Tuesday, November 8, 2011

colloquial expressions

As I've said, many times, Italian is full of colorfully confusing expressions that when translated literally, make absolutely no sense, but are used frequently nonetheless. This results in tons of confusion on my part, since during this disaster my head is spinning, and not just in terms of flood trauma. People are in heightened states of emotion and speaking fast, and, not surprisingly, flood terms (like, "mud" fango, "flood" alluvione, "evacuation" evacuare, "insurance" assicurazione, "wheelbarrow" carriola...) were not covered in my Italian textbook.
One of the phrases I've heard time and time again confused me, but I think it's meaning speaks volumes to what the state of Monterosso is right now. As I've said, I'm constantly heartened by the spirit of community and people working so hard to help each other, and that is evident by my colloquial phrase of the day:

Ci mancherebbe - though it literally might mean something like "I would miss it", which left me scratching my head all week in confusion, I found out that it's used to mean a few things. Used alone, it means something like, "Don't mention it" or "I was glad to do it" - sort of a, "Can I borrow your car?" "Sure!", then later, when I hand you back the keys and say "Thank you so much!", you respond, "Ci mancherebbe!"

Also, ci manca anche questo - means more like, sarcastically, "This was what I needed". Like, we spent a few hours cleaning one of the floors in the Bed and Breakfast only for SOMEONE (ahem, Manuel) to then knock over a bucket of dirty mud water. "Ci manca anche questo".

I think it says so much that I've heard both of these, along with many creative curse words, so many times this week.

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