Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year

Day 113 of My Italian Learning Journal*
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In 2005 my wife and I were in Paris on New Year's Eve. It was an usually cold night as we watched the Eiffel Tower illuminated at the stroke of midnight -- it was spectacular. After a little digging in my digital files, I found the short video I recorded of the moment, and I have placed it below. A sparkling Eiffel Tower as 2005 gave way to 2006. It does not even seem that long ago.

My sincere wishes for an amazing 2018 go out to each and everyone who has taken the time to send comments to me as I strive to learn Italian -- this is post and day number 113 on my blog. Tutti voi siete molto gentili.

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New Year's Eve in Paris 2005

Alla prossima!

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*Note: This is my personal journal of daily practice in learning Italian. I welcome Italian grammar corrections. Grazie.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Ancient New Year Celebrations


Day 112 of My Italian Learning Journal*
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At history.com there is an article about five ancient new year's celebrations, going back 4000 years. Among the most ancient civilizations to celebrate a "new year" were the Babylonians, Romans, Egyptians, Chinese, and Persians. 

I have long thought that the Chinese custom of naming years after animals is interesting. The Chinese New Year is still based on a lunar calendar that dates back to the second millennium BC. Each year is associated with one of twelve zodiacal animals; they are, the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. My birth month is that of the dragon -- the gold dragon to be precise.

Ascolta Questo:
  • I cinesi hanno festeggiato il Capodanno per migliaia di anni.
    The Chinese have celebrated the New Year for thousands of years.
  • Il Capodanno cinese è basato su un calendario lunare.
    The Chinese New Year is based on a lunar calendar.
  • Ogni anno cinese è associato con uno di dodici animali zodiacali.
    Each year is associated with one of twelve zodiacal animals.
  • L’anno 2018 per il calendario cinese sarà l’anno del cane.
    The Chinese 2018 New Year will be the Year of the Dog.
[ Gracie a Mith ]

Alla prossima!

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*Note: This is my personal journal of daily practice in learning Italian. I welcome Italian grammar corrections. Grazie.

Friday, December 29, 2017

A Cracked Windshield

Day 111 of My Italian Learning Journal*
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The last couple of posts have been rather sentimental. Tonight's is quite down to earth. Last week I was driving home when a small rock hit my windshield. The result was a chip that developed into a crack more than a yard long. After a stretch of cold and wet days, I made a phone call to schedule the replacement of the cracked windshield. The technicians arrived quickly and the repairs were made without a problem. Shortly after that the weather turned cold again and it began to drizzle.

Ascolta Questo:
  • Oggi ho preso un appuntamento per la sostituzione di un parabrezza incrinato.
    Today I made an appointment for the replacement of a cracked windshield.
  • Avevo rimandato la prenotazaione dell'appuntamento perché il tempo era stato freddo ed umido.
    I had delayed making the arrangements because our weather had been cold and wet.
  • La sostituzione è stata fatta in casa mia questo pomeriggio.
    The replacement was made at my home this afternoon.
  • Ho letto che il vetro viene ottenuto fondendo sabbia in fornaci alla temperature di 1700°C. (Forse un argomento per un altro post.)
    I have read that glass is made by melting sand in a furnace at temperatures of 1700°C. (Perhaps a subject for another post.)
[ Grazie a FreeThinker ]
[ Grazie a David ]
Alla prossima!

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*Note: This is my personal journal of daily practice in learning Italian. I welcome Italian grammar corrections. Grazie.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Cowboys & Butteri


Day 110 of My Italian Learning Journal*
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Our Texas cowboy history is well known around the world. As I surfed the Internet for an interesting note about Italy I came across information about the Maremma region of Tuscany -- and to my surprise the "butteri." I read about the Italian Robin Hood, Domenico Tiburzi. Then I came across a beautiful, soulful song, "Maremma Amara," sung by Fado singer Amalia Rodrigues. Also to my surprise, I read that in 1890 American Buffalo Bill and his Wild West Show toured Italy, and the butteri of the Count Caetani di Sermoneta challenged the American cowboys in a rodeo showdown . . . and as Maremma lore goes, the butteri were the winners.

Ascolta Questo:
  • Il cowboy texano è famoso in tutto il mondo.
    The Texas cowboy is famous around the world.
  • Ho scoperto che anche l'Italia ha un leggendario cowboy -- il Buttero.
    I discovered that even Italy has a legendary cowboy -- the Buttero.
  • Anche i Butteri della Maremma erano cowboys.
    The butteri of Maremma were also cowboys.
  • La prima domenica di agosto in Toscana si celebra un festival annuale dove viene ricordata la maestria dei butteri.
    The first Sunday in August in Tuscany is celebrated an annual festival where the mastery of the Butteri is remembered.
[ Grazie a mikael-sixsix ]
[ Grazie a sailorcya ]

Alla prossima!

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*Note: This is my personal journal of daily practice in learning Italian. I welcome Italian grammar corrections. Grazie.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Come Back to Sorrento


Day 109 of My Italian Learning Journal*
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Tonight I'm doing something a bit different for this post, based on three points of personal interest. 1) My best friends and I played the trombone in high school and in college. 2) One of the most amazing classical trombonists is Joseph Alessi. 3) One of the most beautiful Italian songs is "Come Back to Sorrento." The trombone is not typically a "solo" instrument, however, Alessi makes it sing. Below I have embedded a youtube video of Joseph Alessi's recording.

Ascolta Questo:
  • Il mio strumento musicale preferito è il trombone.
    My favorite musical instrument is the trombone.
  • Al liceo e l'Università, io e i miei amici eravamo trombonisti.
    In high school and college, my friends and I were trombonists.
  • Per il mio orecchio, il trombone è uno dei più bei strumenti sonori.
    To my ear, the trombone is one of the most beautiful sounding instruments.
  • L'interpretazione di Joseph Alessi di "Torna a Surriento" con il trombone è meravigliosa.
    Joseph Alessi's performance of "Come Back to Sorrento" with the trombone is marvelous.
[ Grazie a mikael-sixsix ]


Alla prossima!


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*Note: This is my personal journal of daily practice in learning Italian. I welcome Italian grammar corrections. Grazie.


Tuesday, December 26, 2017

"Ne"


Day 108 of My Italian Learning Journal*
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I came across the Italian word "ne" recently. So, I surfed the web for some tips. For such a small word, there is a lot of discussion about "ne." On youtube.com I did find useful content at italymadeeasy.com by "Manu." The topic of "ne" is a four-part series no less. This small word is going to take some studying.
  • "Ne" can be used when talking about the quantity of something which has already been mentioned.
    Q: Quanti caffè bevi al giorno? A: Di solito ne bevo tre
    Ne refers to "coffee."
  • "Ne" can substitute a noun or a pronoun which is preceded by the preposition "di."
    Q: Avete degli amici italiani? A: No, non ne abbiamo. Ne substitues for "some friends."
Even though I am grasping a fundamental understanding of the uses of "ne" it looks like I'll have to view the videos several times. What I do get at this time is the importance of not omitting "ne" in order to communicate clearly and fluently. My hobby of learning Italian is work at times . . . but I am determined to get better each day . . . anche se con piccoli passi.

Alla prossima!

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*Note: This is my personal journal of daily practice in learning Italian. I welcome Italian grammar corrections. Grazie.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Italian Short Stories



Day 107 of My Italian Learning Journal*
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Each day brings so many things to be grateful for and this Christmas day was a reminder of the countless gifts with which we are blessed, and family is foremost. To my surprise, and I guess I should not have been, one of the gifts I received today is a side-by-side English & Italian book -- a copy of "Great Italian Short Stories of the Twentieth Century" translated by Jacob Blakesley. This collection of Italian short stories is far beyond my Italian reading skills, but I'll use it for brief reading moments to "stretch" my skills.

I noticed that the Italian ordinal numbers for the centuries are a bit different from Enlgish. Part of the book's title is ". . . Twentieth Century." This corresponds to "Novecento" in Italian. Yes, I have much to learn.

Ascolta Questo:
  • Uno dei miei regali di Natale è una collezione di racconti brevi italiani.
    One of my Christmas gifts is a collection of Italian short stories.
  • Le storie sono stampate fianco a fianco, in inglese e in italiano.
    The stories are printed side-by-side, English and Italian.
  • Il livello della scrittura è ben oltre le mie abilità in questo momento.
    The level of the writing is far beyond my skills at this time.
  • Leggerò e analizzò brevi paragrafi per migliorare il mio livello di lettura.
    I will read and analyze brief paragraphs to stretch my reading level.
[ Grazie a mikael-sixsix ]
Alla prossima!

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*Note: This is my personal journal of daily practice in learning Italian. I welcome Italian grammar corrections. Grazie.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Buon Natale

Day 106 of My Italian Learning Journal*
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To all who have taken time to visit my blog and to send comments to help me with my learning the Italian language, I wish "Buon Natale." I also hope La Befana forgets the lumps of coal and only delivers wonderful gifts to each and every one of you on Christmas Day.
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Possa lo spirito del Natale essere con ciascuno di voi ogni giorno.
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Alla prossima!

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*Note: This is my personal journal of daily practice in learning Italian. I welcome Italian grammar corrections. Grazie.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Special Ties

Day 105 of My Italian Learning Journal*
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I received early Christmas gifts from my two grandsons who live out-of-town. One of the boys is five years old and the other is six. The gift boxes each contained a hand-painted dress tie -- now that's special. One tie has the "image" of Batman and the other the "image" of Spiderman. The boys are into super-heroes, and it looks like now I will be too. On my last trip to Rome a few years ago, I purchased a grey dress tie with small yellow giraffes at The Glove Shop on Via Veneto 106. That dress tie is one of my favorites, and next to it I'll hang the two hand-painted super-hero ties until the world needs a super-hero again.

Ascolta Questo:
  • I miei due nipoti mi hanno dato le cravatte dipinte a mano.
    My two grandsons gave me hand-painted dress ties.
  • Una cravatta è lilla con Batman su di esso.
    One tie is lilac with Batman on it.
  • L'altra cravatta è blu chiaro con Spiderman.
    The other tie is light blue with Spiderman.
  • I bambini hanno così grandi cuori.
    Children have such big hearts.
Alla prossima!

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*Note: This is my personal journal of daily practice in learning Italian. I welcome Italian grammar corrections. Grazie.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Track Santa Claus on the Internet


Day 104 of My Italian Learning Journal*
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As I promised a few blogs ago, here is the information about the NORAD Tracks Santa website. What started as a child's call to a wrong number to ask where Santa was, has become an annual tradition of tracking Santa on Christmas Eve. NORAD is the North American Aerospace Defense Command. I have placed two hyperlinks below: one for the story about how this tradition started, and the other to access the NORAD Track Stata website. The NORAD Track Santa begins in one day. If you have children, if you are young at heart yourself, visit this entertaining website, and you can see as Santa flies over many cities around the globe.

Ascolta Questo:
  • Più di sessanta anni fa, un bambino ha chiamato un numero di telefono per chiedere dove era Babbo Natale.
    Over sixty years ago, I child called a phone number to ask where Santa Claus was.
  • Il numero di telefono era un numero sbagliato.
    The phone number was a wrong number.
  • Alla telefonata ha risposto un ufficiale del NORAD.
    The call was answered by a NORAD officer.
  • È così che è iniziata la tradizione.
    That is how the tradition started.
  • Ora il NORAD traccia Bobbo Natale su Internet alla vigilia di Natale.
    Now NORAD tracks Santa on the Internet on Christmas Eve.
[ Grazie a sailorcya ]

For the story behind the tradition click here.

To access the NORAD Track Santa website click here.

Alla prossima!

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*Note: This is my personal journal of daily practice in learning Italian. I welcome Italian grammar corrections. Grazie.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

2000-Year-Old Bread


Day 103 of My Italian Learning Journal*
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My post yesterday was about sweet breads in Italy during the Christmas season. After reviewing what I had posted, I wondered about the origins of baked bread. As I surfed the web, I found an article online about a carbonized loaf of bread discovered with the baker's stamp “Celer, slave of Quintus Granius Verus”, in Herculaneum near Pompeii, from 79 A.D. This loaf of bread is from the time of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Several years ago my wife and I visited Pompeii and we were quite fortunate to have had an exceptional guide who seemed to bring Pompeii back to life as she led us on the tour.

Below I have inserted a video of Italian chef Giorgio Locatelli, who at the request of the British Museum recreates the baking of a loaf of bread like the 2000-year-old loaf discovered at Herculaneum. If you want the recipe visit the British Museum website.

Buon Appetito!


Ascolta Questo:
  • Nel 79 D.C., un fornaio mise la sua pagnotta nel forno. AD 79, a baker put his loaf of bread into the oven.
  • Quasi 2000 anni dopo fu ritrovato durante gli scavi di Ercolano. Nearly 2,000 years later it was found during excavations in Herculaneum.
  •  Il British Museum ha chiesto a Giorgio Locatelli di ricreare la ricetta. The Brirtish Museum asked Giorgio Locatelli to recreate the recipe.
  • Guarda il video per vedere la ricreazione. View the video to see the recreation.
Alla prossima!

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*Note: This is my personal journal of daily practice in learning Italian. I welcome Italian grammar corrections. Grazie.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Christmas Sweet Breads

Day 102 of My Italian Learning Journal*
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As Christmas festivities approach, I was wondering about what sweet breads are served in Italy. After a short search on the Internet, I found a few examples: pandoro, pandolce, panforte, panpepato, panettone, and pangiallo. Obviously, the "pan" part of the names indicates "bread."

In the Hispanic culture there are also sweet breads called "pan dulce" in Spanish. One variety  is called "conchas" because they resemble sea shells, as in the photo. These sweet breads are actually available and purchased everyday.

Ascolta Questo:
  • Pandoro: a star-shaped sweet Christmas bread from Verona.
  • Pandolcea variety from Genova.
  • Panforte: actually a chewy, dense fruitcake from Siena.
  • Panpepato: not a bread but a heavy gingerbread cake dating back to 15th century Ferrara.
  • Panettone:  from Milan, a sweet, dome-shaped bread loaf with raisins and candied citrus peels.
  • Pangiallo: from Rome and the Lazio region, a golden yellow bread filled with nuts, raisins, spices, and candied fruit.
  • Il Tronchetto di Natale: from Piedmont, a dessert made with: eggs, butter, mascarpone, chestnut cream, brandy, cream, chocolate. It is a "calorie bomb."
  • Lo Zelten: from Trentino Alto Adige, fruit and spicy bread, prepared only during the Christmas period.
  • I Ricciarelli: from Tuscany, Christmas biscuits with almonds, vanilla and cinnamon.
  • Il Torrone: from Lombardy - Cremona, a bread prepared with honey, egg whites and dried fruit.
[ Grazie a mikael-sixsix ]

Alla prossima!

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*Note: This is my personal journal of daily practice in learning Italian. I welcome Italian grammar corrections. Grazie.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

La Befana

Day 101 of My Italian Learning Journal*
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At my age I still enjoy children's stories. When my daughter and son were children I would read to them a great deal, and when our granddaughter came along I enjoyed reading stories to her as well. Today on the Internet I came across the Italian story about La Befana. What a delightful story. Below is the English and Italian verse I found at www.italianheritagecom. That website is worth browsing.

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La Befana vien di notte
con le scarpe tutte rotte
col vestito alla "romana"
viva viva la Befana!!

Porta cenere e carboni

ai bambini cattivoni
ai bambini belli e buoni
porta chicchi e tanti doni!

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The Befana comes by night
With her shoes all broken
With a dress in Roman style
Up, up with the Befana !!

She brings ashes and coal 
To bad nasty children
To the nice good child
She brings candies and many gifts!

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Alla prossima!

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*Note: This is my personal journal of daily practice in learning Italian. I welcome Italian grammar corrections. Grazie.

Monday, December 18, 2017

100 Consecutive Days

Day 100 of My Italian Learning Journal*
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100 Giorni

Not bad at all. When I created this blog I had one thought in mind -- to establish a habit of learning a little Italian on a daily basis. 100 days later here we are, and still posting a few sentences in Italian every day. What I was not sure of was whether or not anyone on the Internet would come across this blog and help me turn rough attempts at Italian into fluent ones. Then I discovered "HiNative.com" and I have been receiving the occasional help I had hoped for. Prior to this blog I had been inconsistent in my efforts to learn Italian, but for the past 100 days I can say I have been quite consistent. Plus, I am learning to be more realistic about the pace I need to take, and the progress I am making. Thanks to all who have been helping me.

Ascolta Questo:
  • Questo è il centesimo giorno che posto qualche frase italiana sul Blog.
    This is the 100th day I have posted a few Italian sentence on the blog.
  • Sono grato per l'aiuto che ho ricevuto dai madrelingua italiani.
    I am thankful for the help I have received from Italian speakers.
  • Ho postato in italiano sul mio blog per cento giorni consecutivi.
    I have posted Italian on my blog for 100 consecutive days.
  • Ringrazio tutti quelli su Internet che mi stanno aiutando a imparare l'italiano.
    I thank everyone on the Internet who has been helping learn Italian.
[ Grazie a mikael-sixsix ]
[ Grazie a Eleonoraa_ ]
Alla prossima!

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*Note: This is my personal journal of daily practice in learning Italian. I welcome Italian grammar corrections. Grazie.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Bath, England

The Grand Bath in Bath, England
Day 99 of My Italian Learning Journal*
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Almost twelve years ago my wife and I traveled to Europe for the first time. It was an adventure in many ways. The almost two weeks were mostly spent in and about London, England, and Paris, France. One of the places I found especially beautiful and interesting is Bath, England. The city of Bath was founded by the Romans in the 1st century AD. The attraction then, as it is today, being the natural hot springs. At top-right is one of the photos I took. It was the latter part of December when we were there, and we could easily see the vapor rising off the warm water. We also visited The Temple of Sulis Minerva, near the baths complex, where I took several photos of my wife, whose name is also Minerva -- Goddess of Wisdom. Click the play button below to view a short video of The Grand Bath.

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Ascolta Questo:
  • Il primo viaggio che io e mia moglie abbiamo fatto in Europa è stato nel dicembre 2005.
    The first trip my wife and I took to Europe was in December 2005.
  • Il tempo era molto freddo.
    The weather was very cold.
  • Mi è piaciuto soprattutto visitare Bath, in Inghilterra e imparare a conoscere la sua antica storia romana.
    I especially enjoyed visiting Bath, England and learning about its early Roman history.
  • L'ingegneria romana delle Terme era impressionante.
    The Roman engineering at The Great Bath was impressive.
[ Grazie a mikael-sixsix ]
[ Grazie a italianidiot99 ]
Alla prossima!

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*Note: This is my personal journal of daily practice in learning Italian. I welcome Italian grammar corrections. Grazie.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

One Gift for Christmas

Day 98 of My Italian Learning Journal*
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Tonight, several of my family members and I will attend a live performance of a seasonal classic story: "A Christmas Story." The play is based on a comedy film directed by Bob Clark and based on Jean Shepherd's semi-fictional anecdotes about one Christmas when he was nine years old and all he wanted for Christmas was a Red Ryder BB Carbine. The film has become a classic that is played on television for 24-hours on Christmas Day.

Ascolta Questo:
  • Stasera io e diversi membri della mia famiglia andremo ad una produzione teatrale.
    Tonight I and several family members will attend a theater production.
  • E' una commedia che racconta la storia di un ragazzo che vuole una carabina Red Ryder per Natale. (La carabina Red Ryder è un fucile ad aria compressa.)
    The story is a comedy about a boy who wants a Red Ryder BB Carbine for Christmas.
  • E' un film classico trasmesso sempre in televisione nel periodo di Natale.
    It's a classic film that is presented on television every Christmas season.
  • Una stazione televisiva riproduce il film per 24 ore il giorno di Natale.
    One television station plays the film for 24 hours on Christmas day.
  • Da ragazzo anch'io volevo una carabina Red Ryder.
    When I was a boy I too wanted a Red Ryder BB Carbine.

[ Grazie a mikael-sixsix ]
Alla prossima!

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*Note: This is my personal journal of daily practice in learning Italian. I welcome Italian grammar corrections. Grazie.


Police Car Lights

My Italian Learning Journal * Year 2 - Day 206 _____________________ ...