Lezioni italiano

Argomenti

How to Fix Things in Italian Part 2

 

In the last lesson, we talked about the generic verb sistemare. Now, let's talk about a verb that is more specific when it comes to repairing things, but which has some surprising additional meanings.

Riparare

This true cognate is an easy word to remember since it is so close to the English verb "to repair."

 

Io non ci metto le mani.

I'm not going to touch it.

La mandi a riparare in fabbrica.

You can send it to the factory to be repaired.

Caption 7, Adriano Olivetti - La forza di un sogno Ep. 1

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Ripara le ruote e le gomme delle automobili,

He fixes wheels and tires of cars,

delle biciclette e delle motociclette.

bicycles and motorcycles.

Caption 48, Marika spiega - Il nome dei negozi

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Riparo 

Riparo can be the first person singular of the verb riparare.

 

Venga, la riprenda.

Come, take it back.

Mi spiace, ma io questa non la riparo.

I'm sorry, but I'm not repairing this one.

Captions 4-5, Adriano Olivetti - La forza di un sogno Ep. 1

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BANNER PLACEHOLDER

But il riparo is also a noun. The following example gives us an idea of what it means.

 

Perché questo luogo è sempre stato in lotta

Because this place has always been fought over

con la sete dei conquistatori:

due to the thirst of conquerors:

Saraceni, Longobardi, Normanni.

Saracens, Longobards, Normans.

Ma è anche un luogo che ha offerto riparo,

But it's also a place that has offered shelter.

Captions 12-14, Itinerari Della Bellezza - Basilicata

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So riparo means "shelter," but what's interesting is that we can also use the verb riparare to mean "to shelter," "to protect." We can also use it reflexively ripararsi to mean "to take refuge." In this case, it's intransitive. This meaning is closely related to that of a similar verb, parare (to protect, to shield, to fend off).

 

Uè, però tirate piano, altrimenti non riesco a parare niente.

Hey, kick lightly though, otherwise I can't block anything.

Caption 41, L'oro di Scampia - film

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As a matter of fact, just as other Italian verbs with the prefix ri often have the same or similar meanings to the verb without the prefix (for example tornareritornare [to return]), sometimes, riparare and parare can mean the same thing. Parare is straightforwardly transitive. 

 

Para as part of a compound noun

 

Para, the third person singular of parare, is often used as part of the kind of compound noun that tells you what something does. 

On a car, we have il parabrezza (the windshield). It fends off the wind.

We have parafanghi (fenders) on bicycles (fango = mud). It fends off the mud.

Un parasole (an awning, a parasol) helps to block the sunlight.

 

Riparare (when it means protection or shielding) is often used in the context of protecting things from the elements — things such as plants, animals, objects, people, houses, camping spots, etc. The preposition of choice is da (from).

L'ombrellone ti ripara dal sole. The beach umbrella protects you from the sun.

 

The following example has to do with an animated elephant who needed to do something in private. The past participle of riparare easily becomes an adjective!

 

C'era da trovare alla svelta un angolino riparato.

A sheltered corner needed to be found quickly.

Caption 13, Dixiland - La magia di Tribo

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BANNER PLACEHOLDER

Riparare can also mean "to remedy," "to make up for," "to put right." In English, we can use "to repair" in this case, too, but there are other, easier Italian verbs for these nuances.

What we have tried to provide here are the words you will most commonly hear in everyday speech, and the ones you will want to know if you need to choose a spot for a picnic in Tuscany, get your shoes fixed, or find some shelter when out hiking and it starts raining.

 

Vocabulary

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