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  5. "Cos'è, un pesce d'aprile?"

"Cos'è, un pesce d'aprile?"

Translation:What is it, an April Fool's joke?

April 25, 2013

105 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sacredmaiden

What an interesting term!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Chris123456

Some other fishy sayings:

"To be at a loss" in the sense of not knowing what to do is "non sapere che pesci pigliare" which is like saying you don't know what fish to get hold of.

"A fish out of water" is "un pesce fuor d'acqua"

"A boring person" is "un pesce lesso" (Hope I'm not being that :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RaspberryBlue_It

Another one: "il pesce puzza dalla testa" - "the fish stinks from the head". The fish starts to stink from the head is way to say that an organization's problems alway begin from the top (who gives orders). Organization or firm or everything of that type.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jeffrey855877

In American English, it's "A/the fish rots from the head down". Same idea, different expression.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/loofoo
  • 1478

Grazie Chris123456! by the way, un pesce lesso is also literally, a boiled fish.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Che-Figata

Another one! To say you're "right as rain", as in very healthy, or you're very healthy again after being sick, you can say "sano come un pesce". It means you're lively and well, like a fish: always moving about when in water (or out of water!)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/838Maria

Lol, what's up with all the fish talk? Why is fish used to describe a person who is boring?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
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  • 2533

Have you ever eaten boiled anything? It's very plain and bland and dull.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Susan88810

I assume it's like our "Casper milktoast" sort of bland and pale. Just like someone is like a "wet noodle"...meh, no oomph to their personality.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LaurelMont6

You say casper milktoast so casually....umm what is that?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/biscuitamericain

he's a mid20th century comic strip character who is weak in every way. have not seen or heard of for decades


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Roman.sc

l'ospite è come il pesce - dopo tre giorni puzza


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WandersFar

> "A boring person" is "un pesce lesso"

Sort of like “a cold fish” in English? And a fish out of water is a perfectly acceptable idiom in English, too.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Susan88810

"A fish out of water" refers to someone out of their element. He arrived at the bar hoping to connect with a luscious babe, but he was a like a fish out of water.(unable to fit in, in this enviornment)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GuerraAmanda

Isn't "A fish out of water" "Un pesce fuori dell'acqua"? xD


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Crash421780

No you're not: )


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChipAgapi

Nice expression, and the history behind it (read below). For beginners though, DL should stay clear of these expressions - either expand the idioms section or offer the solution as a hint... I have encountered a couple of expressions without hints which you can't possibly know what they mean and word for word translation won't do.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jonestk

I fully agree with staying clear of the idioms for beginners. This is really frustrating!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Flysalot

No way - idioms are where you start to learn how Italians tick as opposed to just translating everything literally. I am amazed at how many idioms are the same in English and Italian. That means that Italians and English often think the same way / have the same sense of humour.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MaryLouVer

I agree that idiomatic expressions are important when learning a language. But, the DL system encourages learning the pieces and building up and breaking down the language. That process doesn't work with idiomatic expressions. We can't really apply what we know because it doesn't make sense--which is what makes it an idiomatic expression.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nellaloggia

I sort of agree. Not because I don't think springing idioms at us isn't a good idea - it is, it's an essential part of the language we've set out to learn. But it's confusing because Duolingo also has a very strong penchant for being annoyingly literal. I answered in the sense of April fool's joke, but felt it was a crapshoot, there being a 50/50 chance it was about a fish in April


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Schatzie14

Me too. Idioms never can be translated to their real meaning. Same in every language


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hibernia65

In French it is "poisson d'avril" - same "fish of April" idea


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/girlfromfrance

Poisson d'avril means April fools in english. It happens 1st April.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alex445330

M8 it directly translates to aprils fish. Not april fools. Thats what is being discussed: how its interesting that other languages call it aprils fish


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bilboburgler

the trouble with these vernacular phrases is the duolingo's software does not really support multiple answers


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WildSage

Nor does it explain it. This should be in idioms not in the regular lessons.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jeffrey855877

"What is it, a fish from April?" accepted 13 May 2018


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChipAgapi

it does up to 2 from what i've seen. I guess it's at the programmer's/linguist's whim how many answers to add.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JennaHO

Thank you for the history! I loved it!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Wrenbob

Grazie A great help


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/laurelteaches

I certainly didn't see that one coming.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jeepin76

Whoa, what? where does the fish fit in here? I'm clearly missing something..


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/aliceuh

It's an expression because in April you stick a fish to people's back and wait for them to notice ! Nowadays we use papers fishes


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jeepin76

Ah, now I get it. Thank you!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/brienza112

It's just an expression. There is no actual fish involved


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jeepin76

I'd assumed so after seeing the solution, but seeing the sentence without knowing any backstory might be a little confusing.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DavidRussnak

This should be under idioms.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tallman69

Ok, that's annoying. When you hover over the term, it says April's fool, but marked me wrong saying it should be April fool's.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Caterinabella

Well, this one is a gem! Must be an common idiom in Italian. A fish of April is an April Fool joke? I'll remember that one.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BankVault3

when i came across this sentence, I did not know what it meant because they never taught me any of this material.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/emily.shim

The teaching is happening right now. Hopefully you will know for next time :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mariannarelli

but you. learned, eh?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/semuc

Do Italians really use this term? "pesce d`aprile" in Spanish "dia de los inocentes" no reference to any fish in Spanish :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AudraSimps

I can never remember this, has anyone found a way to remember this easily?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jairemix

Well in French and Italian speaking countries, there is a tradition is to stick paper fishes behind people's back without them knowing as a prank on April Fool's day. That's why it is called "pesce d'aprile", literally "April Fish".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChrisMc73

See, and here I had images of Italian clowns running around whacking people on the head with a floppy fish - which at least gives me an entertaining image to remember this with.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/guimauve24

The translation into English put the pronoun "it" directly before the direct object. A pronoun may replace a direct object but not accompany it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Naseem200170

Is this an April Fool's joke?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Maximilian470418

In portuguese they have "piada de primeiro de Abril" ...that means: April 1st, joke.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Crash421780

i find idioms /expressions very helpful in understanding the culture of which language we are trying to learn. Once we start seeing things their way then the language becomes easier to learn and make sense of .. so thanks everyone for sharing :)))


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HaroldWonham

How are we expected to know this idiom? Sometimes duolingo is so frustrating!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hello_world_hola

You're not expected to get it the first time. The hope is that you get it every time after that. It's important to remember that you're probably not here to collect hearts, but to learn Italian. In their system, sometimes you lose a heart through no fault of your own, but you do end up learning.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mariannarelli

Who cares about losing hearts when it is fun to learn?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lingolizard

Does the "d'" derive from "di" or "da"? ... and why would that be? thx in advance :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
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  • 2533

d' is the contracted form of de.

da does not get contracted.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TanyaBella76

This gets more confusing!! What does a fish have to do with April Fool's!!!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
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  • 2533

Back when the Gregorian calendar replaced the Julian calendar, the start of the new year was also changed from the end of March to the start of January. People who were reluctant or otherwise slow to accept this change were mocked with fish. Why fish? Possibly because of how the old (fool's) new year coincided with Lent.

http://libguides.ctstatelibrary.org/hg/colonialresearch/calendar

https://frenchmoments.eu/april-fools-day-traditions-in-france-le-1er-avril/


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hypoheinz

seems to be a wrong hover hint, isn't it? "April's fool" - as you type it, it won't be accepted. So it's only "April fool" or "April fool's" right?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hypoheinz

hm, obviously even "April fool's" isn't accepted, though the dictionary says it is correct.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/biscuitamericain

nor is ''April fool'' should be reported


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jeffrey855877

Isn't *cos'è" a kind of all-purpose expression which serves as a kind of attention getter, like saying, "Hey!"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ariaflame

Only when it is on its own. As part of a sentence means 'what is it'


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Flysalot

I read this as "What is a fish of April?" like someone asking about the meaning of this phrase. (I know that Pesce d'aprile means April fool's joke like poisson d'avril in french) Now that I've seen the answer is "What is IT" I want to know how would I ask "What is ----" without the pronoun?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pete975877

Does this saying refer to the joke or April fool's prank or the person who has been pranked, the April Fool,


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AngelodeMa8

Why is April Fool's not accepted? Even the help from Duolingo displays joke in brackets, thus optional? Or am I missing something? To be honest: I am not a native English speaker.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
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  • 2533

The 's at the end of April Fool's is the possessive. You can't just have a possessive adjective without the noun. It's an April Fool's what? It's an April Fool's joke or prank.

Without the possessive -- April Fool -- Fool is the noun and April is the adjective.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/andrew35982

how the hell does that make sense,where does a fish come into it


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CodyClark19901

Interessantissimi xD


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sylviamora

Does this mean Italian's also celebrate April Fools?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PB_Bandit

I've read the comments. I'm still confused. What does a fish have to do with April Fool's?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JeffreyQui387587

Would have never guessed what the phrase meant. It's similar to how we have sayings that don't translate to other languages and vice versa. (Ex. "In bocca al luppo" is a way to say "good luck" in Italian but literally translates to in the mouth of the wolf.)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CarlaCulve

No wonder it made no sense to me. Its like "I am broke" having something to do with green. (I dont get that one either)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SteveKillick

And certainly not a catchy phrase that I am going to throw into the conversation when I am sitting in a restaurant in Tuscany to show off my Italian linguistic skills!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hekko2

I finished this lesson months ago and have reviewed it many times and this is the first time I encounter this phrase. It's also not the first time some word or phrase only comes up when I'm reviewing a finished lesson. Is it supposed to work like that? Shouldn't we learn all of the vocabulary of a lesson before it gets golden and we start reviewing it?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Marco971290

What is it .... It stands for the noun already mentioned in the aentence a few words after. Odd formulation. Joke? Where is that .in the sentence??


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
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  • 2533

Yes, "it" is something mentioned "off-camera". Presumably someone said something absurd or played some kind of prank. The other comments on this page explain the rest of it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JennaHO

For me, under the "è" in cos'è, it shows that it can be "(you) are." Could this translate to "What are you, a fish of April?" That would make more sense to me seeing as that a person can be the fool or "fish." Or perhaps it is referring to the prank itself, such as the fish on someone's back?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RAKIYOSHI

In Italian the formal form is you is to use the 'she' tense. So "Lei è un pesce" is the formal of "you are a fish".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
Plus
  • 2533

Back when the Gregorian calendar replaced the Julian calendar, the start of the new year was also changed from the end of March to the start of January. People who were reluctant or otherwise slow to accept this change were mocked with fish. Why fish? Possibly because of how the old (fool's) new year coincided with Lent.

http://libguides.ctstatelibrary.org/hg/colonialresearch/calendar

https://frenchmoments.eu/april-fools-day-traditions-in-france-le-1er-avril/


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SteveKillick

If we want to know these sayings why not have a separate unit under the heading "Sayings and Proverbs'? How on earth is a beginner meant to know that a fish in April means April fool? And where is the derivation of the phrase? That would be nice to know too.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
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  • 2533

From more than one comment on this page:

Back when the Gregorian calendar replaced the Julian calendar, the start of the new year was also changed from the end of March to the start of January. People who were reluctant or otherwise slow to accept this change were mocked with fish. Why fish? Possibly because of how the old (fool's) new year coincided with Lent.

http://libguides.ctstatelibrary.org/hg/colonialresearch/calendar

https://frenchmoments.eu/april-fools-day-traditions-in-france-le-1er-avril/

https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/april-fools-day

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