attendere means “to wait,” while…
Cinzia: “To attend” means assistere / seguire / frequentare.
Marco: So, if for example, you hear somebody telling you attenta prego, it doesn’t mean “please attend.” It means “please wait.”
Cinzia: Please wait, yes.
Marco: So, don’t get confused there.
Cinzia: What’s the next topic of today’s grammar?
Marco: Well, very, very short topic. When we use the imperativo (the imperative) mode in polite, but firm requests, like we saw in the last line of the dialogue, we should always use a courtesy expression like “per favore” or…
Cinzia: Per cortesia, which we have seen in the dialogue.
Marco: Exactly. Now, first of all, per favore is informal Italian, while per cortesia is…
Cinzia: formal
Marco: You can, like we’ve seen in previous lesson, you can interchange, but usually, per cortesia is more old style, so it’s more formal.
Cinzia: Yes, that’s true.
Marco: But if you forget to use per favore, per cortesia, or other courtesy expressions after an imperativo, it sounds like an order.
Cinzia: Yes, exactly. For example, if I say to you, Marco, prendi l'acqua; or prendi l'acqua, per favore…
Marco: Yes.
Cinzia: Sounds so different.
Marco: There’s also a change in intonation in her voice that I’m sure listeners have heard because in Italian, also the courtesy expressions, but also the intonation makes a phrase more imperative. But because as foreigners, giving the right intonation is maybe the most difficult thing, always remember to use the courtesy forms.
Cinzia: Yes. The last topic for today is something that in Italian we call “impersonal si,” si impersonale.
Marco: Yes, yes. We saw it in the dialogue. So in English, we had “you can find subtitles” while in Italian, we would say…
Cinzia: Si possono trovare i sottotitoli.
Marco: So, this “si” that you find in the sentence is a so-called…
Cinzia: Si impersonale.
Marco: And when do we use it? Why do we use it?
Cinzia: This si impersonale has two functions.
Marco: Number one…
Cinzia: It substitutes noi (we). For example, in the sentence - Si affittano camere, (noi affittiamo camere).
Marco: Meaning “rooms for rent.”
Cinzia: And…
Marco: Number two
Cinzia: It represents an indefinite subject, uno, qualcuno, ognuno, tutti. For example: Alla facoltà di lingue si studia letteratura inglese.
Marco: "At the faculty of languages, people study English literature."
Cinzia: Yes, so very straightforward, actually.
Marco: Very, very, very.


Marco: Don’t forget to check out the PDF where you will find side-by-side, the Italian and English false friends.
Cinzia: And don’t forget to write me many, many comments.
Marco: Yes. Pleas keep up the comments. Bye-bye!
Cinzia: Ciao!