Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Italian lesson #5: Angry edition

I know it was probably at least a month ago when I promised an Italian gestures lesson to deal with the frustrating Italians in your life. Can you believe I've been here two months? Crazy.

Since then, the Italians have been focusing on teaching me the actual spoken language. Focusing is probably the wrong word. They've been making me repeat random phrases. They say I have a real knack for language, so it's a pity I was born in the U.S. They also say I speak Italian with a French accent. I guess that's a good thing.

Now, I'm not really angry right now, but you guys might be because I made you wait so long for this lesson, so you can practice on me if you want. I did my best at making angry faces. It kind of just looks like something stinks. Don't get confused.

This is the general angry gesture, the one you're all probably most familiar with. You have to shake it a little bit to get the full effect. Actually, that's the case with almost all of these. This means WTF. Or "Ey, you dropped-a my meat-a-ball on the floor-a."

This one's just a movement in the wrist, back and forth a couple times. "I'll beat you."

Something like the A-OK sign turned upside-down. "If I catch you..." The threat is implied, kind of like "Why I oughtta..."

This one requires a little more movement. With one arm straight, hit the inside of your elbow with your hand, causing the arm to bend and then bring the other hand up in a fist. "Go to hell." This one's forceful enough to be pretty effective any language, I think.

This is actually the first gesture that I learned had a specific meaning. It kind of looks like I'm pointing at something (inappropriate) in this photo, but what I'm really doing is indicating size (shaking it a bit for emphasis). "This is how big I'm going to make your anus." Lovely, isn't it? 
When I first learned this, we had a little misunderstanding and they kept saying that it shows how big they're going to make your butt. And I thought, "Yes, please! You'll be doing me a favor." The real meaning's a bit less appealing.

So now you can go pick a fight at Johnny Carino's or the local gelato place without any problems. Let me know how it goes.


  1. How uncivilized of a method for communication.

  2. please... it's a sophisticated language.