Learn Italian from Pinocchio: chapter 3, part 3

In this third part of your study of chapter 3 of Le avventure di Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi, you read that Geppetto decides to call his burattino Pinocchio. You will look at the following portion of text from the chapter:

Appena entrato in casa, Geppetto prese subito gli arnesi e si pose a intagliare e a fabbricare il suo burattino. — Che nome gli metterò? — disse fra sé e sé. — Lo voglio chiamar Pinocchio. Questo nome gli porterà fortuna. Ho conosciuto una famiglia intera di Pinocchi: Pinocchio il padre, Pinocchia la madre e Pinocchi i ragazzi, e tutti se la passavano bene. Il più ricco di loro chiedeva l’elemosina. —

— Carlo Collodi, Le avventure di Pinocchio, capitolo 3

As soon as Geppetto entered his house, he took out his tools and starting carving. Look at the wording appena entrato in casa (appena means as soon as). Note that Italian uses the expression entrare in, whereas English simply says to enter. Learning this will make your Italian sound more native-like, so look now at a number of examples of this:

entrare in casa
to enter the house
to go into the house

entrare in acqua
to go into the water

La chiave non entra nella toppa.
The key will not go into the keyhole.

Il regalo non entra nella scatola.
The gift will not fit into the box.

È entrato nel bosco.
He went into the forest.

Un arnese is a tool. Prese subito gli arnesi, then, means he immediately got (literally, took) the tools. He then started carving: si pose a intagliare. Porsi a means to start to (or, more literally, to set oneself to); si pose is its third-person singular, passato remoto conjugation. Intagliare means to carve.

Geppetto ha intagliato il suo burattino.
Geppetto carved his marionette.

Geppetto then asks himself what he will name his piece of work, using language you saw in part 1: che nome gli metterò? (what shall I call him?). More literally, this question asks what name shall I put on him?

This question is followed in the text by disse fra sé e sé. Fra sé e sé means to oneself. Dire fra sé e sé, then, means to say to oneself.

— Che cosa dici?
— Nulla, parlavo fra me e me.
— What did you say?
— Nothing, I was talking to myself.

Fra sé e sé can also be said as tra sé e sé. Fra and tra are used interchangeably.

Parlavo tra me e me.
I was talking to myself.

It is at this point in the story that Geppetto announces his intention to give the name Pinocchio to his burattino: lo voglio chiamar Pinocchio (I want to call him Pinocchio). Note that you have seen two ways now of saying to name (someone) in Italian:

Gli metterò il nome Pinocchio.
Lo chiamerò Pinocchio.
I shall call him Pinocchio.

Geppetto then says why he wants to call his burattino Pinocchio: (questo nome) gli porterà fortuna (this name will bring him luck). His justification is that he knew an entire family of Pinocchios (ho conosciuto una famiglia intera di Pinocchi), and they all did well for themselves (tutti se la passavano bene). Indeed they did; the richest one amongst them was a beggar! Il più ricco di loro chiedeva l’elemosina.

The expression passarsela bene means to do well, to have a good time, etc. Of course, if you can say passarsela bene, you can also say passarsela male.

Ricordo che in quel momento non me la passavo bene.
I remember that, at that moment, I was not having a good time.

Me la passavo male.
I was having a bad time. I was not doing well.

Elemosina means charity, handout. Be sure to pronounce this word with the stress on the o, as elemòsina. Chiedere l’elemosina, then, means to beg (for money), or literally to ask for charity.

This post’s portion of text can be broken down as follows: Appéna entràto in càsa (as soon as he had entered the house), Geppétto prése sùbito gli arnési (Geppetto immediately took his tools) e si póse a intagliàre (and began to carve) e a fabbricàre il sùo burattìno (and to make his marionette). — Che nóme gli metterò (what name shall I give him)? — dìsse fra sé e sé (he said to himself). — Lo vòglio chiamàr Pinòcchio (I want to call him Pinocchio). Quésto nóme gli porterà fortùna (this name will bring him luck). Ho conosciùto ùna famìglia intéra di Pinòcchi (I knew an entire family of Pinocchios): Pinòcchio il pàdre (Pinocchio the father), Pinòcchia la màdre (Pinocchia the mother) e Pinòcchi i ragàzzi (and Pinocchios the children), e tùtti se la passàvano bène (and they all did well for themselves). Il più rìcco di lóro chiedéva l’elemòsina (the richest one amongst them was a beggar). —

Key usages appearing in this post include: entràre in (to go into, to enter), la càsa (house), l’àcqua (water), la chiàve (key), la tòppa (keyhole), il regàlo (gift), la scàtola (box), il bòsco (forest), un arnése (tool), pórsi a (to start to), intagliàre (to carve), il nóme (name), dìre fra sé e sé (to say to oneself), fra sé e sé, tra sé e sé (to oneself), chiamàre (to name), portàre fortùna (to bring luck), la famìglia (family), intéro (entire), passàrsela bène (to do well, to have a good time), passàrsela màle (to do poorly, to have a bad time), rìcco (rich), chièdere l’elemòsina (to beg for money).