Do you know the difference between eggs and grapes in Italian?
It should be simple, but it’s easy to mix them up.
Learn how to differentiate these words (and avoid making an embarrassing mistake) in episode 72 of 5 minute Italian.
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Today’s Italian Vocabulary
- uovo = egg
- uova = eggs
- un uovo = one egg
- due uova = two eggs
- L’uva = (the) grapes
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Please note, this is not a word for word transcript.
Katie: Ciao a tutti e benvenuti a 5 Minute Italian. I’m Katie
Matteo: And I’m Matteo, ciao!
Katie: And in today’s episode, we’re going to talk about two words which sound similar in Italian: eggs and grapes. It’s kind of cruel, because they’re very easy to get mixed up, but as you can imagine, it can sound quite silly! Let’s get started.
K: Do you know how to say “egg” in Italian?
K: That’s 3 syllables: oooo – wo – vo. oooo – wo – vo. (uovo). Now in Italian, the plural of eggs is a bit crazy – it doesn’t follow the rules at all.
M: In the singular, “uovo” is masculine. Un uovo.
K: If you want to see this written down, you can get the transcript by going to www.joyoflanguages.com/italianpodcast and scrolling down to this episode. So in the singular, egg is masculine. L’uovo. What happens in the plural?
M: It becomes feminine. But there is something else strange. The last letter changes to “a”. So we get due uova.
K: Don’t stress too much about the logic of this, because it’s very irregular. Just remember that to say one egg, we say “un uovo” and to say “two eggs” we say “due uova”. And this is where the confusion with grapes comes in. How do we say “grapes” in Italian Matteo?
K: That’s two syllables: oooo – vaaa. oooo – vaaa. And the interesting thing about grapes is that they’re not plural in Italian. They’re treated like one thing. A bit like how we say rice or pasta, even though they’re made up of lots of little pieces, we don’t say rices, or pastas. In Italian, grapes are like that – they’re treated like one mass. Uva. Next, we almost always say “the” in Italian, so we’d say “the grapes” rather than just “grapes”. Uva starts with a vowel. To say “the” before a word which starts with a vowel, we say “l” plus apostrophe. L’. So to say the grapes, we get:
K: Now let’s learn a little trick to differentiate: uovo (egg) uova (eggs) and uva (grapes). It’s a little bit silly, but the sillier something is, the more memorable it is, so let’s give it a go.
Uovo and uova (egg and eggs) start with a wo sound. So you can imagine a chicken laying a huge egg. You look at the giant egg, and you say “woooahhh!”
Next, let’s imagine grapes. Uva. Grapes are fancy, you can imagine all these fancy pictures of Romans being fed grapes. You see someone being fed grapes, and you could say “ooooh fancy”. And that will remind you that the first sound for grapes is “ooooo”. Uva.
M: Let’s hear the words one more time.
K: How do you say “egg”? Imagine seeing a huge chicken egg.
M: Uova. With an -a. Uova.
K: How do you say grapes. Imagine looking at a painting of someone being fed grapes. Oooh fancy.
K: To make sure you remember the difference between “grapes” and “eggs” head over to our website joyoflanguages.com/italianpodcast and scroll down to episode 72. You’ll see all of this written down and get bonus materials like a quiz and flashcards. And you can join our Facebook group by going to facebook.com/groups/5.minute.italian/, where you’ll find our fab community who practises chatting in Italian together.
Ciao for now, see you next time or as we say in Italian,
M: Alla prossima!
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