In this week's segment of Sposami, there is talk of modeling wedding gowns. The verb used at one point is indossare. If we look closely, we might recognize the root word dosso, which in Dante's time, was a variant of the noun dorso, meaning "spine," or "back."
We can make the clothing connection with the English hyperbolic idiom "giving someone the shirt off one's back," referring to generosity. The noun dosso is no longer used to mean "back," exactly, but it means "bump," such as a bump in the road or a speed bump.
In a previous lesson we talked about the adverb addosso or di dosso (which bring images of someone on your back). So even though we don't use dosso to mean "back" anymore, it has been incorporated into other words and phrases that have become crystalised as standard.
In this lesson, we will look at the verb indossare and other verbs that have to do with putting clothes on. We talked about taking clothes off in this lesson!
Practice: At the end of some video examples, there's a little grammar question, giving you the chance to expand on the example itself. You'll find the answers at the bottom of the page. Don't worry if they give you trouble, as they are aimed at more advanced learners. It may be an opportunity to find out what you don't know and to ask us questions! We'll be glad to give you some answers. Make sure to read the full lesson before answering the questions, as they might refer to examples further down the page.
If we have to model an outfit, we have to wear it, but in this case, it's wearing something with the specific purpose of displaying it. Indossare is the best choice if we are looking for a verb.
E poi, se proprio servisse di indossare un abito,
And besides, if it were really necessary to model a dress,
posso farlo io. -No, tu no.
I can do it. -No, you can't.
Captions 32-33, Sposami - EP 2 - Part 3Play Caption
1) Nora starts her sentence in the subjunctive but finishes it in the indicative rather than the conditional (not really correct). What if she were to finish it in the conditional? What would she have said?
Regarding the video clip, the translation of indossare could also have been "to put on," or "to wear," but we thought it was important to make the distinction regarding the purpose: not putting something on to go and buy milk, but to put it on display. And let's remember that "to model" in this context can't be translated into Italian with modellare. That doesn't quite work (false friend).
When we talk about modeling a dress or outfit, it's sometimes done by a professional model. Although the term modella (usually in the feminine version) is used to mean "fashion model," the more "Italian" term is indossatrice. During the period of Italian fascism, foreign words were rooted out, including the commonly used French noun mannequin. By law, it had to be replaced by indossatrice.
If you haven't seen the documentary about the Italian Language and Italian Fascism (on Yabla), check it out. Ne vale la pena (it's worth the effort). There is mention of removing words like modella or the French "mannequin" from the language and using a more Italian word.
Parole straniere e borghesia sono mali da estirpare.
Foreign words and the bourgeoisie are evils to be rooted out.
[Mannequin - Indossatrice]
[Mannequin – indossatrice] (fashion model)
Captions 6-7, Me Ne Frego - Il Fascismo e la lingua italianaPlay Caption
That said, the verb indossare is used all the time by Italians. It's transitive, so we can use the question word "what."
Al momento della scomparsa,
When she went missing,
indossava un paio di jeans chiari,
she was wearing a pair of light colored jeans,
delle scarpe da ginnastica anonime...
Captions 37-38, Chi m'ha visto - film - Part 7Play Caption
2) How would you say this using the adjective vestito?
The basic verb for getting dressed is vestire (to dress), used in the reflexive, vestirsi.
Eh, scusate, commissario, ma come ci dobbiamo vestire? -Eh, infatti.
Uh, sorry Commissioner, but how should we dress? -Yeah, exactly.
Il tema della festa è anni ottanta, quindi regolatevi.
The theme of the party is the eighties, so act accordingly.
Captions 39-40, Il Commissario Manara - S2EP4 - Miss MaremmaPlay Caption
The question word in our example is come (how), which we commonly answer with an adverb or adverbial phrase. We can't follow it with a noun, as with indossare. Sometimes we choose one word over the other depending on how we want to construct the phrase, or what we want to include or exclude.
3). But what if he had used the question word "what?" How could he have posed the question?
The verb vestire is often transformed into the adjective vestito. In this case, the person is already dressed.
Mamma è morta sei mesi fa
Mom died six months ago
e papà aveva organizzato una messa in suffragio.
and Dad had organized an intercession mass.
Ecco perché era vestito così elegante.
That's why he was dressed so elegantly.
Captions 20-22, Il Commissario Manara - S2EP2 - L'addio di LaraPlay Caption
4) Maybe we could modify the second sentence in the example above — to say something similar — using the verb indossare. You will have to come up with a direct object noun to make it work.
Let's keep in mind that vestito is also a noun meaning "dress" or, for a man, "suit."
Just as in English, Italian uses the verb mettere (to put). But whereas in English, we say "to put on," Italian uses the reflexive form mettersi (to put on).
Tu che cosa ti metti? Io avevo pensato di mettermi il vestito rosso.
What are you going to wear? I thought of wearing my red dress.
Caption 34, Anna e Marika - Il verbo pensarePlay Caption
In this last example, the question is che cosa (what [thing]?). So we will need a noun as an answer. The formula is reflexive verb mettersi + noun.
5) We can do 2 exercises with this example.
a) Use the transitive verb indossare in the question and in the answer. In this case it is a learning exercise, but an unlikely real-life option!
b) Ask the question with come. You can still use mettersi or indossare in the answer, or you can come up with something using the same verb as in the question. In this case you'll need to be creative.
We'll often hear someone giving this order to someone else.
Dai, forza, vestiti.
Come on, get dressed.Play Caption
6) If you were giving this command to a bunch of kids, what would you say? Tip: Don't worry that dai is singular. it's an expression that stays in the singular.
But attenzione. As you can hear in the example, in the previous example in the imperative, the stress is on the first syllable. It looks exactly like the plural of the noun vestito, (dress, suit) as in the following example, but sounds different. When used in the plural, i vestiti means "clothes."
Eh, andate a cercare i vestiti per la festa. Forza, via, via.
Yeah, go find some clothes for the party. Go on, get going, get going.
Caption 42, Il Commissario Manara - S2EP4 - Miss MaremmaPlay Caption
Once you have dressed, you are wearing something. We can use indossare, of course, but we can also use the verb portare (to carry).
7) Let's say you are asking this question, not to a friend, but to your boss, or to your Italian mother in law, with whom you are on formal terms. What would you say?
Secondo me dovresti portare la gonna più spesso
In my opinion, you should wear a skirt more often.
perché ti sta molto bene.
It looks very good on you.
Caption 25, Il Commissario Manara - S1EP5 - Il Raggio VerdePlay Caption
8) What's another way to say the same thing? There's more than one!
We've talked about different verbs we can use to talk about getting dressed and wearing clothes: vestire (used reflexively) indossare (transitive), mettersi un vestito (reflexive with a direct object), portare (transitive). Find out more about clothing in this video from Marika. Adriano also talks about clothes to wear in the different seasons.
Now to some solutions for the quiz questions scattered throughout the lesson:
1) E poi, se proprio servisse di indossare un abito, potrei farlo io. -No, tu no.
2) Al momento della scomparsa, era vestita con un paio di jeans chiari, delle scarpe da ginnastica anonime...
3) Eh, scusate, commissario, ma cosa ci dobbiamo mettere?
4) Ecco perché indossava un vestito così elegante.
5a) Tu che cosa indossi/indosserai? Io avevo pensato di indossare il vestito rosso.
5b) Come ti vesti? Io avevo pensato di vestirmi di rosso.
Io avevo pensato di vestirmi con il vestito rosso.
Io avevo pensato di mettermi il vestito rosso.
6) Dai, forza, vestitevi!
7) Secondo me dovrebbe portare la gonna più spesso perché le sta molto bene.
8) Secondo me dovrebbe indossare la gonna più spesso perché le sta molto bene.
Secondo me dovrebbe mettersi la gonna più spesso perché le sta molto bene.
Afterword: When we use the reflexive verb vestirsi, it's tricky because we can't use a direct object after it as we can with mettersi. We need the conjuction con (with) after it, or an adverbial phrase, which answers the question come (how).
One such phrase that comes to mind is: Vestirsi a cipolla (to dress in layers).
Quando vado in montagna, mi vesto sempre a cipolla (I always dress in layers [literally, "onion-style") when I go mountain climbing).
Send your questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org and thanks for reading!
These days, even in Italy, you name your child however you choose. But at one time, in this historically Roman Catholic country, the names of saints were among the most popular ones. As a result, many children had the same name. By far the most popular names were Giuseppe (Joseph), Giovanni (John), Pietro, Piero (Peter), Paolo (Paul), Filiippo (Phillip), Marco (Mark), Matteo (Matthew), Domenico (Dominick), Antonio (Anthony), Leonardo (Leonard), Francesco (Francis), Maria (Mary), Giovanna (Jean, Joan), Paola (Paula), Anna (Anne), Elisabetta (Elisabeth), Simona (Simona), among others.
Note: You will find some little quiz questions throughout the lesson. Although each question refers to the video example preceding it, you might need information from further on in the lesson to answer it properly. So it would be wise read the entire lesson before trying to answer the quiz questions.
We have seen in many Yabla videos that family and friends will use just the first syllable or two of the name, to make it easier and quicker to say, primarily when speaking directly to the person. The person's name is actually Martino. These are not nicknames, they're abbreviations.
Che stai facendo, Marti'?
What are you doing, Marti'?
Caption 50, Chi m'ha visto - film - Part 6Play Caption
1) If, instead of abbreviating your friend's name, you wanted to give it an affectionate touch, what could you call Martino and what would you say?
Nicknames are a bit different, and can be longer than the given name, so it's not just an expedient. It's common to use nicknames, partly to distinguish one Giovanni from another, but also to distinguish the size and stature of the person or some other characteristic. For these, suffixes are commonly used.
If a boy or man named Paolo is a hefty guy, we might call him Paolone, using the accrescitivo (augmentative suffix). If he is kind of short or thin, or young, he might be called Paolino using the diminutivo ino/ina.
Invece la perfezione, caro Paolino, non esiste.
But perfection, dear Paolino, doesn't exist.
Caption 45, La Tempesta - film - Part 17Play Caption
2) Maybe I don't know this guy very well, so I am not about to use a nickname. What would I say?
There is even a street called via San Paolino in the historical city of Lucca, so nicknaming this way is a pretty old tradition!
Poi arrivi fino a Piazza San Michele,
Then you get to Piazza San Michele,
continua con Via San Paolino e finisce in Piazzale Verdi.
it continues with Via San Paolino, and it ends in Piazzale Verdi.
Quindi è una via unica che ovviamente cambia nome.
So it's one street, which obviously changes its name.
Captions 50-52, In giro per l'Italia - LuccaPlay Caption
Sometimes a nickname sticks and becomes the name someone goes by for their entire life. Simonetta is a common nickname for Simona, but it might also be a person's given name. Whoever gave her the name or nickname used the diminutivo (diminutive) suffix etto/etta to name her.
E comunque mi chiamo Simonetta.
And anyway, my name is Simonetta.
-Grazie, Simonetta. Sei proprio un'artista.
-Thank you, Simonetta. You really are an artist.
Captions 22-23, Il Commissario Manara - S2EP3 - Delitto tra le lenzuolaPlay Caption
3) Let's assume Simonetta is the name this woman has gone by her whole life, but I want to emphasize the fact that she is young and slender. We also need to assume I am on familiar terms with her. How could I thank her?
It's interesting to note that in Italian, people generally use the formula mi chiamo __________ (literally, "I call myself __________"), in conversation and introductions, rather than il mio nome è __________ (my name is __________). This gives them room to provide you with their nickname, not necessarily the name on their birth certificate.
In the following example from the story of Puccini's La Bohème, the main character introduces herself by using the nickname other people have given her, but she goes on to explain her real name.
Mi chiamano Mimì, ma il mio nome è Lucia.
They call me Mimi, but my name is Lucia.
Captions 1-2, Anna presenta - La Bohème di PucciniPlay Caption
4) Let's say Mimì is saying that she calls herself Mimì, not that others call her that. What could she say?
5) How could we talk about her name, using a common formula?
And of course, in the mix of nicknames are what we call i nomi vezzeggiativi — affectionate names for people. These affectionate names can also involve words that aren't strictly names (such as tesoruccia), but we'll get to these in another lesson.
In Un medico in famiglia, we have the little girl, Annuccia. Her real or given name will undoubtedly be Anna. Sometimes lengthening a name gives it prominence, makes it more audible, or warms it up. In Annuccia's case, her family uses the vezzeggiativo or affectionate suffix uccio/uccia to form her nickname. Since everyone calls her Annuccia, there's a fine line between calling a name a nickname or just someone's name. It's only going to matter on her carta d'identità (ID card) or other official documents.
E questa è Annuccia, la mia sorellina più piccola.
And this is Annuccia, my littlest little sister.Play Caption
In the popular Yabla series, Provaci Ancora Prof!, Camilla's young daughter, Livietta, was surely named Livia, but Livietta stuck. Who knows if they will keep calling her that when she grows up.
Senti, non è che potresti andare a prendere
Listen, you couldn't go to pick up
Livietta alla lezione di danza?
Livietta from her dance lesson, could you?
Captions 1-2, Provaci Ancora Prof! - S1E3 - Una piccola bestia feritaPlay Caption
The name Giuseppe, a favorite, is interesting because, depending on the region, the nickname will be different. In Tuscany, the nickname for Giuseppe is Beppe.
Beppe! Guardami. Me.
Beppe [nickname for Giuseppe]! Look at me. Me.Play Caption
We can take that nickname one step further and say Beppino, especially if the Beppe in question is not too tall.
Beppino is typical in Tuscany, but further south, Peppe or Peppino would be used. In this case the diminutive probably has nothing to do with the size of the guy. In the following example, Peppino's nickname is used, but is then abbreviated by his friend, who's calling him.
Me [forza], muoviti.
Come on, get moving.
Scendi, Peppi'. Ti devo dire una cosa importante.
Come down, Peppi'. I have to tell you something important.
Captions 40-43, Chi m'ha visto - film - Part 7Play Caption
Here is yet another nickname for Giuseppe, this time using an affectionate suffix on top of a nickname. In contrast to the above-mentioned Annuncia, the only name we have heard for the little girl in Medico in Famiglia, Peppuccio is probably a temporary (affectionate) nickname.
Mom! -Peppuccio [nickname of endearment for Giuseppe]!
Ho saputo che vai in Brasile,
I heard that you're going to Brazil,
ma che ci vai a fare, la rivoluzione?
but what are you going to do there, start a revolution?Play Caption
Especially in the south, the nickname for Giuseppe can take a more roundabout route. We take Giuseppe and make it a diminutive: Giuseppino. Then we just use the end of it and call someone Pino.
Pino Daniele, the famous singer-songwriter has always gone by the name Pino.
Tu dimmi quando quando
You tell me when, whenPlay Caption
We do the same for the feminine version, so a woman named Pina was almost surely christened as Giuseppina.
Fun fact: Although the feminine version of Giuseppe does technically exist, and it would be Giuseppa, most of the time the feminine version is already a diminutive: Giuseppina.
Come si chiama questa nonna? -E allora...
What's this grandmother's name? -And so...
Come si chiama? -Giuseppina.
What's her name? -Giuseppina.
Nonna Giuseppina. -Detta Pina.
Grandma Giuseppina. -Nicknamed Pina.
Detta Pina. -Sì.
Nicknamed Pina. -Yes.
Captions 34-37, L'Eredità -Quiz TV - La sfida dei sei. Puntata 3Play Caption
Another version of this, including the abbreviated one:
Pinu', be'? Ti sei ricordato?
Pinu', well? Do you remember?
Pinuccio, stammi a sentire.
Pinuccio, listen to me.
Captions 30-32, Sei mai stata sulla luna? - film - Part 16Play Caption
We started out with Giuseppe, which can become Beppe, Beppino, Peppe, Peppino, or Pino.
6) If we wanted to use an affectionate form for Giuseppina, detta Pina, what could we call her?
Un soprannome in Italian is often a common noun turned into a name (which we'll discuss in another lesson). The nicknames we have been discussing here can be considered to be in the category of diminutives, augmentatives, or, as we mentioned, affectionate versions of names. But we can also use the formula as in the previous example. For example, we can say Giuseppe, detto Peppino (Giuseppe, called Peppino).
Here are some common Italian names with their common nicknames. The list is partial as there are countless others.
Luigi (Louis) commonly becomes Gigi.
Filippo (Phlllip) can become Pippo.
Lorenzo (Lawrence) becomes Renzo or Enzo.
Mi chiamo Enzo, ho bisogno di lavorare.
My name is Enzo. I need a job.
Caption 52, Adriano Olivetti - La forza di un sogno Ep. 1Play Caption
Vincenzo (Vincent) might also become Enzo.
Leonardo (Leonard) might become Leo or Dino.
Francesco (Francis) could become Franco or Ciccio.
Alessandro (Alexander) becomes Sandro.
Domenico (Dominick) can become Mimmo.
Giovanni can become Gianni.
7) How do we get from Leonardo to Dino?
Sometimes babies are named because they are born on a saint's day, or another special feast day.
Annunziata might become Nunzia.
Natale might become Natalino.
Pasquale might become Pasqualino.
Here are some answers to the quiz questions above. There may be additional answers. If you have doubts, write to us!
1) Che stai facendo, Martinuccio?
2) Invece la perfezione, caro Paolo, non esiste.
3) Grazie, Simonettina. Sei proprio un'artista.
4) Mi chiamo Mimì, ma il mio vero nome è Lucia.
5) Si chiama Lucia, detta Mimì.
7) First we apply the diminutive suffix: Leonardino, then we take the last part and turn it into Dino.