Come funziona il blog
Welcome to Li conoscevo bene! Here's how it works:
We post Parte I of a cineracconto the first Saturday of a month, with installments posted on the following Saturdays. These photo-essays tell the story of the movie in intermediate level Italian for language students; most cineracconti are followed (in the final installment) with a link to a more in-depth analytical article.
Then we post a new Vertigo grammar exercise about the movie every Saturday of the following month. Sometimes the cineracconto installments spill over into the following month. If there are extra Saturdays – or at random times, when we’re in the mood – we post Spoileriamoli meglio grammar exercises about various non-cineracconto movies.
Glossario words are highlighted in the text and listed alphabetically at the bottom of each cineracconto installment.
There is a link to the English translation document at the top and bottom of each installment.
All installments of the current film are posted on the Welcome page. Once a new film is posted, only Parte I of past cineracconti appear on that page. For later installments, there are links posted at the bottom of each prior installment as well as on the film Film Post Archive page; or scroll through the page called “I film: Conosciamoli meglio.”
On the Welcome page, we post In Arrivo! the next film that we will be writing about.
We always list the translation for the word as it is used in the cineracconto, plus:
For verbs: the unconjugated form in parentheses
accoglie (accogliere) – he welcomes
si afferra (afferrarsi) – she clutches
For unmodified nouns, adjectives and other words: the possible endings
scema (o/a/i/e) – stupid girl
le trecce (ia/e) – the braids
– except for the past participle, because it is always o/a/i/e:
battuti (battere) – beaten, defeated (past participle)
Starting with La ragazza in vetrina, we include the root verb with the glossario listing for the present participle as well:
barcollante (barcollare) – staggering (present participle as adjective)
splendente (splendere) – bright, shining (present participle as adjective)
This type of present participle adjective always has the e/i endings, so we don’t include the endings in the glossario.
For modified words, only the endings for the word that is modified:
la stazione (e/i) ferroviaria (a/e) – railway station
We don’t list all the possible endings for “ferroviaria” (o/a/i/e).
For nouns introduced by preposizioni articolate (combined prepositions) in the cineracconto, we only list the articles and don’t include the prepositions in the glossario listing.
allo stipite: lo stipite
sulla soglia: la soglia
Words are alphabetized according to the main content word – generally a noun or a verb – without regard for articles, auxiliaries, prepositions, etc., or words like “avere” and “stare” when they are used as grammatical markers that don’t add content.
Words listed in the glossario are not listed again when repeated in new installments of the same film cineracconto (unless there are different meanings for different uses, in which case there will be multiple listings). But they will always be listed again in future cineracconti about other films. We normally aim to use language that can be translated literally. However, there are some common words and phrases that just can’t be translated that way; in these cases we’ve used an English equivalent.
Che c’entriamo (entrare)? – What does it have to do with us?
(Examples above are from “La ciociara.”)
In a few cases, it’s difficult to convey the meaning without context and we just include the entire sentence in the glossario.
“Io non riesco trovarmi in una grande città”. – “I don’t see myself in the big city.” (From “Rocco e i suoi fratelli”)
We put idiomatic expressions in quotation marks; that is: phrases where the words in combination mean something different from what they mean separately.
“si mettono (mettersi) al lavoro” – they get down to business
“si rode (rodersi) il fegato” – he’s eating his heart out.
English Translation Documents
A link to the English translation document is posted at the top and bottom of each cineracconto installment.
Our English translation document is a language-learning tool. We write the Italian version to be at an advanced intermediate (B2) level. That means that the English translation is also written at a simple – i.e., not native speaker – level. So, don’t expect a literary-type translation!
Sometimes the English translation indicates a different meaning from the glossario definition. In these cases, the glossario definition may be a little more generic – so that the student can go on to use the word in other contexts – while the translation reflects a more precise usage in the context of the cineracconto.
Cineracconto: In lontananza, il sole sta cercando di aprirsi un varco tra le nuvole.
Glossario: aprirsi un varco (co/chi) – to open a gap
Translation: In the distance, the sun is trying to break through the clouds.
(From “Rocco e i suoi fratelli”)
A note about the dialogue in our Italian movies: The dialogue is written verbatim in the cineracconti as originally spoken in the film, not copied from subtitles. However, to make the story more accessible and useful to students, we do: simplify some lines, adjust non-standard grammar, and translate from dialect into standard Italian. Also, in order to convey the feeling of the Italian language, our English translations sometimes lean toward maintaining the Italian syntax to help students have a feel for the language or to aid them in understanding the structure. We put a lot of effort into writing the most effective translations that we can; you can read more details about our approach to each particular film in the Parte I English translation document of each cineracconto.
Note: We do our best to provide a quality product for Italian language students. We have a rigorous process of editing and proofreading. But occasionally a mistake slips through! If you notice an error, will you please let us know at email@example.com? (And if you have a different opinion about how we translated something, we’d love to discuss that, too!)
GRAMMAR AND FILM:
Poster art by: Saul Bass, Enzo Nistri, Anselmo Ballester, Anselmo Ballester
Vertigo & Io ti salverò!
The examples in the Vertigo grammar exercises are always about the movies in the cineracconti. There is a link to the Vertigo exercises at the bottom of the final installment of the cineracconto. Right next to the Vertigo link, there is a link to the Io ti salverò! answer sheets. These are PDF documents that can be printed out, for students to practice or for teachers to copy and share with their classes.
Is there a grammar form that you'd like to have covered in a Vertigo? Just let us know! Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Whenever there are remaining weeks of the month, without a Vertigo grammar exercise about our cineracconto movie, we post Spoileriamoi meglio grammar exercises that are based on various movies. These exercises, like the Vertigo exercises, are all PDF documents and they can be printed out.
We would love for other Italian teachers to copy and distribute these exercises for classroom use. Just please: don’t alter the original document in any way, including the website URL.
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:
Do you only have photo-stories and grammar exercises? I want to see more!
We also tweet movie gifs, montages and film comments daily. Follow us on Twitter at @IKnewThemWell.
What language are Conosciamoli meglio posts written in?
Our cineracconti are written in Italian, but there are links to English translations on each post. Vertigo grammar exercise instructions are in English.
How can I find out about new photo-stories and exercises?
Subscribe to get notices of new postings. Newsletters include more information about the film, too. And follow us on Twitter @IKnewThemWell to get announcements and to see content that we don't post on the blog: photos, clips, links to Italian and English articles about our films and more.
If you have a grammar exercise you’d like to see, or any feedback about the site, please email us directly at email@example.com. We love to hear from our readers!