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Animali and Animalisti

People love to talk about their pets. So being able to talk about pets and animals can be a great way to start a conversation with someone as you travel around Italy on your next trip. Let's look at some words you might want to have handy.



Un cane! Un cane!

A dog! A dog!

Si dice sempre che il cane è il migliore amico dell'uomo ed è veramente così.

They always say that a dog is man's best friend, and that's really the way it is.

Captions 33-34, Animali domestici - Oscar

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The title of the previous video example is Animali Domestici. This is how Italians say "pets." It's easy to figure out, as animale is a cognate of animal, and the adjective domestico is very much like "domestic." A domestic flight is within the homeland, and a domestic helper helps out in the home. Domestico comes from the Latin "domesticus" from "domus" meaning "home." 


Animale can be both a noun or, as in the following example, an adjective. This is true in English, too, where nouns can often be used as adjectives. Occhio alla posizione (watch out for its position). In Italian, the adjective follows the noun, whereas in English the adjective precedes the noun.


Le corna, lo sappiamo tutti, fanno parte del mondo animale.

Horns, we all know, are part of the animal world.

Ce le hanno i cervi, i tori, le alci.

Deer, bulls, moose have them.

Captions 52-53, Marika commenta -La Ladra - Espressioni idiomatiche

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In one of this week's many videos, we hear about a dog that gets rescued. Andromeda is clearly un amante degli animali (an animal lover)


Per chi mi conosce qui su Yabla,

For those who know me here on Yabla,

sono un amante degli animali

I'm an animal lover

e infatti troverete altri due video* dei miei gatti.

and in fact, you will find two other videos* of my cats.

Captions 2-4, Andromeda - La storia di Ulisse

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*See them here


Andromeda refers to the canile, in this case, "dog pound," where Ulisse was destined to live unless he was rescued. But canile has some different meanings. In the next example, Anna is actually describing a spot in Rome where cats are given food and shelter. 


È un canile per gatti.

It's a dog kennel for cats.

Caption 6, Anna presenta - Largo Argentina e "Il Gattile"

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A person who raises hunting dogs, for example, will also have un canile. But it simply indicates kennel, or place where dogs are kept, often in large numbers. It's not necessarily a derogatory term, although it can be.


Ma io non lo sapevo che il canile era [fosse] così schifoso.

But I didn't know that the dog pound was so disgusting.

Caption 8, Provaci Ancora Prof! - S1E1 - Il regalo di Babbo Natale

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If you have a dog at home, he might sleep outside. In this case, his shelter is called la cuccia. It's where he can lie down.


Per esempio, io so che il mio c'... [sic], il mio cane chiederebbe

For example, I know that my do'... my dog would ask

di avere una cuccia doppia con patio.

to have a double dog house with a patio.

Captions 59-60, Marika e Daniela - Il verbo chiedere

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If you do encounter a stray dog, he might stop bothering you if you give him the command: A cuccia (go lie down)!


A cuccia, tu!

Lie down, you!

Caption 41, La Ladra - Ep. 3 - L'oro dello squalo

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Animal-rights activists are called animalisti in Italian. 


Solo per... Ma avete visto quanti animali ci vanno per fare una pelliccia?

Just to... But have you seen how many animals it takes to make a fur coat?

Caption 6, Animalisti Italiani - Parla Romina Power

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If you would like to know more about how to talk about animals in Italian, send us your questions!


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