The word MICA

Roby
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Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 2:06 pm

The word MICA

Postby Roby » Wed Aug 30, 2006 10:42 pm

From : http://www.wordreference.com/iten/mica and wordreference forum.

MICA
(in senso negativo (no)) rafforz. indeed
affatto, per nulla, it reinforces a negative sentence (usually it's after the verb):
"crumb" "bit" , so you can translate it " a dime" or similars


I find that mica is one of the words that seem to puzzle and fascinate my non-native friends - they often ask me about its use.

Offhand I can think of at least two major senses but I'm sure that together we'll come up with more:

Mica glie l'hai detto? = Surely you didn't tell him?

Mica vuoi farti un altro tatuaggio? (surely)

Mica sai dove abita? = you don't happen to know where he lives, do you?

Mica sono infallibile! = you don't think I'm infallible do you?

Mica male quel ragazzo! = look at that guy - not bad, eh?

Mica scherzo! = look..I'm not kidding

Mica costa poi tanto = it's not that expensive after all

"No way" can substitute "mica" only in negative sentences.

It's a tricky little word. You can't substitute "no way" in interrogative sentences:

Mica sei il fratello di Luca? = You don't happen to be....?

Mica si va a scuola domani? = You don't mean to tell me......?

or in affirmative sentences:

- Gli presti tu i soldi?

- Mica sono scemo! = I'm not stupid am I?

Mica male questo CD = this CD isn't bad at all/half bad

Actually I just got a brainwave! Look at this:

Mica sono scemo!

Non sono mica scemo!

If "mica" comes after the verb you need "non". If it comes before the verb the "non" is dropped.

Mica c'ho scritto fesso in fronte

Non c'ho mica scritto fesso in fronte (it doesn't say "jerk" on my forehead ).

It can if a negative response is anticipated:

"Ain't no way you're going to the BeeGees movie!"
Mica vai a vedere il film dei Bee Gees?

Oh, YEAH, I'm going: Those dudes rock!"

It is certainly mostly used in spoken Italian.

Expression in Italian with the word "mica"

vediamo... mumble mumble...
non posso mica sapere tutto io!!!

non mi hai mica chiesto il permesso, sei uscito e basta!!!

non sono mica ricco, non posso permettermi una ferrari!!!

non stiamo mica pettinando le bambole qui!!!

non sono mica stupido - non sono affatto stupido - I'm not stupid at all!!!


Altro significato di "mica" che ritengo utile segnalare:

utilizzo nelle domande retoriche:

"Mica sono di ferro." (come nella deliziosa storia di Silvia)

Qui Mica funge, secondo me, un po' come l'inglese "isn't it?".



In fondo posso anche rispondere alla maniera di Caino:

«Ehi, dov'è Abele?»

«Mica sono il suo custode!?»

"I'm not his caretaker, am I?"

Magari sbaglio (soprattutto l'inglese), però così mi pare.

Non glielo dico mica
I'm not going to tell him about that

Can "mica' also be a substitute for non? I have in mind phrase like 'mica glielo dico'.

yes, it can be rendered that way...

mica glielo dico, non glielo dico mica (mi hai preso per uno che svela i segreti (spione-telltale)?)

mica son scemo, non sono mica scemo (mi hai preso per uno scemo?)

mica pretenderai di assoldarlo con solo 100 dollari, non pretenderai mica di assoldarlo con solo 100 dollari (credi che si faccia assoldare per soli 100 dollari?, lo hai preso per uno che si fa assoldare con soli 100 dollari?)

they're equivalent to the same sentence with "non... mica"

Mica male is more like "wow, yet finished?"

"Non sono mica nato ieri"? There are several expressions:

I wasn't born yesterday!"

I didn't come down with the last drop of rain!"

"I didn't just fall of the turnip truck!"

"I was born at night, but it wasn't last night!"

I hope this is helpful

Roby

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legut
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2006 8:37 pm
Location: Piracicaba Brasile

Che bella risposta

Postby legut » Fri Sep 01, 2006 6:42 pm

Ciao Roby:

Sono contento.
La tua risposta fu completa.
Grazie
Eduardo

Roby
Posts: 3850
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 2:06 pm

Postby Roby » Fri Sep 01, 2006 10:33 pm

From our member, Carlo, moodywop.

Here is what I wrote in the other forum: www.wordereference.com:

[NB I conflated various posts so there may be repetitions/inconsistencies. I apologize for that. A full re-writing is beyond me right now]

I find that mica is one of the words that seem to puzzle and fascinate my non-native friends - they often ask me about its use.

Offhand I can think of at least two major senses but I'm sure that together we'll come up with more:

Mica gliel'hai detto? = Surely you didn't tell him?

Mica vuoi farti un altro tatuaggio? (surely)

Mica sai dove abita? = you don't happen to know where he lives, do you?

Mica sono infallibile! = you don't think I'm infallible do you?

Mica male quel ragazzo! = look at that guy - not bad, eh?

Mica scherzo! = look..I'm not kidding

Mica costa poi tanto = it's not that expensive after all

Please join in the fun.

"No way" can substitute "mica" only in negative sentences.

It's a tricky little word. You can't substitute "no way" in interrogative sentences:

Mica sei il fratello di Luca? = You don't happen to be....?

Mica si va a scuola domani? = You don't mean to tell me......?

or in affirmative sentences:

- Gli presti tu i soldi?

- Mica sono scemo! = I'm not stupid am I?

Mica male questo CD = this CD isn't bad at all/half bad

Actually I just got a brainwave! Look at this:

Mica sono scemo!

Non sono mica scemo!

I don't know if this was in the previous threads but I've just realized that if "mica" comes after the verb you need "non". If it comes before the verb the "non" is dropped.

Mica c'ho scritto fesso in fronte

Non c'ho mica scritto fesso in fronte (it doesn't say "jerk" on my forehead ).
It's not a dialect word at all. If you check in your dictionary you will see that it is derived from Latin mica and has been in use since the 12th century(Palazzi-Folena, Dizionario della lingua italiana, Loescher).

On the other hand it is certainly mostly used in spoken Italian.

(Beginners, read on AYOR - this might confuse you )

I don't agree that "non...mica" and "non...affatto/per niente" are interchangeable. XXX, you were right in saying that there is a nuance - and a significant one in my opinion. This is exactly the kind of nuance you won't find in dictionaties or grammar books, except for the excellent "A Reference Grammar of Modern Italian" by Maiden & Robustelli:

"It is certainly an oversimplification to state, as some grammars do, that mica is just an emphatic variant of non and equivalent to, say, affatto."

"Mica in assertions serves emphatically to negate presuppositions or expectations on the part of the speaker or addressee, so that its meaning is something like "contrary to expectation"(BE "actually" seems to capture some of the force of "mica")"

Here are two examples:

Sto giocando da due ore ma non sono affatto/per niente stanco
(a matter-of-fact, "neutral" statement - nobody has suggested I should be tired)

- Facciamo una pausa?
- Macché! Non sono mica stanco!
(an emphatic contradiction of my friend's assumption that I might be tired - maybe because he wrongly assumes that I'm out of shape )


I'm sure you will agree with me about the following examples. Mica is often used when a wrong presupposition is implied but not stated by your interlocutor. I would use per niente/affatto in response to an openly stated incorrect presupposition:

Implied presupposition:

- Ma che fai? Mi segui?
- Non sono mica geloso! Passavo di qui per caso

- Penso che tu non le interessi...
- Non sono mica scemo! Questo l'ho capito

Openly stated presupposition

- Certo che sei un po' troppo permaloso
- Non sono affatto permaloso! Non mi conosci per niente

(your example fits perfectly here)

- Sei arrabbiata?
- Non sono per niente arrabbiata

I agree with you that in some cases they are interchangeable but I still perceive a nuance. If I were to say to you:

- Elisa, certo che sono proprio bruttarello, vero?

I would expect you to use "affatto" if you disagree completely:

- Non sei affatto brutto! Sei un bell'uomo.

And "mica" if your response was reassuring but not so flattering:

- Mica sei brutto! Certo, non sei un adone. Ma non sei tanto male

(I left out the third possible response - Bruttarello? Io direi brutto e basta - since it is not relevant to this explanation )

Here, though, I agree that not all speakers would make this distinction. I do, though


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