False friends - Part 1

False friends – Part 1

In this edition I’ll alert you to a couple of ‘false friends’ and include a couple of amusing words that are the product of a mixture of English and Italian – words to avoid if you wish to learn correct Italian.

The English preposition in is translated as tra/fra when you wish to express future time eg vado in Italia tra un mese = I’m going to Italy in a month’s time. Compare the following two sentences:

Non preoccuparti mamma che faccio i compiti in dieci minuti = don’t worry mum – it will take me ten minutes to do the homework  and Non preoccuparti mamma che faccio i compiti tra dieci minuti = don’t worry mum, I’ll do the homework in ten minutes’ time

The English word quotation is translated with different Italian words depending on the context: citazione when it is a quotation/quote from a book or text; preventivo if it’s an estimate of cost for a job; quotazione if it refers to the market price eg of shares in the stock market. Note also the expression tra virgolette = in quotation marks.

Finally, some Italians use what I call ‘bastardised’ words that I find rather quaint but are to be avoided if you are learning Italian eg buccare (to book) instead of the correct prenotare, and natsi (nuts) instead of noci.

Yvette Devlin