I feel quite stressed out during Italian class nowadays. Level B1 is way more advanced compared to what I’m used to, so I’m struggling in class trying to catch up with the rest of my classmates who seem to be very fluent already.
But anyway! One of the things that I enjoy learning during these classes is the “Modo di dire” segments or the different ways of expressions, metaphors and proverbs used by Italians.
As a Malay, I appreciated a lot the use of Malay proverbs because to me, it is an intelligent and witty way to convey something. You see a picture in front of you and connect the phrase accordingly to the quality of the object.
Like for example one of my favourite peribahasa, “Sekeras kerak nasi, kena air lembut juga” when translated it means, as hard as burnt rice is, when soaked in water, it’ll become soft. Which figuratively speaking, as stubborn a person is, when you speak gently to him, he’ll eventually relent.
E.g. Lana, don’t lose hope, because, sekeras kerak nasi, kena air lembut juga and he’ll eventually buy for you that Dolce and Gabbana shoes. Hehehehe!
And Italians use a lot of these metaphors too. Although, probably because of the difference culturally and regionally, some of the objects that we experience would have a different quality and meaning in Italy. By the way, the yellow book in the picture above, Italiano per modo di dire by Gianluca Aprile, is actually quite fun to do, kind of like how some people like to do sudoko, or crossword puzzles. I enjoy bothering Cart and asking him about the connection.
Anyways! Lets take for example, “Un Pugno nell’occchio” which literally means, a punch to the eye. And the first thing that came to mind was that there must be something dangerous or painful. However, the meaning of the idiom is actually, an eyesore.
E.g. Urgh! I cant stand girls wearing tights! Its so ugly! È un pugno nell”occhio! Its not meant to replace pants!
And another example, “Fare come i gamberi” which directly translated means, to be like prawns. And to many English speakers, we always associate prawns with cowardice. But instead, in Italy this means not to have progress but instead become worse. I don’t really see the connection with the prawn though?
Wait! This is scampi! This isn’t gamberi!
Nevertheless, I’m appreciating all of these different ways of speaking. I think its beautiful, and a rather witty way to say something. Also, with these knowledge, I can be rude without being vulgar
And some of my favourites so far are :
- Non capire un’acca which is a classier way of saying that I dont understand a f-
- Fare una testa come pallone which when referring to a person it means that they talk so much useless things that my head is swollen and full of your hot air.
- Avere il cervello che fuma like what I’m experiencing right now, studying so much Italian that my brain is fried!
And yes, my brain IS fried from 5 classes of Italian a week! I need kopi nao.