I need a help with "spoken" italian

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Mauro Mantovani
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Nov 27, 2015 7:31 pm

I need a help with "spoken" italian

Post by Mauro Mantovani »

Hello everybody, I would like to ask preferably a italian native, but any help will be welcome.

I'm slowly learning italian for some months for now, but I will type this message in english for the sake of simplicity. :P Sorry if this thread was already created!

How italians speak daily regarding verbal conjugation in informal situations, like meeting someone or going to a club or party? Is there some sort of "language hack" regarding few used or even unused verbal tenses and moods? Or are they always properly used?
Not that they are impossible to learn. In fact, italian is very close to my native language (portuguese), but I feel I'm struggling to learn some things which I don't need to learn, like trapassato Remoto or Trapassato Prossimo.

For example, in the "written" Brazilian Portuguese, a verb can have more or less 60 forms in all tenses and moods, but when it comes to informal situations and "spoken" portuguese, there are a lot of rules which are not used, like:

* We NEVER, under any circumstance, use the second person: We refer to the second person (Tu, Voi) as the third person (Lei/Lui, Loro);
* The imperative form is exchanged for the indicative present form in almost all situations;
* All the future tenses are always used in the infinitive form;
* The "Pretérito Mais-que-perfeito" ("Trapassato Prossimo") is unused, except in novels and books.

Given the examples, you only need to learn around 15 of the 60~64 forms to live and talk without any problem in Brazil. This can speed up ma lot of the learning process, keeping in mind that I don't want to be a Italian language expert nor study italian literature. I just want to talk with natives and make friends! :D And I don't even see things like TRAPASSATO PROSSIMO, PASSATO REMOTO, TRAPASSATO REMOTO being used, anyway!
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Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 12:41 pm
Location: Horsham, West Sussex, England

Re: I need a help with "spoken" italian

Post by Peter »

Ciao Mauro

I think I will leave it to a native Italian to answer your query! However, I thought I would take the opportunity to compliment you on your English; it really is excellent. Complimenti!
Mauro Mantovani
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Nov 27, 2015 7:31 pm

Re: I need a help with "spoken" italian

Post by Mauro Mantovani »

Grazie mille, Peter! Questo significa molto per me.

Although I write and translate english most time without trouble, I still don't know how to spell a lot of words. Even after almost a decade, I still sound like Tony Montana from Scarface when I try to talk in english, with that strong South American accent... (great movie, by the way!)
Dylan Thomas
Posts: 104
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2012 11:08 pm

Re: I need a help with "spoken" italian

Post by Dylan Thomas »

Hi Mauro.

I think it’s just a matter of personal choice, accuracy and level of education. In my opinion, what grammarians call “trapassato prossimo” is widely used in formal and informal situations alike.

Avevo già copiato il compito in bella, quando mi accorsi dell’errore.

In this example, you can only say “avevo copiato” (trapassato prossimo) and nothing else; “mi accorsi” (passato remoto) could be replaced by “mi sono accorto” (passato prossimo). It’s true that the “passato prossimo” is much more used than the “passato remoto”, but it very much depends on the geographical area where your Italian friends live. In Tuscany most people would certainly use the “passato remoto”; I live in northern Italy where most people prefer the “passato prossimo”.
As for the “trapassato remoto”, you’re right – it’s usually very formal:
Dopo che ebbe bevuto (trapassato remoto) alcuni bicchieri di birra, fece per andarsene, ma...

I would say, “Dopo aver bevuto”.

It’s not always that simple though. For example, when the subject is a noun, the “trapassato remoto” is the only alternative.

Dopo che i bambini furono partiti, i genitori tornarono a casa felici.
Non appena il ladro fu avvistato dalla polizia, cominciò un lungo inseguimento per le strade della città.

I’m aware your query would require a much deeper analysis but I hope I’ve written something that helps.


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