Have you ever been inside an Italian home? Well, it is probably pretty much like yours, except everything is in Italian!
As usual, we’re here to help: check out our new infographic about Italian words for rooms, forniture and all the thing you can find inside a proper house!
Family, in Italy, is a big deal: we all know that. This is why, for an Italian language student, wading through Italian kinship terms can be really challenging. But hey, that’s exactly the reason why we’re here!
Check out this brand new infographic about Italian kinship terms and learn how to properly address your nonna in Italian (getting some treat in return!). 🙂
Although Italy is officially a work-based secular state, Italian language and culture are scattered with open references to the Judaic and Christian traditions. The Bible itself, having been the one and only source of education for centuries, seems to be a neverending source of idioms and forms of speech. Even without embracing any particular confession, we thought it would be a good idea to collect 13 of the most common idioms taken from the Book of Books.
1. Fare da capro espiatorio (to be a scapegoat).
We tried to start with an easy one since this form of speech is also present in English and in many other Indo-European languages (Benjamin Malaussene, anyone?). The expression comes directly from the Jewish tradition, mentioned in Leviticus 9:15, of sacrificing a goat as a ritual of purification during the Yom Kippur. Passing from the original meaning to the modern one of being a person unfairly blamed for some misfortune doesn’t require too much effort.
Manna (or Mana) was an edible substance that, according to the Bible (Exodus 16:1-36 and Numbers 11:1-9) and the Quran, God provided for the Israelites during their travels in the desert.
This image is so deeply rooted in the Italian language that one could actually use this expression to cheer up when something good (and yet unexpected) happens: è proprio una manna dal cielo!
3. Occhio per occhio, dente per dente (eye for an eye).
This very common expression is a direct reference to the law of retaliation (legge del taglione in Italian), the principle that a person who has injured another person is to be penalized to a similar degree. In a wider sense, this expression is used whenever one is seeking some form of revenge.
4. Seminare zizzania (to drive a wedge, to sow discord).
This one comes from the Gospel of Matthew, in which we can find the Parable of the Tares (Parabola della zizzania). Tares is actually darnel, a type of grass\weed that ruins crops, and it is used here as a metaphor for the struggle between the spiritual children of Christ (the good seeds) and the unbelievers (the tares).
5. Vendersi per un piatto di lenticchie (to sell yourself for a mess of pottage).
In the Book of Genesis 25:29-34 we find the two sons of Isaac, Esau and Jacob. The latter, one day, offered his brother the sale of his birthright in exchange for a lentil soup. The expression is often used to describe the action of giving away something of profound value for goods of derisory nature.
6. Restare di sale (to be flabbergasted).
Again in the Book of Genesis 19:1-26 is told the dramatic story of Sodom and Gomorrah, destroyed by God for being consumed by vice and idolatry. The expression makes reference to the fate of Lot’s wife, who was told not to look back while escaping from the cities. The woman disobeyed and was turned into a pillar of salt. The idiom is currently use to express disbelief or surprise (“alla notizia, sono rimasto di sale!”).
7. Gigante dai piedi d’argilla (giant with clay feet).
This expression comes from the Book of Daniel in which the prophet tells about the dream of King Nabucodonosor: a giant statue with golden head, silver chest, bronze legs and, as a matter of fact, clay feet. Today this form of speech is a metaphor for something huge (such as a corporation or a party) which does not have steady foundations.
8. Essere il beniamino (to be the favourite).
Beniamino (Benjamin) was Jacob’s last and favourite son. Therefore, in Italian, essere un beniamino means being someone’s pupil: a very good football player can be il beniamino dei tifosi, or a famous actor can be il beniamino del pubblico and so on.
9. Niente di nuovo sotto il Sole (nothing new under the Sun).
One of the most poetic and intense books of the Old Testament, the Book of Qoelet (1:9) is responsible for this sometimes abused quote (nihil sub sole novum in latin), which is used to indicate an unchanging (and unchangeable) situation.
10. Servire due padroni (to be a two-timer).
Although brought to fame by playwright Carlo Goldoni and his Arlecchino, this expression comes from the Gospel of Luke (16:13): “One cannot serve two masters, nor two mistresses”. The meaning is clear: the idiom is used as a reference to a double-crosser, a two-timer.
11. Gettare le perle ai porci (casting pearls before swine).
We find this expression in Matthew 7:6, meaning “to give things of value to those who will not understand or appreciate it”.
12. Muoia Sansone con tutti i Filistei (let Samson die with the Philistines).
The Book of the Judges (16:18-21; 28-30) tells the story of Samson, an Israelite judge who performed feats of strength against the Philistines but was betrayed by Delilah, his mistress. Blinded by revenge, Samson decided to destroy Philistines temple with his bare hands, although he knew he would die too. The idiom is often used in reference to someone who doesn’t hesitate to harm him or herself if it helps hurting others.
13. Essere un Giuda (to be a Judas).
The figure of Judas is commonly used (not exclusively but very widely in the Italian language) to indicate a traitor. Along with his name, the expression per trenta denari (for 30 pieces of silver) indicating the amount of money earned by Judas to betray Jesus Christ, is often used.
So this was our list, but please feel free to integrate it and suggest new idioms in the comments!
Hello everybody, it’s time for a new infographic to learn Italian words!
Animal names in a foreign language might not be that obvious and are actually one of the most problematic section of the Italian vocabulary for many Italian language students. Many of these names are actually used in common Italian idioms and sayings. A few examples:
- Il lupo perde il pelo ma non il vizio (the wolf changes its fur, but never changes its behavior)
- Can che abbaia non morde (barking dog doesn’t bite)
- A caval donato non si guarda in bocca (don’t look a gift horse in the mouth)
- Essere una pecora nera (to be a black sheep)
- Avere occhi di falco (to have hawk’s eyes)
- Ripetere a pappagallo (to repeat like a parrot)
Here you’ll find some animal names in Italian divided into categories: pets, farm animals, forest animals, mountain animals and a selection of birds.
Our glorious season of infographics about the Italian language couldn’t be complete without presenting at least some of the most used Italian words regarding winter holidays and Christmas!
Enjoy and… buone feste da Kappa Language School!
Brace yourselves, Capodanno is coming!
The new year means 365 days of new experiences, with of course all chances to make your wishes come true and to finally do everything that you want to do… at least on paper! For instance, this year 2016 I wanted to learn Italian and I can tell you that, although I didn’t turn into Dante Alighieri, I manage to speak some Italian by now and I can proudly order my magnificent lasagna avoiding puzzled looks by the waiters. If learning a new language is also on your list for 2017, keep on reading! And if this isn’t the case, well, also continue reading, for maybe after this you will add “learning Italian” to your list too. 🙂
As you might know, the foundation of language learning is motivation, and that motivation you can get out of almost anything. For example: family, friends or maybe even this blog. Remember learning a language is not easy, but if you really want it you can do it! How to start with your language learning experience in the new year? First of all, you need a to-do-list. This will help you in the first steps of your journey, which usually are the hardest ones. But fear not, after those the rest will be easier.
Tips to start learning Italian
1. Download an application to approach basic Italian vocabulary. For example Duolingo, Memrise or Speak and Translate. Say to yourself this is the new year and I am going to do every day 20 minutes of practice or 10 exercises with this application. It’s easy to get this accomplished because you can use these applications everywhere. Besides, you don’t really need to focus on grammar when making acquaintance with a foreign vocabulary, but this will turn very useful later on, when things will get more serious.
2. Approach the grammar, and do it in the most casual and informal way you can: find yourself a penpal or, even better, a tandem friend through one of the many websites that offer such service. Start exposing yourself to the new language and try to practice, with the help of a native, fixed expressions and very simple idioms you will be able to use to “survive” speaking your target language. Beware, though: being part of a tandem means that you need to guide your new friend through the discovery of your own mother language. It’s a good way to get mutual benefits and increase your motivation while making new international friends.
3. Last but not least, travel to Italy and take a course at an Italian Language School. Following a course at a language school is a unique experience, that at least everyone should have done one time in their life. Learning a language in the country where the language is spoken gives you the opportunity to practice and get in contact with locals and their culture. This all makes a language school the perfect place to learn a language and finally get your goal in the new year.
The first two things you can do it home and are completely free. Follow a course at a language school can be expensive, but it’s totally worth it. That’s why Kappa Language School wants to give you all a present for the new year, hoping this will help you follow your dreams and plan your holiday in Rome. Click here book your discounted Italian language course in January 2017 now!
And that’s it, buone feste to you all! We hope to see you in the new year to keep on helping you in the discovery of Italian language and culture!
Italians are famous for their fashion, the most famous luxury brands in this world are born there. Brands as D&G, Versace, Giorgio Armani etc. are becoming the cultural heritage of this country. Of course, you already know streets like Via Condotti, Via Cola di Rienzo or Via del Corso. All these streets are famous for their luxury stores and are easy to find in every tourist guide to Rome.
Now that you know mostly all the Italian words you need for your shopping adventure, in this article you will find all information to “shop till you drop” in the best shopping areas of Rome.
1. Centro commerciale Porta di Roma
So, let’s start with a low profile: Porta di Roma is the biggest shopping center of Rome, located outside the city center. It’s the perfect mix of luxury stores and middle segment stores. You can find Michael Kors and Massimo Dutti in this shopping center, but also Footlocker and Pull&Bear. This commercial center doesn’t only have clothes stores, it also includes a cinema, restaurants, bars and an arena for live shows. Also on rainy Sundays, you can enjoy this completely covered shopping dream, although locking yourself down in a shopping mall might not be your best option when in the Eternal City (even if it’s raining outside).
How to reach: Bus line 80 from Piazza Venezia or Bus line 38 from Termini station
2. Monti area
The Monti neighborhood is a young and dynamic (although proudly historic) area with all kind of shops in small and cozy streets. In Monti you will find second-hand stores, handmade clothes stores, vintage stores and alternative style stores. Also, you will be able to visit boutiques with the newest fashion for a reasonable price (or at least more reasonable than other areas of the city center!). Monti is also a good neighborhood to learn Italian: here you can find the best Italian Language School in Rome 8-), surrounded by shops, restaurants and bars to spend your pranzo time and practice Italian with locals.
How to reach: Bus line 64, 40 direction Termini (stop: Nazionale- Palazzo Esposizioni) or Metro Cavour (blue line)
3. Porta Portese Flea market
A milestone for every respectable visit of Rome, this market takes place every Sunday morning in the neighborhood of Trastevere. Here you will find a nice and inspirational mix of second-hand clothing, handmade jewelry, makeup, food, antiques and all kind of souvenirs that you ever wanted to have and you won’t find in one of the many dreary traps for tourists scattered all over the city center. Take your time and browse all rows and stalls of this crowded market: here you will for sure find something unique that will make your day.
How to reach: Tram 8 Largo Argentina to Trastevere station from there you will reach the market in just a few minutes of walking
4. Via Condotti
Yes I know, I was supposed to skip this part but… come on, it’s Via Condotti! This is the shopping area where you can find BVLGARI next to Prada with on the other side Gucci and Tiffany’s and co. There is a store of almost every kind of luxury brand that exists in this world. While have your shopping overdose, you can stop by for a coffee at the historic Caffé Greco or continue towards the magnificent Piazza di Spagna and have a tea at Babington’s, the oldest tea saloon in the city. Also all around the piazza you will find luxury brands like Nespresso and Aqua di Parma. Although this area is mainly occupied by renown brands, on a deeper look you will also find particular and elegant local stores. Prices aren’t properly affordable, but taking a look is completely free
How to reach: Metro A Spagna or by walking as a sidestreet of via del Corso.
These were just my own favorite places to go, but of course there is much more to discover in Rome. To me, as a shopaholic, Rome is really a heaven because there are all of my favorite brands. If you like shopping and the biggest brands of the world Rome is your place to be and of course if there will ever be an official Roma shopping route, I will let you guys know! For now, let’s grab your shopping bags and follow your heart (or your wallet). Divertitevi!