Friday, March 13, 2015

Short cuts to Learning Italian - A little help from The Godfather

You should exercise a bit of caution on sources when setting out to learn something new.  It would not do for instance to use gangster movies as your sole source for Italian language and culture. But it is also fair to say that information you collect from multiple places tends to reinforce itself, so a few snippets of Italian that I recall from the book and movie The Godfather seem fair game.  Sure, Mario Puzo made a lot of stuff up, but I assume that being raised in a family of immigrants the man could speak Italian.

A few words and their possible utility.

Capo.  In the book it was a title given to a lieutenant in the crime family.  It means head and comes from the Latin caput.  In Rome we will be staying a few hundred yards from the Pons Fabricus, known locally as the Ponte quatto capi.  The bridge of the four heads is so called for the ancient depictions of Janus who ups his game a bit, not looking just forward and back but to either side as well.

At one point in the movie the term sfortunato is used.  It means "an unlucky guy".  I actually have learned the word sfortuna, which means "bad luck".  My better half was once accosted by a pesky street hustler in Paris with a "found" gold ring.   They always want to give it to you and expect a donation for their generosity.  I plan on widening my eyes, pointing a slightly shaking finger at the cheap trinket and saying "Sfortuna. Male, molto male!"

If in doubt about what to order in a Ristorante one can always just say "cosa consiglia?".  This means "what is your advice?".  It combines the cosa from Cosa Nostra with the fictional title of Advisor, or Consigliere held by Tom Hagen in the Corleone Family.

The're absolutely sure on that?
And finally the peculiar phrase "pezzonovante" turns up twice in The Godfather.  It is used  to indicate a "big shot" of some sort.  Literally it translates to "a 90 piece" and indicates a gun of very large calibre.  Calling a weapon a "piece" sure sounds like cheesy Hollywood gangster talk but in fact is a very old construction.  Long ago a shotgun would have been called a fowling piece, and we still to some extent use the phrase "artillery piece".  For me it is less helpful to know how to say the word for ninety - I am not planning on buying anything that pricey when over there - but the other half of the phrase could come in handy.  "Una pezzo pizza, per favore."


Steve Finnell said...


Is it possible to have faith in Jesus but deny the purpose of faith and still be saved?

John 8:22-24.....24 'Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins."

Jesus told certain Jews that unless they believed that He was the Son of God that they would die in their sins. The question remains, if the Jews said "We believe you are the Son of God, however, that is not essential to the forgiveness of sins;" would their sins still be forgiven? CAN YOU DENY THE PURPOSE OF FAITH AND STILL HAVE YOUR SINS FORGIVEN?

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall perish, but have eternal life.

Is it reasonable to assume that men can say, "We believe that Jesus is God's Son and the Savior of the world, however, that has nothing to do with us receiving eternal life," and that they will still be saved? CAN MEN DENY THE PURPOSE OF FAITH AND STILL RECEIVE ETERNAL LIFE?

Acts 16:29-31 And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas, 30 and said "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" 31 They said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household."

If the Jailer had told Paul and Silas that he would believe as an act of obedience and a testimony of his faith, but that believing had nothing to do with his salvation; would the jailer have been saved? CAN MEN DENY THE PURPOSE OF BELIEVING IN THE LORD JESUS AND STILL BE SAVED?


Is logical to assume you can be baptized in water, but deny its purpose and still be saved?

Acts 2:38 Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

What are the probabilities that if the three thousand on the Day of Pentecost had told Peter, "We will be baptized, however, it is not in order to have our sins forgiven," would their sins still be forgiven? CAN MEN DENY THE PURPOSE OF WATER BAPTISM AND STILL HAVE THEIR SINS FORGIVEN.

Acts 22:12-16....16 Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name!

What if Saul had told Ananias, "I had my sins washed away on the road to Damascus, but I will be baptized as an act of obedience and as a testimony of my faith," would Saul's sins have been washed away? CAN MEN DENY THE PURPOSE OF WATER BAPTISM AND STILL HAVE THEIR SINS FORGIVEN?

Ephesians 5:25-27... just as Christ loved the church gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.

What if men were to say that Christ washed the church with water, however, it had nothing to do with, sanctifying her, cleansing her, making her spotless, or rendering her holy and blameless? CAN MEN DENY THE PURPOSE OF WATER BAPTISM AND STILL RECEIVED ITS BENEFITS?

1 Peter 3:20-21 ....safely through the water. 21 Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you....

Is it plausible for men to proclaim that they were baptized in water, but it played no part in their salvation?Can they still be saved? CAN MEN DENY THE PURPOSE OF WATER BAPTISM AND STILL BE SAVED?


Mark 16:16 He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved..... CAN YOU DENY THAT AND STILL BE SAVED?????

(All Scripture quotes from: NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE)


Tacitus2 said...

Hmmmm. The above is a little off topic but I shall spare the Spam designation this time. So many questions. So few solid answers.