Learn Italian from Pinocchio: chapter 2, part 5

In this post, you will look at the Italian used in this portion of text from chapter 2 of Le avventure di Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi:

— Chi vi ha portato da me, compar Geppetto? — Le gambe. Sappiate, mastr’Antonio, che son venuto da voi, per chiedervi un favore. — Eccomi qui, pronto a servirvi, — replicò il falegname, rizzandosi su i ginocchi. — Stamani m’è piovuta nel cervello un’idea. — Sentiamola.

— Carlo Collodi, Le avventure di Pinocchio, capitolo 2

The falegname asks Geppetto what brings him to his workshop: chi vi ha portato da me? (literally, who brought you to my place?). The falegname addresses Geppetto as compar Geppetto, where compar (from il compare) is an old form of address between friends of long date.

Look now at the words da me. As part of the expression portare da me, as used in the book, da me means (at) my place. Another example, this time using passare:

È passato da me.
He dropped by my place.

In other cases, da me takes on the sense of on my own:

L’ho imparato da me.
I learnt it on my own.

Preferisco fare da me.
I prefer to do it on my own.

Another way da me is used is in the sense of from me:

L’ha saputo da me.
He found out from me.

Cosa vuoi da me?
What do you want from me?

Geppetto jokes that what brought him to the workshop was none other than his legs: le gambe. He then tells the falegname that he has come to ask him a favour: son venuto da voi per chiedervi un favore (I have come to your place to ask you a favour).

In the wording son venuto da voi (or sono venuto da voi), you have another example of da.

È venuto da me.
He came to my place.

Sono venuto da te.
I came to your place.

The expression chiedere un favore means to ask a favour.

Avrei bisogno di un favore da te.
I need a favour from you.

Mi ha chiesto un favore.
He asked me for a favour.

Fammi il favore di lasciarmi in pace.
Do me the favour of leaving me alone.
Do me a favour and leave me alone.

When Geppetto says sappiate che son venuto da voi per chiedervi un favore, he is using the imperativo of the verb sapere: sappiate che… (know that…). Of course, sappiate is the voi form.

The falegname responds by saying eccomi qui, pronto a servirvi (here I am, ready to serve you). The verb replicare in this same line of text means to respond.

Eccomi qui. Eccomi qua.
Here I am.

Eccomi qui, mi volevi?
Here I am, did you want me?

Eccolo laggiù.
There he is, down there.
There it is, down there.

Eccola lassù.
There she is, up there.
There it is, up there.

The falegname then got up on his knees; the text uses the verb rizzarsi, which you looked at in part 2, as part of the expression rizzarsi in piedi (to get up on one’s feet).

The noun il ginocchio (knee) has two plural forms: le ginocchia and i ginocchi. If you are talking about your own pair of knees, or the pair of knees of anybody else, use the plural le ginocchia. The plural i ginocchi is used to talk about numerous individual knees, such as un ortopedico specializzato in ginocchi (orthopaedist specialised in knees). That said, Collodi uses i ginocchi to talk of one’s own pair of knees; rizzandosi su i ginocchi, as found in the text, means getting up on his knees. Note that il ginocchio is a masculine noun, whereas the plural le ginocchia is feminine and ends in a. This a ending is a remnant of Latin.

Geppetto announces that he has had an idea: stamani (this morning) m’è piovuta nel cervello (“rained into my brain”) un’idea (an idea). This morning in Italian is stamattina; the form stamani is more of a Tuscan usage. The verb piovere (to rain) is sometimes used in Italian to create the imagery of a sudden occurrence:

Gli è piovuto addosso un bel guaio.
He has got himself into a real mess.
(literally, a big trouble rained on him)

You might liken this use of piovere to the English verb to pour:

Le critiche piovevano da ogni parte.
Criticism poured in from all over.

The falegname invites Geppetto to share his idea: sentiamola (let us hear it).

I shall leave you with some examples, taken from the Treccani dictionary, of how you might use the verb piovere during the course of a normal conversation in Italian. Be sure to pronounce the infinitive piovere with the stress on the correct syllable: piòvere.

Sta per piovere.
It is about to rain.

È piovuto. Ha piovuto.
It rained.

Ha piovuto tutto l’inverno.
It rained all winter.

È piovuto un po’ questa notte.
It rained a little last night.

Oggi vuol piovere.
Looks like rain today.
(literally, today it wants to rain)

Minaccia di piovere.
Looks like rain.
(literally, it threatens to rain)

This post’s portion of text can be understood as follows: — Chi vi ha portàto da me, compàr Geppétto (what brings you here, compar Geppetto)? — Le gàmbe (my legs). Sappiàte, mastr’Antònio (you know, mastr’Antonio), che son venùto da vói (that I have come to your place), per chièdervi un favóre (to ask you a favour). — Èccomi qui (here I am), prónto a servìrvi (ready to serve you), — replicò il falegnàme (replied the woodworker), rizzàndosi su i ginòcchi (getting up on his knees). — Stamàni (this morning) m’è piovùta nel cervèllo un’idèa (an idea came to mind). — Sentiàmola (let us hear it).

Important Italian usages from this post include: da me ([at] my place, on my own, from me), la gàmba (leg), chièdere un favóre (to ask a favour), lasciàre in pàce (to leave alone), èccomi (here I am), èccolo ([t]here he is, [t]here it is), èccola, ([t]here she is, [t]here it is), qui, qua (here), laggiù (down there), lassù (up there), servìre (to serve), replicàre (to respond), il ginòcchio (knee), le ginòcchia, i ginòcchi (knees), stamattìna (this morning), stamàni (this morning; this is a Tuscan usage), piòvere (to rain), il cervèllo (brain), un’idèa (idea), sentìre (to hear), il compàre (title used for an old friend).