Sunday, 24 July 2011

Falsi amici - Leave

The verb to leave is only too often wrongly translated as partire or lasciare. For instance, many students fall into the trap of translating literally a sentence such as this:

I left home at 11
Ho "lasciato" la casa alle 11

This is wrong, as the verb lasciare has a narrower use in Italian. It is often used to convey the following meanings:

abandon = ha lasciato il marito

stop a sport/activity = ha lasciato il tennis

leave somebody on their own = ha lasciato solo il figlio per tutta la giornata

leave somebody with somebody else = ha lasciato la bambina con la zia

reserve/keep some food for somebody = ti ho lasciato una fetta di dolce

leave in inheritance = ha lasciato la casa ai figli

leave traces = lasciare le impronte sulla pistola

This is how you should translate leave in the sentence at the top:

I left home at 11 = sono uscito di casa alle 11

1 comment:

  1. The explanation is clear, but there are also lots of other more insidious false friends that change meaning much more dramatically, such as argument or library (not to mention the potentially more embarrassing ones like preservative or morbid!).

    There’s a decent glossary of false friends here, which you might find interesting:

    Hope it helps, and buon lavoro! :)