Learn Italian from Pinocchio: chapter 3, part 5

At this point in chapter 3 of Le avventure di Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi, Geppetto has already created Pinocchio’s hair, forehead and eyes. He now sets to work at creating a nose for him, which you read about in the following passage:

Allora, dopo gli occhi, gli fece il naso; ma il naso, appena fatto, cominciò a crescere: e cresci, cresci, cresci, diventò in pochi minuti un nasone che non finiva mai. Il povero Geppetto si affaticava a ritagliarlo; ma più lo ritagliava e lo scorciva, e più quel naso impertinente diventava lungo.

— Carlo Collodi, Le avventure di Pinocchio, capitolo 3

In part 4, you saw how you might say in Italian he made his hair or he made hair for him: gli fece i capelli. In the above portion of text, you have another example of this structure: gli fece il naso (he made his nose, he made a nose for him). Similarly, he made my nose or he made a nose for me would be mi fece il naso. Le fece il naso is he made her nose or he made a nose for her.

As soon as it was made (appena fatto), the nose began to grow (cominciò a crescere). Note how Collodi expresses that the nose grew and grew and grew: cresci, cresci, cresci. Pinocchio’s naso grew so much that it became un nasone, or huge nose.

Diventò in pochi minuti un nasone che non finiva mai. Translated somewhat literally, this means it became, in just a few minutes, a huge nose that was neverending. The expression in pochi minuti literally means in the space of a few minutes, but the idea is more one of in little time. It would be useful to learn the expression non finiva mai, which has use beyond just talking about big noses in Italian:

L’ultimo giro non finiva mai.
The last lap was neverending.

La guerra non finiva mai.
The war was neverending.

Questo libro non finisce mai di stupire.
This book never ceases to amaze.

In Canada l’inverno non finisce mai.
In Canada, the winter is endless.

Return now to the word nasone. Using the suffix one (or ona in its feminine form), you can convey the sense of large size:

un naso (nose)
un nasone (big nose)

un gatto (cat)
un gattone (big cat)

un piede (foot)
un piedone (big foot)

una tazza (cup)
una tazzona (big cup)

una mano (hand)
una manona (big hand)

Remember, mano is a feminine noun even though it ends in o; the suffix added, then, is ona, not one. This is not the first time you have looked at an Italian suffix: in part 4, you saw how accio (and the feminine accia) works.

The text continues with: Il povero Geppetto si affaticava a ritagliarlo; ma più lo ritagliava e lo scorciva, e più quel naso impertinente diventava lungo. In this line of text, there are four verbs: affaticarsi (to strain oneself, to struggle), ritagliare (to cut back, to cut out), scorciare (to shorten; the text uses scorcire, which is a Tuscan variant) and diventare (to become). A few examples of usage:

Non affaticarti troppo!
Do not strain yourself too hard!

Mi sono affaticato invano per te.
I strained myself in vain for you.

Geppetto gli ha ritagliato il naso.
Geppetto cut his nose back.

Ho ritagliato un articolo dal giornale.
I cut an article out of the newspaper.

Le giornate cominciano a scorciarsi.
The days are getting shorter
(literally, the days are starting to shorten [themselves]).

In addition to scorciare, Italian has accorciare, also meaning to shorten.

scorciare un bastone
accorciare un bastone
to shorten a cane

Abbiamo accorciato il cammino prendendo una scorciatoia.
We shortened the walk by taking a short-cut.

In the text, you find (with a few words left out here for simplicity): più lo ritagliava e più quel naso diventava lungo. Più… e più means the more… the more, in other words: the more he cut it back, the more that nose got long. Note: Italian doesn’t say the more, just more (più).

Più lo facevo e più mi sentivo libero.
The more I did it, the more free I felt.

Più lo capivo e più ne avevo paura.
The more I understood it, the more I feared it.

Più lo ritagliava e più quel naso impertinente diventava lungo.
The more he cut it back, the more that impertinent nose became longer.
The more he cut it back, the longer that impertinent nose got.

This post’s portion of text can be broken down as follows: Allóra, dópo gli òcchi (then, after his eyes), gli féce il nàso (he made him his nose); ma il nàso (but the nose), appéna fàtto (as soon as it was made), cominciò a créscere (began to grow): e crésci, crésci, crésci (and after grow-grow-growing), diventò in pòchi minùti un nasóne che non finìva mài (it became in little time a huge neverending nose). Il pòvero Geppétto si affaticàva a ritagliàrlo (poor Geppetto struggled to cut it back); ma più lo ritagliàva (but the more he cut it back) e lo scorcìva (and shortened it), e più quel nàso impertinènte diventàva lùngo (the more that impertinent nose got longer).

Key usages from this post include: créscere (to grow), in pòchi minùti (in little time), non finìva mài (it was endless), il gìro (lap), la guèrra (war), stupìre (to amaze), l’invèrno (winter), il nàso (nose), il nasóne (huge nose), il gàtto (cat), il gattóne (big cat), il piède (foot), il piedóne (big foot), la tàzza (cup), la tazzóna (big cup), la màno (hand), la manóna (big hand), affaticàrsi (to strain oneself), ritagliàre (to cut back, to cut again), scorcìre (to shorten; this is a Tuscan usage equivalent to scorciàre), accorciàre (to shorten), diventàre (to become), invàno (in vain), un artìcolo (article), il giornàle (newspaper), la giornàta (day), il bastóne (cane), il cammìno (walk, path, route), la scorciatóia (short-cut), impertinènte (impertinent), lùngo (long).