Many of my friends in our Conversational Italian! group on Facebook have been lucky enough to travel to Italy already this summer, and I know more will soon follow. Some have also moved to Italy this year, and it is so nice to see their lovely photos and hear all about their experiences.
The news from Italy made me think about my past trips to Italy and the fun my children and I had learning the many Italian expressions we encountered for the first time. I distinctly remember my daughter, who knows only a little bit of Italian, asking me in an exasperated way one day, “So, Mom, what is this ‘allora’ I keep hearing all the time?!!!”
I’ve put together a quick list of some common, short Italian expressions that have meanings that seem to defy explanation to the English speaker at first. Many of these expressions also change their meaning depending on the context, which also makes them confusing! But just watch the expressions on people’s faces and, of course, the hand gestures that are an important part of the Italian language, and before you know it, you will be using these expressions yourself. Ma dai!
How many more Italian expressions can you think of that were difficult or funny to understand when you encountered them? Please reply. I’d love to hear! Or join our Conversational Italian! group discussion on Facebook.
The rights to purchase the Conversational Italian for Travelers books in PDF format on two electronic devices can also be obtained at Learn Travel Italian.com.
|Allora…||Well, Well then, So, In that case…|
|Figurati!||(in response to thanks received for performing a favor):|
|No problem, You’re welcome, It was my pleasure|
|Magari!||If only! I wish!|
|Magari fosse vero!||If only it were true!|
|Ma dai!||(persuading tone) Come on!|
|(encouraging tone) Come on!|
|(exasperated tone) Come on!|
|Ma quando mai?||When did I ever? Since when?
(meaning: I never!)
|Ma va!||But really? You don’t say?|
|Ma và!||(incredulous) Go away! Go on!|