Leçons Italien

Thèmes

Dotato o Negato? (Gifted or Talentless?)

Either you've got it or you don't. In English you have talent or you don't have it. But in Italian, there is a special word for each end of the scale. Dotato or negato.

Il maestro dice che non ha mai visto nessuno più negato di me.

The teacher says he has never seen anyone less gifted than me.

Caption 41, Questione di Karma - Rai Cinema - Part 9

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So the speaker had to use the Italian comparative adverb più (more) before the adjective negato (not at all gifted). Whew! Talk about something not translating smoothly into English!

 

Negato is really a great word, though. It offers a great excuse when you want to get out of doing something you don't like to do. 

Sono negato! Fallo tu.
I'm no good at this! You do it.

 

That isn't to say that we can't also talk about having or not having talent, as, for example, in a recent segment of Adriano Olivetti's story:

Adriano, tu hai così tanti talenti.

Adriano, you have so many talents.

Caption 22, Adriano Olivetti - La forza di un sogno Ep. 1 - Part 7

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Another way we can translate negato is "hopeless," because negato implies that one is never going to get better at something. He or she is lacking in the wherewithal to improve. Instead of a higher being bestowing a gift (the gift of talent) on someone, it has been denied him or her.

Ma, dottore non mi dice niente? -Le dico che Lei è negato.

But Doctor don't you have anything to say? -I'll tell you that you're hopeless.

Captions 43-44, Psicovip Il ballo - Ep 25

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And in fact, the verb negare means "to deny."

Senta, Lei è un bel tipo, io non lo posso negare,

Listen, you're a cute type, I can't deny it,

Caption 6, Il Commissario Manara - S1EP1 - Un delitto perfetto - Part 6

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