Learn Italian from Pinocchio: chapter 3, part 15

After Pinocchio throws himself to the ground, some of the onlookers in the street come to Pinocchio’s defence; in this post, you will look at the following portion of text in Italian from chapter 3 of Carlo Collodi’s Le avventure di Pinocchio:

Chi ne diceva una, chi un’altra. — Povero burattino! — dicevano alcuni — ha ragione a non voler tornare a casa! Chi lo sa come lo picchierebbe quell’omaccio di Geppetto!… — E gli altri soggiungevano malignamente: — Quel Geppetto pare un galantuomo! ma è un vero tiranno coi ragazzi! Se gli lasciano quel povero burattino fra le mani, è capacissimo di farlo a pezzi!… —

— Carlo Collodi, Le avventure di Carlo Collodi, capitolo 3

You will recall that Pinocchio has just throw himself to the ground and begun attracting the attention of people in the street. The onlookers begin making comments: chi ne diceva una, chi un’altra (some people said one thing, some another; one person said one thing, one another).

Chi diceva una cosa, chi un’altra.
Chi ne diceva una, chi un’altra.
Some people said one thing, some another.

Chi dice una cosa, chi un’altra.
Chi ne dice una, chi un’altra.
Some people say one thing, some another.

In the second versions above, ne stands in for cosa.

Getting back to the text, some people made reference to Pinocchio as povero burattino (poor marionette; literally, poor puppet); they said he was right to not want to go back home: ha ragione a non voler tornare a casa. The construction used here is a useful one to learn:

Ha ragione a non voler tornare a casa.
He is right to not want to go back home.

Hai ragione a fare così.
You are right to do (it; things) like that.

Ho ragione a non prenderlo in considerazione.
I am right to not take it into consideration.

The text continues: Chi lo sa come lo picchierebbe quell’omaccio di Geppetto! The verb used here is picchiare (to hit, to strike). As for omaccio, this noun comes from uomo, meaning man, with the ending accio added to it. Maybe you will remember this accio ending from the word occhiaccio seen in an earlier post, when Geppetto said:

Occhiacci di legno, perché mi guardate?

The accio ending emphasises the negative character of the thing to which the noun refers. Occhiacci, then, are bad eyes. Un omaccio is a bad man.

quell’omaccio di Geppetto
that bad man Geppetto

You will notice that Italian inserts di; this is not the first time that you have seen this:

Birba d’un figliuolo!
You rascal of a son!

quel birichino di Pinocchio
that rascal Pinocchio

If you take chi lo sa come lo picchierebbe quell’omaccio di Geppetto, you obtain in English who knows how that bad man Geppetto might hit him.

In the the remaining portion of text, you find the verb soggiungere, used in the sense of to add, as in when a person has something else to say. This verb is mostly literary today; a colloquial equivalent is aggiungere.

Although capace can also be translated as capable, it is better translated here as likely. The issimo ending adds the idea of very: è capacissimo di (he is very likely to).

The expression far a pezzi means to rip apart, to pieces.

L’assassino ha fatto a pezzi il cadavere.
The killer ripped the dead body apart; cut the dead body into pieces.

This post’s portion of text can be understood as follows: Chi ne dicéva ùna, chi un’àltra (some people said one thing, some another). — Pòvero burattìno (poor marionette)! — dicévano alcùni (said some people) — ha ragióne a non volér tornàre a càsa (he is right to not want to go back home)! Chi lo sa cóme lo picchierèbbe quell’omàccio di Geppétto (who knows how that bad man Geppetto might hit him)!… — E gli àltri soggiungévano malignaménte (and the others added maliciously): — Quel Geppétto pàre un galantuòmo (that Geppetto seems like a gentleman)! ma è un véro tirànno cói ragàzzi (but he is a real tyrant with children)! Se gli làsciano quel pòvero burattìno fra le màni (if you leave that poor marionette in his hands), è capacìssimo di fàrlo a pèzzi (he is very likely to tear him to pieces)!… —

Key Italian usages appearing in this post include: avére ragióne a (to be right to), picchiàre (to hit, to strike), un omàccio (bad man), la bìrba (rascal), il birichìno (rascal), soggiùngere (to add), aggiùngere (to add), malignaménte (maliciously), il galantuòmo (gentleman), il tirànno (tyrant), il ragàzzo (boy, child), capàce (capable; likely), far a pèzzi (to rip apart), un assassìno (killer), il cadàvere (corpse).