Dialogue

Vocabulary

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Lesson Transcript

INTRODUCTION
Eric: Hi everyone, and welcome back to ItalianPod101.com. This is Business Italian for Beginners Season 1 Lesson 17 - Explaining an Absence from the Office. I’m Eric.
Ofelia: Ciao, I'm Ofelia.
Eric: In this lesson, you’ll learn how to give simple explanations after you suddenly take a day off or leave the office. The conversation takes place at the office.
Ofelia: It's between Carlo and Linda.
Eric: The speakers are co-workers, so they will use informal Italian. Okay, let's listen to the conversation.
DIALOGUE
Carlo: Ciao Linda, come stai? Ho sentito che non stavi molto bene ieri.
Linda: Sì, scusa. Avevo un forte mal di testa e ho preferito restare a casa.
Carlo: Non ti devi scusare, capita a tutti!
Eric: Listen to the conversation one time slowly.
Carlo: Ciao Linda, come stai? Ho sentito che non stavi molto bene ieri.
Linda: Sì, scusa. Avevo un forte mal di testa e ho preferito restare a casa.
Carlo: Non ti devi scusare, capita a tutti!
Eric: Listen to the conversation with the English translation
Carlo: Hello Linda, how are you? I heard that you were not feeling very good yesterday.
Linda: Yes, apologizes. I had a severe headache and I preferred to stay home.
Carlo: You don't have to apologize, it happens to everyone!
POST CONVERSATION BANTER
Eric: Ofelia, is it common in Italy to take leave without notice?
Ofelia: As in other countries, leave without notice is not welcome in Italy, unless you have a serious reason. But even in that case, it’s better to prove that you tried to get in touch with somebody that could have let the person in charge know.
Eric: I see, I suppose that unexplained absences are a legitimate reason for firing someone as well.
Ofelia: Right, so if you happen to take leave without notice anyway, be sure not to do it again.
Eric: What’s the Italian for "unexcused absence"
Ofelia: assenza ingiustificata
Eric: Okay, now onto the vocab.
VOCAB LIST
Eric: Let’s take a look at the vocabulary from this lesson. The first word is..
Ofelia: come stai? [natural native speed]
Eric: how are you?
Ofelia: come stai?[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Ofelia: come stai? [natural native speed]
Eric: Next we have..
Ofelia: sentire [natural native speed]
Eric: to hear, to listen to
Ofelia: sentire[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Ofelia: sentire [natural native speed]
Eric: Next we have..
Ofelia: stare [natural native speed]
Eric: to be, to stand, to lie, to be located, to be situated
Ofelia: stare[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Ofelia: stare [natural native speed]
Eric: Next we have..
Ofelia: mal di testa [natural native speed]
Eric: headache
Ofelia: mal di testa[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Ofelia: mal di testa [natural native speed]
Eric: Next we have..
Ofelia: restare [natural native speed]
Eric: to stay
Ofelia: restare[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Ofelia: restare [natural native speed]
Eric: And last..
Ofelia: capitare [natural native speed]
Eric: to happen
Ofelia: capitare[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Ofelia: capitare [natural native speed]
KEY VOCAB AND PHRASES
Eric: Let's have a closer look at the usage of one of the phrases from this lesson.
Ofelia: It is capita a tutti
Eric: meaning "it happens to everyone,” or “it can happen"
Ofelia: This expression is made up of the verb capitare,
Eric: meaning "to happen," or more specifically "to happen unexpectedly",
Ofelia: It’s in the third person singular, present tense form, capita, and following that is the preposition a, meaning "to" and tutti, meaning "everyone."
Eric: This is an example of an impersonal verb since it's in the third person singular, but you can't spot a real subject for the action. It's similar to the English "it."
Ofelia: Italians use this expression when they want to refer to something that, like it or not, can't be avoided. In this case it refers to a headache.
Eric: Can you give us an example using this word?
Ofelia: Sure. For example, you can say.. Capita a tutti di sbagliare.
Eric: ..which means "Everyone can make mistakes” or literally, “It can happen to anyone to make mistakes." Okay, now onto the lesson focus.

Lesson focus

Eric: In this lesson, you'll learn how to give simple explanations after you suddenly take a day off or leave the office.
Ofelia: Whenever you have to take a day off or leave the office earlier, without proper prior notice, you’ll probably be asked by your colleagues what happened, as a form of courtesy.
Eric: It will be good if you are be able to apologize and explain briefly what happened.
Ofelia: We’ll also go over the main differences between passato prossimo or “present perfect” and imperfetto or “imperfect.”
Eric: Let’s start with an example from the dialogue.
Ofelia: In the dialogue, Carlo asks...come stai? Ho sentito che non stavi molto bene ieri.
Eric: meaning “...how are you? I heard that you were not feeling very good yesterday.” We already know how to ask “how are you?” But what if that’s not your situation, say if you had to leave for some other urgent reason that is not related to your health?
Ofelia: instead of come stai? you may be asked cosa è successo?
Eric: meaning “what has happened?” What is Linda’s answer?
Ofelia: She says, Sì, scusa. Avevo un forte mal di testa e ho preferito restare a casa.
Eric: meaning “Yes, apologies. I had a severe headache and I preferred to stay home.”
Ofelia: She first apologizes, then explains her conditions, avevo un forte mal di testa,
Eric: meaning “I had a severe headache”
Ofelia: finally she states that she decided to stay home, or ho preferito restare a casa
Eric: “I preferred to stay home.”
Ofelia: This is a good sentence because it shows the main differences between passato prossimo and imperfetto.
Eric: Whenever you need to describe a condition that lasted for some time, in the past, you should use the imperfect.
Ofelia: Right. This was the case with avevo un forte mal di testa: a headache usually is not instantaneous, but lasts a few hours. The same would be for other illnesses, for example Avevo mal di pancia
Eric: “I had a stomachache”
Ofelia: Avevo mal di denti
Eric: “I had a toothache.” But let’s suppose that you don’t want to give too many details.
Ofelia: You can also use the imperfect and just say Non stavo bene.
Eric: “I didn’t feel well.”
Ofelia: or Ero indisposto.
Eric: “I was sick.”
Ofelia: After that, to describe what she decided to do, Linda uses the passato prossimo or “present perfect”, and says ho preferito
Eric: meaning “I preferred” or “I opted.” Whenever you need to describe something that happened within a moment, instantaneously in the near past, you should use this tense.
Ofelia: Right. Deciding something is usually an instantaneous action; it doesn’t last long. Here are other expressions useful for a similar occasion: Sono rimasta a casa.
Eric: meaning “I decided...”
Ofelia: Ho telefonato in ufficio.
Eric: “I called the office.”
Ofelia: Linda could have also said simply Sono rimasta a casa.
Eric: meaning “I stayed at home.” Notice that this needs to be in the present perfect as well, even if you may think that it refers to an action that lasted longer than a moment.
Ofelia: Actually, rimanere in Italian doesn’t simply mean “to stay,” it first means “to remain”,
Eric: which if you think about it, can’t be a prolonged action.
Ofelia: However, you could also hear rimanevo a casa, with the imperfetto,
Eric: ...but that would refer to a habit, something that someone does repetitively within a long period of time, so the right translation for that is “I used to stay at home” or “I used to remain at home.”
Ofelia: Right, so, when you are not sure whether to use passato prossimo and imperfetto, there are 2 things to consider.
Eric: First, think about whether you are describing a habit or a condition, or if you are referring to something that happened instantaneously.
Ofelia: Secondly, check the literal meaning of the verb.
Eric: Ok, let’s wrap up with a couple of sample sentences
Ofelia: Scusate, ho avuto un contrattempo e sono dovuto andare via.
Eric: "Sorry, I had a setback and had to go away."
Ofelia: Scusa, mio figlio aveva la febbre alta e sono tornato a casa per accudirlo.
Eric: "Excuse me, my son had a high fever and I went back home to take care of him."

Outro

Eric: Okay, that’s all for this lesson. Thank you for listening, everyone, and we’ll see you next time! Bye!
Ofelia: A presto!

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Try to excuse yourself in Italian for a for taking a day off without notice.