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LANGUAGE AND CULTURE

Italian expression of the day: ‘Ti andrebbe’

How do you fancy learning a new way to ask a question in Italian?

Italian expression of the day: 'Ti andrebbe'
Photo: DepositPhotos

Italians aren't generally shy about telling you what they want. But if you get bored of asking people what they 'want' or 'would like', today's expression is a great way to mix it up.

Ti andrebbe might look like it should mean 'would it go to you', combining as it does the second-person pronoun with the third-person conditional of andare, 'to go'. 

But in fact the expression means something like 'how about…', 'do you fancy…' or 'do you feel like…'

Ti andrebbe di andare al cinema?
Do you fancy going to the cinema?

Ti andrebbe un caffè?
How about a coffee?

As you can see from the examples, you can use to it propose a thing, like coffee, or an activity, like going out. In the second case, add di + the second verb in the infinitive.

Ti andrebbe di mangiare qualcosa?
Do you feel like something to eat? 

You can also use the present tense of andare, making the expression ti va…? The two versions work in exactly the same way, but ti andrebbe is a touch more polite.

You'll also need to alter the phrase according to who you're addressing: while andrebbe will stay the same, the pronoun changes if you're referring to several people directly (vi), to 'us' (ci), to 'him' or 'them' for a group of guys (gli), to 'her' or 'them' for a group of women (le), or to one other person to whom you need to be especially polite (le). 

Vi andrebbe dell'acqua naturale o gassata?
Would you lot like still or sparkling water?

Signora Ricci, le andrebbe di entrare?
Would you like to come in, Mrs Ricci?

So how about it? Try asking someone what 'would go to them' today and see where you get.

Do you have an Italian word you'd like us to feature? If so, please email us with your suggestion.

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ITALIAN WORD OF THE DAY

Italian word of the day: ‘Inciucio’

Here's a word you'll need to deal with ahead of Italy's elections.

Italian word of the day: 'Inciucio'

With two days to go until Sunday’s general election, there’s talk of a potential ’inciucio’ everywhere from the pages of newspapers to the heated conversations at sports bars up and down the country.

So what is an ‘inciucio’ and why does the word seem to be on everyone’s lips whenever Italy faces elections?

Briefly, ‘inciucio’ is political jargon that describes any type of dubious agreement or, if you will, compromise reached by two or more political parties generally holding opposite views and ideals.

There’s no direct translation into English, though a native speaker would probably refer to it as something of a dodgy backroom deal.

Non c’è una maggioranza chiara. 

Eh, figurati. Faranno il solito inciucio.

There isn’t a clear-cut majority.

Oh, that’s not new. They’ll go for the usual deal.

Such an agreement is usually necessary when forming a large coalition government, with terms largely assumed to be based on the “you scratch my back, I scratch yours” principle. 

READ ALSO: Salvini vs Meloni: Can Italy’s far-right rivals put differences aside?

With that definition in mind, it’s hard not to see why ‘inciucio’ is such a commonly-used word in Italy, a country whose political class has historically been partial to improbable alliances with their previously hated rivals. 

Cosa pensi delle prossime elezioni?

Preferisco non pensare. Ne ho avuto abbastanza di questi inciuci. 

What do you think of the next elections?

I’d rather not think. I’ve had enough of these political deals.

Purtroppo, con questa legge elettorale, l’inciucio tra partiti è l’unica via per avere un governo…

Fammi un piacere. Gli inciuci esistevano anche 60 anni fa, molto prima di questa legge elettorale.

Sadly, with the current electoral system, a compromise between different parties is the only way to form a new government.

Do me a favour. These types of agreements existed 60 years ago, well before the present electoral system.

While the noble art of the inciucio goes back a long way in the history of republican Italy, the term itself was only coined in 1995 by Massimo D’Alema, then secretary of the left-wing Democratic Party (PD). 

The expression only rose to popularity a couple of years later, when the founder of the term thought it fit to put the word to good use and reached a ‘non-aggression pact’ with the then-leaders of Italy’s right-wing coalition – the agreement went down in history as the patto della crostata or ‘pie pact’ – but we’ll keep that story for another time.

Ever since then, the term ‘inciucio’ has been regularly used by political commentators as well as the wider public to discuss the various power plays of the country’s major political forces.

For instance, the most classic of inciuci was at the foundation of Giuseppe Conte’s first cabinet back in 2018, when Matteo Salvini’s League and Luigi Di Maio’s Five-Star Movement unexpectedly found sufficient common ground to form a coalition government.

So, will we see another inciucio this time around?

Given the unpredictable nature of Italian politics, you’ll forgive us for not ruling out the possibility of another inciucio just yet.

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