My favorite commercial on tv right now is Geico’s Marco Polo commercial. In it, a few kids are playing “Marco Polo” in a pool as Marco Polo stands in the background confused as to why they keep saying his name. Not only is it funny, it also uses Italian, which is always great to hear on American television.
Below the video, I’ve provided a translation of the Italian Marco Polo uses and a few grammar pointers based on the commercial.
Scusa. Excuse me.
Ma, io sono Marco Polo. But, I am Marco Polo.
Ragazzini, io sono Marco Polo! Kids, I am Marco Polo!
Sì, sono qui. Yes, I am here.
The subject pronoun is not normally used in Italian, because the conjugation of the verb already conveys the subject. One of the most frequently used verbs in Italian is essere, meaning “to be.” Essere is conjugated as follows:
- I am: sono
- You are: sei
- He/she is; You (form.) are: è
- We are: siamo
- You (pl.) are: siete
- They are: sono
To say, “I am Marco Polo,” Marco Polo only needs to say, “Sono Marco Polo.” He uses “io,” the pronoun for “I” to emphasize that he is Marco Polo. He does this because he thinks the kids are confused about who Marco Polo is.
Another example: In response to the question, “Chi è pronto (Who is ready)?” you and your friend could emphatically respond, “Noi siamo pronti (We are ready) !” even though you could just say “Siamo pronti.”
Marco Polo also calls the kids “ragazzini.” “Ragazzi” means guys, in the sense “Hey, you guys.” He changes it to “ragazzini” because they are kids. If it were a group of girls, he would have said, “ragazzine.” For more examples of using ino/ini to shrink something or to make it more endearing, check out my previous post on O Mio Babbino Caro.
I hope you enjoyed this post. If you know of more fun uses of Italian on tv, leave them in the comments below.