SPEAK LIKE AN ITALIAN

How Many Italian Christmas Songs Do You Recognize?

Are you ready for the holidays yet? We’ve had so much fun preparing for the festivities right along with you – we’ve taken you on a tour of some of the best European-style Christmas markets in the U.S., we’ve cooked up a holiday meal, and we’ve shared how to celebrate the holidays like an Italian.

In the whirlwind of shopping, cooking, and wrapping, sometimes it’s hard to slow down and enjoy the holidays. So this week, we’re encouraging you to sit down, relax, and enjoy the company of those around you.22

shutterstock_120497146

In Italy, relaxation time often involves music (and wine, of course!), so this week we’ve rounded up some of our favorite Italian Christmas songs to accompany your holiday parties. Take a listen and sing along! (more…)


Speak Like an Italian: 3 Italian Phrases You Should Know

10348604_810012152394176_7336700411289836655_n

If you’re planning on visiting Italy anytime soon, you might be worried about the language barrier.  Learning Italian can take some time, and is sometimes easier said than done.

While Rome wasn’t built in a day, there are some easy phrases that will help you communicate in Italy and sound like a natural in front of the locals. Whether you grew up listening to Nonna and Papa’s fluent Italian, you’re trying to remember what you learned in high school, or you’ve never heard a lick of Italian in your life, these four quick tips will provide a boost of confidence when you’re not sure what to say to your new Italian friends!

(more…)


Speak like an Italian: words we borrow from Italy

dolce vita fellini movieItalian phrases: That’s a poster from Federico Fellini’s 1960 classic film, left, “La Dolce Vita” (which means literally “sweet life”), gave the English language not one but two popular expressions.

Italian has given the English-speaking world so many wonderful words and phrases. Here are a few of them and their origins.

paparazzi

This word was coined by Italian director Federico Fellini for his 1960 film La dolce vita. One of the photographers that follows the main characters around Rome is named Paparazzi. (more…)


How do you say ‘have a good weekend’ in Italian?

Here’s a list of simple Italian sayings that can really come in handy, especially when you’re trying to say have a great weekend!

Work/Study

Buon lavoro = may your work be fruitful.
Buona lettura = enjoy your reading.
Buona lezione = may the lecture/class be fruitful.
Buon seminario = may the seminar/class be fruitful.
Buono studio = may your study be fruitful.

Senses

Buon appetito = enjoy your food.
Buon ascolto = enjoy the music [listening].
Buona degustazione = enjoy the tasting.
Buona spaghettata = enjoy your spaghetti [pasta].
Buona visione = enjoy the movie.

Travel/Recreation

Buona continuazione = enjoy the rest of your day/activity.
Buona domenica = enjoy your day of rest [the day of the Lord].
Buone feste = happy holidays.
Buon fine settimana [buon weekend] = have a great weekend.
Buona permanenza = enjoy your stay.
Buon proseguimento = enjoy the rest of your stay/activity.
Buone vacanze = enjoy your vacation.
Buon viaggio = have a safe trip.
Buon volo = have a safe flight.
Buon weekend [buon fine settimana] = have a great weekend.

Health/Rest

Buona guarigione = I wish you a speedy recovery.
Buon riposo = sleep well [get well soon].

Greetings/Salutation

Buona giornata = have a great day.
Buon giorno = good day [greetings].
Buona notte = good night [good-bye].
Buon pomeriggio = good afternoon [greetings].
Buona sera = good evening [greetings].
Buona serata = have a great evening.

Which ones are we missing? Please feel free to add others in the comment section…


Italy has a new prime minister

italian prime minister

Image via Prime Minister Enrico Letta’s blog.

From Wikipedia:

Letta received from the president Giorgio Napolitano on 24 April 2013 the task of forming a new government, after weeks of deadlock following the 2013 general election. On 27 April 2013, Letta formally accepted the task of heading a new grand coalition government (with support from his party, right-wing People of Freedom and the centrist Civic Choice) and presented the list of members of his cabinet.

The third youngest Italian to become head of state, Letta became Italy’s first prime minister to appoint an African Italian to a government post when he made Cécile Kyenge his minister of Integration.

Click here for New York Times coverage of Italy’s new government.


Pepperoni pizza: avoiding a false cognate in Italy

peperoni pizza italy

We’ve written about “false cognates” (also known as “false friend”) here before.

One of the most common false cognates — words or expressions that have often comically different meanings in Italian and English — is pepperoni pizza.

If you order a pep[p]eroni pizza in Italy, the pizzaiolo will make you a pizza topped with bell peppers (peperoni in Italian).

If you want a pizza like the one above (akin to the American pepperoni, made with salty and sometimes spicy dried sausage, thinly sliced), you need to order a pizza alla diavola, a devil’s style pizza, a name owed to the fact that spicier sausage is generally used in Italy for this type of pizza.


Ciao, one of the Venetians’ greatest gifts to the world

Ciao… It’s a word that you hear nearly every day. Whether Italy, France, Germany, England, or the U.S.

It’s one of those words — a popular salutation — that has become a thread in the fabric of our lives. From teenagers to their grandparents, from celebrities to Joe the Plumber, from New York to Los Angeles and every neighborhood in between, even if you don’t use the word, you know what it means…

In English ciao is used exclusively as a salutation when saying good-bye.

In Italian, it’s used as both a greeting and a farewell. And when saying good-bye, Italians will often say it twice: ciao ciao

The word comes from sixteenth-century Venetian dialect, ciao from the Latin sclavus meaning slave.

It was commonly used at the court of Venice (at the height of the Most Serene Republic of Venice) to express respect as in the saying, “I am your humble servant.”

In English it’s commonly pronounced similarly to the word chow (/ˈtʃaʊ/).

In Italian, the oh in the (letter) o is more prominent (ˈtʃaːo).

The Venetians, who have a five- as opposed to seven-vowel system (like that in Italian), emphasize all the vowels: chee-ah-oh.

Such a small word but such a great legacy. All stretching back to a form of courtesy in Renaissance Venice.