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The Italian Way of Speaking: Communication through Gestures
Every country has habits and distinct cultural elements that make it unique. It is these features that become a way to identify and differentiate cultures. Where Italy is concerned, cultural behavior varies based on territory. Italians are quite famous for being effusive talkers that use hand gestures to underline most statements, but even these can change depending on which part of the country we are in: accent, tone of voice and gestures can all vary depending on which part of Italy you're visiting.
Italian Gestures & History
Some common Italian expressions that use the preposition "a":
Parlare a bassa voce = parlare sottovoce
Ei. Maria parla sottovoce = Mary is speaking softly.
Restare a bocca aperta = essere allibito, esterefatto, sbigottito
Ei. Claudio rimase sbigottito quando la maestra lo chiamò alla cattedra = Claudio was stunned when the teacher called him to the desk.
Andare a buon fine, andare a lieto fine = andare bene
Ei. L'operazione andò a buon fine = The operation had a happy ending.
Comprare a buon mercato = comprare ad un prezzo basso
Carla comprò la macchina a buon mercato = Carla bought an inexpensive car = Carla got a great deal on his car.
Essere a buon punto = essere avanti
Ei. Il mio romanzo è a buon punto = My novel is going well.
Are you planning a trip to Italy? While there you'll probably meet many people and new friends as Italians are a sociable bunch who like talking. Well known for their passionate views and vivacious communicative style, Italians are all about connecting and conversation. If you'd like to participate in these exchanges the first thing you'll need to know is how to introduce yourself. Of course, when meeting new friends it's always advisable to steer clear of touchy religion or race issues--and you might also not want to mention if you happen to be a fan of a rival football (soccer) team. Here are some tips on introducing yourself and making new friends in Italy:
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Tenere d'occhio qualcuno = To keep an eye on someone
Occhio non vede, cuore non duole = What the eye doesn't see, the heart doesn't grieve (over)
Un piacere a vedersi = A sight for sore eyes
A quattr'occhi = Eyeball to eyeball
Guardare qualcuno in faccia = To look someone in the face
Mettere il broncio = To pull a long face
Salvarsi la faccia = To save one's face
Fare le boccacce a qualcuno = To make faces at someone
Accogliere qualcuno a braccia aperte = To welcome someone with open arms
Tenere qualcuno a distanza = To keep someone at arm's length
Pagare un occhio della testa = To pay an arm and a leg
Rompersi la schiena (dal lavoro) = To break one's back
Essere con le spalle al muro = To have one's back to the wall
Voltare le spalle a qualcuno = To turn one's back on somebody
Vivere alle spalle di qualcuno = To live off somebody's back
Mettercela tutta =To put one's back into something
Essere tutt'orecchi = Essere tutt'orecchi
Tenere le orecchie aperte = To keep one's ears open
Mettere una pulce nell'orecchio di
Qualcuno = To put a flea in one's ear
Avere la Botte Piena e la Moglie Ubriaca : To have the wine cask full and the wife drunk: to have your cake and eat it, too.
Avere le mani d'oro :to be gifted in doing things
Attaccare il Cappello : To hang up one’s hat: used of a man who marries a wealthy woman, and (presumably) doesn’t have to work anymore.
A piede libero : out of jail
Alzare il gomito : to drink too much
Andarci coi piedi di piombo : to be cautious
Attacalo al chiodo : Hang it to the nail ( forget about it )
Avere le mani in pasta :to have power to influence someone else's decisions, to be powerful
Avere le mani legate :to have one's hands tied
Avere un piede nella fossa : to be almost dead
Buona Notte al Secchio : Literally, good night to the bucket, iIt’s used to mean …and then we’re screwed.Why there should be a bucket involved I do not know.
Buono Come il Pane :As good as bread.