Thursday, April 21, 2011

On going to have a lover, and other related phrases

I have just kicked off a Facebook conversation in Italian (I started with “buono sera” in case you were wondering) which was going swimmingly (in that I got a response) until I realised that I’d forgotten how to respond to the question “come sta?” (“how are you?”).

Thankfully, Google is my friend, and I found this site.  Having continued my conversation I then scrolled down and saw the list of ‘related phrases.’

“Hi, how are you?” could be the beginnings of casual discourse one might have passing someone else in the street.  And yet it seems that if you were speaking Italian, you might quickly move on to such topics as “I’m sick of your sport channels” or “I’m going to have a lover.”

For those of you who like stating the obvious, you could learn how to respond to the question by stating that you were “looking in a phrase book.”  Except that you’re probably actually looking on the internet.

Of course, I make the assumption that the context is quite general, but there are implications that this page focuses more on responding to one’s spouse.  “I’m glad I’ve married you” is not something I’d expect most people to say to someone they were passing in the street – though of course it does beg the question how well the marriage is going if you have to resort to looking up phrases when you communicate.

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