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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



What an interesting term!


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 :)


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.


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

  • 1478

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


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!)


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

  • 2533

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


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.


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


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


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


> "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.


"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)


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


No you're not: )


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.


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


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.


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.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.


Thank you for the history! I loved it!


Grazie A great help


I certainly didn't see that one coming.


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


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


Ah, now I get it. Thank you!


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


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


This should be under idioms.


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.


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.


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


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


but you. learned, eh?


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


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


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".


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.


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


Is this an April Fool's joke?


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


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 :)))


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


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.


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


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

  • 2533

d' is the contracted form of de.

da does not get contracted.


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

  • 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.




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?


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


nor is ''April fool'' should be reported


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


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


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?


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


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.

  • 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.


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


Interessantissimi xD


Does this mean Italian's also celebrate April Fools?


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


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.)


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)


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!


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?


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??

  • 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.


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?


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".

  • 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.




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.

  • 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.




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