Saturday, December 8, 2007

Diabolik - Ricordo d’Altea

In the story Ricordo d’Altea (written in 1971), Ispettore Gingko thinks that his love, Altea (a Duchess nonetheless), has died. And in the process of grieving tells a friend how he met her. And of course he met her during one of Diabolik’s crimes. Turns out Altea does not die. The story makes use of a lot of verb tenses: presento, passato prossimo, imperfetto, trapassato prossimo, passato remoto, futuro, imperativo, condizionale and a little congiuntivo. In this riveting passage you can see a couple of tenses:

Narrator: Intanto Altea si era alzata ed era scesa per la colazione….
Altea: Lodovico, L’Ispettore riposa ancora?
Lodovico: No, signora Duchessa! Ha chiesto i respiratori, sono già due ore che sta esplorando il mare!
Altea: Due ore! E non è ancora tornato! Sono preoccupata!
Altea: Prepara il motoscafo! Andiamo a cercarlo!


Narrator: Meanwhile, Altea had gotten up and had gone down for breakfast…
Altea: Lodovico, is the Inspector resting still? [literally he rests still?]
Lodovico: No, Madame. He asked for diving equipment, he has been exploring the ocean for two hours already!
Altea: Two hours! And he has not returned yet! I’m worried!
Altea: Prepare the speedboat! We will go look for him!

In the comments there is an explanation of the tenses as I understand them.


  1. Narrator:
    si era alzata = had gotten up, reflexive, completed before another past action, trapassato prossimo
    era scesa = had gone down

    riposa = he/she rests, present tense

    ho chiesto = he asked, passato prossimo
    sta explorando = he is exploring, presente gerundio

    non è ancora tornato = has not already returned, passato prossimo
    sono preoccupata = I’m worried (feminie), presente
    perpara = prepare, imperativo (you, singular form)
    andiamo = let’s go, presente

  2. i'm glad you explained these tenses. i was waiting with baited breath! ;)

    seriously tho: some of this stuff i not only can say and pronounce, i actually understand! must be in the genes...