Learn Italian from Pinocchio: chapter 2, part 8

In this next part of your study of chapter 2 of Carlo Collodi’s Le avventure di Pinocchio, you will look at a number of Italian verbs that might be new to you.

This post will look at the following portion of text from chapter 2:

— Sta’ un po’ a vedere che sarò stato io! Io dico che siete stato voi. — No! — Sì! — No! — Sì! — E riscaldandosi sempre più, vennero dalle parole ai fatti, e acciuffatisi fra di loro, si graffiarono, si morsero e si sbertucciarono.

— Carlo Collodi, Le avventure di Pinocchio, capitolo 2

You will remember that Geppetto accused the falegname of having called him Polendina. The falegname defends himself by saying: non sono stato io (it was not me). Geppetto then gets his back up and retorts: sta’ un po’ a vedere che sarò stato io!

Geppetto’s retort is a difficult one to render in literal English without losing the sense of what he said, but here is an attempt:

sta’ un po’ a vedere
“you just look a little”

che sarò stato io
“that it will have been me”

There is sarcasm in Geppetto’s retort. What it means in idiomatic English is what, do you think it was me then? or I suppose you think it was me then!

Geppetto then continues with io dico che siete stato voi (I say it was you; indeed it was you). Remember, Geppetto and the falegname address each other using voi:

Siete stato voi.
It was you.

If you are speaking to someone with whom you use tu, you could say:

Sei stato tu. (to a male)
Sei stata tu. (to a female)
It was you.

After a round of and no, you come to a sentence with a number of verbs in it; they are listed below in their infinitive forms at the end of this post.

riscaldandosi sempre più
getting fired up ever more

acciuffatisi fra di loro
having grabbed one another

si graffiarono
they scratched each other

si morsero
they bit each other

si sbertucciarono
they roughed each other up

If you are wondering how acciuffatisi fra di loro works, consider the following:

acciuffare > acciuffarsi > si sono acciuffati > si sono acciuffati fra di loro > acciuffatisi fra di loro

Fra di loro means between themselves, amongst themselves.

Can you convert si graffiarono, si morsero and si sbertucciarono from the passato remoto to the passato prossimo?

si graffiarono > si sono graffiati
si morsero > si sono morsi
si sbertucciarono > si sono sbertucciati

Of course, if you were talking about females, you would use si sono graffiate, si sono morse and si sono sbertucciate.

There is only one usage left to look at from this portion of text:

vennero dalle parole ai fatti
“they came from the words to the acts”

In other words, they quit talking (le parole) and started roughing each other up (i fatti).

This post’s portion of text can be broken down as follows: — Sta’ un po’ a vedére che sarò stàto ìo (I suppose you think it was me then)! Io dìco che siète stàto vói (I say that it was you). — No (no)! — Sì (yes)! — No (no)! — Sì (yes)! — E riscaldàndosi sèmpre più (and getting fired up ever more), vénnero dàlle paròle ai fàtti (they went from words to actions), e acciuffàtisi fra di lóro (and having grabbed one another), si graffiàrono (they scratched each other), si mòrsero (they bit each other) e si sbertucciàrono (and they roughed each other up).

Key verbs from this post include: riscaldàre (to heat up), acciuffàre (to seize, to catch), graffiàre (to scratch), mòrdere (to bite), sbertucciàre (to rough up).