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Colloquial Speech

This lesson looks at some colloquial expressions from the last segment of Stai lontana da me, a comedy. 

 

When asking for confirmation of what you have said, here’s one way:

Dico bene?
Am I saying it well [am I right/am I telling like it is]?
Caption 27, Rai Cinema: Stai lontana da me - Part 17 of 17 

 

The prefix ri is similar to “re” in English: it's used to repeat something:

Hai ridetto Monica.
You re-said “Monica” [you said “Monica” again].
Caption 42, Rai Cinema: Stai lontana da me - Part 17 of 17

 

Niente di niente is colloquial but used quite a bit in everyday speech. In fact, there are two instances in this segment. We can translate it colloquially: “no nothing,” or, in correct English: “nothing at all.”

E in due anni zero litigate, niente di niente. È un vero paradiso.
And in two years, no fights, no nothing. It's true paradise.
Caption 49, Rai Cinema: Stai lontana da me - Part 17 of 17

E poi a Sara non è successo più un incidente. -No, no, niente di niente.
And then Sara hasn't had any more accidents. -No, no, nothing at all.
Captions 62-63, Rai Cinema: Stai lontana da me - Part 17 of 17

 

Stra is a prefix meaning “extra” or “over.” It’s used quite a bit to mean “super” or “mega” in colloquial speech, although there are more mainstream words with this prefix, such as stravecchio (very mature or old), stracotto (as an adjective, “very well-cooked”; as a noun, “meat stewed a long time”), stravedere (to think the world of), straviziare (to overindulge).

 

Jacopo’s client used very colloquial speech:

...Cioè perché stra-pesante, cioè una noia totale.
...That is, because super heavy duty, that is, a total bore.
Caption 51, Rai Cinema: Stai lontana da me - Part 17 of 17

 

His use of cioè (that is) is very close in meaning to "I mean," in English, which some people sprinkle throughout their speech. Ciò is one of those words that in the beginning was two separate ones:  ciò (this that) and è (is).

 

Quasi quasi literally means “almost almost.”

Quasi quasi non ci lasciavamo. -Ciccì, cicciò due palle dottore, a noi ci piaceva litigare.
We were seriously considering not breaking up. -Yatter, yatter what a downer, Doctor. We liked fighting.
Caption 52,  Rai Cinema: Stai lontana da me - Part 17 of 17

Some alternative translations:

We were seriously thinking of not breaking up.
We were of a mind not to break up.

 

Here’s an expression to justify asking someone a question. Most Italians know this expression or saying, and some use it automatically. In English, we might say, “There’s no harm in asking.”

Poi, domandare è lecito, rispondere è cortesia.
Besides, asking is permissible; answering is good manners.
Caption 57, Rai Cinema: Stai lontana da me - Part 17 of 17

Expressions

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Caption 27, 42, 49, 62, 63, 51, 52, 57
Intermediate

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