Italglish to English Dictionary

28 Aug

Because, seriously? Sometimes you need one.

Let’s start here.

2012-08-27 14.47.22

Gadgets.

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?

No?

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?

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9 Responses to “Italglish to English Dictionary”

  1. Janet Thomas August 28, 2012 at 9:26 pm #

    Just found u again. There have certainly been a lot of changes in your life, but u seem well.
    My life has also changed. I married a Fiorentino I met in Firenze many years ago. So I now divide my time between NY and Lugano. We are hoping to make a trip to Roma in the Fall.

    Am looking forward to reading your blog again. It was one of my favorites.

  2. Janet Thomas August 28, 2012 at 9:28 pm #

    You may remember me as Janavi

  3. Lisa Rosenberg August 28, 2012 at 11:04 pm #

    fare lo shopping !

  4. Catherine August 29, 2012 at 6:47 am #

    I still don’t understand what ‘mobbing’ means. I thought that happened to pop stars. Another one I can’t abide is the ‘spread’ – how can you insert a weight-gain term into an economics discussion?

    And how dare they call sex toys gadgets!

  5. codecables August 29, 2012 at 1:18 pm #

    il ministero del “welfare” (employment and social affairs)

  6. j.doe August 31, 2012 at 9:40 pm #

    I would have to say it is a tie between Eepohda (Ipad) and Soov(S.U.V.)
    You’re posts are always entertaining.

  7. kataroma September 2, 2012 at 7:03 pm #

    A few years ago someone told me I should download music on eh-mew-leh. Mobbing always gets me too. Why is it so prevalent here? Maybe because no one ever leaves their jobs?

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