Italian Lessons


Pappa as opposed to Papa and Papà

We have seen various Yabla videos that use the noun pappa. But first of all, let's remember that there are two P's in the middle of pappa, and they both get pronounced. And the accent is on the first syllable. So don't even think of using it to address or talk about somebody's father. 


For "dad," or "daddy," we have papà, used more in the north (babbo is used inTuscany and other areas), with the accent on the second syllable, not to be confused with il papa, the pope, where the accent is on the first syllable.


Facevo, diciamo, un po' da figlio di papà, no?

I was, shall we say, sort of Daddy's boy, right?

Caption 44, L'arte della cucina - Terre d'Acqua - Part 10

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Make sure to use a single P in papà. Listen carefully to Yabla videos. Follow along with the Italian captions to pay attention to how Italians handle the single or double P. Try imitating the sounds.


Hear papa (pope) pronounced.


With pappa, we are usually talking about food that's soft. Little babies don't have teeth yet, so they need purees and the like. 


So, a dish made of dried bread that has been softened in liquid can very well be called a pappa. You can eat it with a spoon. (We also have the word “pap” in English—referring to bland, mushy food for babies and to mindless entertainment.)
Tuscan bread can definitely handle this kind of treatment and still have texture!


La Pappa has come to mean a meal for a baby or child, even if it contains chewable items.


Quando fanno la pappa, quindi quando mangiano, possono mettere dei bavaglini per proteggersi.

When they have their porridge, meaning, when they eat, they can wear bibs to protect themselves.

Captions 26-27, Marika spiega - L'abbigliamento - Part 2

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But pappa is also a way to referring to food, affectionately, and as we know by now, Italians love their food. The term is used by adults, too.


Bono [buono]! Il profumo è buono, eh! Eh, le tradizioni sono tradizioni! Eh! -C'è poco da fare! -Pappa!

Good! It smells good, huh! Yes, traditions are traditions! Yeah! -There's little to do about it! -Food!

Captions 44-46, Un medico in famiglia - s.1. e.2 - Il mistero di Cetinka - Part 8

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Viva la pappa!

"Pure" - not pure and simple!

One of our Yabla subscribers has asked about the word pure. It does get translated differently in different contexts, so it can be a bit confusing. This one short word has a few different but related connotations. On the simple end of the scale it’s an adverb—another way of saying anche (also, too, as well).


In the following example, both anch’io and io pure mean pretty much the same thing. There’s no particular emotion attached to the word. It’s matter-of-fact.

Anch'io. -Anch'io. -Io pure.

So do I. -So do I. -Me too.

Caption 65, Un medico in famiglia - s.1. e.2 - Il mistero di Cetinka

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In the example below, however, the meaning of pure is technically the same (meaning “also,” “too,” “as well”) but there’s some sort of emotion involved, as if one were saying, “not only is she pretty, but she’s smart too!” (as if that weren't to be expected...):

Bellina e pure brava questa Rubino.

Pretty, and also smart, this Rubino.

Caption 1, Il Commissario Manara - S1EP1 - Un delitto perfetto - Part 8

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In the example below, pure is still an adverb, but this time gets translated as “even.” Let’s remember that anche can also mean “even” in certain situations. Some Italians will tell you that pure quite simply means anche. In fact, one could even swap pure with anche, and it would mean much the same thing.

È incredibile, fai pure finta di non ricordare.

It's incredible, you even pretend not to remember.

Caption 13, Il Commissario Manara - S1EP1 - Un delitto perfetto - Part 5

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Below is another example where the sense of pure is “even.” We could use “as well” or “too,” but it would be a bit of a stretch. In fact pure is a way to raise your eyebrows without actually doing so. It adds an emotional element.

Eh, questo, fa resuscitare pure i morti!

Yes, this, will revive even the dead!

Caption 59, Un medico in famiglia - s.1. e.2 - Il mistero di Cetinka - Part 8

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The following example is one in which pure requires more than a one-word translation. It’s used in contexts where we would use “go ahead” in English.

Senti, se ti va di metterti nei guai fallo pure,

Listen, if you want to get yourself in trouble, go ahead.

Caption 5, Il Commissario Manara - S1EP2 - Vendemmia tardiva - Part 9

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Fallo pure! can be translated as “go right ahead!” [literally: “do it nevertheless”].       

Pure as “go ahead” is also used a lot in offices and such places, where someone will either ask you to have a seat, or to go in. It can also be interpreted as “it’s OK if you…” since when you say “go ahead,” you’re giving permission. Here are some formal and informal examples:

Si sieda pure.
Go ahead and have a seat.

Siediti pure.
Go ahead and sit down.

Si accomodi pure.
Go ahead and make yourself comfortable. [Have a seat.]

Accomodati pure.
Go ahead and make yourself at home. [Also, as a sarcastic retort: "Be my guest!"]

Vada pure avanti.
Go ahead and lead. [After you.]

Vai pure avanti.
Go right ahead.
Go ahead and take the lead.
It’s all right if you go in front of me.

We often hear a more literary form of purepur, which basically means the same thing, although it’s considered a conjunction. It’s used to mean “though,” “although,” “yet,” and tends to occur before a gerundio (gerund) form of a verb, as in the following example.

Pur essendo partito in una situazione di un ristorante di fronte all'ortofrutta [fruttivendolo]...

Though getting its start as a restaurant situated across from the vegetable market...

Captions 1-2, L'arte della cucina - La Prima Identitá - Part 6

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It’s also frequent to find eppure (and yet, yet, still, but, nevertheless, all the same), which has the same root. In this case it’s a stand-alone conjunction and will likely be followed by a comma.

Eppure, il rischio vulcanico non ha mai allontanato i suoi abitanti.

And yet the volcanic risk has never sent its inhabitants away.

Caption 23, Linea Blu - Sicilia - Part 9

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In the same vein, we have neppure, which like neanche means “not even.”

E per di più non è neppure la stessa persona

And what's more, it's not even the same person

Caption 1, Il Commissario Manara - S1EP3 - Rapsodia in Blu - Part 13

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Tying it all together in context, just for fun:

Dialogo fra 2 maratonisti:

Francesca: Pur essendo anziano, vai forte! 
Massimo: Sì, ma vai pure avanti, ti raggiungo dopo la corsa. Mi sono allenato come un pazzo, eppure, sto facendo fatica. 
Francesca: Pure io sto facendo fatica. Fermati pure due minuti per riprendere fiato!
Massimo: Se tu ti vuoi fermare, fallo pure. Io non ci penso neanche! Neppure per sogno!
Francesca: Io pure non voglio fermarmi. A dopo!

Al traguardo...

Francesca: Ma... Sei arrivato prima tu! Eppure, eri stanchissimo.
Massimo: È vero, mi hai pure superato ad un certo punto, t’ho visto. Ma poi... puressendo stanco morto, ce l’ho fatta!


Dialogue between two marathon runners:

Francesca: Even though you’re old, you’re fast!
Massimo: Yes, but go ahead and go, I’ll catch up to you after the race. I trained like crazy, but nevertheless, I’m having a tough time.
Francesca: I’m having a tough time as wellGo ahead and stop two minutes to catch your breath!
Massimo: If you want to stop, go right ahead. I won’t even think of it! [No way!] I wouldn’t even dream of it!
Francesca: I don’t want to stop, either. See you later!

At the finish line...

Francesca: But... You finished before me! And yet, you were very tired.
Massimo: It’s true. You even passed me at a certain point, I saw you. But then... even though I was dead tired, I made it!


The Future is Now (Probably)!

In this lesson, we're going to talk about the future tense in Italian, and how it's used, not just for the future, but also for probability.

In our first example, Federico Fellini is talking about a future meeting with Ingmar Bergman, and as you can see from the translation, he uses the verb essere in its future tense in a straightforward way. He has no doubts about the outcome: It’s going to be stimulating!


Io penso che l'incontro fra lui e me sarà veramente molto stimolante.

I think that the encounter between him and me will be really very stimulating.

Caption 37, Fellini Racconta - Un Autoritratto Ritrovato

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In this next example, however, the verb essere is again used in the future tense, but here it means something completely different! In fact, one of the uses of the future tense in Italian is to express a supposition, probability, uncertainty, or doubt. In this case, the element of time is no longer taken into consideration and is replaced by a kind of conditional mood (appunto, the future is now—probably).


Guarda, stamattina ho appetito. Sarà l'aria di campagna...

Look, this morning I have an appetite. It must be the country air...

Captions 21-22, Un medico in famiglia - s.1. e.2 - Il mistero di Cetinka

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Although this special use can be applied to any verb, it’s most common with essere and avere. In Un medico in famiglia, Lele is reassuring his daughter, Maria, about the future. He’s sure!


Sono sicuro che ti piacerà la nuova scuola e avrai un sacco di nuovi amichetti.

I am sure you will like the new school and you will have a lot of new playmates.

Captions 11-12, Un medico in famiglia - s.1 e.1 - Casa nuova

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But here, the signora is just making a good guess as to how hungry her passenger Alessio is.


Avrai fame immagino, sì? Andiamo?

You must be hungry, I'd imagine, right? Shall we go?

Captions 14-15, Ma che ci faccio qui! - Un film di Francesco Amato

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In her Yabla newscast, Marika is giving us some very suspicious news from another planet, and she expresses her consternation:


Sarà vero?

Could it be true?

Caption 47, Anna e Marika - in TG Yabla Italia e Meteo

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Another way to ask the above question would be: potrebbe essere vero? (could it be true?) or even può essere vero? (can it be true?). But more often than not, the future tense will be used when talking about probability in the present, or even in the past (together with a participle), as in the following example, where there’s uncertainty in retrospect.


Non lo so. Sarà stata una buona idea farlo venire qua?

I don't know. Was it such a good idea to have him come here?

Captions 30-31, Ma che ci faccio qui! - Un film di Francesco Amato

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Here are a couple more examples to give you an idea.  

In an episode of Un medico in famiglia, the family members are wondering what Cetinka is about to take out of her suitcase:


Che è, che sarà? -Non lo so!

What is it, what could it be? -I don't know!

Caption 54, Un medico in famiglia - s.1. e.2 - Il mistero di Cetinka

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In a lively discussion between Lara and her zia about Ginevra, the attractive medical examiner, the aunt defends Commissario Manara, which infuriates Lara even more.


E Luca la sta coprendo! -Avrà le sue buone ragioni, eh!

And Luca is covering for her! -He must have a good reason, huh!

Captions 40-41, Il Commissario Manara - S1EP3 - Rapsodia in Blu

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Learning suggestion:

As you watch and listen to Yabla videos, notice how the future tense is used. You may be surprised at how often it is used to express probability, supposition, or uncertainty. And as you go about your day, maybe talking to yourself in Italian, use the future tense of essere or avere to wonder about things and their probability. Sometimes you may really be wondering about the future, as in:

Sarà una bella giornata?

Will it be a nice day?

But other times you may just be conjecturing:

Sarà una brava persona, ma dal suo comportamento non sembra proprio.

He may be a good person, but from his behavior it certainly doesn’t seem like it.

Sento bussare alla porta. Sarà il postino.

I hear someone knocking at the door. It’s probably the postman.

Perché non è ancora arrivato? Avrà avuto un contrattempo!

Why hasn’t he come yet? He must have had a setback.

So as you can see, in Italian, the future can be right now!


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