ES.S41 | Spring 2012 | Undergraduate
Speak Italian With Your Mouth Full
Lesson 4

Lesson 4: Language Instruction

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Lezione Numero Quattro/Lesson Number Four

Watch a video:

Lecture 4, Part 1: Language Instruction

Listening Exercise

Leggi, ascolta e ripeti./ Read, listen, and repeat.

Leggi, ascolta e ripeti (MP3-11.5MB)

 Chi & Di Chi/Who, Whom, and Whose

Chi ha scritto la Divina Commedia? Who wrote the Divine Comedy?
Il poeta Dante Alighieri. The poet Dante Alighieri.
Dante is also called il Sommo Poeta (the supreme poet). He is rightly considered to be one of the/the greatest Italian poets. Ha scritto is the present perfect of the irr. verb scrivere, to write.

Chi è Corrado? Who is Corrado?
Corrado è mio cugino. Corrado is my cousin. (masculine, singular)

Di chi è questa tazza? Whose mug is this?
Questa tazza è dell’Experimental Study Group. This mug belongs to ESG. (Literally “is of ESG”)
Is tazza feminine or masculine?
A chi piace leggere? Who likes to read?

Cosa, Che Cosa, Che/What

Note: Cosa literally means “thing” (feminine singular)

Che cosa/cosa/che mangiamo oggi? What do we eat today?
Oggi mangiamo gli gnocchi. Today we eat gnocchi.

Che cosa/cosa/che fai domani sera? What are you doing tomorrow night? (Literally “What do you do tomorrow night?”)
Dormo. I sleep.
(Tu) fai is the 2nd person singular indicative present of the verb fare (to do/to make).
Notice that when we are talking about some events happening domani we should use the future simple verb tense. However, if you use the present tense nobody will complain, not only because you are making an effort to learn Italian, but also because this is how most Italians speak.

Che ore sono? What time is it? (Literally “what hours are they?”)
Non (lo) so. I do not know (it).
In this context che is an interrogative adjective: it stands for what kind and it cannot be substituted by che cosa or cosa.


Come si dice dog in Italiano? How do you say dog in Italian?
Si dice cane.  
Dice is the 3rd person singular indicative present of the irr. verb dire (to say).
Si+3rd person of a verb gives the impersonal construction.

Come vuole pagare? How do you want to pay? (Formal)
In contanti or con carta di credito In cash or with a credit card
PagARE is a regular verb, while volere is irregular. Vuole is the 3rd person singular indicative present of volere. If you were asking informally, you would use the 2nd person: come vuoi pagare?

Com’è (=come è) Boston? How is Boston?
Boston è una bella città. Boston is a beautiful city.
Boston è bellissima (=molto bella). Boston is very beautiful.


Dov’è (dove è) la forchetta? Where is the fork?
La forchetta è sulla sedia. (Sulla=su+la (on+the).) The fork is on the chair.
Dov’è (dove è) Michele? Where is Michael?
Michele è a Waltham, sta cantando. Michael is in Waltham, he is singing.
A very common natural error to avoid is to say: Michele è in Waltham. Nooo! Waltham is a town: we use A.


Quando sei arrivato? When did you arrive?
Ieri mattina. Yesterday morning.
Sei arrivato is the present perfect of the verb _arriv_ARE, to arrive. If you were asking a woman, you would say: quando sei arrivata? How would you say if you were asking a group of people?
Quando va a casa? When do you go home? (Formal)
Domani pomeriggio. Tomorrow afternoon.
Va is the 3rd person singular indicative present of the irr. verb andare (to go). If you were asking informally, you would use the 2nd person: quando vai a casa_?_

Perchè/Why, Because

Perchè hai sonno? Why are you sleepy? (literally “Why do you have sleep?”)
Perchè non dormo abbastanza. Because I do not sleep enough.
Perchè no? Why not?
Studio troppo. I study too much.


Lesson 4 Assignments (PDF)


Lesson 4 exercises (PDF)

Use this audio file to complete the first task of the exercises:

Lesson 4 audio exercises (MP3 - 4.3MB)

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Course Info
As Taught In
Spring 2012
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assignment Activity Assignments
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