This episode’s audio doesn’t exist, and we have technology to blame (poof! gone into cyberspace!). Instead of listening to this episode, feel free to use the notes below to learn more about the topic. And if you’re like, “CHER, NO. I NEED THIS EPISODE,” then let me know in the comments below. I’ll put it on my list to record again!
There are some words in Italian that you’ll hear again and again and not fully understand even after looking them up.
If you think like me, you need lots of examples, to hear it a lot and to use it a lot in order for it to really stick.
One of these words for me has been proprio.
Finally, after doing a ton of research, asking a lot of questions, and using it in the wrong context twenty-six plus times, here are 3 ways I figured out that I can use it.
My Ciao textbook says that it means exactly or indeed.
My In viaggio textbook says that it means one’s own or just, really, and exactly.
WordReference will tell you that it means all of these things:
— exactly, precisely, really, truly, quite
— own, typical, signature
— of a specific name – proper
— appropriate, suitable, fitting
— one’s own
Finally, dizionario corriere tell us that it means:
— characteristic, specific, typical
— subject of the third person in an impersonal phrase
— suitable, appropriate
— truly, really, precisely, exactly
— to reinforce/emphasize a certain point
A lot, right?
Let’s break it down to see how we can use it in actual conversation.
Open this page and then click the blue play button. (He sounds a little like a Shakespearean drama teacher.)
3 Main Ways to Use Proprio
1.) In colloquial expressions
— Essere/sentirsi a proprio agio – To be at ease
If you were using this in conversation, you would say sono a mio agio/mi sento a mio agio.
— Sapere il fatto proprio – To know your stuff
Same here. So il fatto mio meaning I know my stuff. Sa il fatto suo meaning he knows his stuff.
— Amor proprio – Self-esteem
” È possibile che non abbia un briciolo di amor proprio.”* – It’s possible that he doesn’t have a shred of self-respect.
2.) To express ‘truly, really, exactly, precisely, or quite’
— Non sapevo proprio. – I really don’t know.
— Essere proprio una capa tosta! (dialect that you’ll find in Southern Italy) – To truly be pigheaded/stubborn (can be used for men/women without changing)
— Proprio allora – Just then
“E quando penso che sia finita,
è proprio adesso che comincia la salita.” – And when you think that it’s over it’s just then that the rise up starts.”
(Want to hear the song this is from? Go to the end of the post!)
— Proprio adesso – Right now
— Proprio come – Just like, Just as
— “Proprio come sei.“ – Just like you are.
(This is from a song by the lovely Mina. Look below to find it!)
Or if you were to translate Mr. Mars’s song Just the Way You Are, you would get Proprio Cosi Come Sei.
– Sei proprio un soggetto – You’re seriously a weird person.
Un esempio da mio nonno adottivo :]
– È proprio la possibilità di realizzare un sogno che rende la vita interessante. – It’s truly the possibility of achieving a dream that makes life interesting. – Paulo Coelho
3.) To show the impersonal third person
Meaning: One’s house, one’s dog, one’s Harry Potter collection
You don’t know who this person is, why they exist or even if you’re talking about someone specific. It’s impersonal.
– C’è anche un’opzione per condividere sui principali social network con i propri amici… – There is also the option of sharing on social networks with one’s friends… (from this article on Rorschach)
– A proprio rischio – At one’s own risk
– Come scrivere la storia della propria vita – how to write the story of one’s life (which is actually a book!)
Do you use the word proprio? What are some other tricky words like this one, for you? Leave them in the comments below!