Archive | October, 2013

Duolingo Italian: Phrases

13 Oct

This phrases topic is really two lessons, but I’m combining them into one post as there isn’t really much to distinguish the two, and I don’t really have much to write for different forms of the words. In these lessons you are learning basic greetings, farewells and some courtesy.

Greetings and farewells

Buongiorno: Good morning

Buonaserra: Good evening

Buonanotte: Good night

Ciao: hi/bye

Arrivaderci: good bye, although I suspect the literal translation would be closer to farewell as it doesn’t have the buon.., beginning

Courtesy and miscellanious

Per favore: please. Favore just by itself means favour, per favore is for a favour

Prego: beg, as in “please please please”. Similar to the English “I pray”, but nowhere near as formla

Grazie: thank you

Spiacente: sorry

si: yes

no: no

Non: not. Be a bit careful how you use non, as it is a bit different than not. In Enlish you would say I am not a man, but in Italian this would be “Io non sono un uomo”.

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Duolingo Italian: Basics 1.3

13 Oct

The last of the first lot of basics! This lesson you learn a new vowel (drink) and some new nouns (water, bread and sugar). The main aim of this lesson is the familiarise yourself with the fact that Italian verbs have different forms depending on who is performing the action. This means that your verb changes depending if it is you, some one else, he/she is doing something, they (as in the plural) are doing something, or we are doing something. In this lesson we are just looking at the singular cases.

(as a side note, 50th post! And my original of this post some how disappeared when I published it)

Mangio: I eat. Verbs that are referring to something that I am doing, generally end is a o. This means you don’t need to bother saying Io mangio… as Mangio… gives you the same information

Mangi: You eat. Verbs ending in i are generally something that you are doing. Once again you don’t need to specify that tu is doing it.

Mangia: He/she eats.

Bevo: I drink

Bevi: You drink.

Beve: He/she drinks. Note that this does not end in an a like mangia. There doesn’t seem to be a nice rule like bevo/mangio and bevi/mangi

Pane: the bread. This is one of the few masculine words that end in an e.

Zucchero: the sugar. Note that it is lo zuccerho, not il due to the soft z sound at the beginning of the word

Summary

(These summaries include words that haven’t been covered yet, but I know it confuses me if I don’t see all the forms of the words to start of with, so I’m going to just list them here):

Nouns

The sugar (always masculine)

Article noun plural English
Lo zucchero Singular The sugar
Gli zuccheri Plural The sugars

The bred (always masculine)

Article noun Plural English
Il pane Singular The bread
I pani Plural The breads

Verbs

Mangiare (eat)

Person Present Example (Italian) Example (English)
io mangio Mangio una mela I eat an apple
tu mangi Mangi una apple(informal) You eat an apple
Lei mangia Mangia una mela (formal) You eat an apple
lui/lei mangia Lei mangia una mela She eats an apple
noi mangiamo Mangiamo una mela We eat an apple
voi mangiate Mangiate una mela (informal) They eat an apple
Loro mangiano Mangiano una mela (formal) They eat an apple

Mangiare (eat)

Person Present Example (Italian) Example (English)
io bevo Bevo l’acqua I drink water
tu bevi Bevi l’acqua(informal) You drink water
Lei bevi Bevi l’acqua (formal) You drink water
lui/lei beve Lei beve l’acqua She drinks water
noi beviamo Beviamo l’acqua We drink water
voi beviate Beviate l’acqua (informal) They drink water
Loro beviano Beviamo l’acqua (formal) They drink water

Additional resources for this post:

No additional resources used for this post: maybe I’m getting better at Italian?

 

Duolingo Italian: Basics 1.2

8 Oct

More of the same in this lesson. You learn a new verb (magia = eat), how to refer to people (lui = he, lei = she) and some connectors like sei = are. The progress is still nice slow and the sentence constructions are like what you expect in English.

Be careful with gender at this stage. Most of the multiple choice questions are trying to trick you up on this.

Mangia: This verb means eat. There are a lot of different

È: is or It is. With words like this, there is often an implicit understanding that there is an it somewhere, you only mention it when you want to emphasis it. A bit like with sono, you rarely say Io sono.

Lui: he

Lei: she. This is one of the few female related words that ends in i (normally used for masculine plural words). It might have something to do with the sound it makes (more like ay in this word, not like ee, in say ragazzi)

Tu: you (informal)

Sei: (are), as in you are. This is really the same as è but used when referring to some one else.

Summary

(These summaries include words that haven’t been covered yet, but I know it confuses me if I don’t see all the forms of the words to start of with, so I’m going to just list them here):

Verbs

Mangiare (eat)

Person Present Example (Italian) Example (English)
io mangio Mangio una mela I eat an apple
tu mangi Mangi una apple(informal) You eat an apple
Lei mangia Mangia una mela (formal) You eat an apple
lui/lei mangia Lei mangia una mela She eats an apple
noi mangiamo Mangiamo una mela We eat an apple
voi mangiate Mangiate una mela (informal) They eat an apple
Loro mangiano Mangiano una mela (formal) They eat an apple

Essere (you saw the singular last lesson, did lesson you saw the plural)

Person Present Example (Italian) Example (English)
io sono Sono una ragazza I am a girl
tu sei Sei una ragazza (informal) You are a girl
Lei sei Lei una ragazza (formal) You are a girl
lui/lei è Lei è una ragazza She is a girl
noi siamo Siamo le ragazze We are girls
voi siete Siete le ragazze (informal) They are girls
Loro sono Loro sono le ragazze (formal) They are girls

Note that Lei and Loro are the formal versions of you and they and should be captialised, note that sometimes  verb changes depending if you are using the form they (Loro sono) or informal they (Voi siete)

Pronouns

Lui (he)

Gender Plural Present Example (Italian) Example (English)
Masculine Singular Lui Lui è l’uomo He is a man
Feminine Singular Lei Lei è donna She is a woman
Either Plural Loro Loro sonno donne They are women

Tu (you)

Gender Plural Present Example (Italian) Example (English)
Either Singular Tu Tu sei l’uomo You are a man

Additional resources for this post:

About Italian: useful for checking what all the verb endings are

Duolingo Italian: Basics 1.1

4 Oct

Since that last post really helped me get my thoughts together, I’ve decided to do a series of posts on what you are meant to learn in each duolingo lesson and try to explain any issues that might arise or any trick I’ve learnt. I have no background in language, so most of this will be my explorations into a language (and therefore is not likely to be always right). Sort of what I do with maths research, but with an already well researched language. So to start with, Duolingo Italian, Basics 1.1.

In this lesson you learn basic nouns (man, woman, boy, girl and apple) , articles (the and a, both masculine and feminine) and a verb (is/am/are). In Italian, you always need the article for a noun. There are a few times where it appears you don’t need article, but often the article is hiding in another word (e.g. nel is “in the”, no additional article needed)

L’uomo: the man. L’ is the masculine article used when the noun begins with a vowel (it is also the feminine article for when the noun begins with a vowel). Uomo is man.

La donna: The woman. La is the feminine article used when the noun begins with a consonant, donna is woman. Think like prima donna (the main woman in an opera).

Il ragazzo: the boy, or the child. Il is the most commonly used masculine article and it is used with most consonants. Ragazzo is boy. Note that both uomo and ragazzo end in o: the is a good sign that the word you are dealing with is masculine (and singular)

La ragazza: the girl. The same feminie article as for donna, ragazza is girl. See how similar it is to ragazzo (boy?), that is because they are essentially the same word, but the a ending makes it feminine. You can think of it as the female child.

La mela: The apple. Mela is a femine word (it ends in a)

Un / una: these articles are equivalent to a or an in English. You use un when it is a masculine noun, such as uomo or ragazzo and una when it is a feminine noun, like ragazza, donna or apple.

Io: I. As in I am a girl (in Italian, Io sono una ragazza)

Sono: I am. Another trick I’ve learnt in Italians that that verbs that end in the letter o, often refer to yourself (i.e. if you mean to say I <verb> something, that verb will end in o). This means that you can (and often) just leave of the Io and just say Sono una ragazza.

Summary

(These summaries include words that haven’t been covered yet, but I know it confuses me if I don’t see all the forms of the words to start of with, so I’m going to just list them here):

Articles

The

Article Gender/plural Use Italian example
Il Masculine singular When the noun starts with most consonants Il ragazzo
L’ Masculine/feminine singular When the noun starts with a vowel L’uomo
Lo Masculine singular When the noun starts with s+ consonant, z, gn, x, y, ps, pn, i+vowel Lo squalo
La Feminine singular When the noun starts with a consonant La donna
L’ Feminine/masculine singular When the noun starts with a vowel L’insalata
I Masculine plural When the noun starts with most consonant and is plural (e.g. where you use il in the singular) L’insalata
Gli Masculine plural When the noun starts with a vowel or some consonants  and is plural (i.e. where you use l’ or lo for the singular) L’insalata
Le Feminine plural Anytime! (as long as it is a feminine plural noun) L’insalata

Nouns

The man (always masculine)

Article noun plural English
L’uomo Singular The man
Gli uomi Plural The men

The woman (always feminine)

Article noun Plural English
La donna Singular The woman
Le donne Feminine plural The women

The child

Article noun plural/gender English
Il ragazzo Masculine singular The child or the boy
La ragazza Feminine singular The girl
I ragazzi Masculine plural The children or the boys
Le ragazze Feminine plural The girls

The apple (feminine)

Article noun plural/gender English
La mela Feminine singular The apple
Le mele Plural The apples

Verbs

Essere (apparently, I haven’t yet seen this verb being used, apparently it means to be or to exists)

Person Present Example (Italian) Example (English)
io sono Sono una ragazza I am a girl
tu sei Sei una ragazza (informal) You are a girl
Lei sei Lei una ragazza (formal) You are a girl
lui/lei è Lei è una ragazza She is a girl
noi siamo Siamo le ragazze We are girls
voi siete Siete le ragazze (informal) They are girls
Loro sono Loro sono le ragazze (formal) They are girls

Note that Lei and Loro are the formal versions of you and they and should be captialised, note that sometimes  verb changes depending if you are using the form they (Loro sono) or informal they (Voi siete)

Additional resources for this post:

Cyber Italian: I was using this site to get all my articles and noun genders right.

Effective Language learning: This explained to me what was going on with formal and informal verbs

Italian notes

3 Oct

As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve been using Duolingo to learn Italian. I’m going to use this post to sort out some of my vocab issues

Quale (singular), Quali (plural): which one/are

Quanta (feminine), Quanto (masculine), Quante (feminine plural), Quanti (masculine plural): how much/many

I think what gets me, is that it seems that Quale and Quali don’t have a masculine and feminine form (or at least not one I’ve been introduced to so far) and that it is quite similar to Quanto. And then Italian doesn’t have the distinction between how much/many that English does for have continuous/discrete objects.

 

Well at least writing these out help me pass the second set of questions in the Questions module

 

 

Fitbit

2 Oct

I bought a Fitbit One on the weekend as a somewhat impulse buy. I already use programs such as RescueTime to track my work, so the idea of tracking my exercise appeals to me, especially as all I need to do is the remember to put it on in the mornings and only needs to be charged once a week. The other big selling point of the Fitbit, that unlike other pedometers, I don’t need to have a pocket or waist band to attach it to (which my clothes often have neither). The fitbit one comes will a silicon case that has a metal reinforced clip which is thing enough to wear clipped to my bra hidden by my cleavage. I chose it over the flex or zip as I like to see all the different modes and have sleep tracking, which those two don’t. But really, I just wanted another toy and to try and compete with my boyfriend (a long time user of fitbit).

I’ve only been using it for two days and I’m surprised by how little walking I do in a day. In a normal day I would struggle to get up to 5,000 (the recommended amount is 10,000). The result is that I’m now forcing myself to go out for more walks. More walks isn’t really a hardship, my main problem is making the time for it. So little things like parking near my office rather than the gym when I go to the gym in the mornings adds 3,000 steps to my daily count, without causing me much more effort. Just then I walked up the 3 flights of stairs to see if a friend was in his office (need to check some details with him), which should add some to by stair climbing account. Later this afternoon I’ll go for a walk around campus which will hopefully add a few more thousand. When I get home, if I haven’t done my 10,000 I might go for a run.

I can’t comment too much of the competition aspect of it yet. On the fitbit dash, it shows your friend’s total steps from the last 7 days. My boyfriend has the full 7 days displayed, I just have 2 and a bit, so he is well ahead of me. Having said that, he is also ahead of my for average steps in a day, so I need to step up (pun!) my game a bit. I’m hopeful that the competition aspect will keep me looking at it for the long term.

Fitbit also gives you badges for reaching certain achievements. So far I’ve gotten 5,000 steps and 10 floors. So really nothing considering there are also badges for 10,000 steps and 25 floors. But knowing that they are there are making me scheme to reach those goals. I’m not sure what will happen when I get the easy ones done. There are daily smiley faces if you reach your goals on the dashboard (10,000 steps, 25 floors, 30 minutes of active walking time), so that may keep me going.

So positive changes so far. At least for the time being it is addicting, not sure about the long term

 

HabitRPG back up

1 Oct

I’ve talked about HabitRPG before, but I’ve been out of the habit (ironically enough) of using it. Mostly because of the memory leaks, the android app not working and the weekends. The memory leaks were getting so bad that it seemed like whenever I tried to go on the website, they were resetting the server. The (unofficial) android app wasn’t updating my stats. Because of the app not working, I wouldn’t tick of my habits over the weekend, which would result in death :(.

Happily though, the memory leaks seem to be sorted out, so I’m back to entering details on the website. The weekend issue still exists though: maybe the app is better now but either way, my phone isn’t happy with me right now (put it in my bra while running, now the touch screen doesn’t work :/).