They say the English language is full of idioms and expressions just waiting to trip up ESL students and send them running for cover.
And they are right. We have some doozies.
“It’s raining cats and dogs!” Yikes
Italians would think they were in a bad Spike Lee flick, cross themselves and get started on the rosary in preparation for the last days.
But don’t let them fool you. The Italian language, in all of its flowery, sing-song wonder, has its fair share of incomprehensible expressions.
Here are six of my favorite Italian idioms:
1. Non mi Va
Literally meaning “it doesn’t go (for) me,” this expression can be used anywhere.
“These pants are too tight, non mi va.”
“I just ate a bowl of pasta, a piece of chicken and a salad. This banana non mi va.”
“Do you want to go to the beach today?” “No … non mi va.”
2. Non Vedo l’Ora
Literally translated as “I don’t see the hour,” this idiom is downright confusing when you realize it actually means “I can’t wait.”
“I’m going to Texas tomorrow, non vedo l’ora!”
3. In Bocca al Lupo
You aren’t really sending someone “into the wolf’s mouth” as the literal meaning may imply, but rather wishing them good luck. This expression is similiar to our “break a leg” wish, which is slightly warped as well if you think about it.
“You have a test today? In bocca al lupo!”
And their response is always, “Crepi!” meaning, “die” which I can only assume to mean “let the wolf die so he doesn’t eat me.”
4. Che me ne Frega
This expression translates as “What do I care?” but I think it has harsher undertones. I recently said this in a crowd and got more than a few laughs and my husband later told me it isn’t a very “classy” thing to say.
Maybe it is more like, “I don’t give a F**K.”
5. Mi Prendi in Giro
Literally meaning “You take me for a spin,” this idiom always gets me singing, “You spin me right ’round baby, right round …”
But it really means, “Are you making fun of me?” It is a good one to know when you live around people who are in fact, often, “taking you for a spin.”
6. Sono Incazzata nera
Translated as “I’m black mad,” this expression is similiar to “I’m seeing red,” or “I’m pissed!”
“The Questura lost my paperwork – sono incazzata nera.”
“Tickets went up $200 for his flight. He’s incazzato nero.”
Think you can learn a few more before Monday’s pop quiz? Check out Miss Expatria’s hilarious count in “How to Say it in Italian” or check out three new phrases at the Italian Language Course Blog. If your interested in testing your Italian reading skills, there are over 100 idioms listed here.
What are your favorite Italian or English idioms? What were the hardest for you to learn?
Vist Mary at Flavors of Abruzzo to see what’s cooking this weekend with La Buona Cucina Americana!