Category: La Frase Della Settimana

Total 12 Posts

What to Study This Week: Ho sentito tanto parlare di te

Ciao a tutti!

We’re continuing this week with our series of phrases from Il Commissario Manara: Un morto di troppo on Yabla.

Luca’s sister has come to visit him (è venuta a trovare) and now Lara, Luca’s on-again off-again girlfriend and fellow detective has just appeared. When Teresa hears who she is she says:

 

Ma sai che ho sentito tanto parlare di te!
But you know I have heard so much about you!

More literally this might be:

Ho sentito tanto parlare di te!
I’ve heard so much talk of you!

And if you want to use the formal you:

Ho sentito tanto parlare di Lei!
I’ve heard so much about you!

 

You can also say:

…di loro
…di lui
…di voi
…del NJILE

 

The tricky part comes when you want to drop …di (qualcuno/qualcosa). Here you need to use the infamous ne.

I’m not going to go too deeply into this. I think it’s best just to learn via phrase. However, for those of you struggling to understand the difference between ne and ci, here is a tiny bit of grammar.

Whenever you use the preposition di, you will replace it with ne.
Everything else, mainly a, but also su and in, will be replaced with ci.

So…

 

Ne ho sentito tanto parlare.
I’ve heard a lot of talk about it.

 

or what if I haven’t?

 

Non ne ho mai sentito parlare.
I have never heard of it.

 

Now for those of you who are more advanced, what about this? Suppose you heard someone else talking about something?

 

I heard him talking about it.
L‘ho sentito mentre ne parlava.

 

or more literally:

 

L‘ho sentito mentre ne parlava.
I heard him while he was talking about it.

 

 

Here are some examples from Reverso:

Sa, ho sentito parlare di persone come lei.
You know, I’ve heard of people like you.

Davvero non ne hai mai sentito parlare?
You have really never heard of it?

Probabilmente non ne hai mai sentito parlare.
You have probably never heard of it.

E ho sentito parlare di tutti.
And I’ve heard of everybody.

E poi… ho sentito parlare del Dragone.
And then… I heard about the Dragon.

Stavo giusto dicendo che ho sentito parlare di cibo quadrato.
I was just saying that I’ve heard of a square meal.

Come mai non ne ho sentito parlare dall’altro chirurgo?
How come I’ve never heard of the other surgeon?

Appena ho sentito parlare di quella scialuppa carbonizzata, ho voluto vederla.
As soon as I heard about that charred lifeboat, I wanted to see it.

Del reattore in Cina ne ho sentito parlare, ma dell’aumento dei futures della soia…
The reactor in China, I heard about, but the spike in soy futures…

La sorella di Dave ha sentito lui mentre ne parlava.
Dave’s sister heard him while he was talking about it.

 

How do you search for examples on Reverso?

You can see my search terms in the above sentences in blue. When you are unsure about how to say something, give it a try. Put your attempt in the search bar and see if you get any exact hits. One hit doesn’t tell you much, but if you get a lot of them, you’re on to something. But don’t stop there. Read the sentences to be sure that what you think you’re saying is actually what you’re saying!

You can also try putting the English phrase into the search bar and see what comes back. You may have to try a few times before you get a phrase that works. If you find Reverso keeps changing your text to something else, it could mean that your attempt is completely wrong, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that. Try adding or removing words from the phrase. Read the sentences and you will get the gist!

How will you use today’s phrase to express YOUR OWN THOUGHTS? The sooner you express your own thoughts, the sooner you will remember the phrase, so give it a try. Have you just been introduced to your daughter’s new boyfriend? Or a new colleague at work?

 

Ho sentito tanto parlare di Lei!

 

Or is a friend of yours talking about a new film?

 

Sì, ho sentito parlare di questo film.

 

Let us know how you used this phrase on Facebook.

That’s it for this week!

Alla prossima!

 

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: Venire a trovare

Ciao a tutti!

Those of you who have studied with Pimsleur will recognize this week’s phrase as we continue to study our episode of Il Commissario Manara as it appears on Yabla. In fact, this phrase appears relatively early in the Pimsleur lessons. Here it is:

 

venire a trovare (or andare a trovare)
to come to visit (to go to visit)

 

or more literally:

 

venire a trovare
to come to find

 

Last week Luca was surprised by Teresa, who has come to visit him. He says:

 

Teresa, ma che ci fai qua? Ma che sei pazza?
Teresa, but what are you doing here? But what are you crazy?

 

to which Teresa replies:

 

Allora, mi sono fatta dodici ore di treno per venirti a trovare e questa è l’accoglienza?
So, I did twelve hours on the train to come to visit you and this is the welcome?

 

So, what about this phrase is going to give you trouble? Well, the pronoun of course! When there are two infinitives like this, is it:

 

venirti a trovare

or

venire a trovarti?

 

Well, it depends on who you talk to! Both are used in spoken language, and are more or less common depending on the region of Italy you are visiting. My advice is to pick one and just stick with it. The native Italians I’ve spoken to tend to prefer venire a trovarti, with the pronoun attached to the last infinitive. It sounds better to their ears. So, I’ve personally chosen to stick with that.

 

You will also sometimes hear the pronoun placed in front of both verbs, like this:

 

La famiglia ti viene a trovare.
The family is coming to visit you.

 

Don’t worry about learning every different way of saying it. Pick one. Just be aware of the others so that when you hear them, you’ll understand.

 

Here are some more examples in context:

 

Vedi che bravo figlio, che viene a trovare la mamma.
Look what a good son, that comes to visit his mother.

Tua madre viene a trovarti domani?
Is your mother coming to visit you tomorrow?

Ti spiace se vengo a trovarti?
Do you mind if I visit you?

Ecco perché nessuno viene a trovarla.
That’s why nobody comes to visit her/you (formal)

Lei è l’unica che viene a trovarlo.
She is the only one that comes to visit him.

Non vieni mai a trovarci.
You never come to visit us.

 

Of course, you are not limited to coming to visit, you can also go to visit.

 

E a volte mi rendo conto che le persone mi stanno pensando, per cui vado a trovarle.
And sometimes I realize that people are thinking of me, so I go visit them.

Sono solo andata a trovarlo all’ospedale poche volte.
I only went to visit him in the hospital a few times.

 

Now, to learn, you really need to express your own thoughts. I can’t stress this enough. Once you have used a phrase to express your own thoughts a few times it becomes much easier to remember. So, how can you take what you’ve learned here and express your own thoughts?

 

Do you have a trip planned? Who are you visiting? How would you tell this to a friend? How could you greet your friend when you got there? Or maybe you’re visiting someone in the hospital? Or you want to see a friend that you haven’t seen in a while? How do you tell them you’re coming?

 

Let us know on Facebook how you used this phrase in context!

 

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: Ma che sei pazza?

Ciao a tutti! We’re still studying phrases from the first 3 minutes of an episode of Il Commissario Manara, un poliziesco on RAI.tv with our new series La Frase Della Settimana. We are studying with Yabla, an excellent learning tool that shows you verbatim subtitles in both Italian and English AND allows you to slow down or stop the video when needed. This is an excellent way to develop your ear for spoken Italian, but it also allows you to take note of idiomatic phrases. And there are plenty!

So, last week we learned how to say:

 

Che ci fai qui?
What are you doing here?

 

This is what Luca (il commissario) says to his sister, Teresa, when she surprises him by coming to visit. Now we’re going to focus on what he says right after that:

 

Teresa, ma che ci fai qua? Ma che sei pazza?
Teresa, but what are you doing here? But what are you nuts?

 

I feel pretty confident you are all going to find a good use for this one. 🙂

The only thing you’ll need to remember here is to change the ending of the word pazzo which means crazy, to match the gender of the crazy person. Not too difficult. So, for example if Teresa was the one asking Luca, she would say:

 

Ma che sei pazzo?
But what are you nuts?

 

Of course, you can call people nuts in a variety of ways. Instead of asking you can just be direct.

 

Sei pazzo!
You’re nuts!

 

Here are some more examples:

 

Delilah ha ragione, sei pazzo.
Delilah is right, you’re crazy.

 

La gente penserà che sei pazzo.
People will think you’re crazy.

 

Lo so già che sei pazza.
I already know that you’re crazy.

 

If you’re talking about someone else you might say something like this:

 

Non ascoltare nulla di ciò che dice Ben perché è pazzo.
Don’t listen to anything Ben says because he’s crazy.

 

Madre Natura è pazza.
Mother Nature is crazy.

 

Questi hippies sono pazzi.
Those hippies are crazy.

 

Or perhaps you are talking to yourself?

 

Ma che cosa faccio? Sono pazza?
But what am I doing? Am I crazy?

 

So, who will be your target for this week’s phrase? Post your examples to our Facebook page.

 

!!! Remember to use your new phrase about THREE TIMES this week to express your own PERSONAL THOUGHTS. And you won’t forget it.

 

Alla prossima volta!

 

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: Che Ci Fai Qui?

Ciao a tutti! We’re continuing this week with phrases from Il Commissario Manara, a police drama from RAI (that’s the state-run Italian media company). For those of you who are new to our series La Frase Della Settimana, each week we’re focusing on a phrase that appears in natural Italian speech. The trick is to use the new phrase to express your own thoughts in real time. You will not need to do this too many times before the phrase becomes easy to remember.

We’re currently focusing on a single episode of Il Commissario Manara following along with Yabla’s verbatim Italian subtitles. Yabla is an excellent tool for developing an ear for spoken Italian. I personally use it to study two other languages in addition to Italian and it has certainly made a difference in my ability to understand spoken language.

Another benefit of course is that you discover idiomatic phrases that you can use immediately in your own spoken language.

 

Our phrase this week is:

 

Che ci fai qui?
What are you doing here?

 

Now I know what you’re thinking – what is that ci doing there? Well, that’s a good question and I don’t think even the Italians know. * It’s used mainly to make the sentence sound better and to cause a slightly different feel to the listener. But, that’s why it’s idiomatic. It’s best not to worry too much about it and just learn to understand it and use it for what it means. As you start to talk with real Italians the nuances will come. For now, among friends:

 

Ma, Giuseppe! Che ci fai qui? Pensavo che fossi in Italia questa settimana!
But, Joe! What are you doing here? I thought you were in Italy this week!

 

Don’t worry if you don’t understand the whole sentence. It’s only to show you an example of how you might use it. Suppose your friend shows up to a party you thought he wasn’t going to come. You’re talking to another friend of yours and you say:

 

Che ci fa qui?
What’s he doing here?

 

You get it.

 

Here’s some more examples:

 

Che ci faccio qui?
What am I doing here?

 

Che ci fanno qui a quest’ora?
What are they doing here at this hour?

 

Continuo a non capire che ci fanno qui questi due.
I still don’t understand what those two are doing here.

 

You can also say this in the past tense of course:

 

Che ci faceva qui?
What was he doing here?

 

You can, if you like, switch out qui for qua, if that suits you, as does Luca when he finally realizes his sister, Teresa, is in town:

 

Teresa, ma che ci fai qua?
Teresa, but what are you doing here?

 

This is an easy one! So, get started using it! Next time you bump into someone you didn’t expect to see, what are you going to say?

 

That’s right! Tell us how you used this phrase of the week on our Facebook page!

 

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.


 
 

* Examples like this are sometimes called pleonastic. Pleonasm is defined as: the use of more words than are necessary to express an idea; redundancy. There’s a lot of this sort of thing in Italian. For example:

Ce l’ho.

I have it.

You can see why the Italian prefer the redundancy, no? Without ce all you are saying is l’ho, which sounds a lot like lo. Could get confusing!

What to Study This Week: Ti vanno bene!

Ciao a tutti!

Last week we discussed how to say that an outfit or an article of clothing looks good on you. This week, we’re going to take a little break from our study of phrases from Il Commissario Manara and pick up a very similar phrase from another Italian TV show on Yabla, Un Medico in Famiglia, because now we want to learn how to say that something fits.

 

First a quick recap:

 

Quel cappello ti sta proprio bene.
That hat really suits you well.

 

So if to say that an article of clothing looks good on you, we use stare, what do we say when we want to say it fits you? Here we get a little help from Alice who is letting her niece Maria borrow her shoes. She asks:

 

Ti vanno?
Do they fit you?

 

To which Maria responds:

 

Sono perfette, sembrano mie.
They’re perfect, they seem like they’re mine.

 

Wait, what? Yes, that’s right. When talking about clothes, Italian’s use andare to say that something fits! Here are some more examples:

 

Non mi vanno più queste scarpe.
These shoes don’t fit me anymore.

In realtà esiste una taglia che non va bene a nessuno.
Actually, there’s one size that fits no one.

Ma no, non mi va bene, è troppo stretto.
But no, it doesn’t fit me, it’s too tight.

I suoi vestiti hanno vent’anni, così non le vanno più bene.
Her clothes are twenty years old, so they don’t fit her anymore.

È di Mario Fabuli e mi va a pennello.
It’s a Mario Fabuli and it fits me like a glove.

 

A proposito:

un pennello: a paint brush
a pennello: perfectly, like a glove

So, you could say:

mi va a pennello: it fits me like it was painted on!

 

The best way to Learn? In context.

Now, as many of you know that you can also use andare to say you don’t feel like doing something or that things are or are not going well. So, how do you keep all the meanings of andare straight? You learn them in context. For this I recommend Reverso Context (iPhone, iPad, Android), which is currently by far one of the best tools for this purpose. Type in a short phrase, hit search and you will get a list of real sentences translated by real people. Not every sentence will be the context you are looking for, so you will have to read through them, but this tool will help you understand Italian better than any machine translator currently out there.

 

So how can you use this phrase right now in context?

 

Are you going through some of your children’s old clothes?

 

Questi vestiti sono vecchi. A mio figlio non vanno più. Li do in beneficenza.
These clothes are old. They don’t fit my son anymore. I’m giving them to charity.

 

Or did you throw something in the dryer that you shouldn’t have?

 

Questa camicia si è ristretta. Non mi va più.
This shirt shrunk. It doesn’t fit me anymore.

 

Or maybe you did what I did recently and ordered a pair of shoes online only to find that you ordered the wrong size:

 

Queste scarpe non mi vanno. Devo riportarle al negozio.
These shoes don’t fit me. I have to return them to the store.

 

So get out there! Try using this phrase in context all week. And post your ideas to our Facebook page.

 

Alla prossima!

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!