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Lesson Transcript

Cinzia: Buonasera a tutti, buonasera Marco and welcome back to the Culture Class.

Lesson focus

Marco: Italian names. Today’s lesson is number 3. So, Cinzia, what two names are we going to be talking about today?
Cinzia: Oh, today’s names are Andrea and Elena.
Marco: Andrea? That looks like a female name.
Cinzia: Oh, no, no, no, Marco. It’s a masculine name.
Marco: Oh, so listeners be careful. Andrea is only for males. It’s a masculine name.
Cinzia: Yes, I’ve maybe heard like English names, Andrea for girls?
Marco: In English, Andrea is for girls. Actually, in the Mediterranean tradition, Italy, Greece, southern France etcetera, Andrea kept its original meaning and so historically and traditionally it is only for males. While in the Anglo-Saxon culture it has changed and can also be used for females.
Cinzia: Yes, you’re right, Marco. In fact, this name originates from the ancient Greek proper noun Andreas that can be considered an abbreviation of the Greek compound name starting with Andros. That means “man, masculine, individual, warrior, sturdy man”.
Marco: You mean “uomo, individuo maschile, guerriero, uomo forte”.
Cinzia: Yes. And we also have Andreia, which means “forza, coraggio”.
Marco: “Strength, courage”. And when is the onomastico, the name day, of Andrea celebrated?
Cinzia: Sant’Andrea viene celebrato il 30 novembre.
Marco: Saint Andrew is celebrated on the thirtieth of November.
Cinzia: Yes, and it’s in honor of San Andrea, Saint Andrew, a disciple of San Giovanni Battista.
Marco: Saint John the Baptist and brother of San Pietro, Saint Peter.
Cinzia: Yes. So as we have seen even in the previous lessons, most of the Italian names are connected to the Latin names in the Roman culture.
Marco: And also…
Cinzia: And the Greek one.
Marco: And also to the Christian culture that originated in that period.
Cinzia: Yes, so many names related to the important names of Disciples or Apostles.
Marco: Exactly.
Cinzia: In fact, according to the Biblical accounts Andrea was one of the closest person to Jesus Christ.
Marco: Oh, there is another very interesting fact about Andrea; that is the patron saint of fishermen.
Cinzia: Oh, il patrono dei pescatori.
Marco: Yes, patron saint in Italian is patrono, actually santo patrono.
Cinzia: Santo patrono.
Marco: Because patron is patrono, santo is saint, so santo patrono is patron saint. What about the diminutives of Andrea?
Cinzia: Oh, I can tell you so many.
Marco: Tell me so many, then.
Cinzia: I have a cousin called Andrea.
Marco: Really?
Cinzia: So I always called Andri.
Marco: Really?
Cinzia: Yes.
Marco: Well, say “hi” to Andrea. Come on, tell him “hi”. For now, you can say it live. Well not really live, sorry, but you can tell him.
Cinzia: Ciao Andri!
Marco: Okay, he’ll be happy, I’m sure. And what other diminutives do we have?
Cinzia: Mmm, we have Andre, Andre, Andreino, Andreuccio, Andrietto.
Marco: And many others. What about compound names?
Cinzia: Mmm, we have Gian Andrea.
Marco: And it can be written Gian space Andrea or altogether, Gianandrea.
Cinzia: Yes. I wonder how these people can do if they’re called Gian Andrea or Gianandrea, but I’ve never met anyone with this name.
Marco: Me neither actually. It’s a bit archaic name. And we said that there aren’t any modern versions of Andrea for females, right? What about all the fashion feminine versions of the name Andrea?
Cinzia: There were Andreina…
Marco: Yes.
Cinzia: Andreuccio.
Marco: Aha.
Cinzia: Andrietta, Andreana. Very rare.
Marco: But…very, very rare. Yes.
Cinzia: I’ve never heard them.
Marco: Me neither, actually.
Cinzia: Well, actually I have a friend, well, she is an old friend.
Marco: Okay, yeah, and?
Cinzia: And she is called Andreana.
Marco: Andreana?
Cinzia: Yes.
Marco: Okay. But many, let’s say, out of fashion names are slowly, slowly coming back to fashion because many Italian families want to use a special name for their children.
Cinzia: Can you imagine how names can influence people’s lives?
Marco: Yes, it’s true because I mean when you’re in the kindergarten, when you’re playing with friends, when you’re a child, many people actually ask what’s the meaning behind your name, or why they call you like that.
Cinzia: Yes.
Marco: And so slowly, slowly it gets into you, I think.
Cinzia: Yes. Having a rare or particular name is a sort of weight on you?
Marco: Yeah, it’s a weight because you have to actually live up to that name.
Cinzia: Yes.
Marco: Yeah, true.
Cinzia: I remember a friend called Seria.
Marco: Seria?
Cinzia: Yes.
Marco: That means “serious” in Italian, in the adjective sense.
Cinzia: I remember this person being always actually very serious, you know.
Marco: Molto seria. Very serious.
Cinzia: Molto molto seria.
Marco: Okay. Also because I think the sound also gets into your heart, I mean becomes part of…
Cinzia: Of course, of course.
Marco: That’s why maybe we like to use so many diminutives in Italy, so you can change who you are.
Cinzia: So you can change your identity in some ways.
Marco: 007, joking, joking. What about famous people using the name Andrea?
Cinzia: Oh, Marco, do you know Andrea Bocelli?
Marco: Who doesn’t know Andrea Bocelli?
Cinzia: Oh, he’s one of the most famous Italians singers.
Marco: Yes, he is, he is. For a…
Cinzia: He is actually lyric tenor.
Marco: Exactly. For those who don’t know he is an Italian lyric tenor. And he started his career, actually as a pop singer, then he started specializing in opera singing.
Cinzia: Yes, he has a such great voice.
Marco: If you have time and you have never listened to any of his songs or his albums or anything he’s written, please check it out.
Cinzia: And now let’s take a look at today’s second name which is Elena.
Marco: It’s a feminine name, right?
Cinzia: Yes. And old name more than this connected to the Greek culture.
Marco: It’s true, it’s true. But how do you say Elena in English?
Cinzia: Oh, Helen.
Marco: So, it’s now I’m sure our listeners understand that it’s Helen of Troy.
Cinzia: Yes.
Marco: Elena di Troia.
Cinzia: Elena di Troia. And Marco, what about the origins?
Marco: Well, the name Elena comes from the Greek Helene that means “radiance, vigor of the sun, brightness of the sun, shine, torch”.
Cinzia: Oh, “sole, lucentezza, brillare”.
Marco: Yeah.
Cinzia: It’s a nice meaning. Well, they are all nice meanings and the name day is celebrated on?
Marco: The onomastico is celebrated on August the 18th in honor of Santa Flavia Iulia Helena Augusta.
Cinzia: Hey, how many names!
Marco: Yes. Let’s repeat them one more time. Santa Flavia Iulia Helena Augusta that was Emperor Constantine’s mother.
Cinzia: Oh, la madre dell’imperatore Costantino.
Marco: Yes. But say slowly this time. It’s too fast in Italian.
Cinzia: La madre dell’imperatore Costantino.
Marco: “The mother of the Emperor Constantine.” Yes.
Cinzia: Yes. She was not that lucky because she was persecuted due to her religious beliefs.
Marco: Yeah. That wasn’t a nice period, I think.
Cinzia: But it’s interesting.
Marco: Yeah. And what about the diminutives of the name Elena?
Cinzia: Oh, we have Eli, Nene, Lella, Lena, Lea.
Marco: And what about the masculine versions of the name Elena?
Cinzia: Oh, no, no, no, we don’t have a masculine version.
Marco: No, really? That’s it?
Cinzia: Yes, Marco. That’s it.
Marco: That’s the end of the lesson?
Cinzia: Yes, I think so.


Marco: Oh... Well, I guess this is the end of today’s lesson.
Cinzia: Yes. Even if it was very short, I’m sure that our listeners can check our PDF.
Marco: Yes.
Cinzia: And learn more.
Marco: Check the PDF for additional information on the names that we’ve seen today.
Cinzia: Si, grazie a tutti e ci vediamo la prossima volta.
Marco: Thank you everybody and we’ll see you next time.
Cinzia: Ciao.
Marco: Ciao ciao.