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Lesson Transcript

Betsey: Hi everyone! Welcome back to ItalianPod101.com. This is Lower beginner, Season 1 Lesson 20 - A Day at the Italian Races. I’m Betsey.
Ofelia: Ciao! Ofelia: here!
Betsey: In this lesson, you’ll learn how to express ability.
Ofelia: You'll also learn how to use the verbs sapere and potere. This conversation takes place at a racecourse.
Betsey: It’s between Jack and Claudio. The speakers are friends, so they’ll be speaking informally.
Ofelia: Ascoltiamo.
Ofelia: Now let’s talk a little about horse racing courses and horse races in Italy.
Betsey: Are there many race courses in Italy?
Ofelia: Hmm, there are about 43 racecourses that are State-financed.
Betsey: I didn’t know there was such a big interest in horse races in Italy…
Ofelia: Well, the tradition of horse racing dates back to the ancient times, and was an important presence throughout the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
Betsey: I see…
Ofelia: And there are two historical racecourses that you can still visit today - Capannelle in Rome, which was opened in 1881, and Caprilli which was opened in Livorno in 1894.
Betsey: I’ve also heard that some horse races take place in squares, not at racecourses
Ofelia: Yes. The most famous horse race takes place in Siena in Tuscany, and it’s called the Palio di Siena, or simply, il Palio.
Betsey: When is it held?
Ofelia: Twice a year, in July and August.
Betsey: That sounds interesting, can you tell us more?
Ofelia: Well, there are about ten horses and riders. The horses are ridden bareback, while the riders are dressed in the colors of the contrade, the old districts of Siena. They have to circle the Piazza del Campo, the main square of Siena, 3 times.
Betsey: Wow!
Ofelia: The Palio is also interesting because before the race, a wonderful historical pageant takes place.
Betsey: If I visit Italy in summer, I definitely want to go to see it! Okay, now onto the vocab.
Betsey: Let’s take a closer look at the usage of some of the words and phrases for this lesson.
Ofelia: The first word is... CAVALLO
Betsey: HORSE
Ofelia: Cavallo means ‘horse’ and the related verb is cavalcare, which means “to ride a horse.”
Betsey: What is the adjective based on cavallo?
Ofelia: Actually, the adjective is a bit different, it’s equino.
Betsey: Ok, what’s an example of its usage?
Ofelia: Questa è una macelleria equina.
Betsey: This is a horse meat butcher.
Betsey: What's the next one we'll look at?
Ofelia: BRAVO.
Betsey: This means “Capable,” or “good”.
Ofelia: Bravo means to ‘be good at’, and it’s often used to compliment or to encourage people, especially kids when they do well.
Betsey: It’s similar to the English “bravo”. Can you give us a couple of examples?
Ofelia: Marco è un bravo bambino.
Betsey: Marco is a good boy.
Ofelia: Bravo, Marco!
Betsey: Good job, Marco!
Betsey: The last word we'll look at is...
Betsey: TO OFFER
Ofelia: Here's a sample sentence. Se vinco oggi, ti offro il pranzo.
Betsey: If I win today, lunch is on me.
Ofelia: You can use this in the sense of ‘offer to pay for something’, for example Ti offro un drink.
Betsey: “I offer you a drink.” So, it is also used to translate the expression ‘[something] is on me’, since there is no similar expression in Italian.
Ofelia: That’s right!
Betsey: What are some examples?
Ofelia: Posso offrirti una sigaretta?
Betsey: May I offer you a cigarette?
Ofelia: Se supero l’esame, ti offro la pizza.
Betsey: “If I pass the exam, pizza is on me.” Okay, everyone, now let’s move onto the grammar.

Lesson focus

Betsey: In this lesson, you’ll learn how to use the verbs...
Ofelia: sapere, potere, and conoscere.
Betsey: We will look at each verb, and the difference between these three verbs.
Ofelia: Let’s start from the verb sapere. Sapere is an irregular verb.
Betsey: And it means ‘to know’. Here is its conjugation
Ofelia: Io so
Betsey: [I know ]
Tu sai
Betsey: [You know]
Lui/lei sa
Betsey: [He/she knows]
Noi sappiamo
Betsey: [We know]
Voi sapete
Betsey: [You know] (plural)
Loro sanno
Betsey: [They know]
Betsey: It is a transitive verb, and it can be followed by a noun, or by a verb in the infinitive mood.
Ofelia: Sapere means “to be able to”, “to know how”
Betsey: ...and it is often translated in English with ‘can’ or ‘to be able to’.
Ofelia: Here are a couple of sample sentences. Quante lingue straniere sai parlare?
Betsey: That’s “How many foreign languages can you speak?”
Ofelia: Loro sanno cantare molto bene.
Betsey: They can sing very well.
Ofelia: As you may have noticed in the sentences before, when expressing an ability, the verb used is sapere, not potere.
Betsey: As we learned in lesson 19, the verb potere is used to make polite requests or to ask and grant permissions. For example...
Ofelia: Posso mettere il tuo cappotto?
Betsey: Can I wear your coat?
Ofelia: So listeners, remember to use sapere when you want to express abilities.
Betsey: Now let’s see the second verb.
Ofelia: It’s CONOSCERE. Let’s talk about its differences from the verb SAPERE.
Betsey: Both of them translate to the English ‘to know’.
Listen to the following examples...
Ofelia: So suonare il piano.
Betsey: “I can play the piano”/”I know how to play the piano.”
Ofelia: So la strada per arrivare da Luca.
Betsey: I know the way to get to Luca’s.
Ofelia: Sapere carries the meaning of ‘to know how to…’, while conoscere means “to know”, “to be acquainted with.”
Betsey: What are some more examples with this second word?
Ofelia: Noi conosciamo Giorgio, l’amico di Sara.
Betsey: We know Giorgio, Sara’s friend.
Ofelia: Non conosco la città.
Betsey: “I don’t know the city.” It seems that in some cases, the usage of these two words can overlap, and therefore be confusing.
Ofelia: It might help to remember that sapere can be followed by a noun or by a verb, while conoscere can only be followed by a noun.
Betsey: Yeah, that’s a good tip. And here are a couple more examples...
Ofelia: So suonare il violino.
Betsey: I can play the violin.
Ofelia: Conosco Giulia.
Betsey: “I know Giulia.” Listeners, remember you can always check the lesson notes to reinforce what you’ve learned in this lesson.


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

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Can you write a sentence using "sapere"?