How do you spell it?

Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by english-italian, Apr 17, 2006.

  1. english-italian New Member

    i was just wondering how i would translate ' how do you spell it?' into italian from english? thanks
  2. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    How do you spell it? = "come si scandiscelo?"
  3. danalto

    danalto Senior Member

    Roma, Italia, Europa
    Italy - Italian
    There isn't a way to say that in Italian.
    You could just say: "Come si scrive"? (How do you write it?)

  4. danalto

    danalto Senior Member

    Roma, Italia, Europa
    Italy - Italian
    Alex, this word isn't Italian, I'm sorry :D

    And the verb scandire is referred to the right pronunciation of a word.
    To spell doesn't have a translation in Italian.
  5. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    Thank you for that, I think someone needs to take this entry out of the WR dictionary then :

    spell (to spell (a word)) verb = scandire
  6. rambler Senior Member

    Tampa, Florida (hurricanes!)
    English Canada (blizzards!)
    I found the following in the WR dictionary:
    errore di ortografia: mis-spell
    errori di ortografia: bad spelling

    So, maybe a sentence in Italian which included the word “ortografia” could be composed that would convey the meaning of “How do you spell it?”

    Perhaps something like “What is the proper ortografia for that name or that word?
  7. fox71

    fox71 Senior Member

    Esatto! "Scandire" è sbagliato! Ha ragione Danalto!
    "Come SI SCRIVE?" è la traduzione migliore, comunque la parola "spelling" è entrata ormai nel vocabolario italiano, quindi se uno non capisce come si scrive una parola può anche chiedere: "Mi puoi/può FARE LO SPELLING, per favore?"
  8. rambler Senior Member

    Tampa, Florida (hurricanes!)
    English Canada (blizzards!)
    My paperback dictionary says that "compitare" means "to spell".
  9. shamblesuk

    shamblesuk Senior Member

    England, English
    'Compitare' suona come 'pronunciare'

    To 'spell' and to 'pronounce' are totally different.
  10. fox71

    fox71 Senior Member

    Rambler, "compitare" si diceva nel 1312! Prova a chiederlo a qualche italiano che conosci, vedrai che faccia fa!!!
    Semmai io ho notato che qualche dizionario traduce il verbo "to spell" in "sillabare", e questo è sicuramente più giusto e comune di "compitare".
  11. danalto

    danalto Senior Member

    Roma, Italia, Europa
    Italy - Italian
    No, sbagliato! Sillabare significa suddividere una parola in sillabe, mentre to spell significa dire lettera per lettera come è composta una parola.
    Ragazzi, believe me, io e i miei colleghi ci siamo rotti la testa su questa parolina letteralmente intraducibile in Italiano...e semplicemente perché il termine segnalato da rambler, compitare, è caduto in disuso!
    E' una situazione alquanto bizzarra, don't you think?
  12. danalto

    danalto Senior Member

    Roma, Italia, Europa
    Italy - Italian
    Oh, BTW, english-italian, welcome to the WR Forums! ;)

    (Elaine, I didn't really get this one...:D )
  13. studentessa nuova New Member

    United States
    Sorry to dig up such an old post, but I have a related question. I understand 'come si scrive' and how it would be used if one is asking somehow how to spell a word. But suppose one is trying to understand spoken italian, and can't catch an exact word, and wanted to ask "Would you spell that word for me please?". How would one phrase such a request in Italian?

    Thanks from a newbie. :)
  14. Einstein

    Einstein Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    UK, English
    "Come si scrive?" is by far the most common way to ask for the spelling of a word, even when talking, so it's acceptable for the situation you mention.
    I've heard "scandire" used on the phone, but as others have said it could be misunderstood to mean simply "say clearly".
    Very often in Italian offices you now hear, on the phone, "Mi fa lo spelling?" meaning particularly to spell out. I don't like it myself, because if you ask the same people how to say "ortografia" in English they can't tell you!
  15. studentessa nuova New Member

    United States
    Wow, that was fast.:) I didn't understand that the phrase could be used with spoken language as well. Thanks very much for the clarification. :)
  16. sam1978

    sam1978 Senior Member

    italy - italiano
    Devo dire pero' che a scuola me lo hanno insegnato come "compitare". Effettivamente "sillabare" ha un significato leggermente diverso.
    Compitare significa pronunciare lettera per lettera (fare lo spelling, appunto).
  17. MarcoMac Senior Member

    <giggle> Maybe because sometimes they actually don't know: you can't believe how many italians think that "ortografia" is "good handwriting" (i.e. they use it as synonim of "calligrafia"), then you ask them the difference between the two and they stare blank...

    Anyway maybe "fare lo spelling" is NOT always "to spell"
    Most of times (on the phone esp) they start quoting cities: "Alba" is not a-elle-bi-a, rather Ancona-Empoli-Bari-Ancona.
    Which is alike what pilots do on the radio communications (Alpha, Bravo... Victor). Is this one called "spelling" as well?

    [edit]It's called "International radiotelephony spelling alphabet".
    In italian "alfabeto fonetico internazionale": wrong! "Alfabeto fonetico" is the one used in linguistics, made up of glyphs.
    Scandire is still the one and only

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