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Italian expression of the day: 'Con calma'

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Italian expression of the day: 'Con calma'
Photo: DepositPhotos
14:41 CEST+02:00
Let's all just calm down a bit, shall we?

Since moving to Italy my blood pressure has never been higher, and it's not just because of all the strong coffee.

The Italians I know are always either rushing around at full speed, trying to do five things at once at the very last second or, adversely, taking their sweet time for no apparant reason - the latter usually applies to anything bureacracy-related.

If you live and work in Italy, you'll know that this way of doing (or not doing) things, plus a whole lot of shouting, is a recipe for unnecessary stress.

So before you bubble over like an overheated moka pot, today's phrase will help you remind yourself - and everyone around you - to take it easy.

Con calma translates literally as "with calm".

It's an adverb that means calmly, quietly, steadily, gently, carefully, and a whole load of other words that don't describe how Italians normally do things.

- Sediamoci tutti e parliamone con calma.

- Let's all sit down and talk about it calmly

- Diciamo solo che ho intenzione di prendermela con molta calma.

- Let's just say I plan to take things really slowly.

Fare con calma means to take it easy.

- Dovresti fare con calma

- You need to take it easy

Like piano piano, it comes with a hand gesture - both palms held up and outward, pushing away from you a few times.

And con calma can also be used as a gentle way of telling someone to calm down:

- Con calma, chi state parlando?

- Calm down, who are you talking about?

Calmati is another slightly less gentle way of telling someone to cool it.

- Calmati e ascoltami

- Calm down and listen to me

But be warned: however you say it, telling someone to "calm down" in the middle of an argument works about as well in Italian as it does in English.

Do you have a favourite Italian word you'd like us to feature? If so, please email our editorJessica Phelan with your suggestion.
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