Fun phrases to impress your Italian teacher!

End of term is nigh and whether you’ve been taking Italian evening classes yourself or your little one has been learning Italian at school, we wanted to inspire you with a few phrases you can use to really impress the ‘insegnante’ (teacher) with your linguistic knowledge as well as saying ‘Grazie’ for their hard work!

When s/he wishes you ‘In bocca al lupo’ for your exams, meaning ‘Good luck’ but in its literal sense ‘in the mouth of the wolf’, make sure to reply with a succinct ‘crepi il lupo’ (may the wolf die), which will have you sounding like a native – and definitely not ‘grazie’ which is a no-no and will immediately give away your amateur status or perhaps dock you a few grades!

A slightly more vulgar alternative could be: ‘In culo alla balena‘ which should elicit the response ‘fammi luce‘! (give me light!) – let’s just say here, ‘balena’ means whale and if you’ve been learning Italian for a while, you may be familiar with ‘culo’ – look it up! Disclaimer: may cause offence (so may be best kept for use amongst close friends)!

Non ci piove’ – now here’s a pretty versatile little metaphor that can be used in many situations. The literal meaning is ‘it doesn’t rain on’ but is used in the context of ‘there’s no doubt about it’. In English we could talk about ‘clouds of doubt’ which is a similar idea and helpful for remembering this one. So when your teacher asks, ‘hai studiato per gli esami?’, you could answer affirmatively, ‘su questo non ci piove’ (‘have you studied for your exams?’, ‘without a shadow of a doubt’).

A nice food-related phrase – always important in Italian culture – is the lovely idiom ‘rendere pan per focaccia‘, signifying ‘to get even’ or ‘tit for tat’. A direct translation would be something like ‘to give bread for focaccia’, which of course makes little sense in English so here are a few instances of contextual usages:
‘Io dico di dare pan per focaccia’ – ‘I say we fight fire with fire’.
‘Le ho reso pan per focaccia! Lei non mi ha invitata alla sua festa e io non l’ho invitata alla mia! – ‘I gave her a taste of her own medicine. She didn’t invite me to her party and I didn’t invite her to mine!’

Rosso di sera, bel tempo si spera’ is basically the rhyming English equivalent of ‘red sky at night, shepherd’s delight’, while the full proverb finishing with ‘red sky in the morning, shepherd’s warning’ would be ‘Rosso di sera buon tempo si spera, rosso di mattina maltempo si avvicina’. This one will nicely illustrate your knowledge of the passive tense in Italian so you can tick that off your teacher’s list of grammatical must-knows!

La goccia che ha fatto traboccare il vaso’ – literally speaking, ‘the drop that made the vase overflow’ like the English, ‘the last straw’ or ‘the straw that broke the camel’s back’.

Even more of a mouthful is ‘precipitevolissimevolemente’ – apparently the longest Italian word and often used in the context ‘chi troppo in alto sale, cade sovente precipitevolissimevolmente’ meaning ‘the higher you climb the harder you fall’ but on its own is a fun way to describe something as super fast.

‘È andato liscio come l’olio’ – the literal translation of this ‘modo di dire’ (Italian proverb or saying) is ‘It went as smoothly as oil’ so you could use this to answer the question, ‘How did the exam go?’, in other words, ‘everything went smoothly, thank you very much’!

Along with a tin of some gorgeously innovative and delicious Italian confectionery, this is a surefire way to get better grades in those exams ;-))

Of course bribery has nothing to do with it! Once they try some of our handmade confectionery, not only will they be able to savour the flavours of Italian tradition and admire the unique look and feel of each and every sweet morsel, while being reminded of the taste of home, they will be blown away by the innovative flavour combinations inside each Lavolio collection.

And to really ensure you ‘fai una bella figura’ (that’s ‘make a great impression’), we’ll carefully gift-wrap your choice of confectionery in our signature floral paper and finish it with a classic red & gold ribbon and a personalised handwritten note.

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