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Lately, I've been encountering expressions that I believe are of analogous construction and I'm having trouble understanding what the individual words mean:

For example, "Chi se ne frega" (Who cares/Who gives a damn) or "... e lui se ne va" (and he goes away/he leaves).

Could someone decode these sentences for me?

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    "Fregarsene" and "andarsene" are some of what are called "verbi pronominali": have a look at this answer.
    – Charo
    Jan 11 '20 at 8:55
  • Thanks for your answer! From what I've understood by now is that the 'se' in pronomial verbs is actually 'si' (but it changes because there's another pronoun in front). I still am not sure what exactly the 'ne' means here.
    – PejoPhylo
    Jan 11 '20 at 9:00
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    treccani.it/vocabolario/ne1
    – DaG
    Jan 11 '20 at 9:08
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    It's the presence of both pronouns, "si" (as you said, in the form "se" because it is in front of another pronoun) and "ne" which modifies the meaning of the verb. In the first sentence "ne" can be understood as "di questo", whereas in the second one it would be "da qui".
    – Charo
    Jan 11 '20 at 9:56
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As you can see in this answer, both "fregarsene" and "andarsene" fall into a class of Italian verbs called "verbi pronominali". These are verbs that change in meaning when they are accompanied by some clitic pronouns. In particular, as explained in Vivit website, the meaning of these two verbs is:

  • fregarsene = non avere interesse per qualcosa (to have any interest in something)
  • andarsene = andare via da un posto (to go away from one place)

Note that it's the presence of both pronouns, "si" (as you said in a comment, in the form "se" because it is in front of another pronoun) and "ne" which modifies the meaning of the verb. Anyway, particle "ne" in the sentence "Chi se ne frega" can be understood as "di questo" (about this), whereas in "... e lui se ne va" would be "da qui", "da questo posto" (from here, from this place).

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  • Thank you very much for taking the time to distill this information :)
    – PejoPhylo
    Jan 12 '20 at 9:05

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