Come si traduce “mica” in inglese?
When I speak in English to foreign people, I sometimes find it difficult to give the right tone to my words. For example, in Italian there are some meaningless words that are very useful to give a certain meaning to the whole senence. If you say: “Non voglio mica fare questo”, or “Non sono mica scema”, the word “mica” is crucial.
It means: you think that I’m foolish, but I’m not!!! Could you give me the mother-tongue translation of such sentences? And can you think of a similar useless word in English, with no direct translation in other languages? If I used such kind of expressions, I would look very fluent and self-confident!!!! Thanks a lot!!! Bye
A (not foolish) Italian
I don’t think mica is ‘useless’ since it actually lends more strength to what you’re saying. I’d say the difficulty lies in the fact that it is hard to find one single word in English (and in other languages, I suspect) which is as versatile. One has to adapt mica to the context and the cotext and adopt words in English which will help convert the Italian into English. A word-for-word translation is, I’d say, impossible. I believe one helpful English adverb could be definitely:
Non voglio mica fare questo = I definitely don’t want to do this;
Non sono mica scema = I am most definitely no idiot
But then one can adapt and expand:
Non mi ha mica chiamato = she never called me
Non mi ha mica mai chiamato nonostante le promesse = she never got round to calling me in spite of her promises
Non devi mica credere a quel che dice = you don’t want to believe what she says (don’t want to = must not)
Non sarà mica la fine del mondo, no? = it can’t be the end of the world, can it?
Mica mi piace la musica classica = I hate classical music