10 very useful Italian idioms… explained through emoticons!

How long | 2 minutes

Understanding and using properly Italian idioms can often be a hard challenge for those who want to learn Italian, even when going through an Italian language course but, hey! Technology can help. 🙂

Here’s a list of 10 very useful Italian idioms… explained through emoticons.

1.Che pizza! 🍕
Let’s begin with a very simple yet very Italian expressionChe pizza! (What a pizza!) is often said when referring to something boring 😐 or repetitive, because after all we are in Italy where the pizza’s cultural influences are limitless.

2. Non sto mica qui ad asciugare gli scogli! ☔ 🌊 ☔
This literally translates to: “I’m not here drying sea stacks (rocks in the sea)”, a colourful way to say “I’m not doing something useless / I am doing something worthy”. For example, you may find yourself at work, absorbed in your tasks, and then suddenly a colleague demands what you’ve been up to “Where have you been?!”: this might be one of those moments when to say “Non sto mica qui ad asciugare gli scogli”. A variant of this expression is “Non sto qui a pettinare le bambole” (I’m not here combing dolls). 🎎 🎎

3. Prendere fischi per fiaschi.  🎉 🎉
To understand ‘whistles’ (fischi) instead of ‘wicker wine basket’ (fiaschi). Let’s face it, the English translation is really not that great 🤔 as the Italian expression is entirely based on its use of alliteration between the Italian words fischi (/ˈfiski/) and fiaschi (/ˈfjaski/). Without further ado, it simply means to misunderstand something.😅

4. Hai voluto la bicicletta? Adesso pedala! 🚲 🚲 🚲 🚲 
“Didn’t you want a bicycle? Now ride”: pretty self-explanatory I think. 😀

5. Ogni scarrafone è bello a mamma soja. 🐞👪
This one is actually a Neapolitan dialect rather than standard Italian language, but it’s so famous that its usage became popular from the South all the way to the North of Italy. It translates to: “Every beetle is beautiful to his mother”, meaning that for mothers their child/children will always be special and beautiful (even when life shows that there’s room for improvement, but none of us are perfect so let’s not even go there 😜 ) . The beetle isn’t exactly the cutest thing out there!

6. Se mio nonno avesse le ruote, sarebbe una carriola. ☸ ☸ ☸
“If my grandpa had wheels it would be a wheelbarrow”. A very pragmatic sentence, meaning that it’s pointless to think “If this, then that…”. 🤔 🤔

7. Durare da Natale a Santo Stefano.
“Lasting from Christmas 🎄 to Saint Stephen’s day”. Santo Stefano (for the non-Catholic
readers) is celebrated on the 26th of December, so this idiom is used to point out that
something will last for a very short period of time, be it the quality of an item or the predicted duration of your friends new relationship..

8. Avere il braccino corto.
“To have a tiny short arm” simply means to be stingy 💵 ❌… Since you have such short arms you struggle to reach your wallet. Cheeky!

9. Dare le perle ai porci.
“To give pearls to pigs” 🐷 means when you give something to someone who is not able to appreciate the quality/importance of it.

10. Sto con una mano davanti e una di dietro. 👋 👋
Last but not least, here we have my favourite Italian idiom. “I’m with one hand at the front and one at the back” (with the intention to cover one’s nudity) which means… “I’m broke”, or, literally, “I’m covering my private parts for I don’t have money to afford pants”.  😂 😂 What I find amusing is how well it depicts the idea – definitely more colourful and better said in Italian than in English.☺

So what do you think? Which Italian expression did you find the most amusing or interesting 💡 ? Did we miss something out? Let us know in the comments below! ⬇ ⬇ ⬇ ⬇

Originally published on www.kappalanguageschool.com.


Let’s go shopping! An infographic

If you are planning to survive in Italy, you definitely need to know where to go to buy everyday stuff, namely you need to learn Italian words related to shop and small business names. As always, Kappa Language School is here to help you learning the hard stuff in a colorful way: here’s a brand new (horizontal!) infographic you might want to check before going out on your shopping spree in the Belpaese!

“Che lavoro fai?” – an infographic!

One of the first steps when it comes to self introduction in a new language is being able to describe your job, even if just summarily. In fact, no beginner Italian language student is actually aware of the fact that this particular area of Italian vocabulary has been subject to major controversies during the past 50 years. As you might already know (or imagine) Italian language is arguably a slightly sexist language, and this inclination towards the predominance of masculine figures (and forms) is particularly evident in the semantic area of work and jobs.

In the infographic shown below, as well as in our Italian language courses, we tried to be as politically correct as possible, but the point is that many names that designate positions of responsibility simply don’t have the feminine (or do have it, but it is not often used). Few examples: medico (doctor) instead of which Italians tend to use the more generic dottoressa, or sindaco (mayor) and ministro (minister) whose feminine forms, sindaca and ministra, have been recently put into use with quite a struggle, encountering countless resistance from average speakers. Let alone words such architetta, which are grammatically correct but carry a disturbing (for some) assonance with female body parts…


Originally published on www.kappalanguageschool.com

Learn Italian words: il menù in italiano!

I bet that one of the main reasons most of you guys are in love with Italy (and studying Italian language) is your attraction for Italian food, and you are damn right about that! With such an amazing variety of ingredients and dishes, Italian cuisine is a cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet and part of the world cultural heritage!

Despite being worldly renown, though, a traditional Italian meal has a structure that many of our Italian language students (especially the ones coming from the far east) find puzzling. For many of those who approach Italian cuisine and are used to meals based on a single dish, the distinction between primo and secondo might seem useless and confusing, and the fact that an Italian lunch (or dinner) is often divided in 3 or more dishes can give the impression of an unnecessary generous meal.

Now, we do not expect to turn you into a three-stars chef or teach you everything our nonna told us about Italian food, but we really hope this brand new infographic, Il menù in italiano, will help you sorting out some useful information you can use during you next pranzo!

menuTavola disegno 1800px

Learn Italian words (and grammar): la colazione in Italia!

As every grandma uses to say, “breakfast is the most important meal of all”. And that is indeed true, especially if you consider that generally it helps your body recovering from a night of fasting! So what’s the deal with Italian breakfast?

From a country whose diet is renowned worldwide, with an outstanding variety of ingredients and a cookbook stuffed with delicious recipes, you would expect excellence even when it comes to the first meal of the day. Yet, breakfast in Italy is very different from what many expats and Italian language students would expect, as it is usually a very fast and light meal, the mainstay being a cappuccino or an espresso accompanied by some pastries (cornetti) and, occasionally, corn flakes and cereals (fiocchi d’avena e cereali). In a regular Italian breakfast there is no room for cheese, eggs, beans or bacon, and actually most Italians tend to consider the idea of having a “salty breakfast” (or eating anything salted before midday) quite disgusting.

Even in Italy, of course, you will be able to find bars, pubs and hotels which regularly serve English or American breakfast, but if you really want to get the full Italian experience, you should really try to melt in and have a quick and light Italian breakfast in a local bar, peeking at a quotidiano and catching the occasion to have a chat with Italian natives on the latest news

For all of you who want to be prepared when having your first breakfast in Italy, here’s a new infographic… with a quick grammar overview about si passivante included!


Learn Italian words and grammar: breakfast in Italy, Infographic

Learn Italian words: il corpo umano

The vocabulary related to human body is always one of the toughest challenges for an Italian language student, since usually this particular semantic area is full of false friends and very specific words which seem to have no relation with their Gemanic equivalents.
As usual, Kappa Language School is here to help: we have prepared a brand new infographic whic will guide you through the discover of a new bit of Italian language!

Keep on learning Italian words and grammar with us and follow our blog and our website!

Learn italian words: le “faccine”!

The internet, we all know, has simplified our lives allowing us to communicate instantaneously covering huge distances at the speed of a click. It has also created a new, interesting paralanguage, made of little funny faces we all know under the name of emoticons (faccine in Italian internet slang), the meaning of which is universal as well as human emotions are. This, for an Italian language student, might make things very much easier, but being aware of the Italian words hidden beneath the smiley is definitely something useful.

We know you’re eager to start chatting in Italian with your penfriends or your Italian Language School friends, but just take a minute to check this new infographic translating for you the most common faccine in Italian!