I struggle to learn Italian. It seemed easy at first, because so many words seem familiar. We hear a lot in everyday life in Australia. We are used to Italian food and Italian words crop up everywhere. Who hasn’t heard ciao, bella, pizza, vino etc?
Once you get further into the grammar it suddenly becomes much more difficult. There are so many tenses and the plurals and possessives are just awful. On the other hand Italian sounds wonderful when spoken well and there are some truly delightful words.
Here are a few of my favourites.
casalinga – So much nicer than housewife. My husband says I don’t linger around the house much.
mozzafiato – Breathtaking is a pretty easy word to work into an Italian sentence.
scarafaggio – Cockroach is not so easy to work in. I haven’t seen one here.
scombussolato – Mind you, discombobulated is a pretty good English word.
pazzo – It sounds a bit better than crazy.
scervellato – This is equally good in English – flibbertigibbet.
barboncino – What a lovely word for poodle.
chiacchiera – This sounds like what it means – chatter.
pettegolezzo – Take chatter a bit firther into gossip.
stupidaggine – I learned this when I was getting my drivers’ licence – foolishness.
brutto anatroccolo – Let’s hope the ugly duckling turns into a beautiful cigno – swan.
pappagallo – Parrot, hospital urinal or a man who bothers women in the street, pappagallino is a bugerigar and pappagallismo is bothering women the street - very handy word.
I love the way these words just roll off the tongue, once you learn how to pronounce them. Italian can sound great even when you are saying something unpleasant.
I love the quote from Emperor Charles V “I speak Spanish to God , Italian to women, French to men and German to my horse.”
I don’t know where English fits in, but clearly, Italian is the language of love. This quote comes from an excellent book about Italians, called appropriately “The Italians” by Luigi Barzini. I am rereading it and it has lots of really good stuff. If I find some other great quotes I will pass them on.