Easy Italian Lesson 8 Suggests Meaning

Easy Italian Lesson 8: Suggests Meaning:

ITALIAN COGNATES WITH DIFFERENT BUT SUGGESTIVE MEANINGS

Previous lessons list words in English and Italian with similar spellings and similar meanings.

This lesson examines a related topic – an Italian word that looks similar to an English word that has a different spelling or meaning -- although it is somehow related enough to suggest the correct English cognate.

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TWO TYPES

There are two types of these Italian words that look similar enough to English words to suggest the correct Italian cognates:

1. Italian Cognates with Different But Suggestive Spellings.

2. Italian Cognates with Different But Suggestive Meanings

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1. ITALIAN COGNATES WITH DIFFERENT BUT SUGGESTIVE SPELLINGS

Some Italian Cognates Look Similar to Two Different English Words

For example, ‘ton’ in Italian looks somewhat similar to at least two English words -- ‘ton’ and ‘tone’.

Your first impression might be to think the Italian‘ton’ means ‘ton’ in English. But the spelling ‘ton’ is also close enough to ‘tone’ to suggest the actual meaning and help you remember it: ‘tone’.

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2. ITALIAN COGNATES WITH DIFFERENT BUT SUGGESTIVE MEANINGS

For example, ‘libreria’ in Italian means bookstore.

So LIBRERIA in Italian is different from the English word it resembles (library) because it means bookstore, but similar in that both have to do with books.

This makes the Italian meaning easier to remember than if the Italian word meant something totally unrelated.

So this will make it easy for you to remember that la libreria is not a library -- but it is a bookstore.

This lesson presents examples of a Italian word that looks similar to an English word but has a different meaning -- although it is somehow related enough to suggest the correct meaning of the Italian word.

This lesson will take you to another level of similarities-with-differences between English and Italian.

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In these Easy Italian Lessons are letters written by someone taking a first trip to Italy -- and discovering that many Italian words are similar to English words.

Read Italian Words in English Sentences

The following letter in English has a few Italian words mixed in. This starts you reading a few Italian words in the easiest way – in a context of familiar English words in English sentences.

Reading Italian words in English sentences is the very easiest way to begin to read some Italian.

In the following story, the ITALIAN WORDS are IN CAPITAL LETTERS.

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LETTER ABOUT ITALIAN COGNATES THAT SUGGEST THEIR MEANING

Dear Billy Bob,

Yesterday I thought I'd see what an Italian library was like. But when I went into la LIBRERIA, it turned out to be a bookstore!

That was close enough for me. I bought a book on amici falsi, which are the Italian False Friends -- words that don't mean what you might think -- which I will tell you about in my next letter.

However, some of them are close enough that it helps me remember what the Italian word means.

For example, your FRONTE is your forehead.

La PRUGNA is the plum (before it becomes a prune).

Here are others close enough in meaning to remember:

I went for a tour out in the countryside. The VENTO (wind) was blowing gently as we hopped in a CARRO (horse-pulled carriage) and rode through a CAMPO (field) to a nearby CASCATA (waterfall).

A little girl with a CARAMELLA (lollipop) was home from boarding school, which they call COLLEGIO.

I took some pictures with my MACCHINA FOTOGRAFICA (camera) from my MACCHINA (car).

Some other helpful Italian friends also make sense.

MEDICO is a medical doctor.

FORTE means strong (like a fort).

La POSTA is the mail from the post office.

DOMANDARE simply means to ask not demand.

Here are some more Italian words that are easy to remember this way.

GIORNALE is a daily newspaper (think of the Wall Street Journal).

Lo SPETTACOLO is a show, a great spectacle.

LAMPO is the great sky show called lightning.

PAPA is the Pope.

L’OPERAZIONE is a surgery operation.

If you go into la GALLERIA, you are in a tunnel.

Your ANIMALE FAVORITO is your pet.

Some of these loosely related words are suggestive in a humorous way.

An English-speaker who wants to buy a few men’s clothes in Italy would need to ask for a COSTUME (swim suit), and a VESTAGLIA (which is a robe not a vest; a VESTE is a dress). And ask for a SLIP (man’s underwear not a woman's slip). Fortunately for him the latter is pronounced “sleep”.

Do you think the Italians might do this just to play with our English-speaking minds?

Wish me buona FORTUNA (good luck).

-- Candace

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Below are more of these Italian words different in meaning from the English words they resemble, but similar enough to remember:

ITALIAN COGNATES WITH DIFFERENT BUT SUGGESTIVE MEANINGS

ENGLISH -- ITALIAN -- [SAY]

underpants (men's) -- gli slip -- [SLEEP]

Pope -- il Papa -- [PAH-pah]

street / road -- la via -- [VEE-ah]

weather -- il tempo -- [TEMM-poh]

place of business -- il locale -- [loh-KAH-leh]

border (country) -- il confine -- [kohn-FEE-neh]

little (small) -- piccolo -- [PEEK-koh-loh]

high -- alto -- [AHL-toh]

single (female) -- nubile -- [NOO-bee-leh]

cool -- fresco -- [FREH-skoh]

only -- solo -- [SOH-loh]

alike -- simile -- [SEE-mee-leh]

Cheers! -- Salute! -- [sah-LOO-teh]

I believe -- credo -- [KREH-doh]

woman / lady -- la donna -- [DOHN-nah]

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Sometimes the adopted Italian word has become a synonym in English for the more common English word it means:

ENGLISH -- ITALIAN -- [SAY]

about -- circa -- [CHEER-kah]

free -- gratis -- [GRAH-tees]

serious -- grave -- [GRAH-veh]

quickly -- presto -- [PREH-stoh]

prompt, quick -- pronto -- [PROHN-toh]

almost -- quasi -- [KWAH-zee]

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Near Synonyms Spelled Slightly Different in Italian

ENGLISH -- ITALIAN -- [SAY]

pain killer -- analgesico [ah-nahl-JEH-zee-koh]

corner -- angolo -- [AHN-goh-loh]

blue -- azzurro -- [ahd-DZOOR-roh]

low -- basso -- [BAHS-soh]

hit -- battere -- [BAHT-teh-reh]

hat -- cappello -- [kahp-PELL-loh]

waterfall -- cascata -- [kah-SKAH-tah]

famous -- celebre -- [CHEH-leh-breh]

delighted / happy -- contento -- [kohn-TENN-toh]

bruise -- contusione -- [kohn-too-ZYOH-neh]

expensive -- costoso -- [koh-STOH-soh]

inexpensive -- economico -- [eh-koh-NOH-mee-koh]

toothpaste -- dentifrico -- [dehn-tee-FREE-koh]

sofa -- divano -- [dee-VAH-noh]

rubber band -- elastico -- [eh-LAH-stee-koh]

smoke -- fumo -- [FOO-moh]

great / tall -- grande -- [GRAHN-deh]

luck -- fortuna -- [fohr-TOO-nah]

thick / big -- grosso -- [GROHSS-soh]

rash -- irritazione -- [eer-ree-tah-TSYOH-neh]

tangerine -- mandarino -- [mahn-dah-REE-noh]

doctor -- medico -- [MEH-dee-koh]

mail -- posta -- [POH-stah]

job -- posto -- [POH-stoh]

matter -- questione -- [kweh-STYOH-neh]

calm -- quiete -- [KWYEH-teh]

snake -- serpe -- [SEHR-peh]

team -- squadra -- [SKWAH-drah]

late -- tardi -- [TAHR-dee]

storm -- tempesta -- [temm-PEH-stah]

dye -- tinta -- [TEEN-tah]

cake / pie -- torta -- [TOHR-tah]

suitcase -- valigia -- [vah-LEE-jah]

speed -- velocità -- [veh-loh-chee-TAH]

fan -- ventilatore -- [venn-tee-lah-TOH-reh]

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Various Italian Cognates with Different But Suggestive Meanings

ENGLISH -- ITALIAN -- [SAY]

farmer -- agricoltore -- [ah-gree-kohl-TOH-reh]

beard -- barba -- [BAHR-bah]

beautiful / pretty -- bella -- [BELL-lah]

ugly -- brutto -- [BROOT-toh]

clown -- buffone -- [boof-FOH-neh]

telephone booth -- cabina -- [kah-BEE-nah]

heat -- calore -- [kah-LOH-reh]

field -- campo -- [KAHM-poh]

erase -- cancellare -- [kahn-chell-LAH-reh]

lollipop / candy -- caramella -- [kah-rah-MEHL-lah]

carriage -- carro -- [KAHR-roh]

hundred -- cento -- [CHEN-toh]

boarding school -- collegio -- [kohl-LEH-joh]

neck -- collo -- [KOH-loh]

religion -- culto -- [KOOL-toh]

tooth -- dente -- [DENN-teh]

question -- domanda -- [doh-MAHN-dah]

ask -- domandare -- [doh-mahn-DAH-reh]

factory -- fabbrica -- [FAHB-bree-kah]

female -- femmina -- [FEMM-mee-nah]

party / holiday -- festa -- [FEH-stah]

fleet -- flotta -- [FLOHT-tah]

strong -- forte -- [FOHR-teh]

forehead -- fronte -- [FROHN-teh]

mushroom -- funghi -- [FOON-gee]

tunnel -- galleria -- [gahl-leh-REE-ah]

diesel fuel -- gasolio -- [gah-ZOH-lyoh]

newspaper -- giornale -- [johr-NAH-leh]

tall -- grande -- [GRAHN-deh]

wheat -- grano -- [GRAH-noh]

accident -- incidente -- [een-cheh-DEHN-teh]

nurse -- infermiere -- [een-fehr-MYEH-reh]

food poisoning -- intossicazione -- [een-tohs-see-kah-TSYOH-neh]

hair spray -- lacca -- [LAHK-kah]

lightning -- lampo -- [LAHM-poh]

place of business -- locale -- [loh-KAH-leh]

room -- locale -- [loh-KAH-leh]

fashion -- moda -- [MOH-dah]

ship -- nave -- [NAH-veh]

relatives -- parenti -- [pah-REHN-tee]

floor -- pavimento -- [pah-vee-MEHN-toh]

trial -- processo -- [proh-CHESS-soh]

wonderful -- prodigioso -- [proh-dee-JOH-soh]

plum -- prugna -- [PROO-nyah]

change(from purchase) -- resto -- [REHS-toh]

score -- risultato -- [ree-zool-TAH-toh]

traffic light -- semaforo -- [seh-MAH-foh-roh]

sun -- sole -- [SOH-leh]

show -- spettacolo -- [spett-TAH-koh-loh]

car (train) -- vagone -- [vah-GOH-neh]

sell -- vendere -- [VENN-deh-reh]

wind -- vento -- [VENN-toh]

robe -- vestaglia -- [veh-STAH-lyah]

dress (frock) -- veste -- [VEH-steh]

clothes -- vestiti -- [vehs-TEE-tee]

cop -- vigile -- [VEE-jee-leh]

dictionary -- vocabolario -- [voh-kah-boh-LAH-ryoh]

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STORY WITH ITALIAN WORDS THAT SUGGEST THEIR MEANING

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Shopping Italian Style.

Shopping All'italiana.

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I go downtown on the subway.

Vado al CENTRO con la Metropolitana.

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I walk down the street under an blue sky.

Cammino nella VIA sotto un cielo AZZURRO.

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I go in a fashion store for women.

Entro in un negozio di MODA per donna.

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I buy an expensive hat.

Mi compero un CAPPELLO COSTOSO.

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The store is full of smoke.

Il negozio è pieno di FUMO.

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I sit down in the big sofa in the corner.

Mi siedo nel GRANDE DIVANO nell'ANGOLO.

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I go to buy a camera.

Vado a comperare una MACCHINA FOTOGRAFICA.

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The next buy is a beautiful suitcase.

La prossima compera è una bella VALIGIA.

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I take my father along.

PORTO mio papà con me.

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I'll see you soon!

A PRESTO!

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ITALIAN COGNATES WITH DIFFERENT BUT SUGGESTIVE SPELLINGS

As mentioned above, some Italian cognates look similar to two different English words.

For example, ‘tre’ in Italian looks somewhat similar to at least two English words -- ‘tree’ and ‘three’.

Your first impression would be to think the Italian‘tre’ means ‘tree’ in English. But the spelling ‘tre’ is also close enough to ‘three’ to suggest the actual meaning and help you remember it: ‘three’.

Sometimes an Italian cognate looks as if it has a different meaning from the English word it resembles because it has less letters (or more) and as a result looks like a different word:

ENGLISH -- ITALIAN -- [SAY]

salt -- il sale -- [SAH-leh]

date -- la data -- [DAH-tah]

peace -- la pace -- [PAH-cheh]

hours -- ore -- [OH-reh]

history -- storia -- [STOH-ryah]

I study -- studio -- [STOO-dyoh]

stay / be -- stare -- [STAH-reh]

gentle -- gentile -- [jehn-TEE-leh]

custom -- il costume -- [koh-STOO-meh]

channel -- canale -- [kah-NAH-leh]

similar -- simile -- [SEE-mee-leh]

influence -- influenza -- [een-floo-EHN-tsah]

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Others of these Italian cognates with different but suggestive spellings are not spelled exactly like an English word, but still could be misleading.

ENGLISH -- ITALIAN -- [SAY]

care -- carta -- [KAHR-tah]

gulf -- golfo -- [GOHL-foh]

pump -- pompa -- [POHM-pah]

mass -- messa -- [MEHS-sah]

meter (measure) -- metro -- [MEH-troh]

pole -- palo -- [PAH-loh]

type -- tipo -- [TEE-poh]

long -- lungo -- [LOON-goh]

three -- tre -- [treh]

coast (shore) -- costa -- [KOH-stah]

fate -- fato -- [FAH-toh]

beast -- bestia -- [BEHS-tyah]

oysters -- ostriche -- [OH-stree-keh]

ball -- palla -- [PAHL-lah]

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ITALIAN PLURALS ENDING –E THAT SUGGEST CORRECT MEANING

Some Italian plurals that end in –E look like the English cognate in the singular, which could be slightly misleading unless you are aware of it.

For example, ‘oliva’ in the plural is ‘olive’ [oh-LEE-veh] meaning several olives.

The Italian word for rose is ‘rosa’ in the plural is ‘rose’ [ROH-zeh] meaning several roses.

‘Guida’ in the plural is ‘guide’, meaning several guides.

‘Statua’ in the plural is ‘statue’ meaning several statues.

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Lesson Nine explains False Cognates that look alike but have different meanings (but do not suggest the correct meanings).

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EASY ITALIAN -- LESSON 9 -- FALSE COGNATES



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