Italian

IL LEONE MARINO E LA MASCHERINA È LA FOTO DELL’ANNO
(taken from Il Mio Primo Quotidiano)

Ralph Pace, California Sea Lion Plays with Mask © Ralph Pace, United States | Courtesy World Press Photo 2021

Questa è la fotografia che ha vinto il World Press Photo 2021 (nella categoria Ambiente) il più importante concorso di fotogiornalismo al mondo. Tante le categorie e tante le foto che arrivano per diventare la foto dell’anno: 75 mila fotografie esaminate dai giudici, frutto del lavoro di 4.315 fotografi da 130 paesi del mondo.
La foto scelta per la categoria Ambiente-Singole è stata quella che vedete: il leone marino immortalato da Ralph Pace mentre nuota verso una mascherina, scambiata per una preda. La foto è stata scattata presso il sito di immersione Breakwater a Monterey, in California. Secondo World Animal Protection, ogni anno circa 136 mila tra foche, leoni marini e balene muoiono a causa delle plastica.

We are learning Italian backwards, from text to individual words - grammar is important, but so is speaking. During our first lesson we have read and analysed the first sentence (underlined above). Below you can find what we learned. 

LESSON 1 - LEZIONE 1

VERBO ESSERE – VERB TO BE (AND PERSONAL PRONOUNS)

    Sg                                  Pl

IO SONO                        NOI SIAMO

TU SEI                           VOI SIETE

LUI/LEI È                       LORO SONO

Unlike English, the Italian verbs “contain” the speaker – hence you do not have to say IO SONO or TU SEI; SONO, SEI is enough.

DEFINITE ARTICLE (THE)

IL – male, singular

LA – female, singular

L’ – both as above, whenever the word start with a vowel (A, E, I, O, U and letter H, which Italians do not pronounce)

NOUNS (OBJECTS, ITEMS)

IL LEONE – lion
IL LEONE MARINO – sea lion
IL RAGAZZO / LA RAGAZZA – boy / girl (ZZ is pronounced like PIZZA)
IL GATTO / LA GATTA – male cat / female cat
IL MONDO – world
LA CITTÀ – city
LA MASCHERINA - mask
L’AMICO / L’AMICA – male friend / female friend
L’ANNO – year (male)
L’AMBIENTE - environment (male)
LA FOTOGRAFIA, also LA FOTO (shortened) – photograph (gender doesn’t change even though the shortened version ends in -O, which usually indicates the male form)

Of course, not all nouns have male and female form; this only applies to living species, which have both genders also in nature; otherwise the gender simply is what it is, i.e. IL MONDO is male.

ADJECTIVES (DESCRIPTOR, TELLS US MORE ABOUT NOUN)

BIANCO / BIANCA – white (m) / white (f)

Adjective follows the gender of the noun: IL GATTO BIANCO / LA GATTA BIANCA

NERO / NERA – black (m) / black (f): IL GATTO NERO / LA GATTA NERA
BELLO / BELLA – beautiful (m) / beautiful (f) (there are some exceptions whenever the adjective comes before the noun, however whenever it follows the noun, this is the rule): IL RAGAZZO BELLO / LA RAGAZZA BELLA

Typical endings (based on gender and number); for nouns and adjectives:

-O, m. sg. = RAGAZZO BELLO

-A, f. sg. = RAGAZZA BELLA

-E, m. and f. sg. = RAGAZZO IMPORTANTE / RAGAZZA IMPORTANTE

(adjectives, that end in –E will be learned gradually, no need to learn them by heart)

CONJUNCTION (CONNECTING WORDS)

E – and

We have to differ between E = and, and È = is (verb To Be, 3rd person sg.). When speaking, there is no difference, while in writing we always need to use the accent.

PREPOSITIONS (ALL THE WEIRD SHORT WORDS)

(don’t think too much about what is used when, this is probably the hardest part of learning a language)

DI – of, from (usually expresses possession)
IN – in, on
A – in, on, at

Whenever these prepositions are used with the definite article (THE), the two words are combined:

DI + IL = DEL, i.e. LA FOTO DEL RAGAZZO

DI + LA = DELLA, i.e. LA FOTO DELLA RAGAZZA

DI + L’ = DELL, i.e. LA FOTTO DELL’AMBIENTE

IN + IL = NEL       IN + LA = NELLA           IN + L’ = NELL’

A + IL = AL           A + LA = ALLA              A + L’ + ALL’

-----

LESSON 2 - LEZIONE 2

VERBO AVERE – VERB TO HAVE (AND PERSONAL PRONOUNS)

    Sg                                  Pl

IO HO                          NOI ABBIAMO

TU HAI                         VOI AVETE

LUI/LEI HA                   LORO HANNO

Italians do not pronounce letter “H”! So it is like angry and not hungry.

VERBI IN – ARE

Group of verbs that finishes with ending –ARE; this is the largest group of verbs and they are mostly regular verbs.

Regular –ARE Verbs: we simply add the typical endings (see below) to the base of the verb.

AM-ARE – to love

IO           AM-O             NOI      AM-IAMO      

TU           AM-I              VOI      AM-ATE

LUI/LEI    AM-A             LORO   AM-ANO

Same rule applies to:

PENSARE – to think
LAVORARE – to work
ARRIVARE – to arrive, to come
DIVENTARE – to become
ESAMINARE – to examine, to grade, to judge
VOLARE – to fly
CAMINARE – to walk

With MANGIARE and STUDIARE – watch the letter “I”: it is part of base of the verb and not the ending.

MANGIARE – to eat
STUDIARE – to study, to learn

MANGI-O                             MANGI-AMO (without adding “I”)
MANGI (without adding “I”)   MANGI-ATE
MANGI-A                              MANGI-ANO

----- 

STUDI-O                             STUDI-AMO (without adding “I”)
STUDI (without adding “I”)   STUDI-ATE
STUDI-A                              STUDI-ANO

-----

With PAGARE – watch how you write it (rules of letter G)

PAGARE – to pay

PAG-O                                PAG-H-IAMO              
PAG-H-I                             PAG-ATE
PAG-A                                PAG-ANO

RULES OF LETTERS "G" AND "C"

G+A

GATTO

like GARY

G+I+A

GIANNI

like JACKET

G+O

LAGO

like GO

G+I+O

GIOVANNI

like JOHN

G+U

GUCCI

like GUCCI

G+I+U

GIULIA

like JUNIOR

G+E

GELATO

like JELLY

G+H+E

RIGHE

like GHETTO

G+I

GIRO

like GIN

G+H+I

LAGHI

like GIVE

 

C+A

CASA

like CAVE

C+I+A

CIAO

like CHARM

C+O

COSA

like COAT

C+I+O

LUCIO

like CHORE

C+U

CUCINA

like COOK

C+I+U

 

like CHOOSE

C+E

CENTRO

like CZECH

C+H+E

CHE

like KEVIN

C+I

CIPOLLA

like CHISEL

C+H+I

CHI

like KICK

S – whenever there is just one, in between two vowels, it is pronounced “Z”, like “zenith”
SS – whenever there are two, in between two vowels, it is pronounced “S”, like “salami”

LA RIGA – line
IL LAGO – lake
IL GIRO – circle, round
IL GELATO – ice-cream
LA CUCINA – kitchen
LA CASA – house, home
LA COSA – thing, item
LA CIPOLLA – onion

LE PAROLE NUOVE (NEW WORDS)

NOUNS 

We already know what nouns, adverbs, verbs are (see lesson 1).

IL DOTTORE / IL MEDICO – doctor
LA DOTTORESSA – doctor (female)
IL FOTOGRAFO – photographer
IL PAESE – town, village, state (country)
L’ANNO – year
LA CURVA – turn (street)
LA CIABATTA – type of bread
IL LAVORO – work
LA PANNA – cream
LO ZUCCHERO – sugar
IL GIUDICE – judge
LA CAFFETTERIA – café
IL CANE – dog
LA ZUPPA – soup
IL FRUTTO – fruit
LA BANANA –banana
IL MELONE – melon (yellow)
LA FRAGOLA – strawberry
L’ARANCIA – orange
LA MELA – apple
L’UVA – grapes
LA PESCA – peach
LA PERA – pear

ADVERBS 

TANTO / MOLTO – a lot

CONJUNCTIONS 

CHI – who
CHE – that, what 

-----

LESSON 3 - LEZIONE 3

VERBI IN – ARE

Group of verbs that finishes with ending –ARE (we have learned about them in Lesson 3 but to help with the newly learned verbs we will keep the endings here too).

Regular –ARE Verbs: we simply add the typical endings (see below) to the base of the verb.

AM-ARE – to love

IO           AM-O             NOI      AM-IAMO      

TU           AM-I              VOI      AM-ATE

LUI/LEI    AM-A             LORO   AM-ANO

Same rule applies to:

ABITARE – to live (as to live in a certain city and not to live life)
NUOTARE – to swim
NOTARE – to notice
TROVARE – to find
CUCINARE – to cook
PORTARE – to carry 
CAMBIARE – to change (i.e. to change currency, clothes)
SCAMBIARE – to mistaken someone for someone else
PARLARE – to speak

----- 

VERBI IN –ERE

Group of verbs that finishes with ending –ERE (a lot of irregular verbs belongs to this group)

VED-ERE – to see

IO           VED-O             NOI      VED-IAMO      

TU           VED-I              VOI      VED-ETE

LUI/LEI    VED-E             LORO    VED-ONO

First and second person in singular and first person in plural have the same ending as with the verbs in –ARE.

Same rule applies to:

VIVERE – to live
PRENDERE – to take
PERDERE – to lose
PIOVERE – to rain (it is only used in the third person in singular, i.e. PIOVE)

-----

LE PAROLE NUOVE (nomi) – new words (nouns)

L’AMICO – friend (male) / GLI AMICI – friends (male / group of female and male)
L’AMICA – friend (woman) / LE AMICHE – friends (women)
LA PREDA – prey
IL CIBO – food / I CIBI (plural is used only when speaking of different types of food)
IL LIBRO – book
IL DENARO, I SOLDI – money (in singular form if we use DENARO, in plural form if we use SOLDI) 
IL PANTALONE – trousers / I PANTALONI – when saying that i.e. she wears the pants in their house, we use plural
LA SALSICCIA – sausage
IL RITARDO – delay
IL DOLCE – dessert, sweetie
IL CIOCCOLATO – chocolate (not really used in plural)
IL NOTTE – night
IL GIORNO – day
IL SOLE – sun
LA PIOGGIA – rain
IL TRENO – train / ANDARE IN TRENO – to travel with train
LA MACCHINA – car, machine / ANDARE IN MACCHINA – to travel with car

LE PAROLE NUOVE (aggettivi) – new words (adjectives)

BUONO / BUONA – good (m) / good (f)
PESANTE – heavy (m, f)

PREPOSIZIONI – prepositions (some also used as conjunctions)

VERSO – towards
FUORI – outside
DENTRO – inside
ADESSO – now
QUANDO – when
DOVE – where
SOTTO – under
DI NUOVO – again
MENTRE – meanwhile 

Use of prepositions in certain phrases – do not learn them by heart, but rather as you learn the language; slowly you will start remembering them.

ESSERE A LONDRA – to be in London; when referring to cities we use preposition A; cities, towns do not use definite article (like in English you don’t say “the London”)
ESSERE DI LONDRA – to be from London
VIVERE A LONDRA – to live in London
ESSERE IN MONTAGNA – to be in mountains
ESSERE IN ITALIA – to be in Italy; when referring to countries we use preposition IN; some countries can have definite article (the), while other have to have it (special rules will be learned later)
ESSERE A CASA – to be at home
NUOTARE AL MARE / NUOTARE AL LAGO – to swim in sea / to swim in lake, BUT: NUOTARE IN PISCINA – to swim in pool
ESSERE NEL BOSCO – to be in forest