Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Bergamo – Street Sign Language Lesson VI

Street Sign Language Lesson 5 < Street Sign Language Lesson 6 > Street Sign Language Lesson 7

School is over for now. We survived our two classes at the University of Bergamo CIS – Italian for Foreigners, and did okay. We took Livello B2 Corso Generale and Corso di Scrittura (A challenging writing course that was worth it). We had one very good professoressa for both classes. However, now we must go back to the streets for our lessons. In this installment of street sign language lessons, we have lots of dog trouble, local rabbit, a well-hung youth, a stolen ashtray, and the start and stop of singing work.

Non chiediamo così tanto!!!
Non chiediamo così tanto!!! Ma almeno portate i vostri cani a fare i loro bisogni al parco e non sulle nostre porte, muri e vetrine!! Grazie – We don’t ask so much. But at least you can take your dogs to do their business in the park and not on our doors, walls, and windows. Thanks
As I think I remarked in the past, there are a lot of dogs in Bergamo. There are no wild or roaming dogs that I’ve seen. Therefore, this means that the shit you commonly see on the sidewalk is due to an owner ignoring it or not aware that their dog left something. The owner of this storefront on via Sant’Alessandro has had enough of it and put up this sign.

Il padrone di questo cane è porco.
Il padrone di questo cane è porco. – The owner of this dog is a pig.
We saw this composition on the other side of town on via San Tomaso. Another person who’s had it with dog droppings. I can’t get the image out of my mind of someone slipping this note under the turd pile. I like this note because of the simplicity of the sentence, all words easily understood.

Attenzione: cani addestrati per la difesa del territorio
Attenzione: cani addestrati per la difesa del territorio. NON AVVICINARSI – Attention: dogs trained for defending the property. Do not come close.
We were in Bellagio (Lago di Como) taking a stroll and saw this sign. I like the adjective and past participle addestrato from the verb addestrare meaning to train. People can be addestrato too, perhaps even to pick up after their dogs?

Se non lo fate voi, almeno insegnatelo al vostro fedele amico
Se non lo fate voi, almeno insegnatelo al vostro fedele amico
– If you don’t do it, at least train your loyal friend to do it

Another sign from our day in Bellagio. The sign is titled Pubblicità progresso, or social issues advertising. I suspect that it’s a take on the advertising by the non-profit organization Pubblicità Progresso, founded in 1971. It shows a dog picking up after itself. It uses the imperative from of the verb insegnare (to teach) with a direct object lo or it, referring to the business of picking up.

inizio / fine cantiere – the start and finish of workinizio / fine cantiere – the start and finish of work
inizio / fine cantiere – the start / end of work
Even though this sign clearly shows a man shoveling , which suggests work, I always think of the verb cantare (to sing), as in the start (inizio) and end (fine) of singing. At least it’s not a sign about dogs. This photo was taken at the top of via Pignolo, Bergamo.

conigli nostrani – local rabbit
conigli nostrani – local rabbit
Nostro is a possessive “our” from which nostrani derives. Coniglio (singular) or rabbit is a common item in macelleria or butcher shops in Bergamo. We took this photo in a butcher shop on via Masone (Macelleria Coffetti) where we stop occasionally to buy meat. The butcher explained nostrani to me once. Just this morning I asked him about grammar again: do we say “siamo apposto” or “siamo apposti” when you say “enough, we are good” after a shop owner asks if you want something else. It’s “apposto”, the past participle of apporre. I like this butcher, maybe the University should hire him.

ragazzo superdotato – well-hung boy
ragazzo superdotato – well-hung guy
We pass by this wall scrawling on our way to the Pam store on via Carmozzi and via Pignolo. (At the Pam grocery store you can shop to upbeat music, sort of like shopping at a well lit nightclub). It took me a while for these two words on the wall to sink in. The a-ha moment was when we were driving in Piemonte last winter and saw a sign that read obbligo dotazione invernale – winter equipment required. Dotazione -> equipment. Dotato -> equipped. Suddenly my mind flashed to the words on this wall and it all became clear. “x Donne!” means "per donne" or for women. (I crossed the number out to protect the superdotato.)

Tu che ci hai rubato il posacenere
Tu che ci hai rubato il posacenere…la telecamera intera punta la porta, il tuo bel faccione si vede benissimo. Rendilo al più presto
. - You who stole our ashtray…the internal camera is aimed at the door, your fat face can be seen very well. Return it right away.

If it’s not dogs, it’s ashtrays. (Reminds me of the Dead Can Dance song ‘Fortune Presents Gifts Not According to the Book’: “When you expect whistles it’s flutes, When you expect flutes it's whistles”.) The business (I think it is a design studio) that put up this sign on via Pignolo lost its ashtray and they were pissed. (Good for them for having an ashtray and not just tossing the butts into the street.) Faccia + one combines to become faccione big, fat face. Rubare is the verb to steal. And, the note uses the impersonal si vede, one sees or we see or maybe best in this case: you are seen. During a conversation when it becomes too confusing to conjugate a verb for “we” or “they” or "you" or you are not sure who is doing the acting, it’s often easier to use the si impersonale. See more here.

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