Expressing ourselves in Italian

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Peter
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Expressing ourselves in Italian

Post by Peter » Sun Dec 02, 2007 1:25 pm

Ciao a tutti

A recent discussion recently started on another forum regarding how non-Italian speakers of Italian rather give the game away by how they speak, the words they use or don’t use, the lack of hand motions – we English do not do hand motions! :lol: :lol:

Examples quoted included:

(a) The use of potere where riuscire could or should be used

Guilty! :oops: :oops:

(b) The use of sapere and conoscere

Here I would also include incontrare, since I have seen conoscere used to mean ‘to meet’.

(c) The uses of insomma, magari, cioè, mica

I know there was a recent-ish discussion in which Carlo referred to mica as well as affatto.

(d) Using ne, ci, particularly ci!

(e) Referring to food, ie using cibo rather than pranzo, cena etc

(f) Other ways of saying that one would like, ie uses different to vorrei, mi piacerebbe.

(g) Pronouns and the way they can tie one up in knots

(h) The dreaded rolling of the letter ‘r’

No can do. All I end up doing is growling, or pronouncing grazie as ‘glazie’!! :lol: :lol: :oops: :oops:

There will be many others that you good people can identify.

It would be good too if our Italian friends could also highlight things that they notice and how we stranieri can improve the way in which we express ourselves.

I appreciate fully that, thanks to Roby's indefatigable efforts, we have an excellent Lezioni Gratuite section, but what I am looking for here is a proactive discussion in which we can highlight various aspects of Italian that cause us concerns.

Cosa ne pensate?

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DesertCat
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Post by DesertCat » Sun Dec 02, 2007 4:58 pm

In general, it seems that we native English speakers have a tendency to write (and I assume speak) more or less literally except for certain word combinations that we know well.

I have problems with the double pronouns. I understand them when I read them but having them automatically roll off the tongue when I'm talking...it's not happening.

Interestingly, there are certain word combinations where I'm able to effortlessly roll the r but in general I'm not very successful with it.

On the other side, one of my Italian friends absolutely can't say the th sound even after more than a dozen years of speaking English primarily. Instead of this she says dees.

Carlo
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Post by Carlo » Sun Dec 02, 2007 10:49 pm

Peter has already given quite a comprehensive list. I'll try to think of more "give-aways" :)
Right now I'd just like to comment on "cibo". It's not that we don't use this word. It's just that in many contexts where "food" would be used in English we wouldn't normally use "cibo". For example, for "I'm starving. I need some food", I'd say "Sto morendo di fame. Ho bisogno di/devo mangiare qualcosa". For "What's the food like at Simpson's?" I'd say "Come si mangia da Simpson?".

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timLA
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Post by timLA » Mon Dec 03, 2007 1:26 am

There's not enough disk space on this server to list my errors,
but perhaps our native friends will comment:

Switching around nouns and verbs to make a question - don't need to do that in Italian.
Use of reflexive when you shouldn't
Not using the reflexive when you should.
Short sentences
Using informal when you should use formal and vice versa
Getting genders all messed up
Misused idioms
Using the same phrase over and over, because you don't know how to say it any other way " nel senso che..." :oops: :lol:
Not being able to say a double consonant - penne vs ...well, you know
anno vs ...well, you know :lol:
Getting tenses screwed up - ho mangiato mangavo

and on and on...
Una mucca dice all'altra "Hai letto della "mucca pazza"? L'altra dice "Sì, ho sentito. Che fortuna che io sono un pinguino!

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charlene
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Post by charlene » Mon Dec 03, 2007 12:20 pm

Ciao Peter,

I find this discussion extremely useful. I am very guilty making most of these mistakes. In fact, so much so that I don't know what you mean by this:
c) The uses of insomma, magari, cioè, mica]
...it would be helpful for me if you can expand a bit more on the insomma and magari business.

glazie ;-)
Charlene

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keithatengagedthinking
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Post by keithatengagedthinking » Mon Dec 03, 2007 5:06 pm

I hear the expression 'Addirittura' a lot when I talk to my friends in Italian.

'Già' is one that a friend of mine says a lot when we speak.

'Insomma' when used as an interjection always gets me.

Use of ci and double pronouns is, I think, important to practice, and it always takes me a second to realize what is being said when native speakers speak that way. That being said, I rarely speak that way myself, although I'm practicing more using one pronoun instead of repeating the noun all the time. That's a dead giveaway that you're a non native speaker. :) Maybe next year my new years resolution will be to use them both.

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polideuce
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Re: Expressing ourselves in Italian

Post by polideuce » Mon Dec 03, 2007 5:34 pm

Non so se ho ben capito la questione, comunque cerco di dare una mano; magari qualcuna riesco ad azzeccarla :D

(a) The use of potere where riuscire could or should be used

le uniche frasi che mi vengono in mente sono "non posso metterti a posto quel disegno" (deformazione professionale...scusate) e "non riesco a metterti a posto quel disegno"; entrambe le frasi possono essere usate quando quello che "non si può" o "non si riesce" a fare è legata alla mancanza di tempo, per cui solitamente verrebbe aggiunto un "ho troppe cose da fare"...però credo che la frase da me riportata sia sbagliata, perché in questo caso entrambi i verbi hanno senso

(c) The uses of insomma, magari, cioè, mica

I know there was a recent-ish discussion in which Carlo referred to mica as well as affatto.

posso aggiungere qualche frase con "mica" : "non me la racconti mica giusta", "non l'ho mica capita".
"cioè" può, ed è, essere usato al posto di "ovvero": quando spiego qualcosa e ho l'impressione che il mio interlocutore non stia capendo, riformulerò la mia spiegazione introducendola con un "cioè" o con un "ovvero".
Per "insomma" al momento non mi viene in mente nulla...mentre "magari" esprime più concetti; può stare per "forse" ("magari lo farò"), ma a volte esprime anche un desiderio ("magari qualcuna riesco ad azzeccarla"),altre volte invece può essere usato in una frase del genere "magari fosse vero", anche in questo caso si tratta della speranza che si realizzi qualcosa


Al momento mi fermo qua...
[/i]

Roby
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Post by Roby » Mon Dec 03, 2007 6:23 pm

charlene wrote:Ciao Peter,

I find this discussion extremely useful. I am very guilty making most of these mistakes. In fact, so much so that I don't know what you mean by this:
c) The uses of insomma, magari, cioè, mica]
...it would be helpful for me if you can expand a bit more on the insomma and magari business.

glazie ;-)
Charlene,

Look at this link

Mica
http://impariamo.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1130
Roby
"Per raro che sia, il vero amore e' meno raro della vera amicizia."

"As rare as true love is, it is not as rare as true friendship."
- François de La Rochefoucauld

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squeaka
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Post by squeaka » Mon Dec 03, 2007 10:55 pm

good thread - Although I should master timLA's points first, it is great to see other errors (or give-aways) to help make learning the language a bit more fun!

:lol:
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squeaka
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Post by squeaka » Mon Dec 03, 2007 10:56 pm

ps - mi piace "mica'!!! :D
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polideuce
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Post by polideuce » Wed Dec 12, 2007 9:58 pm

mi ci sono voluti una decina di giorni ma alla fine, dopo un po' di sedimentazione, ho capito...sono lento :D

Mi sembra però carino riportare questo:

"b) The use of sapere and conoscere
Here I would also include incontrare, since I have seen conoscere used to mean ‘to meet’."

"sapere" e "conoscere" sono usati come sinonimi anche se "sapere" è parente di "sapido" e quindi indica una conoscenza acquisita tramite il gusto o i sensi, mentre "conoscere" è più attinente a una conoscenza di tipo intellettuale...ma sono differenze poco note(le ho riportate perché ho appena controllato su un dizionario etimologico on-line...potrei regalarmene uno per Natale; diversamente non sarei stato a conoscenza di questa differenza).
La questione interessante è l'uso di "conoscere" e "incontrare".
Se Tizio mi dice riferendosi a Caio: a) "l'ho incontrato" o b) "l'ho conosciuto" e non mi viene detto null'altro deduco che nel primo caso Tizio ha visto Caio da qualche parte, magari sono stati anche presentati e hanno scambiato solo poche parole di circostanza; nel secondo caso penso che Tizio abbia parlato con Caio per un tempo maggiore, magari non sono diventati amici, ma comunque hanno avuto modo di conversare, e quindi conoscersi, al di là della conversazione spicciola.
Se Tizio mi dicesse, sempre riferendosi a Caio: "lo conosco" alloro presumo che siano in un qualche rapporto di amicizia

biagio
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Re: Expressing ourselves in Italian

Post by biagio » Wed Mar 19, 2008 12:39 pm

"we English do not do hand motions! :lol: :lol: "

Hi Pete,

you Brits just do DIFFERENT hand motions, imho.

btw, I think that the more you go south, in Italy, the more people use their hands.
In the region I live in, central Italy, we do use hand gestures, of course, but not in the exaggerated way foreigners think we do.
It always make me laugh the way English-speaking actors fake Italian hand gestures: no Italian would ever move his/her hands like that.
It's a subtle code, you cannot imitate it, if you're not born here.

As usual, Peter, feel free to correct my English.

(Uffa)

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Peter
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Re: Expressing ourselves in Italian

Post by Peter » Wed Mar 19, 2008 2:51 pm

biagio wrote:"we English do not do hand motions! :lol: :lol: "

Hi Pete,

you Brits just do DIFFERENT hand motions, imho.

btw, I think that the more you go south, in Italy, the more people use their hands.
In the region I live in, central Italy, we do use hand gestures, of course, but not in the exaggerated way foreigners think we do.
It always make me laugh the way English-speaking actors fake Italian hand gestures: no Italian would ever move his/her hands like that.
It's a subtle code, you cannot imitate it, if you're not born here.

As usual, Peter, feel free to correct my English.

(Uffa)
Hi Uffa

Point taken about our doing different hand motions; I guess I was really speaking from my own personal perspective in that I hardly ever use my hands - except when I get a little excited then my whole body takes on a sort of St Vitus's Dance!! :lol: :lol: And you're absolutely right about the exaggeration of hand movements by 'stranieri'. We simply cannot imitate the Italian gestures; often we do not understand what the gestures mean.

And, as usual, Uffa, your English is excellent. :) :)

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