untranslatable italian words

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Re: untranslatable italian words

Postby ILuvEire » 2009-02-28, 2:29

lama su wrote:
voron wrote:You can choose an example as basic as a word for "now": there's a choice between "adesso" and "ora" (and also less obvious variants).


"ora" and "adesso" have exactly the same meaning, i can't found an example where one can't use both..


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Re: untranslatable italian words

Postby voron » 2009-02-28, 9:03

voron wrote:Actually, I do not believe that ANY 2 words in a language are totally interchangeable, if one of them hasn't fallen out of use it is for a reason.


don't forget that italian has very much regional variants influenced by the regional languages (and then there are some variants that are more frequent in a region, and other in another one, but both are "official italian"), and then don't forget that italian has an extremely rich litterature that genereted a lot variant of a lot of words..

Exactly, that's why they are not interchangeable, if the difference between them is so large that it even allows you to guess about a person's origin. And for a learner, if he uses words from different varieties inconsistently, it may sound off.

"ora" and "adesso" have exactly the same meaning, i can't found an example where one can't use both..

I found this question on another forum:
http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=9473

and there are a few suggestions how they may be different:
Poi, in generale, nel Nord si usa molto adesso in casi in cui al Sud si usa ora.

I can just think of a slight difference about the position...for I guess that "ora" would sound correct but quite weird if placed by the end of a sentence...so that I'd suggest you to use alternately both of them - "adesso" and "ora" - except for the end of a phrase. For instance, I think that "Ci vado adesso" sounds better than "Ci vado ora"...

Secondo me, adesso e' immediatamente..in questo momento..c'e un'urgenza quando se lo dice. Es: D:Quando devo fare questo lavoro? R: Adesso !!


What do you think, lama su? (In particular, would you use "ora" in the last example, where it means "subito"?)

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Re: untranslatable italian words

Postby lama su » 2009-02-28, 11:21

voron wrote:Exactly, that's why they are not interchangeable, if the difference between them is so large that it even allows you to guess about a person's origin.


wait.. they are absolutly unterchangeable and there is not difference between them (or if there is, i can't perceive it), only in some region you will hear more often one, in other the other one.. it's like the accent: if i say "forchètta" (as i do) you can be sure that i'm from the north, if i would say "forchétta" (and i don't.. ) i would be from the center or the south. But the word and the meaning is the same.

Another exemple of double word with the same meaning is "papà" / "babbo", both = "dad", in my region (north) we use mainly "papà" (i never used "babbo".. only in "babbo natale" = "santa claus"), in toscana, or Roma, they prefer "babbo".. but they are words absolutly unterchangeable.

Then yes, as i'm Swiss i use some words (italian words.. you can find it in the dictionary, generaly as "elvetismi" = italian of the switzerland) that are very different from the ones used in Italy (e.g. : "sore" istead of "prof.", "natel" istead of "telefono cellulare", "nota" instead of "voto (scolastico)",...), and these word are often hardly understood by the Italians.. but this is a special case of difference between Switzerland and Italy (a lot of our strange swiss word are influence of French or German, it's a problem of different History and political structure too..), and these words are very few, and however is not the case of the ones which we were talking about ("magari"/"forse" and "ora"/"adesso")


voron wrote:And for a learner, if he uses words from different varieties inconsistently, it may sound off.


no.. if you use ora/adesso forse/magari "inconsistently" you would not sound off, or i think i would not perceive it.. instead accent would be very very more important and recognizable.


and there are a few suggestions how they may be different:
Poi, in generale, nel Nord si usa molto adesso in casi in cui al Sud si usa ora.


yes when i speak, i prefer "adesso", but when i write i use both, mainly to avoid repetitions


I can just think of a slight difference about the position...for I guess that "ora" would sound correct but quite weird if placed by the end of a sentence...so that I'd suggest you to use alternately both of them - "adesso" and "ora" - except for the end of a phrase. For instance, I think that "Ci vado adesso" sounds better than "Ci vado ora"...


:hmm: uhm.. i don't think so.. no i don't perceive this distinction.. as for me, there is no difference between "vado adesso" and "vado ora".. i say "vado adesso", but if you say "vado ora", it doesn't sound "strange" to me.. maybe more "italian" and less "swiss", but not wrong..

Secondo me, adesso e' immediatamente..in questo momento..c'e un'urgenza quando se lo dice. Es: D:Quando devo fare questo lavoro? R: Adesso !!


What do you think, lama su? (In particular, would you use "ora" in the last example, where it means "subito"?)


no, in this case too i don't think so.. both "adesso" and "ora" can be used in this last example with the meaning of "subito".. and i use both with this meaning, "ora" too..

Maybe "adesso" is more usefull when you want to cry it, because you have 3 syllables ( A-DES-SO! ) and so it is more "long" and then more "impressive" that "ora" (only O-RA!), but it's the only difefrence i can perceive..

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Re: untranslatable italian words

Postby yvonne_v » 2009-02-28, 14:11

voron wrote:there's a choice between "adesso" and "ora" (and also less obvious variants). Can anyone finally explain me when to use which? :lol:

I can't think of any difference between the two either.
lama su wrote:if i would say "forchétta" (and i don't.. ) i would be from the center or the south.

...or from Emilia-Romagna (though I'm not sure about places like Piacenza and Parma)

lama su wrote:Another example of double word with the same meaning is "papà" / "babbo", both = "dad", in my region (north) we use mainly "papà" (i never used "babbo".. only in "babbo natale" = "santa claus"), in toscana, or Roma, they prefer "babbo".. but they are words absolutly unterchangeable.

I live near the border between Emilia (where "papà" is used), Romagna (where they mostly use "babbo") and Tuscany (babbo-land) and we use them both but in different ways: if I talk to my dad, I call him "papà", but if I refer to my dad when talking to someone else, I say "mio babbo", and it would sound quite childish if I said "mio papà"
Now that I think of it, we really have lots of little regional differences :lol: but I guess every language has them.
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Re: untranslatable italian words

Postby voron » 2009-02-28, 17:20

Thanks for your explanations, lama su and yvonne_v! (and sorry delosbueis for stealing your topic)
From now on I'll stop my vain search for patterns differentiating "ora" and "adesso". 8-)

yvonne_v wrote:Now that I think of it, we really have lots of little regional differences :lol: but I guess every language has them.

Russian is quite different in that respect in that it's extremely homogeneous. You'd be surprised how people from Moscow to Vladivostok speak essentially the same way (I guess this homogeneity even makes a question of linguistic research). There ARE dialects but they are rural and rapidly decaying, so they can be rarely heard.

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Re: untranslatable italian words

Postby h.c.arthur » 2009-03-07, 18:16

well, I've read definitions of 'magari' in textbooks and things, so I'm fine using it that way, but my teachers from Italy have always had trouble really explaining it, and when I watch movies and hear how it's used it is hard to figure out what it's supposed to mean in that context, so it can be a bit confusing and I can see why it would be on the list.

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Re: untranslatable italian words

Postby Fenrir88 » 2009-03-12, 18:15

What about the word "mica"?
e.g. Non si fa mica così
Mica è tanto

It's not quite untranslatable? i can't succed to explain the mean even in italian.
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Re: untranslatable italian words

Postby Rasa » 2009-04-26, 23:03

very intresting discussion for a italian beginner :D but now i'm very curious what is "truzzo"? :para:
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Re: untranslatable italian words

Postby RiccardoBatman » 2009-06-10, 20:10

The meaning of "truzzo" is very difficult to explain because it varies depending on the dialect and region. Generally, it's some kind of rude, vulgar, ignorant person usually bad-clothed. Depending on the meaning you give to the word, it can range from the simple ignorant to the bully to a full-blown criminal.
It is indeed an untranslatable word. :yep:

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Re: untranslatable italian words

Postby ILuvEire » 2009-06-15, 4:24

I can't remember which translation King Harvest liked, was it "poser" or was it "wannabe"?
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Re: untranslatable italian words

Postby lyzazel » 2009-06-17, 1:49

Now, I have read this topic. I wonder what the words in the book (or whatever you are creating) in other languages are.

Do you have more information about your product? Is it done already?

Edit: After posting it I found on another thread that there is more information.
Check out my project with interlinear translations (or, you could say, 'subtitled books') at Interlinear Books

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Re: untranslatable italian words

Postby darkina » 2009-07-30, 14:24

I haven't read the whole thread thoroughly but I strongly disagree about equating magari with "maybe". I do think it's tyrpically Italian, hard for a foreigner to use correctly, and somewhat untraslatable. My French teacher said she had enormous trouble learning to use it.

If I say, for example,
voglio fare una torta, magari domani la faccio
it has some kind of "maybe" connotation, but it implies more of a wish, and translating it with "maybe" might be the only option but it would NOT give the same flavour as in Italian.

Magari fossi ricco!
Where's the maybe? This means sort of "I wish I was rich...."

Lasciamo il lavoro e andiamo al mare!
Magari!
Let's leave our jobs and go to the seaside! I wish!
But even "I wish" is kind of not 100% coincident with "magari", firstly because obviously it's a verb while "magari" is not, and also because even if it has a "wishful" meanings, it doesn't have anything in commong with the concept of wishing, it's just a way to express something that would be ideal and therefore to be wished, but not quite the same concept. I can't even explain it. Maybe the closest translation could be "ideally", but again it's not used the same way all the time...

And I don't trust anyone to learn to use it like a native unless they spend a considerable amount of time in Italy and/or have a very high level of Italian...
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Re: untranslatable italian words

Postby KingHarvest » 2009-07-31, 4:36

I can't even explain it. Maybe the closest translation could be "ideally", but again it's not used the same way all the time...


The English equivalent is "If only!" It's really not a difficult concept to understand nor is it particularly far divorced from "maybe."
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Re: untranslatable italian words

Postby ILuvEire » 2009-07-31, 7:13

I think WordReference sums it up pretty well, but I'm not going to pretend to be a native. :P
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Re: untranslatable italian words

Postby darkina » 2009-07-31, 9:22

KingHarvest wrote:
I can't even explain it. Maybe the closest translation could be "ideally", but again it's not used the same way all the time...


The English equivalent is "If only!" It's really not a difficult concept to understand nor is it particularly far divorced from "maybe."


:shock: Maybe then I need to go deeper into my English, because I see a whole lot of difference between "maybe" and "if only!". And okay I did forget about the latter, maybe because I haven't heard it too often in oral speech I think... isn't it kind of forced?
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Re: untranslatable italian words

Postby KingHarvest » 2009-07-31, 16:43

Yeah, it's a little more literary, but you'll hear it often enough in speech. People will more often replace it with "I wish!" or sometimes even "Yeah, right!" in speech.

:shock: Maybe then I need to go deeper into my English, because I see a whole lot of difference between "maybe" and "if only!".


I meant that the semantic shift isn't particularly obscure, not that "maybe" and "if only!" are nearly synonymous.
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Re: untranslatable italian words

Postby elkalb » 2009-08-03, 18:04

KingHarvest wrote:Why magari...


delosbueis wrote:why not? it's quite special, ambiguous, confusing, italian!


ma magari, io, magari non lo mai capito, magari.

Also, "dai" is confusing.

Dai <=> vero
dai forza <=> hurry up

Allora, attenzione io avevo trovato la soluzione di questo problemo,

Guardate cui : http://it.thefreedictionary.com/magari

Magri, io capirò un giorno questo. <=> Anche, io capirò un giorno questo <=> probabilmente, un giorno capirò io questo.

Magri io un giorno, capirò magri questo <=> Anche io un giorno, capirò probabilmente questo.

Hai una fidanzata ?
Magari!!! (my own thoughts : Se solo fosse vero!!! Mi sono fidanzato con la bella addormentata nel bosco) :ohwell:
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أَرْنو إِلَى الشَّمْسِ المضِيئّة ِ..،هازِئاً بالسُّحْبِ، والأمطارِ، والأَنواءِ
لا أرمقُ الظلَّ الكئيبَ..، ولا أَرى ما في قرار الهَوّة ِ السوداءِ...

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Re: untranslatable italian words

Postby Nada 2009 » 2009-08-08, 10:27

figuriamoci?
Cogito ergo sum

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Re: untranslatable italian words

Postby elkalb » 2009-08-13, 14:39

Nada 2009 wrote:figuriamoci?



Ma, e' facile : "Let's pretend" or "Let's imagine"
سَأعيشُ رَغْمَ الدَّاءِ والأَعْداءِ كالنِّسْر فوقَ القِمَّة ِ الشَّمَّاءِ
أَرْنو إِلَى الشَّمْسِ المضِيئّة ِ..،هازِئاً بالسُّحْبِ، والأمطارِ، والأَنواءِ
لا أرمقُ الظلَّ الكئيبَ..، ولا أَرى ما في قرار الهَوّة ِ السوداءِ...

وأسيرُ في دُنيا المشاعِر، حَالماَ، غرِداً- وتلكَ سعادة ُ الشعراءِ

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Re: untranslatable italian words

Postby lingasms » 2011-12-28, 20:47

I see a lot of confusion here.

"Magari" sometimes means "maybe", but not often. As others have already said, it has a lot of shades of meaning. Also, in the same sentence, its meaning may change depending on the pitch of your voice and the way you'r saying it.

"Figuriamoci" cannot be translated as "Let's pretend" or "Let's imagine" and here the way you say it changes its meaning again.

Damn, it's hard :shock:

I would also add "ormai" to this list of "hardly explainable" words.
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