10 useful Italian expressions you will not find in textbooks

No matter you are new to the beauty of the Italian language or you have already spent several years  studying it,  these 10 useful slang expressions,  you would hardly find in a textbook of Italian, will help you to speak Italian more like a native than ever before.

 

1.Va bene 

Va bene is the italianization of the English O.K. and denotes acceptance and agreement. Also, when it comes in the shape of a question, ”Va bene?” it means: got it?. Non voglio più vederti piangere, va bene?

va-bene

 

2.Un attimo 

Un attimo is a more familiar expression of un momento. You will be asking yourself if there is any difference between the former and the ladder. Well, yes, there is. An ‘‘attimo” qualifies  a shortest space of time compared to a”momento”.

attimo

3. Boh 

The Italians are not certainly known for being straightforward and concise, including when they speak. Boh kills the trend and qualifies as an onomatopoeic sound expressing uncertainty. The closer English translation would be ‘I don’t know’. In short, ”boh” is an everyday expression meaning ‘non lo so’.

boh-1

4.Che schifo!

‘’It sucks’’. The scenarios leading to the use of such expressions might involve the sight, taste or touch of something considered to be disgusting by the person that experiences it.  ‘Che schifo questa pasta!” ,C’è un topo nella stanza: che schifo!‘.

bleah

 

 5. Tipo 

Colloquial expression aiming at specifyng something or giving an example. In English would be ”like” or ”for example”. Tipo negli esempi: ”Voglio un vestito tipo quello”.( I want a dress like that one). ”Vorrei visitare un’isola del Mediterraneo, tipo Capri”. (I would like to visit an island in the Mediterranean Sea, like Capri).

capri2
Isola di Capri 

 

6. Mannaggia 

Mannaggia qualifies as a polite vulgarity for ‘caz*o or s*it. The word has Southern roots. In Southern Italian it is also spread the expression ”mannaggia …a te, a lui, a ”x person”, meaning in English..”you ( X person) will be damned!”.

mannaggia
I puffi: the smurfs

 

7.Allora

Allora represents pretty much as a mysterious word for most non-native italian speakers.

Allora…Allora,  buys you a little time and tells the listener you are thinking things over especially when used by itself, or introduces a sentence. Used by itself, it can express impatience. Sometimes it is just one of those word filles: ”Allora..sei pronto?” (So..are you ready?) or can be introductory: Raccontami la tua storia! ”Allora…sono arrivato in Italia più di 20 anni fa.” (Tell me about you! So..I arrived in Italy more than 20 years ago).

allora

 

 8. Evvai!

‘’Hurray’’ , a bit more slangily tough. Evvai it is an expression showing satisfaction, or an accomplishment of something you have been working for: ”Abbiamo vinto la partita. Evvai!”. We won the match! Hurray!

evvai

 

 

9. Caspita

”Oh boy”, ”geez”. Caspita can be both a positive or negative exclamation, depending on its intonation. It can express surprise or impatience or regret. ”Caspita, non me l’aspettavo”. ”Oh boy, I was not seeing it coming”.

caspita

 

 10. Ma va’

”Really?’‘ or ”You don’t say it” . Ma va’ qualifies as an exclamation of surprise used after hearing something hard to believe in. For example: ”A:Mi sono sposata 20 volte. B: Ma va’!” (Ma va’ in this case means: I am surprised, I can’t believe it). In different scenarios, Ma va’ means also ”surely not”, for example:  ”mi hanno detto che sei stato promosso! Ma va’.. (in this case it means: you are joking, it is not true).

ma-va

 

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Author: Serena Capilli

Language Coach, Online Tutor, communications and marketing specialist and philanthropist. I do all this with passion and dedication. My favourite quote is: If it were easy, everyone would do it.

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