Learn Italian from Pinocchio: chapter 3, part 4

Geppetto carves his burattino called Pinocchio, giving him hair, a forehead and eyes. In this fourth part of your study of chapter 3 of Le avventure di Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi, you will look at the following portion of text:

Quando ebbe trovato il nome al suo burattino, allora cominciò a lavorare a buono, e gli fece subito i capelli, poi la fronte, poi gli occhi. Fatti gli occhi, figuratevi la sua maraviglia quando si accorse che gli occhi si movevano e che lo guardavano fisso fisso. Geppetto, vedendosi guardare da quei due occhi di legno, se n’ebbe quasi per male, e disse con accento risentito: — Occhiacci di legno, perché mi guardate? — Nessuno rispose.

— Carlo Collodi, Le avventure di Pinocchio, capitolo 3

Quando (Geppetto) ebbe trovato il nome al suo burattino (when Geppetto had found a name for his marionette), allora cominciò a lavorare a buono (he then seriously got to work). In the first part of this sentence, notice how Italian uses the preposition a:

Ha trovato un nome al suo burattino.
He found a name for his marionette.

Ho trovato un lavoro a mio fratello.
I found a job for my brother.

Mio padre mi ha trovato un lavoro.
My father found me a job. (mi = a me)

Quando ebbe trovato means when he had found. Ebbe trovato is the third-person singular, trapassato remoto conjugation of the verb trovare (to find).

After Geppetto had found a name, cominciò a lavorare a buono. The meaning of a buono is seriously; Geppetto seriously set to work.

The text then reads:

Gli fece subito (he immediately made his)
— i capelli (hair)
— la fronte (forehead)
— gli occhi (eyes)

As you have seen before, Italian here avoids saying his hair, his forehead, his eyes. Instead, it uses gli to help convey this meaning. Can you translate the following in a similar way? Use the passato prossimo in your answers.

He made me a hat.
He made his eyes.
Who made your shirt?

Answers:

Mi ha fatto un cappello.
Gli ha fatto gli occhi.
Chi ti ha fatto la camicia?

Note that un cappello is a hat, and un capello is a hair. These two words are not pronounced the same.

cappello /kapˈpɛllo/
capello /kaˈpello/

Cappello is pronounced cappèllo, with a double p and the vowel e pronounced /ɛ/. Capello, on the other hand, is pronounced capéllo, with a single p and the vowel e pronounced /e/.

A single strand of hair is un capello. All the hair on one’s head is referred to by the plural form capelli.

Sto perdendo i capelli.
I’m losing my hair.

The text continues with: Fatti gli occhi (the eyes completed), figuratevi la sua maraviglia (imagine his astonishment) quando si accorse che gli occhi si movevano (when he realised the eyes moved) e che lo guardavano fisso fisso (and that they were staring at him fixedly).

You have seen the verb figurarsi (to imagine) before; perhaps you will remember these examples from chapter 1, part 7:

Me lo figuravo più alto.
I imagined him to be taller.

Me lo figuravo diverso.
I imagined him to be different.
I thought it would be different.

Puoi figurarti come mi sento.
You can imagine how I feel.

The text uses figuratevi, which is the voi form. In the book, this is the form the narrator uses to address his readers.

Meraviglia and maraviglia both mean astonishment. The form maraviglia is an old Tuscan usage.

Si accorse is the third-person singular, passato remoto conjugation of the verb accorgersi, meaning to realise, to notice. Using the passato prossimo, it becomes si è accorto. The next verb in the text is muoversi (used in the text as the variant moversi), meaning to move (oneself). The stress in muoversi (and moversi) is on the first syllable. Both accorgersi and muoversi are important verbs to learn.

Mi sono accorto che mi guardava.
I realised she was watching me.

Ma ti accorgi che non è così semplice?
But do you realise it is not so simple?

Gli occhi si muovevano.
The eyes were moving (themselves).

Se non ti muovi perdiamo l’autobus!
If you do not move (yourself), we shall miss the bus!

Il ferito non riesce a muoversi.
The injured person cannot move (himself).

If muoversi means to move (oneself), then muovere means to move (something).

Esco un po’, tanto per muovere le gambe.
I am going out for a bit, just to take a walk
(literally, to move the legs).

Esco is the first-person singular, presente conjugation of the verb uscire (to go out).

Pinocchio’s eyes were fixated on Geppetto: lo guardavano fisso fisso (they watched him fixedly). The sense of fixedly is made even stronger by repeating the adjective fisso.

Lo guardavano fisso.
Lo guardavano fisso fisso.

The text continues: Geppetto, vedendosi guardare da quei due occhi di legno (Geppetto, seeing himself watched by those two wooden eyes), se n’ebbe quasi per male (almost got upset about it). The expression in the second part is aversene per male, meaning to get upset about it.

Geppetto then addressed Pinocchio con accento risentito (in an upset tone). Risentito is related to the verb risentirsi (to get upset):

Mi sono risentito per quello che hai detto.
I got upset at what you set.

Mi sono risentito a torto con te.
I was wrong to get upset with you.
(a torto = wrongly)

Geppetto asks the eyes why they are watching him: Occhiacci di legno, perché mi guardate? You know that eye is occhio in Italian, and the plural form is occhi; however, in the text, you have occhiacci, which is the plural form of occhiaccio.

What is the difference between occhio and occhiaccio?

The ending accio (or accia in its feminine form) is used to convey the negative character of that to which a noun refers. Here are examples of this:

un occhio (eye)
un occhiaccio (threatening eye)

un rumore (noise)
un rumoraccio (terrible noise)

una bestia (animal)
una bestiaccia (terrifying animal)

una donna (woman)
una donnaccia (wretched woman)

una voce (voice)
una vociaccia (unpleasant voice)

Because Geppetto disliked how fixedly the eyes were staring at him, he called them occhiacci to insist upon their negative character.

To Geppetto’s question, nobody answered: nessuno rispose. Rispose is the third-person singular, passato remoto conjugation of the verb rispondere (to answer). Using the passato prossimo instead, you would say nessuno ha risposto (nobody answered).

This post’s portion of text can be broken down as follows: Quàndo èbbe trovàto il nóme al sùo burattìno (when he had found a name for his marionette), allóra cominciò a lavoràre a buòno (he then seriously got to work), e gli féce sùbito i capélli (and he immediately made him his hair), pòi la frónte (then his forehead), pòi gli òcchi (then his eyes). Fàtti gli òcchi (the eyes completed), figuràtevi la sùa maravìglia (imagine his astonishment) quàndo si accòrse che gli òcchi si movévano (when he realised the eyes were moving) e che lo guardàvano fìsso fìsso (and that they were staring at him fixedly). Geppétto, vedèndosi guardàre da quéi dùe òcchi di légno (Geppetto, seeing himself watched by those two wooden eyes), se n’èbbe quàsi per màle (almost got upset about it), e dìsse con accènto risentìto (and said in an upset tone): — Occhiàcci di légno (bad wooden eyes), perché mi guardàte (why are you watching me)? — Nessùno rispóse (nobody answered).

Key usages appearing in this post include: il lavóro (job), lavoràre (to work), a buòno (seriously), il cappèllo (hat), il capéllo ([a single] hair), i capélli (hair), la frónte (forehead), un òcchio (eye), gli òcchi (eyes), figuràrsi (to imagine), àlto (tall), divèrso (different), la maravìglia (astonishment; this is a Tuscan usage equivalent to la meravìglia), accòrgersi (to realise, to notice), muòvere (to move [something]), muòversi (to move [oneself]), la gàmba (leg), il ferìto (injured person), pèrdere l’àutobus (to miss the bus), riuscìre (to manage, to be able to), uscìre (to go out), èsco (I go out), guardàre (to watch), fìsso (fixedly), avérsene per màle (to get upset about it), risentìrsi (to get upset), risentìto (offended, upset), a tòrto (wrongly), il rumóre (noise, sound), la béstia (animal, beast), la dònna (woman), la vóce (voice), rispóndere (to answer).