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Lesson Transcript

Marco: Benvenuti benvenuti.
Cinzia: Ciao a tutti.
Marco: Welcome! Welcome, to the first class in the Culture Class Series.
Cinzia: Yes.
Marco: Relaxing with Italian Culture.
Cinzia: So sit on your sofa or…
Marco: Well, lay on the beach.
Cinzia: Lay on the beach or drink a coffee.
Marco: Yes, but these Lessons, this Culture Class Series is intended to entertain you and at the same time teach you about culture. Certainly, we will teach you about Italian words, we will teach you about many aspects of the language but not as much as we do in the normal lessons.
Cinzia: Yes, so you will often hear us talking in English.

Lesson focus

Marco: Yes, well, to better explain Italian culture. In this particular start of the Culture Class Series we will have a short Sub-Series on Italian names. So, today’s lesson is Culture Class Lesson Number 1 – Italian Names Lesson Number One. And the names we’re going to take a look on are…
Cinzia: Paolo and Paola.
Marco: And?
Cinzia: Francesco and Francesca.
Marco: So in this name series we’re going to take a look at the most common Italian names, their etymology and some Italian characters of the past that bore these names and had a significant impact on Italian history and culture.
Cinzia: Yes, we will take you into the unseen part of Italian language, its origins and culture significance.
Marco: Exactly, so let’s jump right in! Today’s first name is…
Cinzia: Paolo
Marco: And it’s a masculine name while its feminine counterpart is…
Cinzia: Paola.
Marco: Just like the adjectives.
Cinzia: Yes. Paolo and Paola are very easy.
Marco: Straightforward.
Cinzia: Yes because one ends with “o”
Marco: Paolo
Cinzia: Yes which marks masculine names and the other one ends with “a”
Marco: Paola
Cinzia: Which marks feminine ones. But we will see also masculine names ending with “a”.
Marco: Rare but can happen.
Cinzia: Marco?
Marco: Yes, yes. What?
Cinzia: Allora, da dove viene questo nome? Where does this name come from?
Marco: You mean its origin?
Cinzia: Yes.
Marco: Ok. Ok. So the origin of the name Paolo comes from the Latin language. It originates from the Latin adjective paulus that means small, little, humble.
Cinzia: So also Italian names are connected to Latin.
Marco: Sure they are. Italian names, Italian words, they are deeply connected with their Latin roots. You will never hear anybody called Paulus but Paolo is the Latin equivalent.
Cinzia: Yes. So not only the culture, not only the customs, but also the names come from Latin.
Marco: Yes, modification of Latin but certainly come from Latin.
Cinzia: The very language is rich in diminutivi.
Marco: Diminutivi, yes. You mean diminutives. We like to make things bigger, smaller, cuter, just by changing the ending of the word.
Cinzia: Yes, exactly.
Marco: So, for example, what diminutives do we have for the names Paolo and Paola?
Cinzia: We have Paolino, Paolina.
Marco: We can also have sometimes Paoletto, Paoletta, but the most common one are Paolino and Paolina, right?
Cinzia: Ah yes, but I have actually two friends, Paolo and Paola, and I’ve always called them as Paoletto and Paoletta.
Marco: Yes, because Paolino has a more meaning, I think, of little and then cute, while Paoletto is first cute and then little.
Cinzia: Yeah, yeah, yeah. You could call Paolino a child.
Marco: True.
Cinzia: Yeah. And, Marco, we are forgetting to say something really, really important.
Marco: Ah, forgetting, forgetting… What am I forgetting?
Cinzia: Our names are connected to the Roman calendar.
Marco: Very true. We have a special, special Feast Day that happens actually every day of the year.
Cinzia: Yes, every day it’s a name day.
Marco: And how do we say name day in Italian?
Cinzia: Onomastico.
Marco: So, onomastico is the Feast Day of the Saint after whom a person is named.
Cinzia: Yes, but you know what?
Marco: What?
Cinzia: Io non ho un onomastico.
Marco: You don’t have an onomastico?
Cinzia: Umm, actually I don’t.
Marco: Why not Cinzia?
Cinzia: Because Cinzia is not in the Roman Calendar.
Marco: Oh, so under what day do you fall?
Cinzia: Actually, I’ve never had onomastico.
Marco: We will have to lobby to have an onomastico only for her.
Cinzia: Oh yes, please.
Marco: But let’s move on talking about the female name day. The female onomastico, that means of Paola is celebrated on the…
Cinzia: The 26th of January.
Marco: And do you know who it is dedicated to?
Cinzia: Oh yes. It’s dedicated to the memory of San Paola Vedova.
Marco: The memory of Saint Paola Widow. If you want to know who she was please check the PDF. What about the male name day, the male onomastico?
Cinzia: Yes. San Paolo falls the 29 of June.
Marco: And is dedicated to Paul of Tarsus. He is very important, isn’t he?
Cinzia: Oh yes. It’s a legendary character of the Bible.
Marco: Yes, he was one of the most important apostles. The legend says that Saul, Paul’s former name was very, very anti-Christians and so he was persecuting the Christian followers but then something happened, right?
Cinzia: Yes, the legend says that he met Gesù, Jesus, and after this encounter he was like enlightened, and he started to preach the Christian faith.
Marco: And not only that. He also chose the name Paolo, the Latin name Paulus becoming then Paolo, to mean modesty because he wanted to symbolize a rebirth of himself.
Cinzia: Si, era rinato, praticamente.
Marco: Yes, he was actually reborn.
Cinzia: So today he is considered the patron saint of paper-hangers and tenors.
Marco: Excellent, Cinzia. In today’s lesson we’re also going to take a look at two more names. The first one is …
Cinzia: Francesco
Marco: Masculine, and
Cinzia: Francesca
Marco: Feminine. Is Francesco a common name?
Cinzia: Oh yes, of course.
Marco: It is?
Cinzia: Yes.
Marco: Ok. Ok.
Cinzia: I know so many people called Francesco or Francesca.
Marco: Really?
Cinzia: Yes.
Marco: And where does this name come from?
Cinzia: We’re actually not sure but many people think that it comes from the Latin adjective franciscus, which was used by Romans to refer to everything related to German Tribe of France.
Marco: Ok, that’s interesting. So a northern origin for this name.
Cinzia: Yes, but there is another theory.
Marco: And what is that?
Cinzia: It relates it to the German term Francus, that means “uomo libero”, “coraggioso”.
Marco: “Free man”, “courageous man”. So also this one from the north.
Cinzia: Yes.
Marco: Interesting, interesting. Please remember that we have both masculine and feminine variants of this name, so we have both Francesco and Francesca.
Cinzia: Yes.
Marco: When is Francesca’s onomastico celebrated?
Cinzia: L’onomastico viene celebrato il 9 marzo.
Marco: The name day is celebrated on the 9th of March in honor of Santa Francesca Romana, who died in 1414.
Cinzia: Yes, and she is considered the patron scent of modernists and widows.
Marco: Instead, Francesco’s onomastico è celebrato il 4 ottobre.
Cinzia: Yes, Francesco name day is celebrated on the 4th of October and it’s in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi, San Francesco d’Assisi.
Marco: Very famous San Francesco d’Assisi. Very, very famous.
Cinzia: Yes, whose real name was Giovanni, actually.
Marco: That means John.
Cinzia: But his name was changed by his father in Francesco.
Marco: Why did he change it? I mean, Giovanni is a nice name.
Cinzia: It was changed after he returned from a trip from France.
Marco: Oh, well, I get the similarity. Francia, that is the pronunciation of France in Italian, and Francesco. So well, yeah, make sense.
Cinzia: E adesso i diminutivi.
Marco: And now let’s take a look at the diminutives.
Cinzia: We have so many.
Marco: Yes, yes. So the diminutive of Francesco and Francesca are, respectively…
Cinzia: Chicco and Chicca.
Marco: Then.
Cinzia: Ciccio and Ciccia, but Ciccia is not used anymore because it sounds like fatty.
Marco: Yeah, yeah. Well, if I called Cinzia saying Ciccia, if she was called Francesca that is, it would seem like I am calling somebody a bit fatty. You never do that, never to girls. Never.
Cinzia: And what else? Cesco, Cesca not really often used.
Marco: But you can hear it.
Cinzia: Yes, and the Cecco and Cecca.


Marco: Yes. This is the end of today’s lesson and dear listeners, please let us have comments. Write in the forum. Let us know what names you would like to know about.
Cinzia: Yes. And if you want to find out your corresponding name in Italian .
Marco: Also, if there is, please remember we don’t always have corresponding names for every single name out there.
Cinzia: Yes, but please we need you to build up our projects, so keep posting.
Marco: You mean they have to do the work for us? No, they have to give us insights, right?
Cinzia: Yes. We need comments, posts and so on.
Marco: We really can make this Culture Class what you want to hear about Italian names.
Cinzia: Yes.
Marco: So have a good day.
Cinzia: Ciao ciao.