‘Che t’aggia dì’ Posted by Serena on Feb 28, 2010 in Italian Language
In my imagination, all of you who read my last blog ‘Gesture of the Day’ have been spending hours in front of the mirror practicing and perfecting your moves. Now I won’t pretend that learning body language will improve your grammar, but it will perhaps help you to speak Italian in a more convincing way, that is to ‘feel’ the language rather than just recite it. This is, of course, quite advanced stuff, especially if you come from a culture that doesn’t use a great deal of expressive body language.
As I said in my previous blog, physical gestures are not easy to translate into words ….. so in order to give you a vivid depiction of the gesture ‘che cavolo dici?’ (what the ‘cabbage’ are you talking about?), or ‘cazzo vuoi’ (what the fuck do you want?) here is a link to a great video in which, if you watch carefully you will see this gesture used several times. Watch and learn from the masters!:
The video accompanies a song entitled ‘Che t’aggia dì’, a canzone Napoletana (Neapolitan song) from 1952 which was recorded again in 1998 by Adriano Celentano and Mina. Now don’t worry if you don’t understand ‘un cavolo di niente’ because although neither Adriano Celentano nor Mina are Napoletani they perform the song in dialetto Napoletano (Neapolitan dialect).
Here is an extract from the song and my translation:
‘Che t’aggia dì’
‘What do I have to say’
LUI: che t’aggia fà, che t’aggia dì, tu si bella si bella si bella, ma me deceste prima de spusarme ca tu cucinave bene e invece nu caz hai fatt quanno ce simmo spusate
Him: what do I have to do, what do I have to say, you are beautiful, are beautiful, are beautiful, but before marrying me you said that you cooked well and instead you’ve done ‘cabbage all’ since we got married
LEI: teh … mo’ quanno parli te metti pure a fischià
Her: Huh … now when you speak you even start whistling
LUI: quale fischio? chi ha fischiato?
Him: what whistle? who’s whistled?
LEI: ho sentito un fischio
Her: I heard a whistle
LUI: che t’aggia fà, che t’aggia dì, che t’aggia fà, che t’aggia dì
Him: what do I have to do, what do I have to say, what do I have to do, what do I have to say
LEI: Madonna mia, che vuoi fà…
Her: Madonna mia, what do you want to do…
LUI: tu si bella, tu si bella, ma te l’aggia fà
Him: you are beautiful, you are beautiful, but I have to do it to you
LEI: che cosa??
LUI: te lo devo fare
Him: I have to do it to you
LEI: che cosa??
LUI: ti devo fare un bel paliatone grosso, un paliatone che neanche quando te l’ha fatto tuo padre te lo puoi ricordare
Him: I have to give you a good beating, a beating worse than any that you can remember your father giving you
LEI: teh.. e a chi vuoi fa lu paliatone? Io prima de spusarme ero accussì cuntenta de spusarme cu te, che dicevo, penzavo: chissà quante bella notte d’amore che passava con lui, e invece nu caz hai fat, è inutile che fischi
Her: huh … and who do you want to give the beating to? I, before getting married, was so content to get married to you, I said to myself: who knows how many wonderful nights of love I will pass with him, and instead you haven’t done ‘cabbage’ anything, it’s no good whistling
LUI: chi ha fischiato?
Him: who’s whistled?
LEI: tu non sapive fa l’amore e io me so scucciata
che t’aggia dì, che t’aggia fà, che t’aggia dì, che t’aggia f�
tu nun zai fà l’amore e io nun saccio cucenà
Her: you don’t know how to make love and I am fed up, what do I have to do, what do I have to say, what do I have to do, what do I have to say, you don’t know how to make love and I don’t know how to cook …… ecc.
N.B. For an explanation of the euphemism ‘cavolo’ (cabbage) see my previous blog: ‘Gesture of the Day’.
Grazie a Vince per avermi accennato del video.