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Lesson Transcript

Marco: Hello and welcome to Italian Culture Class lesson number eight.
Cinzia: Italian names lesson number eight. Massimo, Roberto, and Roberta.

Lesson focus

Marco: So, in today’s lesson we have Massimo, that is a male name, and Roberto, male name, and finally Roberta, female name.
Cinzia: Yes. We could actually have Massima as the female name.
Marco: We could?!
Cinzia: As the female corresponding name of Massimo but it’s not very often used.
Marco: Yes, yes, really. But before we jump in into the lesson, let’s remind our listeners to check out the PDF or even more explanations and nice interesting things about the names.
Cinzia: Yes. And don’t forget to leave us some comments in the forum or in the post.
Marco: Massimo can also be an adjective, can’t it?
Cinzia: Oh, yes. Massimo to translate “maximum”.
Marco: Maximum.
Cinzia: Anyway, in both cases they remind the idea of something great, very big.
Marco: That’s why maybe its origins, I mean the origins of Massimo, the name, are traced back to the Roman adjective, I mean superlative adjective “magnus”, “maximum”, that means “the first, the elder son, grand man” or also “superior to everyone else”.
Cinzia: Oh, yes. It’s such a great and amazing name. It actually became a family name used by famous and powerful aristocratic families during the Roman imperial period.
Marco: And concerning saints there have been over thirty who bore his name.
Cinzia: Oh, wow. Thirty?
Marco: Thirty. Thirty. And the onomastico of Massimo is generally celebrated on the 25th of June in honor of San Massimo Vescovo di Torino. Saint Massimo Bishop of Turin.
Cinzia: But Marco wait. Have you seen “Il Gladiatore”?
Marco: Yes.
Cinzia: Do you remember his name?
Marco: You mean “The Gladiator”, the movie “The Gladiator”?
Cinzia: Si.
Marco: No, I don’t remember the name. What was it?
Cinzia: Massimo, of course.
Marco: Really?
Cinzia: Yes. Massimo Decimo Meridio. Did you like that movie?
Marco: Yeah, I did, I did. But I was sleeping half way through.
Cinzia: Ah, okay.
Marco: I don’t know. Too many…
Cinzia: So, you couldn’t appreciate it.
Marco: Too many dead people I think.
Cinzia: Okay. Let’s skip and talk about the altered name of Massimo.
Marco: Yes, we have Massimiliano, Massimillo, Massimino and…
Cinzia: Massimillo.
Marco: Yes. Massimillo. And diminutives like Max and Massi.
Cinzia: Mmm, Massi yes, I agree.
Marco: What does Massi yes mean anyway?
Cinzia: Massi yes. I have some friends called Massimiliano and also Massimo and sometimes I just call them Massi.
Marco: Massi, yeah. True.
Marco: Massi has another meaning in Italian, right?
Cinzia: Like “rocks”?
Marco: Yes.
Cinzia: Yeah, it’s true. I’ve never thought about it
Marco: Well, you see, in my class at high school in Italy we had one boy called Massimiliano and one girl’s surname was Sassi. And sassi means “rocks”.
Cinzia: Oh, yes.
Marco: Massi means “boulders, bigger rocks”.
Cinzia: Yes.
Marco: So, one of my very, very funny classmates, another guy, he wrote “caduta massi e sassi”, meaning “careful, falling boulders and rocks”. So, bad joke if you don’t know…
Cinzia: No, no, no, it’s fun. I mean it’s funny the way how you can make jokes about names and surnames.
Marco: Exactly. So Massi and Sassi. But let’s move on with Massima. What are the derivatives of Massima? Then we don’t use it so much today.
Cinzia: We have Massimiliana, Massimilla, actually the same altered names of the male name.
Marco: Diminutives? There’s something interesting there.
Cinzia: Mina?
Marco: Yes, Mina. Exactly.
Cinzia: Like the singer?
Marco: Yes, this is actually a common name, you can hear it sometimes.
Cinzia: But Mina wasn’t her real name, right?
Marco: Yes, yes, yes. But very nice name.
Cinzia: Mina.
Marco: Yes.
Cinzia: And yes, because we don’t have compound names of Massimo and even Massima, let’s talk about Giovanni Calone.
Marco: Giovanni Calone. Now I want to bet with, no I don’t bet anything, but I bet that many Italians out there don’t know that Giovanni Calone is the real name of…
Cinzia: Massimo Ranieri.
Marco: And he is a popular singer, isn’t he?
Cinzia: Yes, of course he is.
Marco: Singer, actor, showman, oh, so many things.
Cinzia: He is from Napoli.
Marco: Okay. So what’s that supposed to mean?
Cinzia: That he is famous and he is a good singer, a good showman, funny, very clever.
Marco: And he is the greatest interpreter of the Canzone Napoletana.
Cinzia: Yes, of course.
Marco: The Neapolitan Folk Song.
Cinzia: Ah, okay. So why don’t we say “hi” to Massimo Ranieri?
Marco: Well. Ciao Massimo.
Cinzia: Massimo ciao!
Marco: Okay, let’s move on to Roberto and Roberta.
Cinzia: Yes, which is better.
Marco: So, Roberta is…she is sleeping, she is sleeping…
Cinzia: The feminine.
Marco: And Roberto?
Cinzia: The masculine.
Marco: And what are the origins of this famous-famous name?
Cinzia: Okay, we have two different theories.
Marco: Only two?
Cinzia: Oh, yes. How many do you want?
Marco: Three, four.
Cinzia: No, two are enough.
Marco: Tre, quattro.
Cinzia: The first theory traces its origins back to the old German compound name Roth Bertha.
Marco: Oh, yeah, yeah.
Cinzia: I don’t know if I pronounce it well.
Marco: And what is this name made up of?
Cinzia: Oh, it’s made up of Roth which means “fame, glory” and Bertha. I don’t know if I’m pronouncing it well, but I hope so because the “ t h” sound should sound like “th”.
Marco: I think . th th. And what does Bertha mean?
Cinzia: It means “famous”.
Marco: Only?
Cinzia: Yes.
Marco: Only famous? Also ‘renowned’…
Cinzia: Okay, yeah. Famosa, rinomata. And instead the second theory traces the origins of Roberto to the Provencal name Robert. Provence is a region located in France. Do you know, Marco?
Marco: Yes, yes. La Provenza.
Cinzia: And the onomastico, Marco?
Marco: Well, the onomastico for both Roberto and Roberta is celebrated on the 17th of September in honor of San Roberto Bellarmino. Saint Robert Bellarmino.
Cinzia: San Roberto Bellarmino, who is he?
Marco: He was a famous 17th century Jesuit Bishop and he was also among the people participating at the trial of Giordano Bruno and Galileo Galilei. He was…
Cinzia: Really?
Marco: Yes. He was actually against these two scientists and against the revolutionary ideas.
Cinzia: That’s unbelievable.
Marco: Well, I mean, well we can maybe judge things from our point of view but I think at that time it was actually very difficult. I mean Giordano Bruno and Galileo Galilei actually had very ground-breaking theories, haven’t they?
Cinzia: Yes, that’s true.
Marco: Going back to San Roberto Bellarmino, he is the patron saint of Catechists, professor and teachers.
Cinzia: Yes, and what are the derivatives?
Marco: Well, for Roberto we have altered names like Ruberto and Ruperto and diminutives like Robertino, Robi and Berto, for example.
Cinzia: Berto?
Marco: Yes. What about the diminutives of Roberta?
Cinzia: Oh, the diminutives are the same of the masculine names, so Robi, Berta, Robertina, and the altered ones are Ruperta, Ruberta, but I’ve never heard them.
Marco: No. Really. And what about the famous people using the name Roberto?
Cinzia: Oh, well, we have the famous singer Roberto Vecchioni. Do you know him?
Marco: Yes, I do. He’s very famous in Italy also now, isn’t he?
Cinzia: Yes, and his most famous song is “Samarcanda”.
Marco: “Samarcanda” and we have a link, don’t we?
Cinzia: So listeners, don’t forget to check out the post.
Marco: Can you sing “Samarcanda”?
Cinzia: I could but, maybe for our listeners, but not this time.
Marco: Not this time. Yeah. We don’t want our listeners to run away scared.


Cinzia: We’re running out of time now.
Marco: Listeners will be running away scared after this lesson.
Cinzia: No way.
Marco: No way?
Cinzia: No.
Marco: Okay, then. Ciao a tutti, a presto.
Cinzia: Grazie, ciao a tutti.