Express yourself! This is what esprimerti means and if you have been learning Italian in a classroom you can probably order a meal and get train tickets, ask directions and talk about your family… but can you express your emotions? Can you express how you really feel? By this I also mean… do you know how to swear like the proverbial Italian sailor and appopriatey insult the assholes which populate Italy the same as they do everywhere else (see point 5)?
Probably not. That’s something you learn by being here. Here’s five of the best…
1. E’ un polpo
Literally: He/She’s an octopus
When to use it: When someone is being overly clingy or overly touchy feely, used as a warning between girls of that one lecherous friend with the roaming hands – careful he’s an octopus/attenta, è un polpo!
Neapolitan: E’ nu purpo
2. Che palle!
Literally: What balls!
When to use it: When something is annoying or is taking a long time. You have to stay late at work for the tenth time in as many days? Che palle! Your driving license is taking forever to come through? Che palle! Stuck in traffic trying to get to the beach? Che palle! You get the picture.
Neapolitan: M’hê scassato ‘e ccoglie (this/he/she/it broke my balls)
3. Quanto sei pesante
Literally: How heavy you are
When to use it: when someone is being way too serious for their own good. Basically, lighten up for the love of God. I really think you ought not to have another glass of wine… ma quanto sei pesante!
Neapolitan: Si na guallera (you’re a hernia… love this phrase)
4. Mamma mia!
Yes they actually do say this… it’s an exclamation of amazement, often at how big/bad/hot/expensive something or someone is. Did you see how much that bike costs? Mamma mia!
Neapolitan; N’guuuuul (in the ass)
Literally: Go do yourself in the ass, basically means fuck off. Used when seriously annoyed with someone. Except whem used with friends, then used copiously whenever one person is taking the piss out of another, ie Michele’s under the thumb, has to check in with the girlfriend – Vaffanculo!
Neapolitan: Va’ a ffa mmocca (go give someone a blowjob)
As you can see, Neapolitan is a little more… how can I put this… vulgar? To the point? Than Italian. It’s also far funnier.
I don’t actually suggest you use these. If you do, don’t blame me for the black eye.
With love, from Italy