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Study Italian

Next three words

Discover Italian

Ok, then.

If you reach this page you probably are trying to study Italian and this is your second attempt. If not, read the previous article about the “C” sound with vowels A U O and I E.

First, recap

We said that the “C” sound can be hard when followed by A U O and soft when followed by I E.

What does it mean “soft” and “hard”?

Let’s discover what happened when C meets H.

We said before that the sound, when C meets the no/ sound letter H, is transforming C into an hard sound. The easy part is that, if we have memorised that CI CE have a soft sound, it will be easier to memorise that CHi CHe have a hard sound.

Chi?

So here we are with our new useful words. “Chi” in Italian means “who”

Who (is there)?

Chi (è)?

Usually this is the phrase we use when someone knock to our door. We noticed immediately our new friend “Chi”, but we’re probably asking ourselves what is that E with an accent.

È è

This one, dear reader, is one of the most common errors in Italian written language. And today, with T9 auto- correcting our writings, even more. “È” and “E” are almost the same when you listen to them the first time. To be a bit specific, in Italian we have two different “E”, one with the acute accent and one with the grave accent. Right now it’s all too complicated, so just remember when you’ll find “E” it will mean a conjunction and when you’ll find “È” it will mean “it is”.

Che (cosa è)?

What (is this)?

When you see something for the first time and you want to understand what it is, just ask. “Che” means “What” and it’s used (and abused) in Italian. For now, remember that its core meaning is “what” and we will find it really often.

Cosa

Here we are, to a new word. Cosa means literally “Thing”. It’s another used and abused word in Italian, so you will find in million different phrases. For what concern right now our lessons, it will mean only “thing”. Check it out, right now it will be easy for you to read the first “C” sound as hard, no?

The S sound

So let’s go a bit further with the sound “S”. This sound has so many rules to be read properly that it will discourage you. So I will give you a first important rule. When the sound “S” is doubled “SS” or at the beginning of a word as in “Sole” (Sun) it will have a hard sound as the sound “C” in English “Cinema” or “See”.

In practice…

Study Italian
Study Italian

 So we saw CI CE as soft sounds and CA CO CU CHI CHE as hard sounds. We can add to this last rule the double CC. It will be strange for you this difference, but it will make sense when you’ll have to listen to a word and transcribe. The difference is between

Eco

And

Ecco

The first one it will have an hard sound, as we know, as per the sound “K” in English. The second one will have simply an even harder sound, stressing it a bit more. You will read the first one as “eKo” and the second one as “eKKo”. This rule it will lead us to the sound CCH that it will be the same KK sound. You will find CCH always with a vowel before and followed by a vowel.

Occhio

Secchio

Occhio will be read as oKKio and Secchio as seKKio. Note that the rule we read before it will help us to read properly “S” at the beginning of a word and followed by vowel as the sound “C” in cinema or “S” in see.

Let’s read

Let’s try to read this words loud guessing what is the pronunciation and then click for it

Occhio

Secchia

Ecco

Secco

Chi

Chiave

Schiavo

Chiesa

Cosa

Cinema

Cielo

Cibo

Next week we will see the last pronunciation of “C” sound and go a bit further. Stay tuned!

The meeting between S. and the boy

Steps

— Read in Italian —

— Read the previous one —

The encounter

The colours and the sounds are fading away, colours in the eyes of a man drunk of life. He drops the bottle and

P-ach-sh

The hat_ il cappello

The hat

— Read in Italian —

— Read the previous one —

At the market

Markets are complex places, full of colours and voices. Sometimes theatre and cinema try to replace the murmur of crowd just saying

Walla Walla

All together. But if you have experience of markets, you won’t be fooled. Maybe I’m not as useful as a pair of shoes or as precise as a watch, but I know how people yell in a market. I also know how winter changes the market itself. I’m familiar with winter, the season in which I, an humble hat, suddenly become important.

The life of a hat

In between this indistinct chattering and yelling, this human crowd murmuring, a hand takes me, another tries me over his head and looks at me in his reflection. I don’t have any advice to give to anyone, but that skull is too big for me, while that one has a sweaty forehead. In case they’d buy me, I would fly at the first wind blow and then who’d spend a minute to pick me up from a puddle?

No respect for hats, that’s all. Not even for gentleman’s hats.

This guy

Right now there’s a guy coming towards me. He’s not good looking and has a serious grim, but the shape of his head is perfect for me. Sure, we’re a lot here. So many hats to choose from, even though I feel I’m more elegant than a fedora,  a panama, a bowler, or a flat cap. Oh, I said that, didn’t I? He chose me! He wears me perfectly and pulls me over his eyes. Homburg is always a good choice.

Hmpf

Mumble in appreciation to the salesman

It’s only 30

Hmpf

Reply the man, not happy about the price. So the price drops to

25? I think it’s honest for a hat like this one

Hmpf

He left!

He answers back once again, still not happy about the price suggested by the salesman, and he quits. No, you small head salesman, go after him, stop him, he seems to have the perfect head shape. And probably some story to tell. With a head like that, it will be a shame not to understands his end.

No, no, wait! are you going for real? It was a joke, you see. I would never let you go without this hat. Wait, my friend. I say, wait! Let’s make it 20, deal?

Hmpf

Answers happily the guy with the perfect skull. The head of the salesman makes a lot of small wrinkles of happiness, while we leave fast out of that screaming mass of people

That face, that face

The hat_ il cappello
The hat_ il cappello

That square, that cube to solve in every side and every lost colour. The door opens, bringing the smell of forgotten, of dust, paper. Small pieces of wall, white, are in the ground as a reminder of a sad white and black carnival passed.

The room is simple, with a small red table. On the door, an elephant drawing, that the time discoloured.

The eyes watch down, the back bend and all together with the hands they try to find a drawer. Inside the drawer, a lot of random papers, the dark side that was forgotten, giving the back to the sun. Elephants, leaves, clouds, mountains and tubers, but no trace of a face. Why I know he’s searching for a face? He just keeps repeating

That face, that face, that face, hmpf

What a face looks like?

As a hat I don’t really know a lot, I’m just a thing, an element useful to repair heads from sun and rain. But one thing I know it’s that the faces are ovals, with a nose in the middle, two red or dark strips horizontal under the nose, with which the faces can yellto call yellow cars. Over the nose two things called eyes coloured the world and the soft one on the side record the sounds. And keep hats on, most of the time. On top of the heads, you’ll find most of the time a natural hat, called hair.

It’s him

So, a face is roughly as simple as that. Oh, the boy just finds out a face. The face is long, with a nose long and narrow as a finger and two small moustaches as commas over the lips. If only that man would buy me, with that moustaches I would be a star! The hands now are shaking, while they found a small note on the side of the paper

His name is S. Follow him

And next week, the End! (of the second chapter)

Read the first chapter!

This story will be published once per week only, with all rights reserved for the story and its translations by Flyingstories.org and in the person of Daniele Frau.

All the graphics are handmade and designed with different techniques by Gabriele Manca, DMQ productions, who reserves all rights. 

All English articles published in Souls (alive) proofread by Elisabeth Corcoran

First Words_Italian alphabet

The alphabet

First words

Let’s have some old- fashioned recap, now. Let’s start with the alphabet.  As we said before, there is a classic method for everything we decide to study. A classic way you can study the alphabet is the repetition of the sound of a language. In this case, the purpose is to give us a small base to start with.

A corpse that... un corpo che...

A corpse that… speaks?

— Read in Italian —

— Read the previous one —

A corpse

that

speaks

Do you believe in reincarnation?

A corpse that... un corpo che...

Un corpo che… parla?

— Read in English —

— Leggi il pezzo precedente —

Un corpo

che

parla

Lei ci crede nella reincarnazione?

M. il medico_ The doctor

The doctor

— Read in Italian —

— Read the previous one —

I’m a humble wristwatch

Time

Time is just a matter of rhythm. The bigger is the space, the easier is to see that movement stretch until it dissolves completely. Here, then, in this small controlled space, time seems to be small, tiny. A midget of time, in the big circus of lights and planets. And yet, you cannot open a door that a second seems to fly away, together with some whitish yellowish body.

Il paziente delle 8.05 the patient

The patient of 8.05 a.m.

— Read in Italian —

— Read the previous one —

A patient certainty

Between one of the few certain things you’d find in your existence, believe me, you must add the 8.05 of every Monday morning. In a red bricks buildings with a noisy neighbourhood, an alarm awaits just for an electric impulse to ring. I should say it awaits to sing, instead. The alarm will start in a metallic voice an old song of an Italian singer, Claudio villa,

Il paziente delle 8.05 the patient

Il paziente delle 8.05

— Read in English —

— Leggi il pezzo precedente —

Una paziente certezza

Tra le poche sicurezze che potrete in qualche maniera procurarvi nella vostra esistenza, credetemi, è d’uopo aggiungere le 8.05 del mattino di ogni lunedì. In una casa dai mattoncini rossi e dal vicinato alquanto chiassoso, un allarme attende un impulso elettrico per farsi sentire. Per cantare, per essere più precisi. Per intonare con voce metallica una vecchia canzone di Claudio Villa,

Bu, l'ufficio_ the suicide office

Bu

The suicide office

— Read in Italian —

— Read the previous one —

The lights of truth

The stairs reflect a yellow light, even though today for S. they’re whiter and more lucid than ever. The shadows itself seem to be colourful, all colours coming from a wonderful palette. The stairs lead to floors that all look the same, one after the other. His walk is light, sure as he wasn’t for long time now. Happens the same when my laces got inextricably tied. Then, after few minutes of painstaking work, with the right move they are free, again. Finally, the life of this handsome man with well sharpened moustaches seems to have some relax. There are new colours and a small light at the end of his spyglass.