Learn Italian from Pinocchio: chapter 3, part 8

After Pinocchio grabs Geppetto’s wig and puts it on his own head, you read how — in this next portion of text from chapter 3 of Le avventure di Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi — Geppetto admonishes Pinocchio for his behaviour:

A quel garbo insolente e derisorio, Geppetto si fece tristo e melanconico, come non era stato mai in vita sua: e voltandosi verso Pinocchio, gli disse: — Birba d’un figliuolo! Non sei ancora finito di fare, e già cominci a mancar di rispetto a tuo padre! Male, ragazzo mio, male! — E si rasciugò una lacrima.

— Carlo Collodi, Le avventure di Pinocchio, capitolo 3

You have seen the noun garbo before; maybe you will remember these examples:

muoversi con garbo
to move with grace, style

Non ha garbo nel vestire.
She does not know how to dress.

una persona di garbo
a well-mannered person

In this post’s portion of text, you can understand garbo as meaning modo, maniera. Garbo insolente e derisorio, then, means insolent and mocking manner.

At Pinocchio’s insolent and mocking manner (a quel garbo insolent e derisorio), Geppetto became sad and gloomy:

Si fece tristo e melanconico.
He became sad and gloomy.

Si fece literally means he made himself, but it is used here in the sense of he became. Tristo is a literary equivalent of triste (sad). In normal, colloquial language, you would use triste. Melanconico is a variant of malinconico.

In a style of Italian closer to spoken language, you can reword the above sentence as:

Si è fatto triste e malinconico.
S’è fatto triste e malinconico.

The text tells us that Geppetto became sadder and gloomier than he had ever been in his life: come non era stato mai in vita sua (like he had never been in his life).

Take now the entire line as you have seen it thus far:

A quel garbo insolente e derisorio, Geppetto si fece tristo e melanconico, come non era stato mai in vita sua
At that insolent and mocking manner, Geppetto became sad and gloomy, like he had never been in his life

The text continues with voltandosi verso Pinocchio (turning towards Pinocchio). You have seen the verb voltarsi before.

After Geppetto turns towards Pinocchio, he admonishes him: birba d’un figliuolo! Una birba is a rascal. Un figlio is a son; figliolo is a diminutive form of figlio, and figliuolo is a literary equivalent of figliolo.

figlio
> figliolo (diminutive)
> figliuolo (literary diminutive)

Birba d’un figliuolo!, then, means (you) rascal of a son!

In spoken language, figliolo can be used to address or refer to any young boy, in addition to one’s own son. It is a term of affection.

In the next line of text, Geppetto refers to himself as Pinocchio’s father. This is significant because it means that Pinocchio is not a simple marionette: he has a father; and if he has a father, he must have a mother; and if he has a mother and a father, is he a marionette — or a boy? The line reads: Non sei ancora finito di fare, e già cominci a mancar di rispetto a tuo padre!

Non sei ancora finito di fare
You are not finished being finished

e già cominci a mancar di rispetto
and already you start to lack respect

a tuo padre!
for your father!

Use cominciare a to say to start to; for example:

Ha cominciato a piovere.
It has started to rain.

Ho cominciato a leggere.
I have started to read.

The expression mancare di rispetto (or mancar di rispetto) means to lack respect, to be disrespectful. Note how Italian uses a to say to whom the lack of respect was shown:

Ha mancato di rispetto a suo padre.
He disrespected his father.

Gli ha mancato di rispetto.
He disrespected him.

Mi hai mancato di rispetto.
You disrespected me.

Geppetto continues to admonish Pinocchio: male, ragazzo mio, male! (bad, my boy, bad!). He then dries a tear from his eye: si rasciugò una lacrima. Una lacrima or una lagrima is a teardrop. Rasciugare is a variation of asciugare (to dry), so this sentence could have also been expressed as si asciugò una lacrima (he dried a teardrop; that is, he wiped away a tear).

This post’s portion of text can be understood as follows: A quel gàrbo insolènte e derisòrio (at that insolent and mocking manner), Geppétto si féce trìsto e melancònico (Geppetto became sad and gloomy), cóme non èra stàto mài in vìta sùa (like he had never been in his life): e voltàndosi vèrso Pinòcchio (and turning towards Pinocchio), gli dìsse (said to him): — Bìrba d’un figliuòlo (rascal of a son)! Non sèi ancóra finìto di fàre (you have not yet been completed), e già comìnci a mancàr di rispètto a tùo pàdre (and already you start to lack respect for your father)! Màle, ragàzzo mìo, màle (bad, my boy, bad)! — E si rasciugò ùna làcrima (and he dried a teardrop).

Key Italian usages appearing in this post include: il gàrbo (grace; manner), insolènte (insolent), derisòrio (mocking), trìsto (sad; this is a literary usage), trìste (sad), malincònico, melancònico (gloomy), voltàrsi (to turn around, to turn towards), la bìrba (rascal), il fìglio (son), il figliòlo (son; diminutive of fìglio), il figliuòlo (son; literary diminutive of fìglio), il rispètto (respect), mancàre (to miss, to be lacking), mancàr di rispètto (to lack respect), il ragàzzo (boy), asciugàre, rasciugàre (to dry), asciugàrsi le làcrime, rasciugàrsi le làcrime (to dry one’s tears), la làcrima, la làgrima (teardrop), lèggere (to read), piòvere (to rain).