Learn Italian false friends

False friends

Who’s never used a word assuming it meant something else and, in so doing, s/he has created misunderstandings or awkward situations? Don’t worry, this is perfectly normal. In fact, it’s typical of the language learning process: learners rely on what they know to try to communicate into another language. One of the nightmares par excellence of any language learner is represented by false friends. False friends are words which look and/or sound similar in two different languages but which carry different meanings. Italian and English, for example, having been both influenced by Latin, have several similar words, so it’s pretty…

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Twelve Italian words you won’t learn from coursebooks

Tagliare la corda

The most common way to start learning a foreign language is at school with some coursebooks. Coursebooks are generally well thought out. Indeed, they focus both on grammar and vocabulary, and they also give you an insight into the foreign culture. However, people who’ve learnt Italian on books and have then had the chance to visit Italy, may have noticed that Italians generally use some words that are not taught at school. Words that make you ask: what? Can you repeat? I didn’t understand – Cosa? Puoi ripetere? Non ho capito. The reason is that coursebooks usually consider only standard…

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The truth about book translation – Are indie authors’ concerns justified?

The truth about book translation

Book translation is something many indie authors seem to be concerned about. They worry about both the quality of the service, and the fact that even if they find good translators, these may choose to change some segments of their books. I well understand their fears. In fact, authors make strong efforts to create a good piece of literature, and it’s pretty normal that they want to be sure that each single concept is properly transferred into another language without changes. Moreover, they usually don’t know the language into which their books are going to be translated. Thus, they cannot be…

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How to get rid of bad luck – Italian practices

Bad luck

One day, you wake up late: your alarm clock didn’t go off. Damn it! You have an exam today! You rush to get your car but you stumble and fall. When you finally get to school, you fail your exam. And, on the way back to your car, a bird decides to poop right on your shoulder.  If you normally experience these situations, congratulations, you are like Donald Duck or Ugo Fantozzi. In short, you are having bad luck – or someone evil-eyed you1 – and you’d better batten down the hatches… Italians usually believe that some things can bring…

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Google translate: is it really so effective?

Since the start of the digital revolution, more than fifty years ago, the quality of machine translation has largely improved, and, nowadays, it is considered by many people a good way to overcome linguistic barriers and to transfer culture easily. Indeed, at times, it happens to hear some people complaining about the prices of human translation and, consequently, deciding to rely on a computer software, like google translate or bing translator, to translate their texts into another language for free. Luckily, in some cases, they manage to discover before publishing, printing or delivering their texts that the quality of such…

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