Thursday, 24 January 2013

Things, you know, and stuff.

It's about time I did a non-themed, what's-happening-in-my-life type, blog entry. Trouble is, every time I think about writing such a thing I start to feel a bit overwhelmed. I'm not even going to try to blog about Christmas. Life is very bitty right now.

Ho hum.

We need to organise our house; after Christmas we have toys for Noemi coming out of our ears and we really need furniture but without a car it's hard for us to get anything decent. Then Monica is having some health troubles; perhaps she's allergic to milk protein. This means tests. We've been quite lucky with the snow so far; let's hope that lasts! It came down for a few days but now the rain's washed pretty much all of it away.

Nice to be getting back into the swing of choir. Yesterday was a bit too much hard work though; lots of things the tenors (including) were having issues getting to grips with and irritated sopranos taking it upon themselves to intervene.

Work is somewhat slow. I'm sure it won't last, so I'm just trying to relax and enjoy it. It means that when translations do come in, there's a good chance of me doing them rather than reviewing them (yuk) and it's let me get back into trying to learn to touch type. I had a long break because my Outlook reminders stopped working and I don't have much of a memory. Also bad for my prayer life. Go Mark! Anyway, I'm still bloody slow at touch typing, but I suppose if I keep on practising I'll get to a point where I can switch at some point.

We had a big meeting at work recently. All our meetings are big because we have them once in a blue moon (every death of a Pope, they say in Italian). Anyway, it went on for ages and I had to interpret, which I'm crap at, for the English-speakers, so it really got me down, but on the plus side they're trying to address some of our more glaring problems and at least talking about dialogue.

I've decided that I'd like to get a Kobo, but we can't afford it. They're in cahoots with Mondadori, a major Italian publisher, which apparently means 30,000 free titles, but there must be a catch. Maybe if I get money for my birthday in May I can think about it then. Our library has joined this thing, which Lauren says you have in England as well, which sounds pretty handy. The most awesomest part of it as far as I'm concerned are the integrated monolingual and bilingual dictionaries and the possibility of reading those documents that you can get for free on the web but would rather gouge out your eyes than read on a monitor, like, in my case, copyright-expired book, encyclicals, political speeches etc.

 Ok, ramble and out.

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Thursday, 17 January 2013

Angelus: Feminine Nouns + Pronouns – ed ella concepì per opera…

The (Twitter-friendly) text of the Angelus in Italian.
A (hasty) recording of the Angelus in Italian.


ed is a modified form of e, so it just means "and" again. It's called the 'd eufonica'; it's euphonic in that it avoids a cacophonic repetition of the vowel 'e' together with ella.

This can also happen with the preposition a–ad (to) or o–od (or).


This is another case of literary/formal language. I conjugated essere with its subject pronouns last time (here). Now we can expand it a little with some literary forms, which I've put in green.

essere(to) be, being
iosonoI am
tuseiyou are
lui/egli, lei/ella, Leièhe/she/it is (+ you are)
noisiamowe are
voisieteyou are (plural)
loro, essi, essesonothey are

Egli and ella are simple enough; they're direct literary equivalents for "he" and "she". The distinction for "they" is to do with gender and agreement, which I discussed here, but without touching on the relevant aspect. essi is the masculine form, and esse the feminine; this is simple enough since it corresponds to the normal endings of nouns, but with plurals it's a bit more complicated. What happens when you're dealing with a mix of masculine and feminine? The answer is simple, if arbitrary, you use the masculine form. In effect, you would only see esse when talking about a group comprising exclusively women. In the following, for example, the prayer is for all the dead, men and women:

splenda ad essi la Luce Perpetua
may-it-shine to them the Light Perpetual

Here we're talking about forms which you wouldn't tend to use every day, but the same rule applies in regular Italian:

sono benedetto – I am blessed (male speaker)
sono benedetta – I am blessed (female speaker)
sono benedetti – they are blessed (men or mixed group)
sono benedetti – they are blessed (women)


These are the feminine nouns in the Angelus:

la graziale graziethe grace(s)
la donnale donnethe woman/women
la madrele madrithe mother(s)
la mortele mortithe death(s)mortal
la servale servethe female servant(s)
la parolale parolethe word(s)
la carnele carnithe flesh, meatcarnal
la promessale promessethe promise(s)
la passionele passionithe passion(s)
la crocele crocithe cross(es)crucifix
la gloriale gloriethe glory/glories
la risurrezionele risurrezionithe resurrection(s)
la lucele lucithe light(s)lucid
la pacele pacithe peace(s)pacifist
(la peccatrice)(le peccatrici)(the female sinner(s))im-peccable
l'operale operethe work, action, meansoperation
l'orale orethe hour(s)
l'incarnazionele incarnazionithe incarnation(s)

You can see what I wrote on nouns, both masculine and feminine, last time here. Take a look before carrying on. Here there are more things to take into account.

Again, there are feminine nouns that begin with a vowel: opera, ora and incarnazione. As with the masculine nouns, the normal article "la" becomes an "l" with apostrophe. The plural, however, remains "le" in all cases.

With many words, there is a masculine and a feminine version. This can be quite simple, as in the case of "servant" – il servo (male) and la serva (female) – or slightly more complicated. I added peccatrice, which isn't in the Angelus, by way of illustration. You may remember that I listed il peccatore as "sinner" among the masculine nouns.

prega per noi peccatori
pray for us sinners

Here, as I was saying above, the masculine form is used to cover both sexes, but if, in a fit of philogyny, I were to pray for women only, it would have been peccatrici.

The -trix suffix isn't widely used in English, but it reflects the pair of -tore and -trice in Italian:

executor - executrix
genitor - genitrix
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Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Bible Tweets: 2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time

Ness1 ti chiamerà più Abbandonata, ma sarai chiamata Mia Gioia. Come gioisce lo sposo per la sposa, così il tuo Dio gioirà per te. Is 62,4–5

Cantate al Signore, uomini di tt la terra. Annunciate di giorno in giorno la sua salvezza, in mezzo alle genti la sua gloria Sal 96(95),1–3

Gioiscano i cieli, esulti la terra, risuoni il mare; sia in festa la campagna e gli alberi davanti al Signore che viene. Sal 96(95),11–13

1 solo è lo Spirito e 1 solo è Dio, che opera tutto in tutti. A ognuno è data 1 manifestazione dello Spirito × il bene comune. 1Cor 12,4.6–7

La madre di Gesù gli disse: "Non hanno vino": l'acqua che fece diventare vino fu l'inizio dei segni compiuti da Gesù. Gv 2,3.9.11

Friday, 11 January 2013

Angelus: Regular Verbs + Passato Remoto – L'angelo del Signore portò…

The (Twitter-friendly) text of the Angelus in Italian.
A (hasty) recording of the Angelus in Italian.

These two lines feature some regular verbs. I illustrated regular verbs here, and you should read this about the polite form.

Here's a recap using verbs from the Angelus instead:

bring, takeinfuse, instilconceivebringing, infusing, conceiving
present indicative
portoinfondoconcepiscoI bring, infuse, conceive
portiinfondiconcepisciyou bring, infuse, conceive
portainfondeconcepiscehe/she/it brings, infuses, conceives (you bring etc.)
portiamoinfondiamoconcepiamowe bring, infuse, conceive
portateinfondeteconcepiteyou (plural) bring, infuse, conceive
portanoinfondonoconcepisconothey bring, infuse, conceive
passato remoto (remote past, simple past)
portòinfuse concepìhe brought, infused, conceived

In fact, not all these verbs are perfectly regular, but they are regular in the present indicative – that will do for us.

I’ve put the regular endings in bold. In fact, there are two regular forms for -ire verbs. Last time I put the version which was more similar to the -are and -ire forms, to make it simpler, but in fact, these endings are more common.

Now, I'm going through the Angelus in order, so I'm touching on a few things in an order that you wouldn't usually adopt in learning. The Padre Nostro doesn't use any kind of past tense. The Angelus, on the other hand uses a form of the past tense that you're unlikely to cover in a beginners' course. Shouldn't I just gloss over it then? Well, no, I don't think so. Not just because it's in the Angelus either. It's used extensively in written Italian: if you read any Italian, you're pretty much bound to find it. So it pays to recognise it when you see it.

But instead of hitting you with a complete verb conjugation, I've just added the third person at the bottom, since that's the form you're most likely to encounter (and the only form in the Angelus too). In -are and -ire you can see that they both end with an accented vowel, which should help you to spot it. This is only slightly confused by the fact that the future can end with an accented vowel too: but in that case there would be an r first (e.g. porterò, porterai, porterà).

I already said that infondere wasn't perfectly regular, so it has its own peculiar form as you can see. The really important one to remember in any case is -are, -ò since this conjugation accounts for the majority of Italian verbs. The regular endings (for some reason there are two) for -ere verbs would be -ette and -é, though many -ere verbs are irregular anyway.
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Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Angelus: Prepositions with Articles – Nel nome del Padre…

nel, del, dello

To see what's going on in this first line, we also need to look at how prepositions combine with articles. What I wrote on this last time is here.

The Angelus is longer than the Padre Nostro. It also contains more prepositions. Have a look:

a - to
da - from
in - in
di - of
su - on
per - for, by means of
con - with
fra - between, among, from

Those are only the basic meanings; the functions of prepositions tend to vary wildly according to circumstance, so it would be a fool's errand to attempt to cover all the possibilities here. One to watch out for in the Angelus, however, is per, which can mean "by means of", as in:

per opera dello Spirito
by [the] work of-the Spirit

per la sua passione e la sua croce
through (the) his passion and (the) his cross

Whereas su doesn't actually appear in the Angleus; I added it so that the table I'm about to give you is complete. Last time, for the Padre Nostro, there were less prepositions, and we didn't have all the articles, so the table of prepositions combining with articles didn't need to be so big. This time you can see the whole thing:

+ il+ l'+ lo+ i+ gli+ la+ l'+ le


e means "and", of course, same as it did last time. And that's the first line covered already.
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Friday, 4 January 2013

Angelus: Masculine Nouns – Nel nome del Padre…

 Some time ago I took a look at the Lord's Prayer in Italian, from first principles. So when someone on Twitter was asking for “suggestions on how to learn a smattering of Italian” I thought I’d point them there.

Then I thought I might as well revisit it with the Angelus, since I actually tweet it pretty regularly and it might be more useful. I don’t feel the need to repeat everything that I already blogged, but I thought I could do it as a kind of, well, revision. There are probably a few things I might go into in further detail, but not so many. So here we go again.

These are the masculine nouns in the Angelus:

il nomei nomithe name(s)nominate
il padrei padrithe father(s)
il figlioi figlithe son(s)filial
il signorei signorithe lord, Mr., man
il fruttoi fruttithe fruit(s)
il senoi senithe breast, womb
il diogli deithe god(s)deity
il peccatorei peccatorithe sinner(s)im-peccable
il verboi verbithe word(s)verbal
il principioi principithe beginning, principle
il secoloi secolithe century (pl. ages, years)
il riposoi riposithe rest(s)repose
l'angelogli angelithe angel(s)
l'annunciogli annuncithe announcement, notice
lo spiritogli spiritithe spirit(s)

You can see what I wrote on nouns, both masculine and feminine, last time here. Take a look before carrying on. Here there are more things to take into account.

Firstly there are some nouns which end in -io, figlio and principio. Instead of ending with a double "i", they sort of fuse into one. This isn't always the case, but I think I’m right in saying that it normally is, so let’s leave it at that.

Then there are the masculine nouns that begin with a vowel, angelo and annuncio. In a similar way to "a" and "an" in English, the "il" becomes an "l" with apostrophe. In the plural, this becomes "gli" instead of the normal "i".

The article for spirito is different too. Masculine nouns that begin in a certain way, especially z-, st- or sp-, have a third form of the article, "lo". In these cases too, the plural is "gli".

I think that’s enough to start with; there were more things that needed elaborating than I thought.
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