Learn Italian from Pinocchio: chapter 5, part 3

Pinocchio, who has still not found anything to eat, has a moment of regret when he realises that he should not have disobeyed Geppetto, whom he refers to as his babbo, and run away from home.

In this post, you will now consider the Italian appearing in this portion of text from chapter 5 of Le avventure di Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi:

E intanto la fame cresceva, e cresceva sempre e il povero Pinocchio non aveva altro sollievo che quello di sbadigliare: e faceva degli sbadigli così lunghi, che qualche volta la bocca gli arrivava fino agli orecchi. E dopo avere sbadigliato, sputava, e sentiva che lo stomaco gli andava via. Allora piangendo e disperandosi, diceva: — Il Grillo-parlante aveva ragione. Ho fatto male a rivoltarmi al mio babbo e a fuggire di casa… Se il mio babbo fosse qui, ora non mi troverei a morire di sbadigli! Oh! che brutta malattia che è la fame! —

— Carlo Collodi, Le avventure di Pinocchio, capitolo 5

Pinocchio’s hunger grew and grew: la fame cresceva e cresceva sempre, and the only relief he could find was to yawn: non aveva altro sollievo che quello di sbadigliare (he found no other relief but the one that came from yawning).

The masculine noun sollievo means relief. For example, a sigh of relief is un sospiro di sollievo in Italian. The verb sbadigliare means to yawn and, as you will find in the next line of text, uno sbadiglio is the noun form, meaning a yawn.

Durante la conferenza non ho fatto che sbadigliare.
During the conference, all I did was yawn.

In the case of Pinocchio, you might use the wording sbadigliare per la fame to describe what he experienced: to yawn out of hunger. During a conference, you might sbadigliare di noia (to yawn out of boredom); in the evening, you might sbadigliare di sonno (to yawn out of fatigue).

In addition to the verb sbadigliare, you can also use the expression fare uno sbadiglio.

Ho fatto uno sbadiglio.
I let out a yawn.

Ho fatto un lungo sbadiglio.
I let out a long yawn.

Continuing with the text now, you find that Pinocchio let out such long yawns that his mouth sometimes reached his ears: faceva degli sbadigli così lunghi, che qualche volta la bocca gli arrivava fino agli orecchi.

In that line, you have qualche volta, used in the sense of sometimes. Remember, after qualche, you use the singular form of the noun, as well as the singular form of an adjective qualifying that noun:

Qualche volta ho paura.
Sometimes I am afraid.

È uscito con qualche amico.
He has gone out with some friends

Ho qualche dubbio.
I have some doubts.

Stavo leggendo qualche libro vecchio.
I was reading some old books.

The text continues: E dopo avere sbadigliato, sputava, e sentiva che lo stomaco gli andava via (and after having yawned, he spit, and felt that his stomach was becoming uncontrollable). The expression andare via literally means to go away; gli andava via, then, can be understood more literally as meaning getting away on him. The verb sputare means to spit. Here are some ways you might use this verb yourself:

Ha sputato per terra.
He spit on the ground.

Ha sputato per terra il nocciolo della pesca.
He spit out the peach pit.

The actual spittle itself is called uno sputo in Italian. For example:

un marciapiede coperto di sputi
a sidewalk covered in spittles

The story continues with Pinocchio piangendo e disperandosi (crying and despairing). He comes to the realisation that il Grillo-parlante aveva ragione (the Talking Cricket was right). He says: Ho fatto male a rivoltarmi al mio babbo e a fuggire di casa (I was wrong to disobey my dad and run away from home).

Piangendo (crying) is the gerund of the verb piangere (to cry). The infinitive piangere is pronounced with the stress on the first syllable: piàngere. As for the verb disperarsi, it means to despair, to give into despair. In the presente, the conjugations mi dispero, ti disperi, si dispera are pronounced mi dispèro, ti dispèri, si dispèra.

Si dispera per nulla.
He is dispairing for nothing.
He is upset for no reason.

Mi disperavo perché avevo sbagliato.
I was despairing because I had made a mistake.
I was upset because I had made a mistake.

Pinocchio says the grillo was right: aveva ragione. Remember to use the verb avere here: avere ragione (to be right). Remember also to use the verb avere to say to be hungry and to be thirsty, which you have already seen: avere fame (to be hungry), avere sete (to be thirsty). Pinocchio aveva fame, e il grillo aveva ragione (Pinocchio was hungry, and the cricket was right).

What was the cricket right about, of course, was that Pinocchio should not have disobeyed or rebelled (rivoltarsi) against his dad (al suo babbo), and he should not have run away from home (fuggire di casa).

Pinocchio says: ho fatto male a rivoltarmi al mio babbo. The expression far male (a fare), meaning to be wrong (to do), is an important one to learn; its opposite is far bene (a fare), meaning to be right (to do).

Hai fatto male a venire.
Hai fatto male.

You were wrong to come.
You were wrong; you acted incorrectly.

Hai fatto bene a parlare.
Hai fatto bene.

You were right to speak.
You were right; you acted correctly.

In the text, Pinocchio refers to Geppetto as his babbo. Babbo means dad, daddy. This is not the first time you find language revealing a father-son relationship between Pinocchio and Geppetto. Perhaps you will remember when Geppetto said to Pinocchio: Non sei ancora finito di fare, e già cominci a mancar di rispetto a tuo padre!

As for the expression fuggire di casa (to run away from home), it is conjugated in the passato prossimo with the verb essere:

È fuggita di casa con un ragazzo.
She ran away from home with a boy.

I shall end this post with a look at the last line of text from this post’s quoted portion: Se il mio babbo fosse qui (if my dad were here), ora non mi troverei a morire di sbadigli (I would not now find myself dying of yawns)! Oh! che brutta malattia che è la fame (oh, what a horrible sickness hunger is)!

Learn the expression morire di, meaning to die of. Some examples:

morire di malattia
È morto di malattia.
to die of illness
He died of illness.

morire di vecchiaia
È morta di vecchiaia.
to die of old age
She died of old age.

morire di cancro
to die of cancer

morire di morte naturale
to die a natural death, of natural causes

Or as Pinocchio laments: morire di sbadigli… to die of yawns.

The portion of text appearing in this post breaks down as follows: E intànto la fàme crescéva (and meanwhile his hunger grew), e crescéva sèmpre (and grew ever more) e il pòvero Pinòcchio (and poor Pinocchio) non avéva àltro sollièvo che quéllo di sbadigliàre (found no other relief but the one that came from yawning): e facéva dégli sbadìgli così lùnghi (and he let out such long yawns), che quàlche vòlta la bócca gli arrivàva fìno àgli orécchi (that his mouth sometimes reached his ears). E dópo avére sbadigliàto (and after having yawned), sputàva (he spit), e sentìva che lo stòmaco gli andàva vìa (and felt that his stomach was becoming uncontrollable). Allóra piangèndo e disperàndosi, dicéva (crying and despairing, then, he said): — Il Grìllo-parlànte avéva ragióne (the Talking Cricket was right). Ho fàtto màle a rivoltàrmi al mìo bàbbo (I was wrong to disobey my dad) e a fuggìre di càsa (and to run away from home)… Se il mìo bàbbo fósse qui (if my dad were here), óra non mi troverèi a morìre di sbadìgli (I would not now found myself dying of yawns)! Oh! che brùtta malattìa che è la fàme (oh, what a horrible sickness hunger is)! —

Key Italian usages appearing in this post include: la fàme (hunger), créscere (to grow), il sollièvo (relief), il sospìro (sigh), la conferènza (conference), lo sbadìglio (yawn), gli sbadìgli (yawns), sbadigliàre (to yawn), fàre ùno sbadìglio (to yawn), la nòia (boredom), il sónno (fatigue), lùngo (long), quàlche vòlta (sometimes), la bócca (mouth), arrivàre fìno a (to arrive at), un orécchio (ear), gli orécchi (ears), la paùra (fear), un amìco (friend), il dùbbio (doubt), lèggere (to read), vècchio (old), sputàre (to spit), lo spùto (spit), per tèrra (on the ground), la pèsca (peach), il marciapiède (sidewalk), piàngere (to cry), disperàrsi (to despair, to get upset), sbagliàre (to be mistaken), avére ragióne (to be right), fàr màle (a fàre) (to be wrong [to do]), fàr bène (a fàre) (to be right [to do]), il bàbbo (dad, daddy), rivoltàrsi (to rebel, disobey), fuggìre (to flee), fuggìre di càsa (to run away from home), trovàrsi (to find oneself), morìre di (to die of), brùtto (bad, horrible), la malattìa (sickness), la vecchiàia (old age), il càncro (cancer), la mòrte (death).