An Italian Lesson from an Italian Mayor

As our healthcare workers are battling with the virus on the frontlines, we think one of the best ways to help them is stay home and use this time to learn a new language.

Today, we are presenting you a special Italian lesson. Luckily, we have secured an instructional video from an Italian mayor, Gianfilippo Bancheri, the mayor of Delia.

As always, let’s take a look at the grammar we will learn in this lesson:

  • Simple gerund in Italian
  • The conditional mood
  • Rhetorical questions
  • Present continuous tense
  • Bonus lesson: cheering people in Italian

The Simple Gerund

The simple gerund can be used to indicate one acting happening simultaneously with another action.

Let’s watch the first 5 seconds of the video: 

Now we will break down the sentence:

Italian 

English
Moltissimi di voi hanno fatto dei cartelloni scrivendo “Andrà tutto bene”.

Literally: Many/ of/ you/ have/ made/ posters/ writing/, “everything/ is going to be/ okay”.

Grammar Explanation:

  • “hanno fatto dei cartelloni (have created posters)” is the main action of the statement, and the second action “scrivendo ‘Andrà tutto bene’ (writing ‘everything will be ok’)” is the action that accompanies the former.
  • All Italian verbs have one of these three endings: -are, -ere or -ire.
  • We get the simple gerund of -ere ending verbs by replacing “-ere” at the end with “-endo”. For example: scrivere (to write) → replace -ere with -endo → scrivendo (simple gerund form)

The Conditional Mood

The conditional can be used to make one’s demand sound more indirect and polite. 

Click play and watch the part he uses the conditional mood:

Now we will break down the sentence:

Italian

English
Ma io vorrei capire
come andrà tutto bene?

But I’d like to know how everything is going to be okay?
(literally: but/ I/ would like/ to know/ how/ will be/ everything/ ok?)
Grammar Explanation:

Grammar explanation:

  • The word “vorrei” is the conditional form of “volere” (to want). The Italian mayor would sound too aggressive if he uses “volere” directly.

Rhetorical questions

Rhetorical questions are asked in order to produce an effect or to make a statement rather than to elicit information.

Again, we will let Mayor Bancheri show us how to urge your audience with rhetorical questions.

Examples:

Italian 

English
Come andrà tutto bene se la gente va e viene dal benzinaio?

Ma questa benzina a cosa serve se dovete rimanere a casa?

Literally: how/ will be/ everything/ okay/ if/ the/ people/ come/ and/ go/ to the/ gas station?

But what’s the use of this gas if you have to stay at home?
(literally: but/ this/ gas/ at/ what/ serve/ if/ you must/ stay/ at/ home.)

Grammar explanation:

  • the expression “va e viene” (infinitive: andare e venire) means “come and go”.
  • the expression “servire a…” means “to serve/ to be useful for…”

Present Continuous

The use of “verb-ing” is the present continuous tense in English. To say “be doing” in Italian, we just need the auxiliary verb “stare (to be)” and the main verb in the right conjugated form.

We need to hear it from Bancheri because he’s very sincere:

Breaking it down:

Italian 

English
Ma stiamo giocando con la pelle nostra di tutta la cittadinanza!

But we are playing with the life of the whole nation!
(literally: but/ we are/ playing/ with/ the skin/ our/ of/ all/ the citizenship.)

Grammar explanation:

  • The present progressive in Italian consists of “stare (to be)” in present simple and the simple gerund of the action verb. “Stiamo giocando” means “we are having fun (right now)”.
  • By definition, “pelle” means “skin”, but in colloquial Italian, it often takes on the figurative meaning of “life”.

We hope you enjoyed learning Italian! If you meet a fellow Italian friend online these days, be sure to share with them the Italian you’ve learned in this session.

Stay safe by staying home 🏡!

Stay sane by learning a language 🧠!

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