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Colloquial Speech

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


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


Dico bene, tesoro?

Am I saying it well [am I right/am I telling like it is], dear?

Caption 31, Stai lontana da me - Rai Cinema

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


No, hai ridetto Monica.

No, you re-said "Monica" [you said "Monica" again].

Caption 50, Stai lontana da me - Rai Cinema

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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.

And in two years, no fights.

-Niente di niente, è un vero paradiso.

-No nothing, it's true paradise.

Caption 55, Stai lontana da me - Rai Cinema

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E poi a Sara non è successo più un incidente.

And then Sara hasn't had any more accidents.

-No, no, niente di niente.

-No, no, nothing at all.

Caption 70, Stai lontana da me - Rai Cinema

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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 57, Stai lontana da me - Rai Cinema

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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.

We almost didn't break up.

-Ciccì, cicciò, due palle, dottore.

-All that lovey-dovey, what a downer, Doctor,

A noi ci piaceva litigare.

we liked fighting.

Captions 58-59, Stai lontana da me - Rai Cinema

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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.”


E poi domandare è lecito e rispondere è cortesia.

Besides, asking is allowed and answering is polite.

Caption 64, Stai lontana da me - Rai Cinema

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Caption 70, 64, 59, 58, 57, 55, 50, 31

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