Because, seriously? Sometimes you need one.
Let’s start here.
Oh, gadgety gadgets. Wait, wait. Sorry. I just have to throw in a childhood tribute here to this almighty word. Because 2 and a half million viewers simply can’t be wrong.
My most trusted word authority, Merriam-Webster, defines “gadget” thus:
: an often small mechanical or electronic device with a practical use but often thought of as a novelty
Um, ok. Works for me, right?
And yet, once you come to Italy, all bets are off. God bless you if you’re looking for a gadget somewhere.
What in God’s name is a gadget, when in Rome?
Well, to be perfectly honest with you, I’ve never even really taken the time to do an in-depth study. It was floating around in my head somewhere between something you buy in a so-called “sexy shop” and something that, as evidenced by the photo above that I took in my neighborhood, something(s) you might buy in a stationery shop.
Good God. Well, where to begin? How about the Italian version of Yahoo Answers?! That should give us a push in the right direction, no?
Oh wow. This person actually goes into the etymology of gadget. Dear me, that could only interest this person I know. So, without delving into too much detail, suffice to say that it’s basically described as a type of tchotchke. Does that help at all? No? Ok. How about (from Wiki article) gewgaw, knickknack, swag, bauble, thingamajig, doodad, lagniappe, trinket, or kitsch?
Ok. How about worthless, pointless junk? Better, no?
What about when gadget is used like this, however? In Italian you find eroticgadget.com and intimategadgets.com. I swear the people over here love substituting the term “gadget” in the place of “sex toy.” Not sure why. Maybe it goes back to the whole Merriam-Webster “mechanical or electronic device with a practical use.” HA! I kill myself. Go, go gadget … you finish that one.
Do you see where I’m going with this? No, me neither. No matter. Point being, like in many foreign languages, Italian has taken English words and kind of mutated them into weird new hybrids. It’s ridiculous because Italians look at me like a big, fat dummy when I don’t have a clue what they’re talking about when they say some nonsense like “Vado a fare trekking poi vado a vedere un film splatter così posso dimenticare il mobbing a lavoro.” And on and on. Trekking, splatter, mobbing.
Trekking means hiking. A “splatter” movie is a gory horror movie, lots of blood. Mobbing is like a sort of psychological harrassment at work. I’ll never forget when I first came here. Some friends were like, “Oh, Paolo wrote a book on mohbeeng.” Like I was supposed to be all “Oh! MOHBEENG! Sure! I know all about that!”
Oh, people. I thought that when the Itals said “Harry Potter” they were saying ricotta. The trials and tribs of learning a foreign language. Never-ending.
Wee! Off to buy me some gadgets now. Thank you for your time. What’s your favorite English “loan word” in Italian?