Tuesday, November 22, 2011

World of Italian Idioms

 Let me enter the world of Italian idioms often accompanied by a complex choreography of gestures such as hand and mouth movements, shrugging of  shoulders, pushes and shoves on your arm while they are talking to you, supposedly  designed to get your attention. The Italian eloquence and exuberance overwhelms me. Italian is a rich and colourful language, but the fact remains that Italians do as much speaking with their hands as they do with their mouths and they often tend to look to the funny side of things.
I don't know why to wish "Good luck" before an event or an exam they say "In bocca al lupo" (into the wolf's mouth), on the other hand we do say "Break a leg". I should mention that  "Crepi il lupo", (May the wolf die) is the usual response given. A ruder version used nowadays is "In culo alla balena"(in the whale's ass) to which they answer "Speriamo che non cachi"(let's hope that it doesn't defecate).
 "Dio li fa, poi li accoppia" (God makes them, then he mates them) said of any couple destined to be together by reason of sheer eccentricities."Sposa bagnata, sposa fortunata" (wet bride, lucky bride), but how would you console a bride when it rains on her wedding day ! No wonder in English we say "Happy the bride the sun shines on.  "Ogni morte di papa" (every death of a pope) is used to indicate rare events, much like the English "Once in a blue moon". The Italians have also another saying related to the deaths of popes "Morto un papa, se ne fa un altro" (one pope dies, they make another, "Life goes on".  Our "Venetian blinds" are called "Persiane" (Persian blinds). Our "Angel cake" in Italy is called "Pan di Spagna" (Spanish bread). While in Nord America we say that "There is honour among thieves", in Italy "Cane non mangia cane" (a dog doesn't eat a dog).