I told you it was easy

~ Indirect speech / Discorso indiretto ~
Le regole di base

Riportare quanto detto da un’altra persona, di solito ad una certa distanza di tempo ed in un luogo diverso, è una cosa che facciamo molto spesso nelle nostre conversazioni. Di conseguenza, prima o poi, bisogna familiarizzare con tutti quei piccoli ma importanti cambiamenti che servono per convertire le parole dette sul momento (discorso diretto) in parole riportate in un secondo momento (discorso indiretto). Questi cambiamenti, non molto diversi da quelli che avvengono in italiano, riguardano principalmente il tempo del verbo, alcuni avverbi di tempo e di luogo e, quando è il caso, anche i pronomi personali.

Per creare delle schede utili, bisogna partire dal presupposto che il discorso indiretto avvenga ad una certa distanza di tempo e in un luogo diverso da quello del discorso diretto. Queste sono le condizioni più tipiche e quelle che richiedono più cambiamenti.


Il tempo del verbo:
Proprio perché è passato del tempo tra il discorso diretto e il discorso indiretto, il tempo del verbo deve fare uno spostamento a ritroso. In inglese questo si chiama backshift. Nella tabella qui sotto ci sono degli esempi di come effettuare questo backshift per tutti i tempi dei verbi. Le frasi sono semplici affermazioni in modo da focalizzare l’attenzione esclusivamente sul cambiamento che viene effettuato al verbo nel passaggio al discorso indiretto. Il that che introduce il discorso indiretto vine omesso spessissimo, sopratutto nel linguaggio informale.

DIRECT SPEECHINDIRECT SPEECH
PRESENT
Present Simple
“I want to leave after lunch.”
Past Simple
He said that he wanted to leave after lunch.
Present Continuous
“I am thinking about your proposal.”
Past Continuous
He said that he was thinking about my proposal.
PAST
Present Perfect
“I have bought a new bicycle.”
Past Perfect
He said that he had bought a new bicycle.
Past Simple
“I found it in the garage.”
Past Perfect
He said that he had found it in the garage.
Present Perfect Continuous
“I have been sleeping badly lately.”
Past Perfect Continuous
He said that he had been sleeping badly lately.
Past continuous
“I was talking to the manager.”
Past Perfect Continuous
He said that he had been talking to the manager.
Past Perfect
“I had drunk too much.”
Past Perfect (nessun cambiamento)
He said that he had drunk too much.
Past Perfect Continuous
“I had been waiting for an hour.”
Past perfect Continuous (nessun cambiamento)
He said that he had been waiting for an hour.
Used to
“I used to live here.”
Used to (nessun cambiamento)
He said that he used to live there.
FUTURE(future-in-the-past)
Present Simple (timetable future)
“My train leaves at 4 o’clock.”
Past Simple
He said that his train left at 4 o’clock.
Present Continuous (diary future)
“I am leaving tomorrow.”
Past Continuous
He said that he was leaving the following day.
Am/are/is going to (intentional future)
“I am going to buy another one.”
Was/were going to
He said that he was going to buy another one.
Future Simple
“I will phone her this evening.”
Present Conditional
He said that he would phone her that evening.
Future Continuous
“I will be working all afternoon.”
Present Continuous Conditional
He said that he would be working all afternoon.
MODAL VERBS
Can (ability, possibility, permission)
“I can do it for you.”
Could
He said that he could do it for me.
May (permission)
“You may leave your bag here.”
Could
He said that I could leave my bag there.
May (possibility)
“It may rain tomorrow.”
Might
He said that it might rain the next day.
Must (obbligo)
“You must pay me before Saturday.”
Had to
He said that I had to pay him before Saturday.
Must (deduzione logica)
“It must be difficult for you.”
Must
He said that it must be difficult for me.
could, should, would,
might, need, ought to
(nessun cambiamento)

N.B. Non è necessario effettuare il backshift se il discorso riportato è ancora vero, ancora rilevante, o non è ancora successo. Questo succede maggiormente con i tempi presenti, il present perfect e il futuro.

DIRECT SPEECHINDIRECT SPEECH
“I really like playing tennis.”He said that he really likes playing tennis.
“I am working every day this week.”He said that he is working every day this week.
“I have already told the others.”He said that he has already told the others.”
“I am going to see them tomorrow.”He said that he is going to see them tomorrow.
“I will fix it on Saturday.”He said that he will fix it on Saturday.

Gli avverbi di tempo:
Il passaggio di tempo tra il discorso diretto e il discorso indiretto ha un effetto anche sui più comuni avverbi di tempo i quali non possono mantenere lo stesso rapporto con il presente che c’è nel discorso diretto. Nella tabella qui sotto ci sono degli esempi di come questi avverbi di tempo cambiano nel passaggio al discorso indiretto.

DIRECT SPEECHINDIRECT SPEECH
Now
“I want to go now.”
Then / at that moment
He said that he wanted to go then / at that moment.
Today
“I am working today.”
That day
He said that he was working that day.
Yesterday
“I saw Bob yesterday.”
The previous day / the day before
He said that he had seen Bob the previous day / the day before.
Last week etc
“I bought it last week.”
The previous week / the week before
He said that he had bought it the previous week / the week before.
Ago
“I met Tom two years ago.”
Before
He said that he had met Tom two years before.
Tomorrow
“I will come back tomorrow.”
The following day / the day after
He said that he would come back the following day / the day after.
Next week etc
“I will do it next week.”
The following week / the week after
He said that he would do it the following week / the week after.

Altri cambiamenti:
Il cambio di luogo tra il discorso diretto e il discorso indiretto ha un effetto anche sull’avverbio di luogo here e sugli aggettivi dimostrativi this e these che non hanno più lo stesso punto di riferimento che avevano nel discorso diretto.

DIRECT SPEECHINDIRECT SPEECH
Here
“I’ll be here at 9.00.”
There
He said that he would be there at 9:00.
This
“I’m going to buy this house.”
The
“He said that he was going to buy the house.”
These
“I like these paintings.”
The
He said that he liked the paintings.”

La forma interrogativa:
Per riportare una domanda in un discorso indiretto bisogna partire dal tipo di domanda che si è posta nel discorso diretto. Le domande si distinguono in due tipi fondamentali: domande “aperte” che cercano informazione (chi, quando, dove, perché ecc) e domande “chiuse” che cercano solamente una conferma, si o no, (senza pronome interrogativo).

Nel primo caso il pronome interrogativo si ripropone nel discorso indiretto ma SENZA fare ricorso alla classica forma interrogativa come si farebbe normalmente per formulare una domanda. La domanda nel discorso indiretto si costruisce come una normale affermazione. Ecco alcuni esempi tipici.

DIRECT SPEECHINDIRECT SPEECH
What
What do you want for lunch?”
What
He asked me what I wanted for lunch.
Where
Where are you taking the kids?”
Where
He asked me where I was taking the kids.
When
When will you know the answer?”
When
He asked me when I would know the answer.
Why
Why are you so tired?”
Why
He asked me why I was so tired.
Who
Who did you see at the party?”
Who
He asked me who I had seen at the party.
How
How do you know Bob?”
How
He asked me how I knew Bob.
Which
Which one do you want?”
Which
He asked me which one I wanted.
How much
How much have you spent?”
How much
He asked me how much I had spent.
How many
How many times have you been here?”
How many
He asked me how many times I had been there.

Nel secondo caso la domanda indiretta viene introdotta da if o whether, più comunemente if. Anche in questo caso la domanda viene espressa come una normale affermazione. Ecco alcuni esempi tipici.

DIRECT SPEECHINDIRECT SPEECH
“Do you like Beethoven?”He asked me if I liked Beethoven.
“Are you feeling better?”He asked me if I was feeling better.
“Have you been here before?”He asked me if I had been there before.
“Did you stay in last night?”He asked me if I had stayed in the night before.
“Are you going to buy it?”He asked me if I was going to buy it.
“Will you help me?”He asked me if I would help him.

La forma imperativa:
L’infinito senza to che si usa per fare la forma imperativa nel discorso diretto diventa un imperativo con to in seguito ai verbi introduttivi come to tell e to order.

DIRECT SPEECHINDIRECT SPEECH
“Go away”He told them to go away.
“Don’t listen to them.” He told us not to listen to them.
“Sit down!”He ordered me to sit down.
“Don’t stop working.”He ordered them not to stop working.

Pronomi personali, aggettivi possessivi ecc:
Questi cambiamenti servono una logica naturale che è uguale in italiano. Vediamo alcuni esempi semplici solamente per evidenziare questo.

DIRECT SPEECHINDIRECT SPEECH
I can’t see you.”He said that he couldn’t see them.
“Give me your bag.” He told her to give him her bag.”
I don’t believe you.”He said that he doesn’t believe me.”
We haven’t got your tickets.”They said that they haven’t got our tickets.

N.B. Pubblicherò un esercizio al più presto!


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