"He speaks behind his back."

Translation:Lui parla alle sue spalle.

June 26, 2013

29 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/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.

March 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Azechka

It's literally the same idiom in Russian

July 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/MarioAndrews

Literally the same in Arabic too.

November 22, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/tangzx

Literally the same in Chinese.

January 8, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/eduardobutlero

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

January 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/pont

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

February 28, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/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.

March 22, 2019

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

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

January 25, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Jae633849

Oh DEAR.

February 22, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/aen987913

Stop the idioms teach without riddles

July 1, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Blomeley

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

June 26, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Germanlehrerlsu

Yes, unless he's a ventriloquist criticizing himself.

June 16, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/hector_m100

Yes, different people.

August 25, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Jae633849

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

February 22, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Germanlehrerlsu

Jae, I agree.

February 22, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/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?

October 11, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/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.

February 28, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/benedettovagnoni

The second

July 8, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/LindaNordin

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

January 30, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/MariaIramendy

The back is schiena and not spalle which means shoulders.

February 3, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/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.

February 3, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/john585666

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

May 2, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/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 ?

July 28, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/RuddiW

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

September 16, 2018

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

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

October 4, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Guido903943

So the literal translation scheina is wrong?

January 17, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Guido903943

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

January 17, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/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.

January 18, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/aen987913

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

July 1, 2018
Learn Italian in just 5 minutes a day. For free.