What to Study This Week: Fammi un favore

Ah… a sign of relief! Un sospiro di sollievo! Here’s an easy one!

 

Fammi un favore.
Do me a favor.

 

The wonderful thing about this phrase, it’s almost word for word exactly how we say it in English! So for those of you fluent in English, this one is a piece of cake.

 

Here it is as it appears in Il Commissario Manara on Yabla.

Luca and Lara have discovered a dead woman in a pond in a nearby park. But Luca’s sister is in town, so as Lara says she’s returning to the police station he says:

 

Fammi un favore… vedi se mia sorella ha bisogno di qualcosa.
Do me a favor… see if my sister needs anything.

 

So for i vostri compiti this week, ask as many people as you can for a favor! The nice things here is you can get some practice giving commands – using the imperativo. 

 

Fammi un favore… 

 

...passami il cellulare.
…hand me the cellphone.

…chiama il Commissario Manara.
…call Police Commissioner Manara.

…pensaci.
…think about it.

…lasciami in pace.
…leave me in peace.

…metti su il caffè.
…put the coffee on.

 

Note: all of those imperatives above are informal, as is fammi un favore. So, how would you make this phrase formal?

 

(Lei) Mi faccia un favore…

 

...mi passi il cellulare.
…hand me the cellphone.

…chiami il Commissario Manara.
…call Police Commissioner Manara.

…ci pensi.
…think about it.

…mi lasci in pace.
…leave me in peace.

…metta su il caffè.
…put the coffee on.

 

What favors will you ask for? Fammi un favore! Tell us on Facebook.

Wait... what language is THAT?

Yabla Italian is an excellent tool to help you develop an ear for spoken Italian. (I use Yabla personally to study three different languages.) With Yabla Italian you will have:
  • verbatim subtitles in Italian
  • access to English subtitles when you need them
  • the ability to turn the subtitles off as you improve
  • quizzes to gauge how well you're doing
And… this is especially useful… you can slow the video down! Yes! We all know how fast the Italians talk. You know a lot of the words. If you just had a little more time to process them…. Well, now you do!

If you feel your Italian is good enough to watch without Italian (or English) subtitles, this episode of Il Commissario Manara is also available for free from RAI. You will need to fast forward to exactly 48 minutes for the start of Un morto di troppo.

What to Study This Week: Finché non

Our phrase this week is:

 

finché non
until (something happens)*

 

In our episode of Il Commissario Manara on Yabla, the team is at the crime scene and Luca goes to talk with medical examiner Ginevra who says:

 

Finché non faccio l’autopsia posso dirti solo che è morta.
Until I do the autopsy I can only tell you that she’s dead.

 

Notice that finché in this context is usually followed by non.1 Literally you are saying:

 

finché non
as long as not (or while not)

 

Here’s an example from another episode of Il Commissario Manara on Yabla:

 

Lei non se ne andrà da qui finché non avrà dimostrato di essere un vero commissario.
You won’t leave here as long as you haven’t shown yourself to be a real chief of police.

 

Generally, it’s best to just think of the entire phrase finché non as translating to until. When you see finché alone, think as long as or while.

 

Esempi:

Chiama questo numero finché non risponde.
Call this number until he answers.
(Call this number as long as he does not answer.)

 

Non voglio sentire un fiato finché non hai finito.
I don’t want to hear a peep out of you until you’ve finished.
(I don’t want to hear a peep out of you as long as you have not finished.

 

Dobbiamo tenere tutto serrato finché non prendono quel pazzo.
We have to keep everything locked up until they get that crazy guy.
(We have to keep everything locked up as long as they do not get that crazy guy.)

 

So, what’s going to mess you up with this phrase? There’s just one thing, and it will show up after a few other conjunctions as well. Unlike English – if you use the future tense in the first part of the sentence, you must use the future tense after finché non.2

 

Ma aspetterò finché non starai meglio.
But I’ll wait until you are better.
(But I will wait until you will be better.)

 

Aspetterò finché non tornerai.
I will wait until you return.
(I will wait until you will return.)

 

Staremo qui finché non chiederai scusa.
We’ll stand here until you say you’re sorry.
(We will stand here until you will say you’re sorry.)

 

A proposito, Italians use the non after finché even in the negative!

 

Ma non finché non farete un bagno.
But not until you have a bath.

 

No, non finché non avrai risposto alle mie domande.
No, not until you have answered my questions.

 

No, non finché non starai meglio.
No, not until you get better.

 

Confused? With this conjunction, we are getting into more complex language, so that’s to be expected. Don’t panic! Just keep studying phrases. Use the ones that express what you need to express. You’ll see over time you’ll be saying it right and you won’t even know how it happened!

 

Help us with phrases! How will you use this phrase in everyday speech? Tell us on Facebook.

 

Wait… what language is THAT?

Yabla Italian is an excellent tool to help you develop an ear for spoken Italian. (I use Yabla personally to study three different languages.) With Yabla Italian you will have:

  • verbatim subtitles in Italian
  • access to English subtitles when you need them
  • the ability to turn the subtitles off as you improve
  • quizzes to gauge how well you’re doing

And… this is especially useful… you can slow the video down! Yes! We all know how fast the Italians talk. You know a lot of the words. If you just had a little more time to process them…. Well, now you do!

If you feel your Italian is good enough to watch without Italian (or English) subtitles, this episode of Il Commissario Manara is also available for free from RAI. You will need to fast forward to exactly 48 minutes for the start of Un morto di troppo.


*Note: there are other ways the English word until is translated into Italian. In the context of a particular date you would say, for example,  fino a domani (until tomorrow)
1In everyday speech it isn’t always. But don’t worry, context will tell you the meaning.
2You’ll also see finché non (as well as similar conjunctions) followed by the subjunctive.

 

 

What to Study This Week: Farsene una ragione

farsene una ragione

 

If you’ve been following the blog since the beginning, you’ve seen this phrase before. But how many of you remember it?

 

Ha! You’re not doing your homework!

 

Well, you get a second chance. Last week we discussed the verb farsene as it appeared in Il Commissario Manara on Yabla. Farsene or farsene di means to make use of. But how does that relate to the phrase farsene una ragione??

 

Well, not so much. Can we make it fit? Maybe, but I can’t vouch for the translation. Farsene una ragione means:

 

farsene una ragione
to come to terms with (or to get over it)

 

You could say:

 

farsene una ragione
to make use of a reason

 

That would be the literal translation and if I think about long enough I can see how this usage may have developed. But really all you need are lots of examples. Here they are:

 

Non riesco a farmene una ragione.
I can’t get over it.

 

E io ho dovuto farmene una ragione.
And I’ve had to live with it.

 

Perché non te ne fai una ragione?
Why don’t you come to terms with it?

 

Te ne fai una ragione e vai avanti.
You deal with it and you move on.

 

O te ne fai una ragione o la smetti di pensarci.
You either get over it or you stop thinking about it.

 

E se mi viene la botta di freddo me ne faccio una ragione e…
And if I get the sniffles, I just deal with it and…

 

Prima te ne fai una ragione, prima potrai scegliere.
The sooner you come to terms with it, the sooner you can make a choice.

 

Devono farsene una ragione o peggio per loro.
They need to get over it or it’s their loss.

 

Me ne sono fatto una ragione.
I made peace with it.

 

Credo che me ne farò una ragione.
I think I can live with that.

 

Me ne devo fare una ragione.
I have to deal with it.

 

Te ne devi fare una ragione.
You’ve got to deal with it.

 

Ma se ne faceva sempre una ragione.
But he always got over it.

 

It’s very nice as an imperative, too!

 

Tesoro, è il 2009, fattene una ragione.
Darling, it’s 2009, deal with it.

 

E allora… fattene una ragione, principessa.
So… get over it, princess.

 

È un cane, fattene una ragione.
He’s a dog, get over it.

 

Fattene una ragione, siamo solo bambini.
Face it, we’re just kids.

 

Get it from the mouth of a real Italian. Fiorella from Sgrammaticando explains the usage of farsene una ragione in this video.

 

How will you use this week’s Italian phrase? Tell us on Facebook!

What to Study This Week: Farsene

farsene

 

Ok, this phrase is a bit more challenging than some of the others we’ve seen so far. For those of you who want to understand the grammar this will tax you a bit. I’m going to try to give you as literal a translation as possible so that you can grasp what you are saying. Eventually you will not need the translation anymore. In fact, the more you use the phrase, the less you will need to translate it. So make an effort to use it this week!

 

In our context this week, the verb farsene means to make use of. If we were to translate it literally it might look like this:

 

farsene
to make (use) (for) oneself of it

 

So now let’s turn to our phrase from Il Commissario Manara. Luca and Lara have just followed Brigadiere to a pond where they’ve found the body of a woman. Sardi comments on how beautiful the dead woman is. Ginevra, the medical examiner, then says:

 

Ormai della sua bellezza se ne fa ben poco, purtroppo.
At this point, her beauty matters very little to her, unfortunately.

 

Or, if we translate using our literal attempt:

 

Ormai, della sua bellezza se ne fa ben poco, purtroppo.
At this point, of her beauty she makes herself very little (use) of it, unfortunately.

 

Notice that the literal translation includes a bit of redundancy. But… and this is important… don’t get hung up on the literal translation! This is only so that wondering doesn’t drive you nuts. We don’t speak like this in English and try as you might to make it make sense in English, it won’t work. It’s best just to look at A LOT of examples and say them over and over to yourself as you try to experience the meaning. In that way, it will start to make sense to you. It really is a little like magic.

 

Most of the time you will see this expression used in questions where it might be translated as to want with (something).

 

For example:

 

Che cosa se ne fa di quello?
And what does he want with that?
(What use does he have for that?)

 

E che me ne faccio di un vestito?
And what do I want with a dress?
(What use do I have for a dress?)

 

Che me ne faccio di un sassofono?
What am I supposed to do with one saxophone?
(What use is a saxophone to me?)

 

Cosa se ne fa di quella maschera?
What use is that mask to him?

 

Che me ne faccio di un altro penny?
Why do I need another penny?
(What use is another penny to me?)

 

So right now, go pick something up and ask yourself: what do I want with this?

 

Che me ne faccio di…

 

Feel free to answer yourself (in Italian of course!)

 

When not a question, farsene often translates as what to do with it or what to make of it. It is often preceded by sapere which may or may not be translated. Here are some more examples:

 

Non so cosa farmene di tutto ciò
I don’t know what (use) to make of all this.

 

Non ho mai davvero saputo che farmene.
I never really knew what to do with it.
(I never really had any use for it.)

 

Non sapeva che farsene di quell’uomo.
He had no use for that man.

 

Non saprebbero che farsene di tutto questo.
They wouldn’t know what to do with all this.

 

There is also a very common idiom in Italian that uses farsene, but it’s meaning is completely idiomatic. It is:

 

farsene una ragione
to come to terms with it

 

But we’ll discuss that phrase next week!

 

How will you use this week’s Italian phrase? Tell us on Facebook!

 

Note: For those of you who just can’t stand not knowing why it’s ne and not ci – in this phrase you’ll notice that the thing being used is preceded by di.

 

della sua bellezza
of her beauty

 

When di is used with a verb (in this case fare) and you want to replace the object with a pronoun, you have to use ne. For a and a host of other prepositions, you use ci.

 

Wait… what language is THAT?

Yabla Italian is an excellent tool to help you develop an ear for spoken Italian. (I use Yabla personally to study three different languages.) With Yabla Italian you will have:

  • verbatim subtitles in Italian
  • access to English subtitles when you need them
  • the ability to turn the subtitles off as you improve
  • quizzes to gauge how well you’re doing

And… this is especially useful… you can slow the video down! Yes! We all know how fast the Italians talk. You know a lot of the words. If you just had a little more time to process them…. Well, now you do!

If you feel your Italian is good enough to watch without Italian (or English) subtitles, this episode of Il Commissario Manara is also available for free from RAI. You will need to fast forward to exactly 48 minutes for the start of Un morto di troppo.

Canzone: Vorrei Incontrarti Fra Cent’anni

Canzone: Vorrei Incontrarti Fra Cent’anni
di Ron e Tosca
Difficoltà: intermedio
Tempi: presente, futuro, imperativo, condizionale presente

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Vorrei incontrarti fra cent’anni
tu pensa al mondo fra cent’anni
ritroverò i tuoi occhi neri
tra milioni di occhi neri
saran belli più di ieri

Vorrei incontrarti fra cent’anni
rosa rossa tra le mie mani
dolce profumo nelle notti
abbracciata al mio cuscino
starò sveglio per guardarti
nella luce del mattino

Oh! Questo amore!
Più ci consuma più ci avvicina
Oh! Questo amore!
È un faro che brilla

Vorrei incontrarti fra cent’anni
combatterò dalla tua parte
perché tale è il mio amore
che per il tuo bene
sopporterei ogni male

Vorrei incontrarti fra cent’anni
come un gabbiano volerò
sarò felice come il vento
perché amo e sono amato
da te che non puoi cancellarmi
e cancellarti non posso

Io voglio amarti voglio averti
dirti quel che sento
abbandonare la mia anima
chiusa dentro nel tuo petto
Chiudi gli occhi dolcemente
e non ti preoccupare
entra nel mio cuore
e lasciati andare

Oh! Questo amore!
Più ci consuma più ci avvicina
Oh! Questo amore!
È un faro che brilla
in mezzo alla tempesta
Oh! Questo amore!
in mezzo alla tempesta
senza aver paura

Vorrei incontrarti fra cent’anni
tu pensa al mondo fra cent’anni
ritroverò i tuoi occhi neri
tra milioni di occhi neri
saran belli più di ieri
saran belli più di ieri


Grazie a Franco!