On Location Italian – 29 Nov 2012

121129-nicoleBuongiorno a tutti and welcome once again to On Location Italian. It’s Nicole here back with another post brought to you all the way from the romantic city of Verona. As always, it has been a very busy couple of days, the highlight of which was a trip to Rome. They say Rome was not built in a day and, speaking from experience, it definitely cannot be seen in a day. However, spending the weekend there gave me an idea of just how beautiful Italy’s capital truly is. It has also fueled a desire in me to return before the end of my year-long Italian adventure.

With plans in the pipeline to also visit other Italian cities such as Milan, Florence and Venice, I began thinking of the differences in the Italian language across the country. There are many different dialects used throughout the country and my Italian teacher here explained to me that until the 1950s, the various regional languages were the main means of communication. In addition to the unification of Italy, Italian became the common national language mainly thanks to the development of the television. Hearing about the regional languages led me to think back to when I first arrived in Verona. I often spoke of my babbo, a typically Tuscan word meaning “Dad”. I soon discovered that whilst babbo is commonly used in Tuscany, the rest of Italy say papá. I guess it gave the game away that my ancestors originate from Tuscany! After looking into it, it seems that babbo can also be used in some parts of Italy to call someone stupid. Another Tuscan expression is garbare (“to like”) although Tuscans also use the widespread piacere (“to like”).

I’m looking forward to travelling from region to region and picking up some more regional words and phrases. But before I seek out the map to plan my next excursion, I want to leave you with a couple of expressions I have learned this week. The first is sbarcare il lunario. Sbarcare by itself means “to unload” or “to land” but the expression as a whole can be translated as “to make ends meet”. The second expression is avere le mani bucate. To have mani bucate is to be someone that cannot hold onto money. In other words, it means to be a “big spender” or as they say in English, a “spendthrift”. Quite fitting really since if I want to travel around Italy I really can’t get away with having mani bucate.

I hope you have all enjoyed reading my blog for this week and I will be back shortly with more On Location Italian. A presto!

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