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Lesson Transcript

Betsey: Hi everyone! Welcome back to ItalianPod101.com. This is Lower beginner Season 1 Lesson 14 - Is Italian Grammar Difficult? I’m Betsey.
Ofelia: Ciao! I’m Ofelia. In this lesson, you will learn how to express feelings of confusion and difficulty.
Betsey: You will also learn how to recognize masculine and feminine nouns in Italian, and their exceptions. Such as…
Ofelia: Questo pigiama è molto carino.
Betsey: Which means “These pajamas are very nice.” This conversation takes place at the local library.
Ofelia: Jack and Claudio parlano insieme.
Betsey: The conversation is between Jack and Claudio. The speakers are friends, so they’ll be using informal language.
Ofelia: Ascoltiamo
Ofelia: Let’s talk about the Italian language itself.
Betsey: Is Italian spoken in other countries beside Italy?
Ofelia: Sure. It is the official language in the Republic of San Marino.
Betsey: Of course! And of the Vatican City too I guess.
Ofelia: Actually in the Vatican City, there is no official language established but Italian is primarily spoken.
Betsey: I see. How about in Switzerland?
Ofelia: In Switzerland, it is one of the official languages, and it is studied and learned in all the confederation schools. It is spoken in the Swiss cantons of Ticino and Grigioni.
Betsey: And I read that it is co-official also in some areas in Slovenia and in Croatia.
Ofelia: Exactly. Italian is also widely known in some of the former colonies of Italy, like Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia.
Betsey: And on the other hand, are there other languages that are spoken in Italy besides Italian?
Ofelia: Oh yes! In Valle d’Aosta on the border with France, French is spoken. And in Trentino Alto Adige, near Austria, German is spoken.
Betsey: I remember going to Bolzano and reading all the signs both in Italian and German!
Ofelia: Another interesting thing is that in Italy, in some little communities some ancient languages are still spoken. They have survived through the centuries.
Betsey: Really?
Ofelia: Yes, like the language called Griko, still spoken in Calabria, in South Italy, which directly derives from ancient Greek.
Betsey: And is Sardo a language or a dialect?
Ofelia: Sardo is spoken in Sardinia and it is a co-official regional language. It is not a dialect, but one of the most conservative Roman languages.
Betsey: Okay, now onto the vocab.
Betsey: Let’s take a look at the vocabulary and phrases for this lesson.
Ofelia: The first word is. PARLARE DI
Ofelia: The verb parlare, to talk, is followed by the preposition di, of, and a noun to show the content of the conversation. It is also used to say what a book or movie is about.
Betsey: Could you give us a pair of examples ?
Ofelia: Questo romanzo parla delle avventure di Robin Hood.
Betsey: This novel talks about Robin Hood’s adventures.
Ofelia: Questo è un film storico: parla della seconda guerra mondiale.
Betsey: This is a historical movie: it talks about the Second world war.
Betsey: What's the next expression?
Betsey: GOOD LUCK!
Ofelia: It means ‘good luck’ but it literally means ‘in the mouth of the wolf’.
Betsey: Really? And what is the appropriate way to answer?
Ofelia: The answer to this expression should always be ‘crepi!’ (meaning ‘Die!’) and not grazie (‘thank you’). This answer is thought to bring bad luck instead.
Betsey: Please, let us hear the good luck combination!
Ofelia: In bocca al lupo! Crepi!
Betsey: Good luck! Thanks! or In the mouth of the wolf! May it die!
Betsey: The last word we'll look at is...
Ofelia: GIUSTO
Betsey: RIGHT
Ofelia: This adjective means ‘right’. For example, E’ giusto dividere i lavori domestici.
Betsey: It is right to share house work.
Ofelia: Like in English, ‘right’ can be used at the end of a sentence to confirm the content. It is used as a tag question. The adjective ‘vero’ is used in the same way.
Betsey: For example?
Ofelia: Sei francese, giusto?
Betsey: You are French, right?
Ofelia: Sei il fratello di Marco, vero?
Betsey: You are Marco’s brother, right? Okay, everyone, now onto the grammar.

Lesson focus

Betsey: In this lesson, you’ll learn how to recognize masculine and feminine nouns in Italian.
Ofelia: Indeed it is possible to recognize if the nouns are feminine and masculine from the last letter of the word.
Betsey: In Italian nouns are divided in two groups
Ofelia: The first group includes all –o ending masculine nouns, and –a ending feminine nouns.
Betsey: While in the second group, there are –e ending masculine and feminine nouns.
Ofelia: Of course, it is easier to recognize the nouns from the first group. But it is necessary to check the dictionary for the ones in the second group, and sometimes for the ones in the first too.
Betsey: Let’s look at some examples.
Ofelia: The word tavolo, table, ends in –o,
Betsey: So it’s a masculine noun.
Ofelia: Yes, and the determinative article before tavolo is il - Il tavolo
Betsey: Let’s now look at a feminine example from the first group.
Ofelia: TORTA, cake. Torta ends in –a, so it’s a feminine noun.
Betsey: Its determinative article is...
Ofelia: LA, La torta
Betsey: Let’s now consider some nouns from the second group.
Ofelia: These are nouns like fiore and stazione, which end in –e.
Betsey: So in the beginning, it is necessary to check the dictionary to understand their gender.
Ofelia: Yes, otherwise you can just check their articles or related adjectives. Fiore is masculine (il fiore), while a noun like stazione is feminine,( la stazione)
Betsey: Are there exceptions to this rule?
Ofelia: Yes, and and most of the exceptions concern the nouns belonging to the first group.
Betsey: Can you give us some examples?
Ofelia: There are -a ending nouns which are masculine
Betsey: Like?
Ofelia: il pigiama
Betsey: the pajama
Ofelia: Il pilota
Betsey: the pilot
Ofelia: Il problema
Betsey: the problem, issue
Ofelia: Il panorama
Betsey: the landscape
Ofelia: There are also -o ending nouns which are feminine
Betsey: For example?
Ofelia: La metro
Betsey: the underground
Ofelia: L’auto.
Betsey: the car.
Ofelia: La mano
Betsey: The hand
Ofelia: La radio
Betsey: The radio // . Ok listeners, make sure check the lesson notes where you can find more examples about this grammar point.


Betsey: OK. That's all for this lesson.
Ofelia: Thank you all for listening!
Betsey: See you next time!
Ofelia: A presto!

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Can you remember the gender of pigiama?