Here’s a very quick example of something that I’ve discovered between Italian and English:
In Italian, there is the futuro semplice. In English, we technically have three forms of expressing future (not counting Future Progressive or the Perfect tenses): will + verb, going to + verb, and Present Progressive used to talk about near future plans. When I teach Italians about the differences in using Future tenses in English, I find that the greatest struggle is that Italians can’t wrap their heads around the cultural and linguistic difference in knowing something will happen for sure (a plan, or having the intention) and if it’s just a thought, a happy hope but not guaranteed. In English, if we plan to see a movie with friends, we say “I’m going to see a movie with friends” and not “I will go see a movie with friends”. Italians always struggle with why to choose the former over the latter. In many ways, I think it might also be a cultural thing. Nothing is certain, what if something better comes up? Non-committal has my husband’s name next to it in the dictionary but knowing Italian makes me more understanding of his very nature. English asks someone “will you marry me?” while Italian asks “mi vuoi sposare?”. Isn’t that intriguing? English wants to know your future action, Italian wants to know if you want something at that moment of asking. Future vs. Want. Promise vs. Desire. A subtle difference owed to language and culture.
In conclusion, well, there isn’t really one. That being said, I’d love to hear your own experiences and opinions on this topic. Write me in comments or on the Questa Dolce Vita Facebook page!
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