During the Spring 2012 I taught one of many interdisciplinary undergraduate seminars in the Experimental Study Group at MIT. Each class is based on the preparation of a simple delicious dish and on the bite-sized acquisition of parts of the Italian language and culture.
Videography by Graham Gordon Ramsay.

Click here to watch the videos in full resolution.
Buon divertimento!

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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Lezione numero uno/Lesson number one

Evviva!Hurray!
Giovedì (on Thursday) we had the first class of our Italian seminar in the new ESG kitchen.

We started by introducing ourselves. [For video material check the posts on Feb 24 or
click here]

Short dialogue

- Ciao, (io) mi chiamo Paola
Hello, I am called (lit. I call myself) Paola

- (Tu) come ti chiami (informal)?
What's your name (lit. how do you call yourself)?

- Mi chiamo...

- Piacere!
Nice to meet you! (lit. pleasure)

CIAO=informal hello and goodbye
Notice that in Italian in most contexts you can omit the subject to
a sentence (io, tu above).



Listen to the dialogue


This was our first class, so we needed to introduce pronunciation rules.

Le vocali sono:

A E I O U

We use grave and acute accents, although in handwriting it mostly makes no difference. Most words have grave (or open) accents (e.g. caffè).
Acute (or closed) accents (e.g. perché) are less common. I (and many many Italians) pronounce acute accents open, but it is not approved by the Accademia della Crusca - lit. the Academy of the Bran -, a society of scholars and linguists that was founded around 1582-1583 with the goal of developing and protecting the pure Italian language. The name comes from the process of sifting the best flour from the lower quality bran.

Anyway, these are the seven basic vowel sounds.

A È E I
A Ò O U


Accents at the end of a word are important!


Papa (the Pope) vs papà (dad)
pero (pear tree) vs però (but/however-it is a conjunction)

Concerning consonants, in Italian we have
single and double consonants (doppie).

Rosa (pink-adj/rose)/Rossa (red-adj)
Tono (tone)/Tonno (tuna)
Belo (?!) /Bello (beautiful-adj)
Papa (Pope)/Pappa (cute way to say food, e.g. when talking to babies
expression also used to deplore pureed food that doesn't look very tasty)
Il Papa (m)/ La pappa (f)
La nona (the ninth, f adj) / La nonna (the grandma)



Listen to the pronunciation


We got hungry fast, hence it was time to cook (cucinARE).

INDICATIVO PRESENTE (I cook, you cook, s/he cooks,...)

(Io) cucino
(Tu) cucini
(Lui/Lei)(Egli/Essa...not much used) cucina
(Noi) cuciniamo
(Voi) cucinate
(Loro)(Essi..not much used) cucinano


Il verbo cucinare


Esercizi


  1. Leggi (read) ad alta voce (lit. at high voice -> aloud):

    Cu-ci-no
    Cu-ci-nia-mo
    Cu-ci-na-no
    Ci-pol-la
    A-glio
    Pan-cet-ta
    Po-mo-do-ro
    Pe-co-ri-no Ro-ma-no
    Ac-ciu-ga
    Gio-va-ne
    Cuc-chia-io
    Col-tel-lo
    Un col-tel-lo
    Du-e col-tel-li ...
    Die-ci col-tel-li
    For-chet-ta
    Fa-ro
    Fa-rò
    Co-me si di-ce "goodbye"?
    Ciao! (informal)


    Listen to the pronunciation


  2. Dettato (dictation): ascolta (listen) e (and) scrivi (write)


    Dettato


  3. Suggested reading on the reasons why "I broccoli ti fanno bene" (lit. (The) broccoli make good to you -> broccoli are good for you):

    http://www.nih.gov/researchmatters/april2011/04252011copd.htm
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19519500

2 comments:

  1. A friend pointed out that "belo" actually has a meaning: it is true! I did not think about it because "belo" means "I baa / I bleat"...yes, like a sheep, or a goat. I do not use it often :P Grazie Gabriella!

    ReplyDelete