Monday, December 16, 2013

Buon Natale a tutti!

l'albero di Natale

I love Christmas-who doesn't?! The celebrations, the preparations and the merry-making that comes with this end of the year festivity have roots far earlier than European Christianity. It is believed that ancient Romans celebrated the winter solstice by decorating evergreen trees (symbolic of the spring to follow winter) with garlands of laurel and candles. The Scandinavians decorated their evergreen trees with apples. There are so many symbols associated with Chrstmas time that I decided to make a list. Having said that, I raise my cyber glass to you and toast this beautiful end of the year holiday.

Today I offer Christmas vocabulary words for my students of Italian:

Buon Natale,  la vigilia di Natale,  Buone Feste,  Babbo Natale,  la stella,  la lista,  gli ornamenti

la corona dell'avvento

il calendario dell'avvento
il panettone
il panforte

il ceppo di Natale

il regalo
il giocattolo
il pupazzo di neve

la ghirlanda
il presepio

il bambino Gesu',  la vigilia di San Silvestro,  il Capodanno,  la Befana,  l'Epifania 

Buon divertimento e Buon Natale a tutti!

fuochi d'artifico a Capodanno

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Cinema Italiano

 On September 14-15, 2013, in San Francisco, we attended a Pier Paolo Pasolini retrospettiva and saw Medea.  Pasolini made some creative, progressive, crazy (in a good sense) films. They were not Hollywood everything ends well kind of films, they were somewhat tragic like life can be, they exuded raw emotion; Americans are unaccustomed to PPP's (Pier Paolo Pasolini) artistic vision and are either enthralled with his art or repulsed and disappointed. 

and a stark reality, post WWII Rome.... Mamma Roma

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Halloween in America is called la Festa di Ognisanti in Italy

And here we are! Ecco ci qua!  California's Indian Summer/Fall, October (ottobre in Italiano and NOT capitalized), le foglie leaves are turning color and falling all around me. Here in my neighborhood in Redwood City, the wind blows even though it is warm 78 F today. I can hear the leaves (le foglie) falling to the ground (il pavimento) making crunchy sounds-scruch.  I know I say this every season, but Fall (l'autunno) really is my favorite time of year. Metaphorically speaking, I am ready for things to die (morire) and fall away.

So, with ottobre comes Halloween.
In Italy, American-style Halloween (la notte delle streghe) has gained popularity among the younger set and more and more people are dressing up, decorating and taking yet another opportunity to celebrate the commemorative day. Originally, around the time of Halloween, people celebrated an end of summer harvest and collection of the seeds that would bring them to the next planting season in Spring (la  primavera).
Why is Halloween associated with the macabre? Well, naturally because most people fear death and death is inevitable. We see and feel death at the end of the Summer season such that we use anthropomorphic (antropomorfizzare) symbols to help us laugh off the notion of death. Thus I put forth my vocabulary list for Halloween that I've been teaching to my students of Italian.
le zucche d'autunno
la strega vola sulla sua scopa

la zucca di Halloween
la strega
la scopa volante
la mistura della strega

il mantellone
il gatto nero    

il teschio messicano
il castello stregato    
il mostro
il vampiro
il fantasma
la casa stregata

il teschio
lo scheletro
il lupo mannaro
dolcetto o scherzetto?

dolcetto o scherzetto?

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Summer, vacation, le vacanze, "feriae augusti"...dove vai?!

Summer vacation is just reaching its crescendo in California. 
In Italy people eagerly save, plan and await the August 15, Ferragosto holiday.  If anyone has been in Rome from August 15 onward, you would know that the streets are empty because of the mass exodus from the città eterna.  Here are some vocab words (and a hilarious video) significant to this time of the year in Italy. Ferragosto

Ferragosto,    15 agosto,    giorno festivo,    chiuso per le ferie,    l'esodo di ferragosto

There's a big beach culture in Italy and why not? Il tempo libero should be big on everyone's calendar at least once or twice a year.

la spiaggia,  la sabbia,  le sedia a sdraio,  il mare,   l'onda,  l'ombrellone,  il costume da bagno,  la cabina,  l'albergo,  prendere il sole,  il lungo mare

giocchi al mare:   il secchiello,  il pallone,  la paletta

Monday, February 11, 2013

Amore! Love is in the air...

...although winter will last for another 40+ days, the sun is shining here in California (currently a Spring-like 61 F in the afternoons) and it makes everyone in the mood for love...just in time for Valentine's Day!

fu morto il 14 febbraio 273
vescovo e martire cristiano

The Italians (and most Europeans for that matter) have come to celebrate [St.] Valentine's Day like we do here in America. This LOVE-ly holiday is a great excuse for love-centric Italian vocabulary words and images!

Let's start with San Valentino. He is the patron saint of lovers (patrono degli innamorati) and he was martyred in Rome (Roma) Feb 14, 273 :

So that's how it all started...dying for love!
Now let's get to the good part.

In Italy, the term I LOVE YOU is commonly asserted as:
I WANT THE BEST FOR YOU:  ti voglio bene

but also,
I LOVE YOU:  ti amo

Ti voglio bene assai  (I love you so much)
Amore mio  (my love)
Tesoro  ([my] treasure)
innamorarsi  (reflexive verb: to fall in love)
fidanzarsi  (reflexive verb: to get engaged)sposarsi  (reflexive verb: to marry)
la fede (wedding band/ring)

"ti voglio bene assai" by Lucio dalla Caruso

Caro(a) darling and/or dear
ti do il mio cuore (I give you my heart)
sei un angelo (you're an angel)
un mazzo di fiori ( a bouquet of flowers)

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