Italian Style/Usage Dictionary? (No English)
May 1, 2006 12:59 PM   Subscribe

DictionaryFilter: Looking for a good Italian-Italian style/usage dictionary, ideally just like the Duden #3 Stilwoerterbuch for German (Italian examples, simple words, covers questions of usage more than definitions)

The Duden Stilwoerterbuch shows the following for a given word:
1. Several 1-3 word synonyms/definitions for a given word
2. Examples of the word in multiple sentences or phrases. (For a noun, it would have all sorts of typical adjectives modifying that noun, etc. Every varied use and nuance of a verb is shown with example sentences)
3. What sort of cases, prepositions, etc need to be surrounding that word for it to work correctly.

Because the definitions of each word are 1-3 words long, it makes it very easy for a foreigner to understand a German word in German, and make vocab flashcards with German on both sides, etc.

Is there something like this for Italian?
posted by sdis to Education (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Ask Isabella Massardo—her e-mail is in the right-hand margin of her blog (it's just at gmail). She'll know.
posted by languagehat at 4:02 PM on May 1, 2006

Umm, and having asked her, please post her reply here. Garzanti does have a "Dubbi Linguistici" FAQ, but it is more lexical than what you're looking for.

If you're looking for example sentences, though, do you know about the OVI? That's only up to D so far, but it will be the OED of old Italian. If you have access to a place that can use it, you can also search their corpus.
posted by xueexueg at 7:27 AM on May 3, 2006

Wow, thanks for that OVI link, xueexueg—that's great!
posted by languagehat at 7:47 AM on May 3, 2006

Response by poster: Isabella graciously sent over a lengthy reply, summarized below. I'm assuming it's alright for me to post this publically, but if not, matthowie to remove this post:

It's a bit difficult for me to advise you on the choice of a
dictionary, first of all because we don't have a dictionary similar to
the Duden and also because I don't know how well you speak Italian.
Probably very well...

I had a look around and I think these are the best options:

If you want a monolingual dictionary, I would chose between Zanichelli (first one on the page, if
you click on one the blue icons you'll be able to see a couple of
pages) and Sabatini Coletti

My Dutch students actually prefer this last one because it explains
better the use of prepositions/verbs etc....

If you want an English-Italian-English dictionary, I would try and
find a copy of the Sansoni (it's not published anymore, but it's very
complete) or
or a Zanichelli English-Italian , which is used in the
Italian universities.

I hope this helps you.

Kind regards,

Isabella Massardo
posted by sdis at 11:13 AM on May 3, 2006

Those are all more lexical than I thought you were looking for, but at Zanichelli I also see a page of less lexical reference works that include several on idioms, grammar and even explicitly "usi". I hope they're still in print:

Così si Dice (e si scrive): Dizionario grammaticale e degli usi della lingua italiana, by Giuseppe Pittàno. I think I'll get this for myself, it sounds promising.

Capire l'Antifonia and Frase fatta, capo ha both treat of "modi di dire" and Capire l'Antifonia has citations from "over 5000 literary works" from Leopardi to the present. I hope to get a chance to at least flip through these sometime soon, to see if they're the kind of thing you are (and now I am) looking for. I'm not really looking to be a font of italian clichés, but it would be nice to shortcut the the three-year hunt I had to do to understand an idiom I saw on the VHS box for "Scream" in Italian: "PAURA + PAURA = 90". (Google would have helped).
posted by xueexueg at 12:19 PM on May 3, 2006

Response by poster: xueexueg: They are indeed more lexical than I'm looking for. Now the tricky thing about finding these sorts of dictionaries, is that I've been learning italian for a week now, and am not good enough to figure out what on earth these dictionaries are.

Così si Dice looks pretty good; I wish they had some entry examples on their website..
posted by sdis at 3:32 PM on May 3, 2006

« Older Noam Chomsky: A good introduction?   |   Super-Easily Make Images Smaller? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.