Starting from the first lessons, it’s funny seeing how many mistakes can be made when we literally translate from English into Italian or viceversa.
The real, everyday language that we use with our friends is quite different from the language we learn in class. It can be full of idiomatic expressions and aphorisms which we learn and become familiar with the more we practise and improve. Idiomatic expressions are words, phrases or expressions which are commonly used in everyday conversation by native speakers of Italian.
For example, in Italian we say ho freddo/caldo, which is far from translating literally I am cold/ hot because we are using 2 different verbs (to have in Italian, to be in English), but on the other hand ho fretta, which in Italian means ‘I have hurry’, in English would be I am in a hurry.
If you arrive late to the lesson, it’s not tu sei tardi but tu sei in ritardo. When you say mi dispiace it means you are sorry, but non mi piace means you don’t like something. I can’t wait becomes non vedo l’ora – I can’t see the hour. And in Italy you are a piece of bread (un pezzo di pane) but in the UK you are a piece of gold.
And finally, in Italy we don’t tell our friends to break a leg when they have an exam but to be in the wolf’s mouth (in bocca al lupo). I don’t know what’s better!
Fattoria is a farm but Fabbrica is a factory.
Libreria is a bookshop but on the other hand the biblioteca is a public library, i parenti are the relatives and i genitori are the parents.
Just a suggestion from my friend, Preservative sounds like Preservativo in Italian but it’s not the chemicals that they put in your food, but rather a condom.
The list goes on, and I am sure that as soon as I publish this post I will think of another 10 examples.
Last but not least, if you need my help and want to give me a shout, hit me with the phone (dammi un colpo di telefono).
I hope you enjoyed your Italian lesson today! Antonio