Thursday, September 5, 2013

Neffa - Quando Sorridi: Song Meaning, Lyrics & Present Tense Italian Verbs







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Didattichiamo: Musica Neffa Quando Sorridi- Present tense verbs & pronunciation

The upbeat tune and the simple, straightforward lyrics make Neffa's Quando Sorridi (When you smile) the perfect song to work on your Italian pronunciation as well as see the simple present tense of some common Italian verbs in use.

First, familiarize yourself with the song using this video which includes the lyrics:

(As always, I recommend singing along when you can! It will improve your pronunciation, cadence, and rhythm  so you sound more natural, plus it will help commit vocabulary and expressions to memory!)





Now, let's take a look at the verbs in the song, all of which are in the simple present tense or the infinitive (the unconjugated form of the verb, roughly corresponding to "to + verb" in English and ending in -are, -ere or -ire in Italian.)

I've underlined verbs in the simple present tense.. for each, what is the infinitive form? is it a regular or irregular verb? what is the subject of the verb? (Remember, in Italian the subject is rarely expressed with the subject pronoun, and most often determined by the verb ending!)


Ognuno ha un peso da portare con sé 
non dirmi che tu non lo sai 
Ma più ci pensi e più succede che poi 
finisce che non ce la fai 
Sospesi in volo su una grande giostra al suono della musica 
giriamo io e te 
giriamo io e te 
La stessa vita così amara qualche istante fa 
se solo tu vuoi poi diventa più dolce che mai 

Non lo sai che quando sorridi 
è un attimo 
E così i pensieri più tristi 
svaniscono 
A che serve farsi la vita difficile 
se alla fine è già complicata così com'è 

Ognuno ha un po' amore dentro si sé 
non dirmi che tu non ce l'hai 
Ma più ne chiedi e più non serve perché 
dipende da quanto ne dai 
E poi lasciarti andare fino in fondo alla tua solitudine 
se è quello che vuoi 
se è quello che vuoi 
Ma finché al mondo c'è qualcuno che ci tiene a te 
ricorda se puoi quello è il bene più grande che hai 

Non lo sai che quando sorridi 
è un attimo 
e così i pensieri più tristi 
svaniscono 
a che serve farsi la vita difficile 
se alla fine è già complicata così com'è x3

Thanks to angolotesti.it for the song lyrics!


Compare your answers to my list of verbs (complete with the full present tense conjugations and meanings) here:


Verbs di Quando Sorridi da Neffa on Google docs
(document link only available through the same post on the new site, Via Optimae)

Now, listen to the song again- paying close attention to the verbs.  Do you have a better idea of what is being said and who the singer is "talking" to?

Now let's look at my rough translation of the lyrics in English.  Once you've read through them, listen to the song again and see if you can associate the Italian words with the English translation.  In some cases, you'll see that they correspond word for word, in other cases, the wording changes quite a bit.  Do you agree with the translation?  Anything you would have translated differently?


Neffa- Quando Sorridi Lyrics in English:


Everybody has a weight to carry along
Don't tell me that you don't know
But the more you think about it, the more it happens that
It ends up that you can't handle it.

Suspended on a big merry-go-round to the sound of the music
You and I go around
You and I go around
The same life, that was so bitter just a second ago
becomes sweeter than ever if you just want it to…

Don't you know that when you smile
It takes just a second
And all you're saddest thoughts
Disappear
What's the point of making life difficult
When it's already complicated enough, just as it is

Everybody has a bit of love inside themselves
Don't tell me that you don't have it.
But the more you ask for it the more it doesn't work because
It depends on how much of it you give.
And then you let yourself go to the very depths of your loneliness
If that's what you want
If that's what you want
But as long as in the world there is somebody who cares about you
Remember if you can, that that's the biggest asset you have.

Don't you know that when you smile
It takes just a second
And all you're saddest thoughts
Disappear
What's the point of making life difficult
When it's already complicated enough, just as it is.

Is the song a little clearer?  More meaningful?  What is the message of the song?  Do you agree with it?

To me, the song is a simple reminder that how you react to situations and events in life is important and choosing to smile is a powerful way to instantly improve everything. Life can be difficult at times, but remembering what really counts can provide a little perspective and make even life's complications more enjoyable.


So, keep pressing play.. and Sorridi!

-Alex


*At the time of posting, this song was not available on amazon.com (where I generally buy all of my music) but they do have another, recent Neffa hit: "Molto Calmo" which I also recommend!

See also: