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Noioso: boring or annoying?

A Yabla subscriber has asked us to shed some light on the difference between noioso and annoiato. They are both adjectives and can be used to describe a person.  There are some intricacies involved with these words, which we'll get to, but let's start out with the noun: la noia

Che noia!

What a bore!

Caption 9, Acqua in bocca Un amico per Pippo - Ep 1

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What is tricky about this noun (and its related adjectives) is that it can indeed imply boredom," but it can also mean "the bother" or "the nuisance." In fact, in the previous example, we don't know the context, but the meaning could also have been "what a nuisance," or "what a pain." The noun noia rarely refers to a person him- or herself, as "bore" would in English.

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Noia

The following example is from Tuscany where noia is used a great deal to mean "bother." And it's often used with the verb dare (to give) — dare noia (to be a bother, to be annoying, to be in the way).

Erano alberi che davano noia e basta,

They were trees that were a bother and nothing more,

Caption 30, Gianni si racconta L'olivo e i rovi

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So che noia can mean "what boredom" or "what a pain!" And dare noia can be interpreted as bothering, or being a bother, or being in the way.

 

Annoiare

We also have the verb annoiare that does remind one of the verb "to annoy." Indeed, that is one of the meanings and comes from the Latin "inodiare" — avere in odio (to have hateful feelings for).

Mi disturba, mi annoia,

You're bothering me, you're annoying me,

Caption 11, L'Italia a tavola Interrogazione sul Piemonte

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But it is much more common for this verb to be used in its reflexive form annoiarsi. In this case it's always about being bored or possibly fed up.

Io non mi annoio mai quando sto con lui, mai.

I never get bored when I am with him, ever.

Caption 34, Provaci Ancora Prof! S1E3 - Una piccola bestia ferita - Part 13

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Noioso

We've seen that noia isn't just about boredom, so likewise, noioso can mean boring, but not necessarily. Let's look at some examples of the different nuances.

Noioso can describe a person who is not very interesting, a dull person:

Abbiamo solamente avuto un piccolo flirt. Genere depresso e noioso, capisci?

We just had a little fling. Depressed and boring type, you understand?

Captions 9-10, Provaci Ancora Prof! S1E1 - Il regalo di Babbo Natale - Part 19

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It can also describe a movie, for example: 

Il film era noioso, purtroppo (the movie was boring, unfortunately).

 

Here's a perfect example of something that is not boring. It's annoying. And in fact, the N and O sounds can hint at that.

Eh, povero Dixi, il singhiozzo è noioso

Oh, poor Dixi, the hiccups are bothersome

Caption 15, Dixiland Il singhiozzo

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Annoiato

Annoiato can be used as the past participle of annoiare, or more often, as we mentioned above, the past participle of the reflexive verb annoiarsi. In this case, it means "to get or to be bored."

Oppure: "No, non andrò alla festa di Marcello. Ci sono già stato l'anno scorso e mi sono annoiato".

Or: "No, I won't go to Marcello's party. I already went to it last year and I got bored."

Captions 48-49, Corso di italiano con Daniela Particella Ci e Ne - Part 2

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But as often occurs, past participles are also used as adjectives.  With annoiato, this can describe one's state of being.

Ciao. Sei annoiato o annoiata e ti vuoi divertire e rilassare?

Hi. Are you bored (m) or bored (f) and you want to have a good time and relax?

Captions 3-4, Marika spiega Il cinema

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Just for fun:

Let's try using all these forms in a silly, made-up dialogue.

Lei: Sembri annoiato, è così? (you seem bored. Are you?)

 

Lui: No, ho solo sonno (no, I'm just sleepy). E inoltre, come posso annoiarmi ad ascoltare i tuoi racconti per l'ennesima volta? (And besides, how can I get bored listening to you tell your stories for the umteenth time?

 

Lei: Beh, so che posso essere un po' noiosa a volte, scusami (Well, I know I can be a bit boring at times, sorry). Allora smetto di darti noia, e me ne vado (I'll stop bothering you, then, and I'll leave).

 

Lui: No, aspetta, se vai via mi annoierò davvero (If you leave, I will get bored for real). E tra l'altro, ho dei lavori noiosissimi da fare e non ne ho nessuna voglia (and besides, I have some really tedious jobs to do and I have no desire to do them).

 

Lei: OK, so che sono noiosa, ma non sarebbe meglio fare quei lavori dato che siano anche urgenti (OK, I know I am being a pain, but wouldn't it be better to do those jobs, given that they're urgent)?

 

Lui: OK, ora sei noiosa davvero. Mi sono ampiamente annoiato con questa storia (Ok, now you are really being boring/irritating. I'm pretty sick of this thing), quindi forse è meglio se te ne vai... (so maybe it's better if you do leave).

 

OK, ciao. Non ti voglio annoiare con un'altra delle mie storie noiose. (OK, bye. I don't want to bore you with another of my boring stories).

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Taking Apart a Long Word: Stendibiancheria Part 1

When Marika showed us her balcony, she used a couple of long words that may have seemed a bit daunting. There are certainly plenty of long words in Italian that are just plain difficult, like farmaceutico (pharmaceutical). The meaning is clear, but pronouncing it takes some practice (don’t snub any of the vowels). Other words, though, have common abbreviations that make life easier. And some long words can be broken down into their parts, making them easily comprehensible as well as pronounceable.

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One of the words Marika used in her video was stendibiancheria. It’s long but there’s help.

 

First of all, most people just say lo stendino (the drying rack).

 

Second of all, if we start breaking down stendibiancheria into manageable parts, the next time it comes up, you’ll know what it means from the inside out, and you will probably be able to pronounce it as well.

 

We start out with the verb stendere. It’s a very useful verb that means to spread, to lay out, to stretch out, to extend over space. Thinking of  “extend” can help recall this verb.

 

An interesting extra fact is this:

In the eighteenth century, in Tuscany at least, the (transitive) verb was tendere, that is, to stretch out, to unfold (after washing and wringing out) so that the laundry would dry faster.

 

As we have learned in a video, and a written lesson, adding an s at the beginning of a word can give it an opposite meaning. So, stendere used to be the opposite of tendere, and meant taking in the now dry laundry, or rather taking it off the clothesline.

Later on, stendere and tendere lost their distinction (dictionaries indicate that in many contexts, stendere and tendere mean the same thing).

Stendere survived as the most common term for hanging up the laundry. Let’s also remember that lacking a clothesline, some people would also have spread their clean laundry on bushes or rocks to catch the sun, so stendere—“spreading it out” makes a certain amount of sense.

 

Another important context for stendere is cooking.

In the following example, we start out with little balls of pizza dough, but then we spread them out to cover a larger area. So when you are following a recipe in Italian for making fresh pasta or pizza, stendere la sfoglia is when you roll out the dough, spread it out by hand, or use a pasta machine to make wide, flat strips.

Queste pallette [palline] poi vanno fatte lievitare circa due ore e si stende la pizza.

These little balls then are left to rise about two hours and you roll out the pizza.

Captions 15-16, Anna e Marika - Pizza al taglio romana - Part 2

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The past participle of stenderesteso, which can also pass for an adjective, is useful for when you are talking about positions in space.

Stavo, mi ricordo, guardando le olimpiadi, stesa sul divano come una balena spiaggiata.

I was, I remember, watching the Olympics, lying on the couch like a beached whale.

Captions 12-13, Anna presenta - Il mio parto

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In the above example, “stretched out” could have worked just as well to translate Anna’s position.

 

When referring to muscles or just how someone feels, we can use teso (tense), the past participle of tendere, also used as an adjective.

Ha notato qualcosa di strano? Se era teso, preoccupato?

Did you notice anything strange? If he was tense, worried?

Caption 19, Il Commissario Manara -S1EP9 - Morte in paradiso - Part 3

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The prefix dis is also used to give a word the opposite meaning. In fact, disteso, the past participle of distendere and adjective, can mean either “relaxed,”  “unwound,” or “out,” as in the following example.

Per dire: "ci sentiamo per telefono", si porta la mano all'altezza dell'orecchio e si simula la cornetta, tenendo pollice e mignolo distesi.

To say, "we'll talk by phone," you bring your hand up to the height of your ear and you imitate a receiver, holding your thumb and little finger out.

Captions 9-12, Arianna spiega - I gesti degli Italiani - Part 2

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Tendere also means “to tend” as in tendenza (tendency). That’s a nice cognate, isn’t it?

Le piante tendono, quando si inselvatichiscono, a fare i frutti molto più piccoli.

Plants tend, when they become wild, to produce much smaller fruit.

Captions 17-18, Gianni si racconta - L'olivo e i rovi

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It’s easy to be confused by all these words that are so close in meaning. Context is key, so just keep watching, listening, and reading, and piano piano ce la farai (little by little you’ll make it), one word at a time!

Vocabulary

Getting What We Want from Volere

The Italian word for “to want” is volere. See Daniela’s lesson about volere and other modal verbs.

 

Ma insomma, adesso, tu che cosa vuoi veramente?

Well, all things considered, now, you, what do you really want?

Caption 27, Il Commissario Manara - S1EP6 - Reazione a Catena

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But it’s not always as easy as just conjugating the verb, like in the above example. English speakers actively want things, or want to do things, but Italians, more often than not, use the noun form voglia (desire) with avere (to have) as the action. We often translate aver voglia as “to have the desire,” or “to feel like”.

 

Se non ho più voglia mi fermo.

If I don't feel like it anymore, I stop.

Caption 8, Gianni si racconta - L'olivo e i rovi

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When we want to be polite, we use the conditional of volere, just like the English “I would like” rather than “I want.”

Vorrei parlare con il commissario.
I’d like to speak with the commissioner.

But when we’re done with being polite, and want to be more insistent, we forget about the conditional and go with the indicative. Imagine someone raising their voice a bit.

 

Voglio parlare col commissario. -Il commissario è di servizio. -Voglio parlare con il commissario!

I want to talk to the Commissioner. -The Commissioner is busy. -I want to speak to the Commissioner!

Captions 43-44, Il Commissario Manara - S1EP7 - Sogni di Vetro 

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We can also use the conditional with the noun form voglia, but the conditional is applied to the active verb, in this case, avere (to have). This is not a polite form like in the example with vorrei above. It’s true conditional. In the following example, I know very well no one is going to let me sleep for twelve hours, but it sure would be nice! Translating it with “love” instead of “like” gets the idea across.

Avrei voglia di dormire dodici ore.
I’d love to sleep for twelve hours.

Another common way volere is used in Italian is as the equivalent of “to take” or “to need” in English. Note that in this case ci means “for it,” not “us,” as you might be led to believe!

 

Allora, per le bruschette ci vuole: il pane.

So, for the "bruschettas" we need: bread.

Caption 7, Anna e Marika - La mozzarella di bufala - La produzione e i tagli

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In a previous lesson we used metterci to talk about how long something takes. We can use volere in a similar way. While with metterci, we can be personal:

Io ci metto cinque minuti.
It takes me five minutes.

With volere, it’s impersonal and refers to anyone.

Ci vuole tanto tempo per attraversare Milano in macchina.
It takes a lot of time to get across Milan by car.

This kind of sentence also works in the conditional:

Ci vorrebbero tre ore per attraversare Milano in macchina!
It would take three hours to get across Milan by car!

Sometimes problems add up and finally you might say, “That’s all we need” or “that’s all we needed.” That’s when it’s time for non ci voleva (that's not what was needed).

 

Un tubo in bagno che perde, proprio non ci voleva.

A leaky pipe in the bathroom, that's really not what was needed [the last thing I needed].

Caption 31, Il Commissario Manara - S1EP3 - Rapsodia in Blu

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And just for fun:

Il turno di notte ancora! Non ci voleva. I have to go to work, ma non ci ho voglia! Avrei voglia di andare in città a fare quello che voglio. Se vuoi, puoi venire con me. C’è un bel film che vorrei vedere, peccato che ci vuole troppo tempo per arrivarci  in tempo. Ci vorrebbe un ora buona!

 

The night shift again! That’s the last thing I needed. I have to go to work but I don’t feel like it. I’d love to go to the city and do what I want. If you want, you can come with me. There’s a great film that I would like to see; too bad it takes too long to get there in time. It would take a good hour!
 

Vocabulary

Wild: Selvatico/Selvaggio

There are two basic words for "wild" in Italian, and they're sometimes interchangeable and sometimes not. They're also rather similar in that the root is the same: selva (woods, forest).

One of the adjectives for "wild" is selvatico (wild, uncultivated, growing spontaneously, feral).

 

Sto cercando di renderla un po' meno selvatica e un pochettino più civile.

I'm trying to make it a little less wild, and a tiny bit more civilized.

Caption 27, Gianni si racconta - L'olivo e i rovi

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When there are two varieties of a plant such as finocchio (fennel), the wild one gets qualified with an adjective: finocchio selvatico.

 

Il Monte Pellegrino ospita centinaia di specie diverse di piante. Dal cipresso al pino, ci sono numerose pinete, agli alberi di fico d'india, ai gelsomini, al finocchio selvatico, che da una sensazione di freschezza all'ambiente.

Monte Pellegrino hosts hundreds of different plant species. From cypress to pine, there are a number of pinewoods, to prickly pear, to jasmines, to wild fennel, which gives a sense of freshness to the place.

Captions 25-28, Adriano - Monte Pellegrino

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Sometimes wild fennel is called finocchietto (becoming an altered noun, by means of the diminuitive suffix -etto) because the plant has a smaller bulb, and is of "minor" importance. Other times, though redundant, the wild kind of fennel is called finocchietto selvatico. This pianta spontanea (spontaneous, or wild plant) is an ingredient in many central and southern Italian preparations, from salame to minestre (soups), to castagne lesse (boiled chestnuts). It blooms in late summer, and if you wonder what part people use, well, they might tell you, "whatever part is on hand when you want to make your dish." The seeds are tasty right off the plant, but they can also be dried and boiled to make a refreshing and aromatic hot tea that aids digestion. It's one of those plants that's worked itself into a great many recipes, both humble and otherwise, because, in addition to being aromatico (aromatic) and gustoso (tasty), it grows just about everywhere, and is free for the picking! The bulb (the white part) of cultivated fennel is eaten raw in salads, in pinzimonio, or cooked in a variety of ways.

 

The other word  for "wild" is the adjective selvaggio, especially referring to unrestrained people or savage animals, or places that have no law, or terrains that are particularly difficult to navigate.

Selvaggio can also be used as a noun, as in the following example.

 

Rapiti dal fascino dell'eterno selvaggio, narrando delle culture con cui venivano a contatto.

Captivated by the appeal of the eternal wild, telling of cultures with whom they came into contact.

Captions 4-5, Linea Blu - Le Eolie - Part 2

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When referring to meat from hunted animals, for example cinghiale (wild boar), we use the term selvaggina (game), also called cacciagione (hunted meat).

 

Tavole imbandite senza posate, com'era uso, e con i cibi dei ricchi e dei nobili. Paste reali fatte di pasta di mandorle, anatre all'arancia, maialini farciti con spezie e molta selvaggina.

Tables decked without silverware, as was the custom, and with the food of the rich and the noble. Royal pastries made with almond paste, ducks with orange sauce, suckling pigs stuffed with spices and lots of wild game.

Captions 13-18, Linea Blu - Sicilia - Part 16

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In a nutshell:

When you think about wild beasts, or when the words "savage" and "primitive" come to mind, then use selvaggio. When you think of spontaneous and wild plants, you'll want selvatico.

 

 

Vocabulary

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Caption 18, 17, 16, 15, 14, 13
Intermediate

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