Sayings - modi di dire

onetwothreegood

Member
New Zealand - English
Hey everybody.

When i want to translate an english quote into italian, do you just need to learn them in italian, as i have noticed you say "sogni d'oro" where in english you would say 'sweet dreams' instead or something along those lines.

So is saying sweet dreams in italian non existant?

Also i read somewhere on here you wouldnt call someone 'dolce cuore'!

So the qeustion is... is it always best to learn sayings in italian instead of translating them directly from english?
 
  • Alfry

    Senior Member
    Italian
    that's right!!
    the same is for English sayings!!

    you say:
    if I was in your shoes = "se fossi nelle tue scarpe", Italians would never say that!

    we say "se fossi nei tuoi panni" = "if I was in your clothes"

    maybe both of us would understand what we was trying to translate but none of us would have said that way!!!
     

    onetwothreegood

    Member
    New Zealand - English
    oh really.

    You learn something every day!

    Do you know of a web site where i can find such things like that or will i have to learn them over time as i come across them?
     

    Alfry

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Sincerelly I don't know and more sincerelly I'd love to know that too.

    Maybe someone else can help us!!!

    let's seat and wait!!!!
     

    Silvia

    Senior Member
    Italian
    I guess there must be books about Italian/English idioms/expressions/sayings... personally, I'd prefer to learn over time, isn't that the good part about learning? ;)

    And anyway, you've just started a thread about this, so let's take advantage of it!
     

    Alfry

    Senior Member
    Italian
    silviap said:
    I guess there must be books about Italian/English idioms/expressions/sayings... personally, I'd prefer to learn over time, isn't that the good part about learning? ;)

    And anyway, you've just started a thread about this, so let's take advantage of it!
    I utterly agree.
    let's use this thread to all possible sayings.

    who's going to start?
     

    DDT

    Senior Member
    Italy - Italian
    onetwothreegood said:
    Hey everybody.

    When i want to translate an english quote into italian, do you just need to learn them in italian, as i have noticed you say "sogni d'oro" where in english you would say 'sweet dreams' instead or something along those lines.

    So is saying sweet dreams in italian non existant?

    Also i read somewhere on here you wouldnt call someone 'dolce cuore'!

    So the qeustion is... is it always best to learn sayings in italian instead of translating them directly from english?
    "Sweet dreams" doesn't make sense litteraly. "Dolce cuore" ("sweetheart" I argue) neither, it can be rendered as "tesoro" or simply "amore"

    DDT
     

    onetwothreegood

    Member
    New Zealand - English
    silviap said:
    I guess there must be books about Italian/English idioms/expressions/sayings... personally, I'd prefer to learn over time, isn't that the good part about learning? ;)

    And anyway, you've just started a thread about this, so let's take advantage of it!
    learning slowly is good. nothing like the feeling you get when you learn something new in a different language to your own.
     

    lsp

    Senior Member
    NY
    US, English
    silviap said:
    Chi fa da sè, fa per tre :D
    ...means what exactly?

    Should we all add some expression/s we know?

    Like the English expression "Knock wood" or "knock on wood" for luck = the Italian expression "Tocca ferro (touch iron)."
     

    Alfry

    Senior Member
    Italian
    onetwothreegood said:
    learning slowly is good. nothing like the feeling you get when you learn something new in a different language to your own.
    well this can be discussed...
    what about a big dish full of spaghetti aglio, olio e peperoncino?
     

    Silvia

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Chi fa da sè, fa per tre = (literally) he who does (things) on his own, he does for three (people) it means:

    If you do something by yourself, you can do what 3 people could do!

    It should correspond to the English:
    If you want a thing (well) done, do it yourself ;)
     

    leenico

    Senior Member
    U.S.A. english
    I utterly agree.
    let's use this thread to all possible sayings.
    who's going to start?
    I don't mind starting. Here's a few. :D

    A buon intenditor poche parole.
    A word to the wise is sufficient.

    A caval donato non si guarda in bocca.
    Don't look a gift horse in the mouth.

    A chi dai il dito si prende anche il braccio.
    Give them an inch and they'll take a mile.
     

    Merlino

    Senior Member
    The Netherlands
    Hey, I like this topic :) I'll throw in a few too:

    Paesi che vai, usanza che trovi
    When in Rome, do as the Romans do

    Meglio tardi che mai
    Better late than never

    Ride bene chi ride l'ultimo
    He who laughs last laughs best
     

    lsp

    Senior Member
    NY
    US, English
    Quando il gatto manca, i topi ballano. (When the cat is missing, the mice dance.)
    When the cat's away, the mice will play.

    L'abito non fa il monaco. (The habit doesn't make a monk.)
    Clothes don't make the man.
    or
    You can't tell a book by it's cover

    There's one that goes something like
    "l'erba del vicino è sempre più verde"?

    In English we say,
    The grass is always greener on the other side.
     
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    Silvia

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Chi va con lo zoppo impara a zoppicare
    He that dwells next door to a cripple will learn to halt

    Piove sempre sul bagnato
    It never rains but it pours

    Meglio un uovo oggi che una gallina domani
    A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush

    Moglie e buoi dei paesi tuoi (un po' fuori moda/a little oldfashioned)
    Better wed over the mixen than over the moor

    Fra/tra moglie e marito non metter il dito
    Never interfere between wife and husband

    Tanto va la gatta al lardo che ci lascia lo zampino
    Curiosity killed the cat

    Lasciar stare il can che dorme
    Let sleeping dogs lie

    Can che abbaia non morde
    Barking dogs seldom bite or his bark is worse than his bite

    Chi dorme non piglia pesci
    The early bird catches the worm

    Campa cavallo che l'erba cresce
    While grass grows the horse starves

    Campa cavallo!
    That'll be the day!

    Tutte le strade portano a Roma
    All roads lead to Rome

    Chi lascia la strada vecchia per la nuova sa quel che lascia, ma non sa quel che trova
    Better the devil you know than the devil you don't know

    Il diavolo fa le pentole ma non i coperchi
    Truth will out

    Saperne una più del diavolo
    To give points to the devil

    Parli del diavolo e spuntano le corna
    (For this one I don't know the English version, it's when you're talking of someone and, all of a sudden, he/she shows up) Speaking of the devil...

    Prendere due piccioni con una fava
    To kill two birds with one stone
     

    Alfry

    Senior Member
    Italian
    I wasn't hanging around...
    my contribution:
    non si ruba a casa del ladro = there's honour amond thieves
    a chi vuole non mancano i modi = where there is a will there is a way
    Aiutati che dio ti aiuta = God helps thosewho help themselves
    un amico si vede nel momento del bisogno = a friend in need is a friend indeed
    tra il dire ed il fare c'è di mezzo il mare = easier said than done
    a mali estremi estremi rimedi = desperatediseases must have desperate remedies
    Ambasciator non porta pena = messengers should neither be headed nor hanged

    a tutto c'è rimedio fuorchè alla morte (finchè c'è vita c'è speranza)= while there's life, there's hope

    Graziella said:
    "Il silenzo è d'oro e la parola è d'argento"

    "Tra il dire e il fare c'è di mezzo il mare" = easier said than done

    Chi lo puo tradurre? Baci
    I don't know "Il silenzo è d'oro e la parola è d'argento"
     
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    onetwothreegood

    Member
    New Zealand - English
    supposed to be 'silence is golden and words are silver' i presume.

    although, i'v never heard the second half. i'v only known 'silence is golden'
     

    Alfry

    Senior Member
    Italian
    well done.

    neither have I!!! only "il silenzio è d'oro" that is, a polite way to say "shut up"


    a second flood of sayings


    bacco tabacco e venere riducono l'uomo in cenere = gaming women and wine, while they laugh they make men pine (but what are you living for without? my opinion :) )

    batti il ferro finchè è caldo = strike while the iron is hot

    buon sangue non mente = blood will tell

    chi ben comincia è a metà dell'opera = well begun is half done

    chi cerca trova = nothing seek nothing find

    chi di spada ferisce di spada perisce = he that strikes with the sword, shall be striken

    with the scabbard

    chi dorme non piglia pesci = the early bird catches the worm

    chi è causa del suo mal pianga se stesso = as you make your bed, so you must lie on it


    chi ha avuto ha avuto e chi ha dato ha dato = let bygones be bygones

    chiodo scaccia chiodo = one nail drives out another

    can che abbaia non morde = his bark is worse than his bite

    il buon vino fa buon sangue = good wine engendreth good blood

    campa cavallo che l'erba cresce = while grass grows the horse starves
     

    onetwothreegood

    Member
    New Zealand - English
    La gente in case di vetro non dovrebbe gettare le pietre??? (i didnt write this one so don't know if its right or not)
    Una volta un ladro sempre un ladro
     

    Silvia

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Alfry hai ripetuto i proverbi che avevo già scritto... ahi ahi ahi :D

    Hai voluto la bicicletta? Pedala!
    Did you ask for a bike? Then ride it! :D (this one can be used on several occasions, the other native Italians could supply you with some examples)

    Non c'è due senza tre
    Misfortunes never come singly

    Alfry, qualche commento, se mi permetti.

    non si ruba a casa del ladro (this is not very used)
    there's honour among thieves

    a chi vuole non mancano i modi (almost never heard)
    Basta la volontà o volere è potere
    where there is a will there is a way

    Aiutati che :tick:Dio:tick: t'aiuta o Aiutati che il ciel t'aiuta
    (I guess it comes from the very oldfashioned "Cuor contento il ciel l'aiuta")
    God helps thosewho help themselves

    un amico si vede nel momento del bisogno
    (I would say) gli amici si vedono nel momento del bisogno
    a friend in need is a friend indeed

    Cielo a pecorelle, acqua a catinelle
    I guess there's no saying in English, it means: mackerel sky, heavy rains

    Rosso di sera, bel tempo si spera
    Red sky at night, shepherd's delight

    Non stare né in cielo né in terra (for something unreal/madness)
    To have neither rhyme nor reason
     
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    Alfry

    Senior Member
    Italian
    silviap said:
    Alfry hai ripetuto i proverbi che avevo già scritto... ahi ahi ahi :D
    è che li ho scritti su un txt e li sto anche ordinando, correggendo... poi ovviamente non ricordo più cosa ho scritto e cerco di fare i puzzle, poi mi stufo e copio e incollo indiscriminatamente.

    sono programmato per fare al massimo una cosa per volta...
    pardon
    :confused:
     

    lsp

    Senior Member
    NY
    US, English
    What's the one about cesare that eqautes to the English, Credit where credit is due?
     

    walnut

    Senior Member
    Italy - Italian
    I don't remember the exact words... 'Date a Cesare quel che è di Cesare'?
    :D I couldn't swear about, but hope it helps! :) Ciao, Walnut
     

    lsp

    Senior Member
    NY
    US, English
    That's the one, thanks! So I'll leave another...

    Finchè c'è vita c'è speranza
    Where there's life there's hope
     

    Silvia

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Dare a Cesare quel che è di Cesare
    Credit where credit is due

    Avere la coda di paglia
    To have a guilty conscience

    Tirar(e) l'acqua al proprio mulino
    To bring grist to one's mill, to have an axe to grind
     
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    lsp

    Senior Member
    NY
    US, English
    This is fun.

    Un punto in tempo ne risparmia cento :)warn: unheard of ;))
    A stitch in time saves nine
     

    DDT

    Senior Member
    Italy - Italian
    onetwothreegood said:
    can you tell me why? i mean if you were saying a house is white, you would put 'casa bianca' but why wouldnt you say 'un gioco buon' when saying a game is good?
    As soon as you find an Italian word not ending by a vowel, that means that's a particular use. This case, for instance - as for "bello" which becomes "bel" in such an expression as "un bel gioco dura poco" ("don't carry the joke too far") - the adjective cannot but preceding the noun because generally you can't have an Italian sentence not ending by a vowel, moreover it would sound odd! That's not a grammar rule, but I hope it might help you to understand ;)

    DDT
     

    DDT

    Senior Member
    Italy - Italian
    Did anyone already mention "rough play is low"? That corresponds to the Italian "gioco di mano, gioco di villano"

    DDT
     

    onetwothreegood

    Member
    New Zealand - English
    Ah thank you DDT!


    My italian grammer book is designed for people who already know italian at university level, so i'm a little slow at reading it as it starts explaining noun genders in italian right at the start. which is good, seeing as i know a little bit, i know a lot more now.
     

    Alfry

    Senior Member
    Italian
    DDT said:
    Et voilà!!! Scoperta in finis l'identità segreta del sedicente membro "alfry" aka "Alfredo": SEI UN COMPUTER!!!?! :D ;) :D ;) :D

    DDT
    argh......
    sono un registratore di cassa
    mi avete beccato:(
     

    Silvia

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Paolo, why don't you do that instead of urging people to do that?! Io sono già abbastanza presa col mio lavoro qui :) Grazie!

    P.S.: L'intento non è quello di copiare da altri siti, ma di avere un archivio nostro, molto più ampio e corretto, inoltre ho notato che quella lista che hai fornito contiene anche dei proverbi dialettali, non credo faccia al caso nostro. Infine, la lista che stavamo cercando di stilare contiene non solo proverbi, ma anche modi di dire e frasi idiomatiche, credo che questo progetto possa avere ulteriori sviluppi con l'anno nuovo... ma non voglio anticipare nulla per ora.

    Ciao e buon divertimento!
     

    Alfry

    Senior Member
    Italian
    "to put the cart before the horse" = "mettere il carro davanti ai buoi"

    'to be at the fruit course' = 'essere alla frutta'
     

    Merlino

    Senior Member
    The Netherlands
    il buo che dice cornuto all'asino - "The pot calling the kettle black"

    Is there a shorter version of "La gatta frettolosa fece i gattini ciechi." (haste makes waste)? f.e. in Dutch this translates into "haastige spoed is zelden goed," but we usually only say "haastige spoed..."
     

    Alfry

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Merlino said:
    il buo che dice cornuto all'asino - "The pot calling the kettle black"

    Is there a shorter version of "La gatta frettolosa fece i gattini ciechi." (haste makes waste)? f.e. in Dutch this translates into "haastige spoed is zelden goed," but we usually only say "haastige spoed..."
    we say 'bue'
    in Italian there is not a shorter version, I think
     

    perusa69

    New Member
    Peru,spanish, english and italian
    why dont you try this site: http://www.kocher.pro.br/italo/italo_e.htm

    i am new on this thing but what you want to learn is call proverbi/sayings italiani;
    thay are alphabetically highlited easy to learn. they do not have the translation in english as i noticed you have a vast understanding of the italian leanguage. this will help you lots to learn the language you want.

    buona fortuna
     

    lsp

    Senior Member
    NY
    US, English
    An excellent list, to be sure perusa69, but I don't think we seek only a list of proverbs, nor do we want only to translate the words or the meanings. We often wish also to know if an equivalent idiomatic expression exists in the other language.
     

    Alfry

    Senior Member
    Italian
    thanks Perusa69,
    but the goal of this thread and of whatever whould come from it is a database (or similar) that we can use and improve.
    as a result we can learn them while we deal with them.
     

    Silvia

    Senior Member
    Italian
    perusa69 said:
    i am new on this thing but what you want to learn is call proverbi/sayings italiani;
    thay are alphabetically highlited easy to learn. this will help you lots to learn the language you want.
    I had a look at the first page and I can tell you I've never heard anyone of the sayings mentioned there. I believe those sayings come from Brasil, or they have been translated from some other foreign language. Anyway they are not part of everyday speech. So I'm not sure what use you could make of them. I'm sure you can learn some Italian through them, but on the other hand I noticed there are some mistakes...
    per farla breve, se sei realmente intenzionata ad imparare l'italiano, fai attenzione ad affidare tale responsabilità ad un sito web straniero.
     

    3andone

    New Member
    usa english
    My Italian mother in law had a favorite saying that I want to write on my livingroom wall. I failed to have her write it down for me before she passed away. Any help would be great!
    In english it is :
    Because I have been given much, I too must give.
    Seems like in Italian it is heaven given.
    anyway, thanks in advance!
     

    miri

    Senior Member
    Italy/Italian
    Some more:
    Fra i due litiganti il terzo gode= two dogs strive for a bone and a third runs away with it
    E' l'ultima goccia che fa traboccare il vaso= the last drop makes the cup run over
    E' inutile piangere sul latte versato= it's no use crying over spilt milk
    Ferisce più la lingua che la spada= words cut more than swords
    Mani fredde, cuore caldo= a cold hand and a warm heart
    Il lupo perde il pelo ma non il vizio= can the leopard change its spots? (I like this one!)
    Il sangue non è acqua= blood is thicker than water
    Meglio poco che niente= half a loaf is better than no bread
     

    astridula

    Member
    Italy - Italian
    onetwothreegood said:
    hmm what about

    un gioco rapido è un buon gioco

    Would it be better 'un buon gioco' or 'un gioco buon'?
    I know this version:

    Un bel gioco dura poco.

    something like: a good game lasts little.
     

    Manuela

    Senior Member
    Italy -Italian/English
    Hi I got these 2

    sono tra l'incudine e il martello = I'm between a rock and a hard place
    la goccia che fa traboccare il vaso = the straw that broke the camel's back

    I'm thinking..I'm thinking..

    Ha le mani bucate= (the money is burning) a hole in his pocket

    Una mano lava l'altra e tutte due la faccia = one hand washes the other, but both wash the face.
    me ne lavo le mani= I want nothing to do with it
    Non fare il passo piu` lungo della gamba= don't bite more than you can chew
    OPPURE
    Bisogna fare il passo secondo la lunghezza della gamba per non strappare i pantaloni= If your step matches your legs you won't split your pants
     
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    Panpan

    Senior Member
    England, English
    Silvia said:
    Parli del diavolo e spuntano le corna
    (For this one I don't know the English version, it's when you're talking of someone and, all of a sudden, he/she shows up) Speaking of the devil...
    Talk of the devil, and he's at your elbow.

    Panpan
     
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