How to Say it in Italian: Your Questions Answered

Oh, WordPress. You provide hours of entertainment for me with your comprehensive blog stats. But you also provide some surprises, too: Of all the gorgeous prose I sweat over and post to within an inch of its edited life, it turns out Miss Expatria is most well-known on the Internets as the queen of Italian pronunciation. And Claudia Bassols, even though I only wrote about her once. Surely this beautiful, talented FOG (Friend Of Gwyneth) must have a larger Internet presence than that?

Well, that’s neither here nor there. I love seeing what people are looking to pronounce correctly in Italian, and I always wish I could write back to those stats and tell them what they want to know. And then I realized I can!  So, what follows is a list of the most popular searches for Italian pronunciation, Italian idioms and proper Italian phrasing – and the answers you’ve been Googling. Enjoy!

“italian pronunciation guide, tiramisu”
Ah, yes. The intriguing dessert that defies logic, what with it being made with raw eggs and all. The correct pronunciation of tiramisu, according to how I think Americans compensate for the Italian accent, is: tee-rah-mee-SUE. Roll those r’s, and the accent is on the last syllable. Buon apetito!

“how to pronounce spiaggia”
Spiaggia means beach, and if you’re in Italy in the summer this is definitely a word you should learn. Spiaggia is pronounced: spee-YAH-jya.

“how to say dont in italian”
Gay Mafia don Luca once had a girlfriend – yes, it’s true, back in the late 1980s, don’t ask – who was American, and who used to hate it when he tickled her. One of the few phrases she knew, and pronounced with the most atrocious American accent, was: non farlo! Don’t! So, there you go: non farlo, pronounced: known-FAHR-low.

“how to say moving on in italian”
This is an interesting one, because I’m not sure of the context. My first instinct is to say that it’s said when someone is belaboring a point, and you want to keep things rolling. In that case, I’d give you three choices based on my conversational experience, all of which could be loosely called idioms.

comunque (comb-OONK-way) (without pronouncing the “b” in “comb,” obvs) – literally, “however” but is used to transition from one topic to another, or when you’ve kind of petered out on the topic at hand and don’t want an awkward silence, or when someone just keeps repeating themselves and you want them to shut up, for the love of all things holy. Also used as “however,” too. (In text messages, written “cmq” or “kmq”)
dunque (DOONK-way) – literally, “therefore” but often used in the same instances as above.
allora (ahl-OOR-ah) – literally, “then” but is used as a kind of, “what have we here?” opener. Also used as a transition word in conversation, like, “well then…” And used like “OK” as in, “OK, here we go.”

“how do you say i have no idea in italian”
You’d could say, “non ho idea,” (known-oh-ee-DAY-ah) literally “I have no idea.” You could also say, “non lo so” (known-low-so), which means “I don’t know.” But Italians tend to be a bit more colorful – “Boh?” is my personal favorite, and can be used to answer almost any question to which you have no idea of the answer: “When is the next bus coming?” “Do you know where this esoteric street is?” “Why are all those people waiting in line outside that bakery?”

“how to say 14 in italian”
That would be quattordici, pronounced kwa-TOR-dee-tchee.

“italian idiom for i’m full”
Ha! I love this one! Italians say, “I’m full like an egg.” Sono piena come un uovo. SO-no pee-AY-nah COH-may oon-WOH-voe.

OK, class, that’s enough for today. I’ll have more answers tomorrow! Keep those searches coming!


14 thoughts on “How to Say it in Italian: Your Questions Answered

  1. Dude, you are my one and only true source of Italian phrases precisely for posts like this! Just yesterday I was reviewing your past lessons in preparation for my trip next week. Never again will I refer to Stazione Termini as ter-MI-ni.

    My main problem seems to be where I place the emphasis on words. I tend to use a spanish pronunciation that makes me look foolish. I had been pronouncing the word “strawberry” as “fra-GO-lah”, until the girl at the gelato shop in Rome rolled her eyes and said “FRA-go-lah?” I wanted to turn invisible.

    • hahaha that must have been embarrassing. its ok tho, if the lady was mean about it then she was stupid. its no big deal to italians.

  2. Cute. I never heard “full like an egg,” either. We say “sto scoppiando” meaning “I’m bursting.” You have to be careful with that scoppiando, though … could come out like scopato and you don’t want to tell anyone you are doing that!

  3. I am on it! the last particularly useful with the upcoming holiday season. That and my only other languages are Ebonics and Ballet! 🙂 XO

  4. P says the last one all the time–note to those reading, however, that guys say “sono pieno” and not “sono piena.”

    And for a great example of “comunque” in action, for anyone who has ever see “My Wife and Kids” with Damon Wayans, when Franklin says, “Aaaanyhoo,” it’s translated as “Comuuuuunque” on the Italian version. Very cute 🙂

  5. Pingback: Italy News: 11.16.08 | Italy Travel Guide

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