Paese che vai, usanza che trovi

Discussione in 'Italian-English' iniziata da inis_fail, 19 Giugno 2009.

  1. inis_fail New Member

    Córdoba, Spain
    Buon pomeriggio!
    Nonostante sia una assidua frequentatrice del sito, non ho mai fatto una domanda (siete troppo bravi!:)), ma oggi proprio non riesco a trovare una soluzione!
    Come si dice in inglese:
    "Paese che vai, usanza che trovi?"

    My attempt:
    "You can tell a Country by its traditions"

    Ho trovato anche "When in Rome, do as Romans do", ma non mi sembra particolarmente adatta.

    Grazie in anticipo e a presto!
  2. rrose17

    rrose17 Senior Member

    Canada, English
    When in Rome... means you should adapt yourself to the customs of the country you're in.
    Paese che vai, usanza che trovi
    I'm not sure I understand completely, and please correct me, but I'd say
    Every country has its own customs.
    Everywhere you travel you find something new.
    But neither of these are common expressions.
  3. inis_fail New Member

    Córdoba, Spain
    I like the two last expressions, but I was searching for a common one. So I think that "When in Rome..." could fit! I thought that it had a different meaning, instead it's the same!
    Thank you!
  4. freakqnc New Member

    No exactly, I don't know if there is an equivalent in English, but the translation should mean more something about the fact that no matter where you go you will find similar customs.

    So something that literally translated would be:
    "[No matter the] Country you [will] go, [a common] custom you [will] find"

    It means that no matter where you will go you will find something that is familiar or in common. That can also be applied to several events, not just countries... for instance if you have ever been in a cheap store where they have no consideration for customers and, for whatever reason, you'll find yourself in another cheap store where the exact same happen, but it's a different store, within the same city of a different one, then you can apply the above saying to your current situation because "[No matter the] Store you [will] go, [a common] (BAD) custom you [will] find" ;)

    No it's not the same as "When in Rome..." saying. That simply means that one should adapt to a country's customs, while the "Paese che vai..." has no indication of that would hint to "do as romans do" :)

    I hope this will give you enough insight into the Italian saying to match the proper English one.
  5. Akire72

    Akire72 Senior Member

    Florence, Italy
    Italian - Italy
    Sorry, but it means exactly the opposite in my opinion. It means that every country has its own customs and traditions that you cannot change, so either you like it or leave it! So "when in Rome do as Romans do" is the most suitable translation. You cannot think of going to some other country and expect others to have your same customs or force the native into your traditions, you have to accept theirs. This is the meaning of the Italian proverb.
  6. MStraf

    MStraf Senior Member

    I agree with rrose (at least this time...) "When in Rome..." means that we should adapt to the local customs, while "paese che vai..." just means that every country has its own customs, not necessary that we have to adopt them.

    See for example here:
    Domenico Pacitti Archive | Machiavelli in Italian academia

    THE ITALIAN proverb ‘Paese che vai, usanza che trovi’, faithfully mistranslated in standard bilingual dictionaries as ‘When in Rome do as the Romans do’, stops short of offering potentially perilous advice but states simply that travellers will encounter different customs in different places.
  7. rrose17

    rrose17 Senior Member

    Canada, English
    Well at the risk of having Mstraf agree with me (again) what do we think of
    "To each his own"? This is what you'd say to your travelling companion when you turn a corner in a strange place and see people doing something in a strange way.
  8. GavinW Senior Member

    British English
    Different folks, different strokes.
    (This works some of the time, too.)
  9. CPA Senior Member

    British English/Italian - bilingual
    Nice one, though I'd never heard of it! :)
  10. GavinW Senior Member

    British English
    I think it's more AE than BE, but it's sort of entered BE too (there was also a US sitcom "Different Strokes", based on African Americans, I believe...)

    EDIT: There's also "Different cultures,...", ie a deliberately truncated reference to an understood proverbial statement to this effect. Something like it is said by Michael Caine (to his pal Sean Connery) in the film "The Man Who Would Be King" (I don't remember what Kipling had his character say in the eponymous short story). A variant of this, I think, is "Different races,..."
  11. CPA Senior Member

    British English/Italian - bilingual
    Thanks. Been away too long! :D
  12. maria vecchi

    maria vecchi Senior Member

    this is question for database administrators, I think:
    wouldn't it be possible to link this thread to ? Make them one thread? It's the same phrase...
    Or I have missed something, in case I apologize.
    Thank you.
  13. malcolmissimo New Member

    English - England
    An Italian language professor just told me that "Paese che vai etc." is indeed the idiomatic equivalent of "When in Rome etc." A literal translation shows why: "You go to the land, you find the custom" - "... to use" being implicit.
  14. Teerex51

    Teerex51 Senior Member

    Milan, Italy
    Italian, standard
    English has an equivalent proverb, obscure though it is: So many countries, so many customs, or—as its author, Geoffrey Chaucer, put it back in 1385—In sondry londes, sondry ben usages.
  15. UWSider Member

    English - United States
    From my understanding... Paese che vai, usanza che trovi - means : You go to that country, you will find their customs. i.e., if you go to NYC, don't be surprised if you find people talking with their hands.

    When in Rome... means something else : Behave in a country like the locals... Accustom yourself to the local customs... Follow the lead of the locals (if they eat pizza with their hands, do the same - if they talk with their hands, learn their hand gestures and do the same).
  16. Pietruzzo Senior Member

    Let's say I'm visiting a X country where insects are served as an appetizer. I'd probably say " paese che vai..." But don't ask me to "do as the Xans do":eek:
  17. Chewingfoil New Member

    San Fran
    Castillian Spanish, and US English
    Oh boy, My dad used to say this ALL the time. He was a Tuscan snob, so he said this (here in the USA) every time someone did something rude or disgusting. So, I was very familiar with it, but always thought of it as a way of saying "THOSE people."
    Sure enough, when I lived in Italy, someone did something rude, and I said "Paese che vai..." and a local friend said "SHHH!" and shut me down, like "don't be rude." SO I don't say it any longer, since I feel like it's a way of being critically judgemental. I'm about half-native speaker (only half-Italian) and though I consider myself fluent, I'm not native-fluent...can any native fluent person clear this up for me? Vi ringrazzio!! :)
  18. MStraf

    MStraf Senior Member

    Ringrazio, with one zee.
    It is difficult to say, without the context. Per se, that expression is not rude at all. It is possible that your friend shut you down for another reason. Just to be sure, when someone I don't know is rude with me I don't say anything to avoid any confrontation that I cannot say where it could end to. In any language, in any country.
  19. °Adhara°

    °Adhara° Senior Member

    Parma, Italy
    Ciao Chewingfoil. Penso che il problema fosse che nel tuo particolare contesto era come dire che essere scortesi fosse una caratteristica tipica del luogo, come se in quel "paese" tutti avessero l'"usanza" di essere scortesi, per parafrase il modo di dire. ;)

    Come dice MStraf, non è una frase di per sè negativa, è una semplice constatazione del fatto che certe abitudini sono diverse nei diversi luoghi. :)
  20. Teerex51

    Teerex51 Senior Member

    Milan, Italy
    Italian, standard
    It tends to be used when someone finds the locals unfriendly, disingenuous or haughty, and/or their habits gross, weird or downright appalling.
    Theoretically, though, you could land on a beautiful island, where food is wonderful and the natives are friendly and personable—in fact, they like you so much they make you king of their island nation.
    Here, too, you could blurt out, "P.C.V.U.C.T." with a huge smile on your face—but how likely is that to happen? :D
  21. Pietruzzo Senior Member

    The saying we are discussing is not rude but, like many other expressions, can be used with an ironic/sarcastic connotation. You could also come across made-up variations. Eg. We come to a village and someone goes through the red light. No wonder if you hear me saying "paese che vai :warning:stronzi che trovi". That'd be rude:D

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