1011 Italian Italian

Yuri talks about meeting other people of Italian decent around the world and his thoughs on things Italian.


Todd: So Yuri, you’re Italian. What do you think about all the mafia movies? What do real Italian people, people from Italy, think about all the mafia movies that are in American movies?

Yuri: Well we usually watch them and enjoy them very much. They are well done.

Todd: Ok, so you’re not offended? You don’t think that it has a negative image of Italy as just being like crime and gangsters and things like that?

Yuri: No. It think that there were so many good people that went to the States from Italy. Some “bad apples” also arrived there that make a very good business -- we are not proud of it, but the movies themselves they are fantastic. The Godfather is amazing. Later in Italy we also saw The Sopranos and I could not stop watching it. It was great.

Todd: Me too. Me too. So have you actually been to America?

Yuri: Yes, I’ve been. I was lucky enough to go to California and to Nevada shortly.

Todd: Uh huh. So what was it like being an Italian in America?

Yuri: It was funny because when I was at parties or talking to people -- in the beginning I’d just say hello or something, just say I was from Italy. If I didn’t say much they couldn’t realize I was a real Italian and they asked me, “Where are you from?” And I’d say, “From Italy.” And they’d say, “From what part? Jersey?” or something like that. And I’d say, “well, Italy, the country! “

Todd: Right.

Yuri: And then often they’d ask me what generation of Italian I was. And I’d say, “well, forever, we don’t have generations. You’re Italian and end of story. That’s it.”

Todd: Yeah, Italian, Italian. Oh, that’s great. So what do you think about the Italian-American culture in the US. Does it seem very Italian to you or does it seem more American?

Yuri: That’s a very interesting question because I met a lot of American-Italians in Europe and they came to me and said, “I’m Italian too!” And I started to talk Italian to them. They couldn’t say a word. And I said, “Hmm. That’s odd.” And then they would always carry on praising Italy in Italy for which I was very proud. But then sometimes they would do sometimes some stupid things and they’d say, “I do this because I’m Italian.” And I’d think, “No, you do this because you are yourself!”

Todd: Like, can you give an example?

Yuri: Oh the way, some like, some of them they were crazy about women. They were going after skirts we say. And they look at me like, “Oh, I’m Italian.” And I’d say, “Not everybody does it.” So it’s a kind of urban legend or something like that.

Learn Vocabulary from the Lesson


imageSo, you’re not offended?

To make someone feel bad, angry, or upset. Another way to say offended is insulted. Notice the following examples:

  1. He was offended by the racist language they were using.
  2. You have to be careful what you say around her, she gets offended easily.

bad apples

imageSome “bad apples” also arrived there that make a very good business.

A “bad apple” is a person who is not honest and does bad things. Here are some examples:

  1. He was sweet when he was a kid, but he really turned into a bad apple.
  2. Except for a couple of bad apples, there are great kids at this school.


imageIt was funny because when I was at parties they didn’t realize I was a real Italian.

Funny is sometimes confused with fun. Funny is “haha”. Fun is when something is enjoyable. For example, comedians are funny, but playing basketball is fun. Notice the following examples:

  1. If you meet my brother you’ll be laughing the whole time. He is really funny.
  2. If you have never been skiing, you should try it. It is so much fun!

That’s odd

imageAnd I said, “Hmm, that’s odd.”

When something is odd, it means that something is not normal. Another way to say odd is “strange” or “unusual”. Study the following examples:

  1. It is odd how cold it has been this summer.
  2. How odd that Steven hasn’t come yet. He is usually the first one here.

urban legend

imageSo it’s a kind of urban legend or something like that.

An urban legend is a mysterious story that many people know and believe, but it is usually not a true story. Here are some examples:

  1. The story of the Loch Ness Monster in a lake in Scotland is an urban legend.
  2. It is interesting how quickly urban legends can spread, even when they aren’t true.
Answer the following questions about the interview.

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Vocabulary Challenge

Complete the sentences with the words below.
offended • bad apples • funny
that is odd • urban legend
  1. There are always some in ever school.
  2. That's that you liked that movie. So do I.
  3. Don't you think that Bob left without saying goodbye?
  4. Big Foot is an in many cultures.
  5. I was by his answer.