One of the questions in today’s free Italian exercise contains the phrase:
“La vostra camera è un casino!”
which is the sort of thing I often find myself shouting at one or other of my three teenagers.
But if you’re picturing their bedrooms as being equipped with, say, a personal roulette table or slot machines with flashing lights, then you need to brush up on your pronunciation!
The misunderstanding here is due to ‘word stress’, that is to say which of the syllables in the word is emphasised, the first, second or third.
What you find in Vegas is not a casino but a casinò with an accent on the final ‘o’.
The pronunciation of casinò is /kaziˈnɔ/.
Try saying it so it sounds like ‘I must GO’ and you’ll have it down.
The apostrophe in the phonemic transcription indicates that the syllable following it, the third in the word, has the word stress.
In contrast, casino without the accent on the final ‘o’ is pronounced more or less as in English /ka’sino/ but means something different.
For casino (no accent) wordreference.com gives us ‘whorehouse’ or ‘brothel’. It sounds like ‘albino’ but is ruder.
That said, Italians use the word all the time, so no need to be shy when you’re trying to impose discipline at home.
Fling open the bedroom door and stride in, being careful not to step in anything, shouting:
“La vostra camera è un casino!”
That should do it.
Which brings me back to today’s exercise on ‘locuzioni avverbiali‘.
I chose it for you because I had absolutely no idea what those were.
Turns out the exercise tests what look to me to be expressions with adverbial particles, such as ‘alla rinfusa’, which I now know means ‘randomly, haphazardly, helter skelter’.
If you have teenagers at home, you’ll know precisely what I mean. Clothes and shoes strewn everywhere, crusted plates, browning apple cores, empty fast food boxes…
Though that should make the expression easy to remember: teenage bedroom > ‘alla rinfusa’
Today’s free Italian exercise is here.
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