Colloquial Italian – 4 Posted by Serena on Sep 3, 2010 in Italian Language
It’s been a while since I’ve written one of my colloquial Italian blogs. In these blogs I discuss the meaning of those little expressions or words which we Italians tend to use all the time, but which are rarely learnt in Italian classes. So, without further ado, here is another small collection with, as usual, some examples of how we use them:
When used on its own ‘addirittura’ is best translated as ‘really?!’, i.e. an exclamation of surprise, e.g. Marco: ‘Ieri sera sono entrati cinque cinghiali nel nostro giardino’ Paolo: ‘Addirittura?!’ (Marco: ‘Yesterday evening five wild boars came into our garden’. Paolo: ‘Really?!’)
When used as part of a sentence however, the meaning changes slightly to ‘even’ or ‘actually’, e.g. Ieri sera ho visto addirittura cinque cinghiali nel nostro giardino! (Yesterday evening I even saw five wild boars in our garden!).
Anzi is used when we want to say ‘on the contrary’, e.g. Non mi disturbi affatto, anzi mi fai piacere (You aren’t disturbing me at all, on the contrary it’s a pleasure); Non è uno sciocco, anzi! (He is not a fool, quite the contrary!)
The other common meaning of anzi is ‘or better still’ or ‘or rather’ e.g. Questa torta è buona, anzi buonissima (This cake is good, or rather, very good); Mi telefoni domani, anzi mi mandi una posta elettronica (Phone me tomorrow, or better still send me an e.mail).
This can be used on its own as an exclamation equivalent to ‘exactly!’, e.g. Marco: ‘Giulia voleva andare a trovare la zia stasera, ma le ho detto che ormai è troppo tardi per andarci’. Paolo: ‘appunto!’ (Marco: Giulia wanted to go and see her aunt this evening, but I’ve told her that it’s too late to go there now. Paolo: exactly!)
It can also be used as part of a sentence to mean ‘just’, e.g. Stavamo appunto parlando di te (We were just talking about you); Stavo appunto pensando alla stessa cosa (I was just thinking the same thing).
Altrochè is an expression of enthusiastic affirmation which is similar to ‘absolutely!’, e.g. Elisa: ‘Ti piace veramente la mia nuova gonna?’ Luca: ‘Altroché!’ (Elisa: Do you really like my new skirt? Luca: absolutely!)
5. a voglia
This can be used as an alternative to altroché, e.g. Elisa: ‘Quegli sbandieratori sono veramente bravi, vero?’ Luca: ‘Eh, a voglia!’ (Elisa: Those flag throwers are really good, aren’t they? Luca: absolutely!); Luca: C’è ancora un po’ di pasta? Elisa: A voglia, quanta ne vuoi! (Luca: Is there a bit more pasta? Elisa: Absolutely, have as much as you want!).
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