Learn Italian words (and grammar): la colazione in Italia!

As every grandma uses to say, “breakfast is the most important meal of all”. And that is indeed true, especially if you consider that generally it helps your body recovering from a night of fasting! So what’s the deal with Italian breakfast?

From a country whose diet is renowned worldwide, with an outstanding variety of ingredients and a cookbook stuffed with delicious recipes, you would expect excellence even when it comes to the first meal of the day. Yet, breakfast in Italy is very different from what many expats and Italian language students would expect, as it is usually a very fast and light meal, the mainstay being a cappuccino or an espresso accompanied by some pastries (cornetti) and, occasionally, corn flakes and cereals (fiocchi d’avena e cereali). In a regular Italian breakfast there is no room for cheese, eggs, beans or bacon, and actually most Italians tend to consider the idea of having a “salty breakfast” (or eating anything salted before midday) quite disgusting.

Even in Italy, of course, you will be able to find bars, pubs and hotels which regularly serve English or American breakfast, but if you really want to get the full Italian experience, you should really try to melt in and have a quick and light Italian breakfast in a local bar, peeking at a quotidiano and catching the occasion to have a chat with Italian natives on the latest news

For all of you who want to be prepared when having your first breakfast in Italy, here’s a new infographic… with a quick grammar overview about si passivante included!

 

Learn Italian words and grammar: breakfast in Italy, Infographic

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Lessico: ci tocchi?

Un ripasso molto utile, soprattutto per chi è al mare!

Centro Lingua Italiana

Quest’espressione vi risulterà particolarmente utile se avete in mente di trascorrere le vacanze estive sul litorale italiano.

Se in acqua qualcuno vi domanda “ci tocchi?” non confondetevi! L’interlocutore non si riferisce al contatto fisico tra persone. Vi sta chiedendo se nel punto in cui siete state toccando il fondo del mare con i piedi.

Vediamo alcuni esempi:

  • ci tocchi ancora?
  • sì, ma solo in punta di piedi.

  • Mamma, posso fare il bagno?
  • Sì, ma non andare da sola dove non si tocca.

  • Mi piacciono le spiagge con il fondale profondo. Quelle dove dopo poche bracciate non ci tocchi più.

  • Questa spiaggia è perfetta per i bambini perché si tocca fino a molto lontano.

Come si dice quest’espressione nella vostra lingua?

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italian language: MAGARI

Riblogghiamo perché *magari* questo articolo potrà essere di aiuto a tanti dei nostri studenti! 😀

Iloveitalianlanguage

La strana parola “MAGARI” e come usarla

“Magari”  è un’interiezione che esprime un desiderio o un augurio.

Magari” proviene dalla lingua greca (makàri, da makarios) dove ha il significato di “felice, fortunato”.

L’uso della parola “magari” può essere diviso in 3 casi particolari:

1) Con il significato “sarebbe bello!, me lo auguro!, sarebbe fantastico!, lo spero proprio!». In questo caso, si usa da sola nelle risposte come un’esclamazione che esprime un augurio, un desiderio, un rimpianto.

Per esempio:

– È vero che hai vinto la lotteria? – Magari! (=sarebbe bello, ma non l’ho vinta)

– Vedrai che domani all’esame tutto andrà bene! – Magari! (=sarebbe bello! Me lo auguro! Lo spero proprio!)

– Ti piacerebbe vivere a New York? – Magari! (=sarebbe fantastico!)

– Allora, sei andato al mare questo weekend? – Magari! Il tempo era brutto e sono rimasto a casa…

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Lake exSnia in Rome (ex Cisa Snia factory)

La meta di una delle nostre escursioni preferite: il lago dell’exSnia (in inglese) ❤

Angeli del suolo

In one of our first newsletters, we told the story about the “Wood in the City“: citizens led by the Italia Nostra Association, were able to safeguard an area of 110 ha and transform it into a public park, a short distance away from the centre of Milan. Luckily, this is not a one-off: we have heard of a similar, successful experience in Rome, in the Pigneto Prenestino district, not far from the Metro C station “Malatesta”.

This emblematic experience is related to the transformation of a disused factory, and it shows how several attempts at using up the land for commercial purposes were defeated by the citizens’ growing awareness for the environment. Now a large part of the area has been transformed into a park, the Parco delle Energie, while some abandoned industrial buildings nearby are hosting a community centre, the CSOA exSnia.

This story starts with…

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Learn Italian words: il corpo umano

The vocabulary related to human body is always one of the toughest challenges for an Italian language student, since usually this particular semantic area is full of false friends and very specific words which seem to have no relation with their Gemanic equivalents.
As usual, Kappa Language School is here to help: we have prepared a brand new infographic whic will guide you through the discover of a new bit of Italian language!

Keep on learning Italian words and grammar with us and follow our blog and our website!

Learn italian words: le “faccine”!

The internet, we all know, has simplified our lives allowing us to communicate instantaneously covering huge distances at the speed of a click. It has also created a new, interesting paralanguage, made of little funny faces we all know under the name of emoticons (faccine in Italian internet slang), the meaning of which is universal as well as human emotions are. This, for an Italian language student, might make things very much easier, but being aware of the Italian words hidden beneath the smiley is definitely something useful.

We know you’re eager to start chatting in Italian with your penfriends or your Italian Language School friends, but just take a minute to check this new infographic translating for you the most common faccine in Italian!

 

6 tips for discovering Rome without acting like a tourist

You might be in Rome for tourism but, as a general rule, being seen by locals as a tourist is something best avoided.

Now, let’s take a minute to define the word “tourist”: according to the Merriam-Webster, a tourist is “one that makes a tour for pleasure or culture”. Although a slight interest for local culture should be implicit in touring, the sheer meaning of the word “tourist” implies a confining sense of transience. And for a person who’s really interested in getting to know Italian Language and Culture, this is something to avoid or, at least, to limit.

Our aim is to help you find your way while discovering the best of Italian Culture, at the same time experiencing Italy as a local: that is why we’ve prepared a short vademecum of things you DON’T want to do when touring, living or studying in Italy, unless you want to be considered one of the many tourists that every day pass through the Bel Paese.

Touring

Let’s get down to basics: Rome (as well as Italy) is a treasure chest so full of hidden gems not even locals are able to discover them all in a lifetime. Of course, the Colosseum, S. Pietro and the Trevi Fountain (which btw is not a bathtub) are sights which are too important to miss, but why not spice up your stay in Rome a little by venturing to the almost forgotten but unimaginably important small churches, or Rome’s fascinating borgate with their outstanding variety of street art masterpieces? There’s a tour for everyone, if you search hard enough.

On the road & in the streets

The streets of Rome, brilliantly sang by artists such as Bob Dylan, are certainly a place of breathtaking beauty: you can find a glimpse of the glorious past of the city on every street corner, and yet the whole city is immersed in a mellow, decadent atmosphere. But once on the road, you have to learn how to watch your step, as traffic can be really wild and it’s not unusual to spot packs of tourists lined up on the sidewalk, waiting for the right moment to cross the street.

Now, I’ll try to put this simply: crossing the streets in Rome requires some skills. We call it “the pigeon technique” (la tattica del piccione): if you have to cross, just do it, provided there’s a reasonable distance between the upcoming cars and your body. Drivers will eventually stop, especially if you are bold enough to fearlessly look into their eyes as you would do with an attacking animal. And there you go: you will be on the other side without even noticing, and actually feel more self-confident than ever. It’s the law of the jungle, folks!

The same cannot be said for bikers (and bike tours): you really have to be reckless to ride a bike in the city center without the supervision of a local. Rome is simply not equipped for cycling, except for certain areas. If you really want to experience Rome on two wheels, make friends with a local and let himor her help you.

Eating & drinking

Yes, I know you came to Italy mainly for the food. Who doesn’t? Even Italians travel all along the country to taste local delicacies. But remember: food in Italy is a serious matter, and Italians tend to get really bitchy about their meals (and the way you might want to experience them). Obvious advice and common sense aside (avoid tourist traps, eat local and with locals), if you really want to prevent astonished looks from the locals you should follow these simple rules:

Cappuccino CAN NOT be the happy ending of your meal. It is something we consume strictly before 12pm, specifically for breakfast. Ordering a cappuccino at a restaurant is like buying a computer from a furniture store. The restaurateur might give you what you want, but you will break his\her heart. Do you really want that?

Pizza in Rome is thin and provides just a limited variety of toppings. Beware of odd variants unless you are in a pizzeria which is famous among locals for its creativity.

– Never pay more than 8€ for your pizza margherita. In Italy good food can be extremely cheap: you can get a decent Italian wine for 10€ and fill yourself up with 15€ in a pizzeria (supplì included). Although you shouldn’t drink wine with pizza: for that we have Peroni.

– Remember that spaghetti bolognese IS NOT A THING IN ITALY. They can literally kick you out of the restaurant, if the owner is in a bad mood.

Dresscode

This is a bit of a sore subject. Italians are widely known for their loose approach to PDOA, their open display of emotions and their genuineness and yet, if you really want to blend in, you should remember that Rome is not Miami nor LA, and that Romans tend to consider people going around the city in Bermudas and flip-flops as quirky but a little disturbing. Plus, as Louis CK used to say, every big city is basically a huge pile of dirt, and Rome is no exception: knowing this, do you still want to go around wearing flip-flops?

Everyone has his or her own style, but looking around you to see what locals do is always a good strategy and a matter of common sense when in a foreign country. This applies especially to Rome, the privileged destination of millions of tourists every year.

Nightlife

Binge drinking, in Italy, can be a thing when it comes to depressed medium-sized suburban towns, but drinking only to get pissed is really something Italians don’t do – although the average age for the first sip of alcohol in Italy is approximately 6. So forget about your night out at a club downing one shot after another: if you do this in Rome, you’ve been caught in a tourist trap. For further information, take a look at this very instructive video. Knowledge is power. 🙂

Italian language

And here we are, in our area of expertise. As Italian language teachers, we wouldn’t dare to criticise the happy ones who try to learn and speak Italian: every effort is indeed appreciated, even if it is just an impromptu. Italian people, on the other hand, tend to be annoyed by very few and specific things, such as the mispronounciation of grazie (which is often spelled “grazy” by anglo-american speakers) or the ridicolous outcomes of expressions such as buongiorno (see picture for lulz). That said, if you really want to fit in, learning some basic expressions (and practice your pronunciation) in Italian language is definitely a good move, although in Italy you will always find someone who will be able to help you using alternative forms of communication, such as Italian hand gestures. 🙂

Originally poste on www.kappalanguageschool.com.