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Recuperare (To Recover)

In two recent Yabla videos, we see and hear the verb recuperare and its noun form il recupero. We have an English cognate for this, “to recuperate,” but the Italian recuperare is about much more than getting well after an illness or injury! In English we also have “to recoup” which corresponds a bit more closely to the verb recuperare: to get something back that was lost. Recupero password (retrieve password) is often seen on internet sites. In English we just say “Forgot your password?”


Let’s mention once and for all that there are two spellings for this word: recuperare and ricuperare. They are both correct. People seem to use recuperare more often, however. In Italian, what you see is what you get, as far as pronunciation goes, so just say it like you see it!


Going beyond the spelling, we see that recuperare is a transitive verb, meaning it normally has an object connected with it. In English “recuperate” is an intransitive verb: “I was recuperating after a long illness.” In a recent video about turtles, the verb recuperare is employed to mean “to rescue.”


Innanzitutto, abbiamo una rete di gruppi di lavoro

First and foremost, we have a network of work groups

e di centri di recupero lungo le coste italiane,

and rescue centers along the Italian coasts,

che si occupano di recuperare gli animali spiaggiati

that take care of rescuing the beached animals

e trovati feriti dai pescatori

and those found wounded by fishermen,

e di portarli in centro di recupero

and bringing them to the rescue centers

dove vengono curati e rilasciati in mare.

where they are treated and released back to the sea.

Captions 52-57, WWF Italia - Progetto tartarughe

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Recuperare also means “to catch up,” for example in class, when you have been home, sick. If you are the teacher, or a private student, you make up the lesson by scheduling una lezione di recupero, and if you are the student you study extra hard: recuperi (you get caught up).


In sports, we talk about “recovery,” and that’s when Italians use the word recupero. It’s what you do when you’ve finished your workout, or what you do after a race or a work interval in a workout. Il recupero. If your activity app is in Italian, you will find this word in just about every workout you do!


Near the end of the movie L’oro di Scampia, Toni is in the thick of his Olympic match, but he stops to catch his breath before finishing up. The sports commentator observes:


È giusto riprendere fiato, recuperare.

It's right to catch one's breath, to recover.

Caption 68, L'oro di Scampia - film

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And here’s an example of the formal imperative (which is actually the third person subjunctive) of recuperare to mean “to retrieve,” “to recover.” The mattress in question may be floating away!


Qualcuno recuperi il materassino.

Someone recover the air mattress.

Caption 6, Il Commissario Manara - S1EP10 - Un morto di troppo

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Caption 57, 56, 55, 54, 53, 52