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  5. "He speaks behind his back."

"He speaks behind his back."

Translation:Lui parla alle sue spalle.

June 26, 2013

39 Comments


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

It is an idiomatic expression. "parlare alle spalle di qualcuno" means "to speak behind someone's back". As in to speak furtively or deceitfully.


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

Literally it means " He speaks to his shoulders" = "He talks behind his back"
Spalle = shoulders
alle sue = to his


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

It's literally the same idiom in Russian


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

Literally the same in Arabic too.


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

Literally the same in Chinese.


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

Why is the plural 'le sue spalle' required here? That doesn't make a great deal of sense


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

"Spalla" literally means "shoulder", not "back". It's hard to talk behind one of somebody's shoulders without also talking behind the other :).


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

In English if someone speaks at their shoulder - it would be someone whose advise you turn to when they are not there. Like they whisper in your ear - things you know they would say if they were there.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DMd619327

According to the dictionary (Wiktionary in my case), 'spalla' means 'shoulder', but in plural, 'spalle', it can also mean 'back' (anatomical). And also another meaning for 'spalla' is 'rear, back' (in general, not only anatomically)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/aen987913

Stop the idioms teach without riddles


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Miles.Walker

Accidentally miss the 's' off 'spalle' and you get a whole different meaning


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

I take it that the subject and object in this sentence are different people?


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

Yes, unless he's a ventriloquist criticizing himself.


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

and a contortionist


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hector_m100

Yes, different people.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jae633849

Yes, but I definitely agree that it would be a better and clearer sentence with any other subject than 'he'.


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

Haha, I wondered the same thing trying to translate it.


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

The literal translation "lui parla dietro la sua schiena" is accepted. Would it be understood in the same way, or would the listener think someone was physically standing behind another and speaking?


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

I'm not a native speaker, but a google for "parla dietro la sua schiena" gave me only one hit, in a context where it was clear that a physical location was meant. I suspect that with sufficient context it could still be understood as "talking behind his back" in the English sense, but would probably sound quite unnatural.


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

I gave that same answer once and it wasn't accepted!


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

The back is schiena and not spalle which means shoulders.


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

Marialramendy: While that's true, it's an idiom and idioms don't / usually don't translate the same way from one language to another. In this case English says "back", but Italian says "shoulders." Another example: We say, "I've had it up to my neck" while Italian says "I've had it up to my hair" . Another: English: "Don't lose your patience!" Italian: "Don't lose your stirrups!" So you can't expect 1:1 equivalence when dealing with idioms or common sayings.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/john585666

DL accepted "Lui parla dietro le spalle." For the first time I wonder if DL is too generous here? :):)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Wendy275378

When we say "Lui parla alle sue spalle" and we mean the idiom one, what about"Lui parla dietro sua schiena", is this a right sentence? Can it still be an idiom or just the real meaning ?


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

I wonder if "Lui parla alle sue spalle" literally means "He speaks to his shoulders"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/a-muktar

"Alle spalle" meaning behind. Its amazing. Incredible.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Guido903943

So the literal translation scheina is wrong?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Guido903943

I got this the second time around and this time it says as correct: Lui parla dietro la schiena.


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

He speaks to his shoulders is literal but it is an idiom. So would a person every have a back ache as opposed to a pain in the shoulder.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/aen987913

About to dump this DL idiom ........


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Aviva914593

Speaks behind his shoulders is the the correct translation


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/David298276

There is a difference between back and shoulder so to be taught that the word back is schiena and say spalla which is shoulder is counter productive.


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

The Italian translation does not fit at all the English phrase> Duo is presenting guess work. We are learning not solving puzzles.


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

Once again, this should be in the idiom section!

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