Learn Italian from Pinocchio: chapter 3, part 1

This post begins your detailed study of chapter 3 of Carlo Collodi’s Le avventure di Pinocchio. Before tackling the chapter 3 posts, read the entire chapter on your own first. You will find a link where you can read the book online in the index.

In this post, you will look at the chapter’s introductory text and first line; in other words, you will look at the following portion of text:

Geppetto, tornato a casa, comincia subito a fabbricarsi il burattino e gli mette il nome di Pinocchio. Prime monellerie del burattino. La casa di Geppetto era una stanzina terrena, che pigliava luce da un sottoscala.

— Carlo Collodi, Le avventure di Pinocchio, capitolo 3

In the introduction, you read that as soon as Geppetto is tornato a casa (back home), he immediately begins making his marionette: comincia subito a fabbricarsi il burattino. Remember to pronounce subito (immediately, straight away) with the stress on the first syllable: sùbito.

Remember, too, that fabbricarsi means to make (for) oneself. You saw this numerous times in the chapter 2 posts.

Mi sono fabbricato un armadio.
I made myself a cupboard.

Geppetto names his creation Pinocchio: gli mette il nome Pinocchio. Literally, this means he puts on him the name Pinocchio.

Still in the introduction, you learn that this chapter will also deal with le prime monellerie del burattino. Una monelleria is a prank or mischief, so this chapter will look at Pinocchio’s first instances of mischief. Monelleria is pronounced with the stress on the i, as monellerìa. This word comes from monello, meaning rascal.

Dovrei punirlo per le sue continue monellerie.
I should punish him for his non-stop pranks.

After the introduction, you read that Geppetto lived in a little, ground-floor room: una stanzina terrena. Stanzina, of course, is the diminutive form of stanza, meaning room. The adjective terreno means ground-floor; in the text, it is terrena, so as to agree with the noun stanzina.

una stanza terrena
ground-floor room

In a building, you will hear the ground floor referred to as il piano terreno or il pianterreno, where piano means floor, storey.

The light that entered Geppetto’s small room came in from under the steps: (la stanza) pigliava luce da un sottoscala. The verb pigliare means to grab, to catch; it is often simply synonymous with prendere. Because what is being talked about here is light (la luce), you can say it means to take in. Un sottoscala is the space found under steps.

This post’s portion of text can be broken down as follows: Geppétto, tornàto a càsa (Geppetto, having returned home), comìncia sùbito a fabbricàrsi il burattìno (starts immediately to make himself the marionette) e gli métte il nóme di Pinòcchio (and names him Pinocchio). Prìme monellerìe del burattìno (first pranks of the marionette). La càsa di Geppétto èra ùna stanzìna terréna (Geppetto’s home was a little ground-floor room), che pigliàva lùce da un sottoscàla (that took in light from under the steps).

Key usages from this post include: sùbito (immediately), fabbricàrsi (to make oneself), un armàdio (cupboard), il nóme (name), la monellerìa (prank, mischief), il monèllo (rascal), punìre (to punish), contìnuo (continuous, non-stop), terréno (ground-floor; adjective), il piàno terréno (ground floor), il pianterréno (ground floor), la stànza (room), pigliàre (to grab, to catch, to take), la lùce (light), il sottoscàla (space under the steps).