Tag Archives: Kathryn Occhipinti

Occhipinti releases two audiobooks

  Longtime Fra Noi correspondent Dr. Kathryn Occhipinti has released an audiobook titled “Conversational Italian for Travelers: Just the Important Phrases,” with the same phrases found in her popular pocket phrase book of the same title. Recorded with native Italian and American speakers, the audiobook makes it possible to read and then listen to “all the Italian you need in order to enjoy your trip to Italy,” according to Occhipinti. The audiobook is available on Spotify and most streaming platforms, and the print version is available on Amazon.com and LearnTravelItalian.com. A radiologist of Italian descent, Occhipinti has been leading Italian-language …

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How to use the verb “dovere”

The Italian verb  dovere fills an essential role in everyday life, whether one is a traveler to Italy or is speaking to an acquaintance, friend, or family.  Dovere is used as a helping verb to emphasize the obligation or the need to complete an action with its meanings of “to have to,” or “to must.”  Think of how many times a day we say we “have to” or “must” do something — leave for work or school, run an errand, meet a friend we haven’t seen in a while — the permutations are endless!  Also, it is important to note …

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Talking to someone special

A bench outside of an Italian home where people can sit and talk about someone special and love

Meeting someone at a gathering — Piacere di conoscerla… Where do two people who form a lasting relationship have their first encounter? Many times soon-to-be couples are introduced by a friend, often at a festa (party). The Italian verb conoscere is used when two people first meet. In a previous blog, The Holidays in Italy,  we discussed the many variations of friendly Italian introductions, and the most common reply, “Piacere di conoscerla,” for, “It is a pleasure to meet you.” This phrase uses the formal “la” to mean “you.” More commonly, though, and especially at informal gatherings of young people, the familiar …

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“Dare” and verbs of giving

Picture of a block of houses in Italy with a park bench out front where people can sit and discuss the Italian verbs dare, regalare and donare

The Italian verb dare is most often used with the meaning “to give,”  or literally, “to hand over” something to someone else. When the object “handed over” is a gift, dare may be used to describe this action or the more specific verbs of gift-giving may come into play, such as regalare (to give a gift) and  donare (to donate). To truly sound like a native Italian, learn the quintessential Italian interjection, “Dai!” from the second person conjugation of dare. The Italian verb dare is also an integral part of an important Italian expression, “dare del tu,” which allows  one to …

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Expressing Emotion in Italian

Expressing one’s emotions is complex, both in one’s native language and certainly in an adopted language. In Italian, many phrases used to convey emotion are idiomatic, and the choice of verbs can differ with even minor differences in a situation. This is especially true for the winter holiday season, which brings with it happiness and anticipation, and many ways to express these feelings in Italian! In short, we must learn to think in Italian if we are to communicate our emotions in Italian! Expressing Happiness in Italian — Contento, Felice, Piacere Sono contento(a) di… If an Italian is happy, he …

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Italian family conversations

Bench by the side of a road with colorful Italian houses for Italian conversations with family

The Italian Family of Yesterday and Today Traditionally, married couples in Italy had large families and raised their children as part of an extended family of aunts, uncles, and cousins.  In modern Italy, nuclear families tend to be smaller, but the language for how to describe children as they grow from a baby to an adult has not changed very much. Young boys and girls are called “the baby” — with  “il bambino” for young boys or “la bambina” for young girls — until 5 or 6 years, long after we Americans would consider the “baby stage” has been completed. …

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Familiar Italian commands

A bench along a street of colorful homes on which to converse about how to make familiar Italian commands

About Italian Command Verbs To speak fluently in another language, it is important to understand the nuances used among family members and friends. In Italian, verbs in their familiar imperative form are commonly used, especially with children, to give encouragement, instructions, or warnings. In many cases, a familiar imperative verb can stand alone as a complete expression. To the English speaker, the grammatical name “imperative verb,” or its alternate “command verb,” can suggest a harsh approach to interacting with others; we English speakers typically think of a command as a type of forceful instruction given by an officer in the …

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Possessive adjectives

A block of Italian homes with a bench out front to discuss the grammar of Italian Possession

Italian Possessive Adjectives for Things Possessive adjectives allow one to describe ownership. Did you know that to describe possession in English, we simply put a possessive adjective (my, your, his/hers, etc.) before a noun under discussion? The word placement is the same in Italian. But there are otherwise many differences in the English and Italian approach to describing our relationship to the things we own. In English, the possessive adjectives refer to the person who is the “owner” of the thing being talked about. However, the Italian use of possessive adjectives requires a different way of thinking, since Italians match …

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Adding color with adjectives

A bench by a row of houses in Burano Italy where one can sit and converse in Italian.

To speak fluently in another language, it is important to know how to describe the characteristics of the people, places, and things that we encounter every day. Adjectives can enliven the listener’s perception of a subject and provide additional shades of meaning. In English, adjectives are generally placed before the noun. But in Italian, most adjectives are placed after the noun the modify, while a few groups of adjectives are placed before the noun. And finally, many Italian adjectives can hold either position in relation to their noun — either before or after. Interestingly, where an Italian adjective is placed in …

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Being polite with “volere”

The Italian Verb Volere Volere means “to want” or “to desire,” and is classified as a modal, or helping verb. This means that volere  provides information about one’s wish or intention to complete the  main action described in a sentence. When used in this way, volere is conjugated to reflect the speaker and the action verb follows directly after in its infinitive form — that is, the action verb is not conjugated! (Remember that Italian verbs are categorized into three infinitive forms by the following endings: -are, -ere, and -ire, and that English infinitive verbs are preceded by “to,” as in, …

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