Lezioni Italiano


Using 4 eyes to talk

There are some expressions that can be figured out if you know all the words, but which we would never come up with on our own. The expression we talk about in this lesson is a fun one. It's all about one-on-one conversations. 


Parlare a quattr'occhi

Here's the expression:

E ancora, "quattr'occhi". È meglio se io e te parliamo a quattr'occhi. Questa espressione vuol dire: in privato, tra di noi.

And further, "four eyes." "It's better if you and I talk with four eyes." This expression means "in private," between us.

Captions 45-47, Marika spiega L'elisione - Part 2

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Literally, this expression means, "to talk in the manner of four eyes." But let's unpack it so that it makes sense. 



Unpacking the expression a quattr'occhi


Parlare means "to talk, to speak." 

A is a preposition that can mean "at, to, in, by, "in the manner of," and other things too. For more about the preposition a, see these lessons.


Quattro means "four."

Occhi is the plural of occhio (eye).


This expression is all about talking face to face, in person, privately. This way, two people can look each other in the eye. 


Using the expression a quattr'occhi


So if you're on the phone with someone, or writing them an email, and you would prefer to have a conversation in person, or privately, you can say:

È meglio se parliamo a quattr'occhi.
It's better if we talk, just you and I.


The noun occhio

In the above-mentioned expression, there's no need for an article. But let's take the opportunity to talk about the noun occhio. It's a masculine noun, and since it starts with a vowel, we use L with an apostrophe for the singular: 

l'occhio (the eye).


But in the plural, it gets a bit more complicated. We need to use gli  as a plural article with a masculine noun beginning with a vowel.

gli occhi (the eyes).



It's a mouthful, for sure.  Here are some examples to watch and listen to! Listen carefully and try to repeat. If you do a search on the videos page, there will be plenty of other examples to try pronouncing.


Tieni gli occhi chiusi adesso, eh.

Keep your eyes closed, now, huh.

Caption 28, Adriano Olivetti La forza di un sogno Ep. 1 - Part 9

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Dixi alzò gli occhi, guardò in cielo,

Dixi raised his eyes, and looked into the sky,

Caption 13, Dixiland Cometa caduta

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Per ora, posso semplicemente proteggere gli occhi dal sole con dei leggeri e maneggevoli occhiali da sole.

For now, I can simply protect my eyes from the sun with light and manageable sunglasses.

Captions 35-36, Francesca neve - Part 2

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Si fanno dei buchi per gli occhi e la maschera è pronta.

One makes holes for the eyes and the mask is ready.

Caption 36, Gatto Mirò EP3 La festa in maschera

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While we're here, let's note that in the examples above, in English we use a possessive pronoun, "my eyes," "his eyes," and so forth, but in Italian, when it's clear who we're talking about, we just use the article. 




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