Learn Italian in Song: Tu Vuo’ Fa’ L’Americano

You Want to Act American

Renato Carosone

This is a tricky translation; the original is more or less in Neapolitan dialect, which I don’t know much of. I hope some qualified readers will jump in to help out!

Puorte ‘e cazune cu nu stemma arreto…na cuppulella cu ‘a visiera aizata…
passa scampanianno pe’ Tuleto
comm’a nuguappo, pe’ se fa’ guarda’…Tu vuo’ fa’ l’americano
mericano, mericano…
sient’a mme chi t’ ‘o ffa fa’?tu vuoi vivere alla moda,
ma se bevi “whisky and soda”
po’ te siente ‘e disturba’…Tu abball’ o’ rocchenroll
tu giochi a baisiboll…ma e solde p’ e’ Ccamel
chi te li da
la borsetta di mammaTu vuo’ fa’ l’americano
mericano, mericano…
ma si’ nato in Italy!sient’ a mme: nun ce sta niente ‘a fa’
ok, napulitan!
tu vuo’ fa’ l’american
tu vuo’ fa’ l’american!

Come te po’ capi’ chi te vo’ bbene

si tu lle parle miezo americano?
quanno se fa ll’ammore sott’ ‘a luna
comme te vene ‘ncapa ‘e di’ “I love you”?

Tu vuo’ fa’ l’americano
mericano, mericano…

sient’a mme chi t’ ‘o ffa fa’?
tu vuoi vivere alla moda,
ma se bevi “whisky and soda”
po’ te siente ‘e disturba’…
Tu abball’ o’ rocchenroll
tu giochi a baisiboll…

ma e solde p’ e’ Ccamel
chi te li da
la borsetta di mamma

Tu vuo’ fa’ l’americano
mericano, mericano…
ma si’ nato in Italy!

sient’ a mme: nun ce sta niente ‘a fa’
ok, napulitan!
tu vuo’ fa’ l’america
tu vuo’ fa’ l’america
tu vuo’ fa’ l’america!

You wear trousers with a logo on the backand a cap with the visor raised
you walk jingling down the Tuleto
like a Mafioso to get yourself looked atYou want to act American,
American, American
listen to me, who forces you to do it?
You want to be fashionable
but if you drink
“whisky and soda”you will feel “a disturbance” [gastric]
You dance rock ‘n’ roll
you play baseball
but the money for the Camels
who gives it to you?Mamma’s purse.You want to act American,
American, American,
but you were born in Italy!
Listen to me, there’s nothing to doOK, Neapolitan!

You want to act American,
You want to act American!

How can you understand that I care about you
if you speak [?] American?
When we make love beneath the moon

How are you capable of saying “I love you”?

etc.

don’t miss the Sophia Loren version:
And then there’s this dance.

And Gino the Chicken’s version.

 

9 thoughts on “Learn Italian in Song: Tu Vuo’ Fa’ L’Americano

  1. Marco

    perhaps I can help you, I live near Naples 😉

    cu nu stemma arreto = con uno stemma dietro = with a logo behind.

    passa scampanianno pe’ Tuleto = passi scampanando per (via) Toledo = you walk jingling on Toledo (street). Via Toledo is the Naples’ Main Street.

    nuguappo (nu guappo) = un bullo = a bully (literally the “guappo” is a gangster).

    Come te po’ capi’ chi te vo’ bbene si tu lle parle miezo americano? = come può capirti chi ti vuole bene se tu le parli mezzo americano?= how can someone who loves you, understand you, if you speak to her half american? (i.e. half american and half neapolitan language).
    Please note that “te” is the object of the verb “capi’(= capire = understand)” and “chi (te vo’ bbene)” is the subject of the auxiliary verb “po’(= può = can)”.

    😉

    I hope I have been of some help and enjoy the neapolitan songs!

    Ciao dall’Italia!
    Marco

  2. Richard Davies

    I remember an English version of this being used on an advert (I think it was for jeans, not totally sure) a few years ago.

  3. Pingback: Vuo Fa L’Americano: Do you want to be an American? « When Nutmeg Met Basil

  4. Zanzu

    Pretty good translation, but “comme t vene ‘ncapp ‘e di’ “I love you”? Means more literally, “Come ti viene nella testa di dire ‘I love you’?”. Or how does it come to you to say I love you, or what makes you think to say I love you.

    And, Comm t po’ capi’ chi te vo’ bbene?, means How can the one who loves you understand you.

    I hope I helped.
    Stàteve bbuon’!

  5. Fakeid Salman Mohammad

    Tu vuo’ fa’ l’americano
    Literally: You want to be the American
    Meaning: You’re an American wannabe

    Come te po’ capi’ chi te vo’ bbene
    si tu lle parle miezzo americano?
    quanno se fa ll’ammore sott’ ‘a luna
    comme te vene ‘ncapa ‘e di’ “I love you”?

    How can the one who loves you (your girl friend) understand you
    If you speak to her in Half-american
    When you make love under the moon (When there’s love to be made, under the moon)
    How does it occur to you to say “I love you”? ( Where do you get off saying “I love you”?)

  6. Patrizia Nicol

    Marco…I learnt French with french songs….but in this case, although I love the song and all the canzoni napoletane…that is not italian but a dialect spoken in Napoli….

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