Learn Italian from Pinocchio: chapter 1, part 11

In this post, you will look at the Italian language used in this next portion of text from chapter 1 of Le avventure di Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi:

Che sia per caso questo pezzo di legno che abbia imparato a piangere e a lamentarsi come un bambino? Io non lo posso credere. Questo legno eccolo qui; è un pezzo di legno da caminetto, come tutti gli altri, e a buttarlo sul fuoco, c’è da far bollire una pentola di fagioli… O dunque? Che ci sia nascosto dentro qualcuno? Se c’è nascosto qualcuno, tanto peggio per lui. Ora l’accomodo io!

— Carlo Collodi, Le avventure di Pinocchio, capitolo 1

In part 1, you looked at the expressions piangere come un bambino and ridere come un bambino. In this next portion of text, you have piangere come un bambino again, as well as lamentarsi come un bambino (to complain like a child).

Learn lamentarsi now if you have not already: non fa altro che lamentarsi (all he does is complain), smettila di lamentarti! (stop complaining!). You might also hear lamentarsi verb used like this in a conversation:

— Come stai?
— Non mi lamento.
— How are you?
— I cannot complain.

Io non lo posso credere is the Italian for I cannot believe it. The stress in credere falls on the first syllable: crédere.

Eccolo qui (here it is, it is right here) is used when referring to males or masculine nouns: questo legno eccolo qui (literally, this wood, it is right here). Of course, with females or feminine nouns, you would say eccola qui. A few more examples: il tuo libro, eccolo qui (your book is right here), la vera pizza, eccola qui! (now this is what a real pizza looks like!). Be sure to pronounce eccolo with the stress on the first syllable: èccolo.

Look now at the phrase un pezzo di legno da caminetto, and more specifically at the use of di and da here. Because the piece is made of wood, you say pezzo di legno, using di. Di here is synonymous with made of. Da, however, is synonymous with destined for, for use in; the piece of wood is destined for a fireplace, or caminetto.

un pezzo di legno da caminetto
a piece [made of] wood [for use in] a fireplace

In part 2, you came across the word catasta (woodpile). Un pezzo di legno da catasta is a piece of firewood; that is:

un pezzo di legno da catasta
a piece [made of] wood [for use in] a woodpile (and later burnt)

This is why, for example, kitchen table is tavolo da cucina, using da rather than di: the table is for use in a kitchen, not made of a kitchen.

The falegname then says if he threw the piece of wood in the fire (buttarlo sul fuoco), he could boil a pot of beans (far bollire una pentola di fagioli) — in other words, there is nothing special about the piece of wood (or at least there should not be, according to him).

More specifically, however, he says: a buttarlo sul fuoco, c’è da far bollire una pentola di fagioli. What is the role of the underlined words here? They convey the following sense: by throwing it in the fire, there is (the possibility) to boil a pot of beans. Of course, this is better worded in English as if you threw it in the fire, you could boil a pot of beans. Note that Italian here uses far bollire; literally, to make boil. The stress in pentola is on the first syllable.

The falegname then asks: che ci sia nascosto dentro qualcuno? (might there be someone hidden inside?). C’è nascosto dentro qualcuno means there’s someone hidden inside. By asking the question with che followed by the congiuntivo presente (ci sia, rather than c’è), a sense of doubt is added.

Tanto peggio per lui! (Too bad for him!) The falegname says he will sort the intruder out: ora l’accomodo io! (I shall take care of him! I shall deal with him!); in other words, he will get rid of him. Accomodare una cosa normally means to repair something, in a positive sense (that is, actually repairing a thing to make it better, like a piece of clothing: accomodare un vestito); however, the sense used in the text is a negative one (a threat) expressed through the ironic use of the verb.

Similarly, you might also hear ora t’accomodo io!, meaning I shall sort you out!, I shall take care of you!, I shall deal with you!, used as a threat. The presente conjugation io accomodo is pronounced with the stress on the second syllable: accòmodo.

Tanto peggio per te! Ora t’accomodo io!
Too bad for you! Now you are going to get it!

This post’s portion of text breaks down as follows: Che sìa per càso (might it be) quésto pèzzo di légno (this piece of wood) che àbbia imparàto a piàngere (that has learned to cry) e a lamentàrsi (and to complain) cóme un bambìno (like a child)? Io non lo pòsso crédere (I cannot believe it). Quésto légno èccolo qui (here is this piece of wood); è un pèzzo di légno da caminétto (it is a piece of firewood), cóme tùtti gli àltri (like all the others), e a buttàrlo sul fuòco (and by throwing it in the fire), c’è da far bollìre ùna péntola di fagiòli (you can boil a pot of beans)… O dùnque (where then)? Che ci sìa nascósto déntro qualcùno (might there be someone hidden inside)? Se c’è nascósto qualcùno (if there is someone hidden inside), tànto pèggio per lùi (too bad for him). Óra l’accòmodo ìo (I shall sort him out)!

Key Italian usages from this post include: piàngere (to cry), rìdere (to laugh), lamentàrsi (to complain), cóme un bambìno (like a child), crédere (to believe), èccolo qui (here it is), il caminétto (fireplace), la catàsta (woodpile), il tàvolo (table), buttàre (to throw), il fuòco (fire), la péntola (pot), il fagiòlo (bean), far bollìre (to boil [something]), accomodàre (to repair), óra t’accòmodo ìo! (you are going to get it!).