qui & qua

11/12/2009 - 17:13

Since the forum is very quiet today, maybe this is a good time for me to ask a language question.  This is fairly trivial, but it has bothered me for ages:In every Italian course I've taken, in person or on CD, they teach me that the word for here is qui.  And in every Italian fim I watch, no one ever uses qui. They all use qua instead. When I go to Italy I hear qua in conversation. If qua is what most people use, why isn't qua taught in the language courses?Is it a regional thing? Is there a subtle difference bewteen qui and qua that I should be aware of, or can I use them interchangeably?Lisa 


qua  avv.         1 here: le forbici sono qua the scissors are here; vieni qua come here.         2 (reinforce questo) here, often not translated: questo vestito qua ti sta meglio this dress suits you better, this dress here suits you better; (colloq) che cosa dice questo qua? what is this fellow saying?         3 (con un imperativo) here, just, often not translated: guarda qua che cosa mi hai combinato just look what a mess you've got me into; dammi qua give it to me; give it here.          4 (con un imperativo sottinteso) here, often not translated: qua i soldi give me the money, put the money here.  qui  avv.         1 here: rimani qui e aspettami stay here and wait for me; vieni qui come here.          2 (reinforce) here, often not translated: questo libro qui non mi serve più I don't need this book (here) any more.        3 (fig) (a questo punto) here, at this point: qui scoppiò a piangere at this point she burst out crying. Don't kmow if this makes it any clearer or not. But as I see it, both are acceptable and both are understood as meaning 'here'. But qua is definately idiomatic - a colloquialism that is now part of the language. So it seems it's OK to use either.  

With two boys at pre-school and from our Italian friends qui and qua are the same.Like le and la for there and there. It doesn't not matter which one you say its just a different way of saying it. It makes no difference what so ever. What ever sounds right at the time.

My understanding is that there is no difference.  We have repeatedly asked different people whether one means here in the general area and the other means right here by me (as in Spanish).  However, the answer has always been that there is no difference.  The latest person we asked, a lawyer, said that they are the same but 'Qui' is perhaps more correct.  I have noticed that people use first one and then the other to emphasise something.  For instance, when speaking to a child, they might say 'Vieni qui' a couple of times and then shout 'Vieni qua' for emphasis.  I listened to a Laura Pausini CD the other day and heard nothing but 'Qui' throughout.

I find this post interesting because it appears that my last name, Quicquaro means "here here". My father was born in the Molise region in a small town called Toro. It's odd for an Italian name to have two Q's let alone one. 

Hi lisamc! you are right :) as italian I can say we mostly use "qua" in conversation.Therefore I can perfectly confirm what you are saying :) However, should you be interested to improve your conversation better, I openly advice you a wonderful conversation tutor agency, witch a friend of mine has successefully experienced (Home/office private language tuitions with FREE one hour trial lesson, FREE lessons material, FREE tutor travel expenses to come to your place). I paste for you as follows their link: http://www.theconversationcorner.co.uk/local-language-tutors/ . You may have a ride on their website... Enjoy! Dafne  

According to Devoto-Oli - probably the best monolingual Italian dictionary available - 'qui' is more specific than 'qua', not the other way round, as suggested in earlier posts. There's not much in it, however. Sorry couldn't copy the entry from the dictionary app.