5 Secrets for Learning Italian from Manu

Lately I’ve been spending time with a man other than my husband -- everywhere from the kitchen when I’m cooking to the car when I’m driving. His name is Manu (Emanuele) Venditti, a native Italian who lives in Australia and teaches Italian, mainly on his youtube...

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50 Romantic Phrases in the Italian Language

“How do I love thee?” Elizabeth Barrett Browning asked. She counted the ways in English, but the passionate Italophile may well have chosen Italian when she whispered words of love. Why not? Like love itself, a dichiarazione d’amore (declaration of love) is lovelier in Italian.

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Astrology in the Italian Language

“What’s your sign?” (Di che segno sei?) The classic pick-up line may sound corny in English, but it can be a good conversation starter in Italy, where l’astrologia has been popular since the time of the ancient Romans. My Italian dictionary defines it as “un complesso di credenze e tradizioni, prive di fondamento scientifico, che ritiene che le posizioni e i movimenti dei corpi celesti rispetto alla Terra influiscano sugli eventi umani collettivi e individuali” (a complex of beliefs and traditions, lacking scientific basis, that holds that the positions and movement of celestial bodies in relationship to the earth influence collective and individual human events).

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Groundhog Day in the Italian Language

There is no “giorno della marmotta” in Italy, where the word once doubled as an insult meaning “dunce” or “lazybones.” According to the Italian version of Wikipedia, la marmotta, un genere di roditori (a type of rodent), is famous for il letargo (lethargy). During six months of hibernation when it sleeps profoundly (dorme profondamente), its heart slows to fifteen beats a minute (15 battiti al minuto), and its breathing becomes barely perceptible (appena percettibile).

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White as Snow in the Italian Language

You can find bianchezza (whiteness), not just in snow (neve), but also in the white of the eye (il bianco dell’occhio), the white of the egg (il bianco dell’uovo) or the universally beloved fairy tale “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves” (Biancaneve e i sette nani).

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The Red Moon in the Italian Language

“Che fai tu, luna, in ciel, dimmi, che fai?” the writer Giacomo Leopardi (1798 –1837) asked in one of his most famous poems. “What are you doing, moon, in the sky, tell me, what are you doing?” On a frigid night in January, the answer was clear: La luna piena (the full moon) was putting on a dazzling celestial show.

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