Learn Italian from Pinocchio: chapter 1, part 9

In this post, one of the things you will look at is how to use the Italian expression fare male (to hurt), found in this next portion of text from chapter 1 of Le avventure di Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi:

— Ohi! tu m’hai fatto male! — gridò rammaricandosi la solita vocina. Questa volta maestro Ciliegia restò di stucco, cogli occhi fuori del capo per la paura, colla bocca spalancata e colla lingua giù ciondoloni fino al mento, come un mascherone da fontana.

— Carlo Collodi, Le avventure di Pinocchio, capitolo 1

The little voice let out: ohi! tu m’hai fatto male! (ow, you hurt me!). You will want to learn how to use the expression fare male, if you do not already.

Fare male a qualcuno means to hurt someone, for example: tu mi hai fatto male (you hurt me), la gamba mi fa male (my leg hurts), la gamba gli fa male (his leg hurts), le stai facendo male (you are hurting her).

Because this expression is fare male a qualcuno, you must use gli and le (not lo and la) to talk about something that hurts him or her: non gli ho fatto male (I did not hurt him), non le farà male? (will it not hurt her?).

To talk about a sore body part, word your Italian like this: la gamba mi fa male (literally, the leg hurts me; that is, my leg hurts), la testa mi fa male (literally, the head hurts me; that is, my head hurts), le braccia mi fanno male (literally, the arms hurt me; that is, my arms hurt).

Getting back to the text now, you come across the verb rammaricarsi. This means to lament. Who lamented? La solita voce (the same voice). Be sure to pronounce solita with the stress on the first syllable. Solito here is used in the sense of same old, for example: il solito problema (the same old problem), la solita domanda (the same old question).

How did the falegname react when he heard the voice? Restò di stucco. In past posts, you have seen how rimanere can be used to talk about a person’s reaction, for example: rimase sbalordito (he was taken aback). Here we have restare instead of rimanere, but the meaning of the two verbs is the same. Restare di stucco means to be taken aback, to be left dumbfounded, etc. You can also say rimanere di stucco.

Stucco is a plaster applied to walls as a decorative finish. The idea behind the expression restare di stucco is that, if you are left dumbfounded, you are left solidified like plaster.

You learn that the woodworker restò cogli occhi fuori del capo (was left with his eyes popping out of his head), colla bocca spalancata (with his mouth wide-open) and colla lingua giù condoloni (with his tongue dangling down).

Not only can you say bocca spalancata (wide-open mouth), you can also talk of occhi spalancati (wide-open eyes), and even porta spalancata (wide-open door). Spalancato comes from the verb spalancare (to open wide): il ragazzo ha spalancato gli occhi (the boy opened his eyes wide), il vento ha spalancato le finestre (the wind blew the windows wide open).

Note how Italian says out of fear: cogli occhi fuori del capo per la paura. This is not the first time you are seeing this use of per; you also saw it in part 4, in the following usages: fregarsi le mani per la contentezza (to rub one’s hands out of satisfaction), fregarsi gli occhi per il sonno (to rub one’s eyes out of fatigue).

The woodworker’s tongue dangled down to his chin: la lingua giù ciondoloni fino al mento. Giù means down, of course, but the sense of dangling is in ciondoloni. Similarly, con le (or colle) braccia ciondoloni means with dangling arms.

mascherone da fontana

The woodworker was so taken aback that his face ended up looking like un mascherone da fontana, or a grotesque face used to decorate a fountain.

This post’s portion of text can be understood as follows: — Óhi (oh)! tu m’hài fàtto màle (you hurt me)! — gridò (yelled) rammaricàndosi (lamenting) la sòlita vocìna (the same little voice). Quésta vòlta maèstro Ciliègia restò di stùcco (this time maestro Ciliegia was left speechless), cógli òcchi (with his eyes) fuòri del càpo (out of his head) per la paùra (out of fear), cólla bócca spalancàta (with his mouth wide open) e cólla lìngua giù ciondolóni (and with his tongue dangling down) fìno al ménto (to his chin), cóme un mascheróne da fontàna (like a fountain mascaron).

Key Italian usages from this post include: fàre màle (to hurt), rammaricàrsi (to lament), sòlito (usual, same old), restàre di stùcco (to be left speechless), rimanére di stùcco (to be left speechless), lo stùcco (plaster, stucco), spalancàre (to open wide), spalancàto (wide open), il càpo (head), per la paùra (out of fear), la finèstra (window), la lìngua (tongue), il ménto (chin), fìno al ménto (down to the chin), ciondolóni (dangling), il mascheróne (grotesque mask, mascaron), la fontàna (fountain).

The image of the mascaron was created by I, Sailko [CC BY 2.5].