To joke or to play?

To joke or to play?

Let’s look at a few words that are similar in both languages but in fact have different meanings.

To joke in Italian is fare degli scherzi, scherzare and not giocare, which means to play. However, if you play a game it is indeed giocare (eg Maria likes to play cards = a Maria piace giocare alle carte) but if you play an instrument it is suonare. For ex: i loro due figli suonano bene il pianoforte = their two children play the piano well.

The English word attitude is translated as atteggiamento and not attitudine, which means aptitude or skills. Note these two examples: I don’t like her attitude – she’s too negative = non mi piace il suo atteggiamento – è troppo negativa compared with Gianna ha una vera attitudine per  il disegno – Gianna has real aptitude/ skill for drawing.

Finally, the Italian word bravo means clever, good at something but can also mean well behaved eg Oggi Pierino è stato molto bravo: ha aiutato la maestra ed ha risposto a tutte le domande di geografia che gli aveva fatto = Today Pierino was a good/clever boy: he helped the teacher and answered all of her geography questions. On the other hand, the English word brave is translated with coraggioso, eg the soldier had been very brave in distracting the enemy while his injured friend was being rescued = il soldato è stato molto coraggioso nel distrarre il nemico mentre il suo amico ferito veniva salvato.

Yvette Devlin