Learn Italian from Pinocchio: chapter 1, part 1

This post begins our study of the Italian language used in Le avventure di Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi. Before working through the chapter 1 posts, read the entire chapter of the book first.

In this post, we’ll look at:

Come andò che can be translated as how it occurred that. Andò, from andare (to go), is in the passato remoto tense. Literally, come andò che means how it went that.

Note that maestro (master, craftsman) has three syllables (ma-es-tro), with the stress falling on the second. Ciliegia (cherry) also has three syllables (ci-lie-gia), with the stress falling on the second. The plural of ciliegia is ciliegie.

Falegnami al lavoro

A woodworker is called a falegname in Italian. This is an interesting word; it comes from the combination of two others: fare (to do, to make) and legname (timber).

A distinction is made between falegname and carpentiere. Both are men who work with wood, but the falegname works on furniture and other crafted objects, whereas the carpentiere works in construction. The carpentiere might make a wooden scaffolding, for example.

The work of the falegname is called falegnameria, and that of the carpentiere is carpenteria.

Un pezzo di legno is a piece of wood. We looked above at legname (timber), which you see is related etymologically to legno (wood).

We’ve another example of the passato remoto in trovò, from the verb trovare (to find). Using falegname, you can now say, for example, il falegname trovò un pezzo di legno (the woodworker found a piece of wood). Using the passato prossimo instead, you’d say il falegname ha trovato un pezzo di legno.

We learn the pezzo di legno acted like a child. The expressions we find are piangere come un bambino (to cry like a child) and ridere come un bambino (to laugh like a child). The text uses the conjugated forms piangeva and rideva, which are in the imperfetto tense. Il pezzo di legno piangeva e rideva come un bambino (the piece of wood cried and laughed like a child).

Below is a review of language found in this post. The vowels occurring in stressed syllables are underlined.

  • come andò che, how it occurred that
  • un maestro, master, craftsman
  • una ciliegia, cherry
  • le ciliegie, cherries
  • un falegname, woodworker, carpenter
  • un carpentiere, carpenter
  • la falegnameria, woodworking, carpentry
  • la carpenteria, carpentry
  • un pezzo, piece
  • il legno, wood
  • il legname, timber
  • piangere, to cry
  • ridere, to laugh
  • come un bambino, like a child

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