Learn Italian from Pinocchio: chapter 1, part 15

This post concludes your detailed look at chapter 1 of the Italian language used in Le avventure di Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi. You will look at the following portion of text, which closes the chapter:

Questa volta il povero maestro Ciliegia cadde giù come fulminato. Quando riaprì gli occhi, si trovò seduto per terra. Il suo viso pareva trasfigurito, e perfino la punta del naso, di paonazza come era quasi sempre, gli era diventata turchina dalla gran paura.

— Carlo Collodi, Le avventure di Pinocchio, capitolo 1

You will remember that the woodworker is nicknamed maestro Ciliegia (master Cherry) because of the colour of his nose, quasi sempre paonazzo (almost always violet). The text says il povero maestro Ciliegia, where povero means poor, as in unfortunate. Be sure to pronounce povero with the stress on the first syllable: pòvero.

When the falegname heard the little voice say he was being tickled, cadde giù come fulminato (he fell down as through he had been struck by lightning). Cadere means to fall (in the text, you have cadere giù, meaning to fall down).

Cadere is an important verb to learn: cadere da una finestra (to fall out a window), è caduto dal tetto (he fell off the roof), gli è caduto un mattone in testa (a brick fell on his head), gli son caduti già tutti i capelli (all his hair has already fallen out).

Fulminare means to strike lightning. For example, ha tuonato e fulminato tutte la notte means there was thunder and lightning all night (literally, it thundered and struck lightning all night). The verbs here are tuonare and fulminare.

When the falegname fell down, it was though he had been struck by lightning: fulminato. Of course, he was not really struck by lightning, so the text uses come fulminato, meaning as though he’d been struck by lightning. If he had really been killed by a bolt of lightning, you might say è morto fulminato (he was killed by lightning).

The falegname then opened his eyes back up: riaprì gli occhi. The verb here is riaprire (to open back up, to open again, to reopen, etc.). Using the passato prossimo instead, this becomes ha riaperto gli occhi (he opened his eyes back up). With his eyes back open, si trovò seduto per terra (he found himself sitting on the ground).

If you wanted to say I sat down in Italian, say mi sono seduto if you are a man, and mi sono seduta if you are a woman. This comes from the verb sedersi, meaning to sit (oneself) down. Mi sono seduto per terra means I sat down on the ground. Si sono seduti per terra is they sat down on the ground.

Trasfigurare and trasfigurire both mean to alter, to transform. The viso (face) of the falegname seemed trasfigurito, or altered, by surprise and fear: il suo viso pareva trasfigurito (his face seemed altered); in other words, he was very disturbed. Pareva is from the verb parere, to seem. The Treccani dictionary tells you that trasfigurire is a rarely used equivalent of trasfigurare.

The text then tells you that la punta del naso (the tip of his nose), which was almost always paonazza (violet) turned turchina (dark blue) out of fear. Of course, the masculine forms of these adjectives are paonazzo and turchino; they are feminine here because they agree with la punta (del naso). You saw the adjective paonazzo in part 3, where you will maybe remember the woodworker’s nose was described as lustro (shiny) and paonazzo (violet).

In the text, you find the wording la punta del naso (…) gli era diventata turchina. Gli era diventata turchina can be translated literally as had become dark blue on him. The verb here is diventare (to become). Another example: il naso mi è diventato paonazzo (my nose turned violet; literally, my nose became violet on me).

Dalla gran paura means out of great fear.

This post’s portion of text can be understood as follows: Quésta vòlta (this time) il pòvero maèstro Ciliègia (the poor maestro Ciliegia) càdde giù cóme fulminàto (fell down as though lightning-struck). Quàndo riaprì gli òcchi (when he reopened his eyes), si trovò sedùto per tèrra (he found himself sat on the ground). Il sùo vìso paréva trasfigurìto (his face seemed altered), e perfìno la pùnta del nàso (and even the tip of his nose), di paonàzza cóme èra quàsi sèmpre (from the violet that it almost always was), gli èra diventàta turchìna (had become dark blue on him) dàlla gran paùra (out of great fear).

Key Italian usages from this post include: quàsi sèmpre (almost always), pòvero (poor), cadére (to fall), il mattóne (brick), tuonàre (to thunder), fulminàre (to strike lightning), morìre fulminàto (to be killed by lightning), riaprìre gli òcchi (to open one’s eyes back up), sedùto (seated, sat), per tèrra (on the ground), sedérsi (to sit down), trasfiguràre, trasfigurìre (to alter, to transfigure), paonàzzo (violet, purple), turchìno (dark blue), dàlla gran paùra (out of great fear).