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Archive for March, 2009

La Primavera! Posted by on Mar 31, 2009

The 21st of March was the official beginning of Primavera (Spring), and as the proverb goes: ‘a San Benedetto una rondine sotto il tetto’ (for Saint Benedict a swallow under the roof), because in the Italian calendar the Saint for the 21st of March is San Benedetto, and when the swallows appear it’s a sign that…

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Misleading Word of the Day 5. Posted by on Mar 29, 2009

The ‘Misleading Word of the Day’ for today is ‘mais’ (maize, or sweet corn) which we use to make ‘la polenta’, a savoury dish with the consistency of thick porridge. This word is misleading in a rather amusing way due to the Italian pronunciation which sounds just like ‘mice’! The following is a more-or–less true…

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Misleading Word of the Day 4. Posted by on Mar 27, 2009

Today’s ‘Misleading Word of the Day’ is also a potentially embarrassing one: preservativo. In Italian preservativo doesn’t mean ‘preservative’, but ‘condom’! You can imagine how this can lead to rather ‘awkward’ situations such as the following: A shy young Italian couple were on honeymoon in Lucca. One evening they met a rather ‘gentile’ English couple…

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Misleading Word of the Day 3. Posted by on Mar 25, 2009

Today’s ‘Misleading Word of the Day’ is attendere. In Italian, rather than meaning ‘to attend’, attendere has the following meanings: 1. ‘to wait for’, ‘to await’, e.g. ‘ho atteso l’autobus per oltre mezz’ora’ (I waited for the bus for more than half an hour), or ‘attendiamo  che arriva Anna per mangiare’ (let’s wait for Anna…

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Misleading Word of the Day 2. Posted by on Mar 24, 2009

As we saw in yesterday’s blog, identifying similarities between English and Italian words can be a very useful way of extending your vocabulary. This strategy should however be used with caution because some words which sound more or less identical in both languages can be misleading: ‘Misleading Word of the Day’: pretendere. The obvious deduction…

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Misleading Word of the Day Posted by on Mar 23, 2009

Successful learners of Italian soon develop the good habit of identifying similarities between English and Italian words. This can be a very useful way of extending your vocabulary thanks largely to the Latin element present within the English language. You will often notice for example that words which end with –tion in English will end in –zione…

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Torta Verde di Lucca Posted by on Mar 20, 2009

I was inspecting the orto (vegetable garden) yesterday and to my delight I saw that the bietole (Swiss chard, a type of perennial spinach very popular here in Italy) is starting to grow back after its winter rest. I immediately thought of Torta Verde di Lucca (Lucca’s Green Pie), also known as Torta di Verdure (Vegetables Pie) or Torta…

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