Introduction to Italian: Lesson 4
Italians hate it when you bring this up but what a lot of people associate with Italy is the mafia. Mafia is, of course, mafia in Italian and one of the most famous of them is Cosa Nostra which is actually a U.S. criminal organization. Cosa Nostra means our affair or our thing thus:
Cosa is thing in Italian.
I really like this word. When Italians want to ask what, they would say what thing which would be:
In speech, however, you would often skip che for what and just say cosa to mean what. Knowing this, you can put it to use and ask:
?What do you learn?|Cosa impari?
?What do you speak?|Cosa parli?
Let’s learn an easy word:
Italian for to study is studiare.
It works just like all the other -are words do. Remember that -i for you and ask:
?What do you study?|Cosa studi?
You could answer that in many ways. Guess how you would say:
?I study French.|Studio francese.
Italian for to work is lavorare.
Think of labour to remember this word.
?What do you work?|Cosa lavori?
Answer, for example:
?I don’t work.|Non lavoro.
Italian for nothing is niente.
There is such a word in English as well but it’s used in music.
If you want to say I study nothing you say I not study nothing in Italian because Italian has double negation like a lot of languages in the world. Say:
?I study nothing.|Non studo niente.
This, of course, means I don’t study anything. How would one say:
?I don’t work anything.|Non lavoro niente.
Italian for I understand is capisco.
?I don’t understand anything.|Non capisco niente.
There is another cool word:
Italian for everything is tutto.
You might remember ice cream tutti frutti which means all fruits. The English word total comes from a related root. How would you say:
?I understand everything.|Capisco tutto.
You understand, you say capici.
?What do you understand?|Cosa capici?
?Why don’t you understand everything?|Perché non capici tutto?Next lesson >