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Dear Maria,

Can you please help me to both understand and to translate the phrase -  “ma perché” and the word “però”  as these are used in line 4 of the following dialogue:

[1]  Gabriella:
Guarda qui. Cominciamo  da Napoli, poi visitiamo Bologna e ci dirigiamo a Firenze attraversando l’interno ... qui... in Umbria. Poi proseguiamo per Genova, quindi per Venezia, Milano, la Sicilia, la Sardegna e Roma. Ti  va bene?

[2  Piero:
Beh, mi sembra poco pratico.

[3] Gabriella:  
Come, prego?

[4]  Piero:  
Ma perché  noi siamo qui, a Torino.  Però stiamo per partire  per  Roma, poi per Firenze, Bologna e quindi per il nord.  Allora, partiamo domani per Roma.

I am having a hard time understanding why the two Italian words that mean “but” (ma and però) are included in this sentence.

It would help me, if I knew for sure how to translate this sentence.  Should line 4 be translated as the following:
"But because we are here in Turin.  But we will leave for Rome, then Florence, Bologna and then toward the north.  So, we will leave tomorrow for Rome."

I am very unsure about “ma perché”.  Can you please tell me if “ma perché” should be considered as two separate words and translated literally as “but because” ?    Or, is “ma perché” an idiomatic expression that has a meaning different than when these two words are used separately? I am asking this question  because it  seems as if just saying “perchè”  (without including “ma”)  would sound better  as this would be translated - “because we are here in Turin”.    

Also, I still just cannot understand why the word “però”   is included.  If “però” means “but”  - it  just does not seem as if this word needs to be included.  The translation sounds awkward in English,  and I just don’t know how to attempt to conceptualize the meaning in Italian.

Would it not sound better just to say:    
"Perché  noi siamo qui, a Torino,  stiamo per partire  per  Roma, poi per Firenze, Bologna e quindi per il nord."  
"Because we are here in Turin, we will leave for Rome, then Florence, Bologna and then towards the north."  

I don’t mean to disagree - I just do not understand.  I would very, very much appreciate your help.    Thank you very much.

Sincerely,

Rich

Answer
Dear Rich,

generally speaking,  the adversative conjunctions “ma” and “però”  correspond to the English word “but”.
Anyway, they can also be translated differently, according to their context.
For example,  in “Ma perché  noi siamo qui, a Torino.  Però stiamo per partire  per  Roma, poi per Firenze, Bologna e quindi per il nord.  Allora, partiamo domani per Roma” the speaker uses “Ma “ before “perché” in the colloquial expression “Ma perché” simply because he is replying to his conversation partner’s  sentence ” Come, prego?” and thus says:” Ma perché...” corresponding to “Because...”, not “But because..”.

As for “Però” in “Però stiamo per partire  per  ...”, it stands for “Tuttavia” since the adversative conjunction  “però” can be the same as “tuttavia” literally corresponding to the English adversative conjunction “however”/”but”.

In short, line 4 should  be translated as "Because we are here in Turin. But / However we will leave for Rome, then Florence, Bologna and then toward the north.  So, we will leave tomorrow for Rome",  or better: “Because we are here in Turin and we will leave for Rome, then Florence, Bologna and then towards the north....."  

To conclude, “ma perché” can be considered  an idiomatic  colloquial expression that has a meaning different than when these two words are used separately, while “però” (literally, “but/however) does not need to be translated in this context just because its  translation  would sound awkward in English.

As you know, in fact, every language has its distinctive peculiarities, so that what we use in an Italian sentence can be not necessary in another language, and vice versa.

Hope I made myself understood.

Best,
Maria

Italian Language

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Maria

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Italian is my mother tongue and I'll be glad to answer any questions concerning Italian Language.

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Over 25 years teaching experience.

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I received my Ph.D.in Classics (summa cum laude) from Genova University (Italy).

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