As you might know I have been in and out of Italy for almost one full year. Three months here, a few there, a couple more here and so it goes. I don’t want to digress too much by talking about the first year now because that will be a post to save for next month, but I did start this blog right around the time I arrived and began getting settled. That is why what happened this morning kinda stunned me.
I, like many other of my newly expated amici, are still struggling to learn, what I affectionately call, la musica italiana, or rather – the Italian language. The poetic rhythm of the seemingly continuous vowel-endings and perfectly placed inflections are nice to hear and, if I may say so myself (blush blush), extremely romantico. But, folks – it ain’t an easy language to learn! The grammar is killing me…I will most certainly die an early, if not unforeseen, death by Italian grammatica.
I mean, come on – us English speakers know a table is a table is a table – it has no gender! “It” is wood…you eat on “it” …”it” is an “it”…end of story. But Italians see a table as “il tavolo” – the masculine, unless it is set and ready for you to have dinner upon – then it is “la tavola” – the feminine…ahhh, isn’t that sweet? (growl…)
And, don’t get me started on the word “the.” How many ways do you think it should take to say this word? Not only one simple three-letter word like we have in inglese, but at least 6 that I have found…il, lo, la, i, le – and gli…Mamma Mia! And, it all depends not only on the singular or plural, but, you guessed it – the masculine and the feminine.
There have been many a red-faced, wide-eyed moment when I mispronounced various words in Italian – always in front of other people. It couldn’t have happened when I was studying with Peppe, or even practicing with my Calabrese buddies who are more sophisticated in their lingual comprehension. But, no! It was almost always in front of Peppe’s dad or male friends.
There was the time I tried to say “fichi” (figs) but instead said a very vulgar word describing a female body part…
I meant to say “scappare,” but instead said “scopare”; the first being “to escape”, the second being yet another vulgar slang word describing a sex act (think the “f” word).
I once tried to tell Peppe’s friend that I was 29 years old (in Italiana, I have 29 years), this instead came out, “I have 29 anuses….”(Ah! Mortifying!!!)
But – there are some things I knew. Some basic, if not limited, general rules for the Italian language…
I knew there was a difference in Ti Voglio Bene (I love you….to anybody) and Ti Amo (I love you….to my husband).
I knew Italians used the informal “tu” when speaking to friends, to family members, and to God…
I knew when forming Italian sentences the noun is placed before the adjective.
So – when I named my blog “My Bella Vita,” I knew it was grammatically incorrect from an Italian language perspective. However, I figured since the word “my” isn’t Italian anyway, no one would mind. Right?
Well – this morning, after having my blog for almost 10 months, my ever-so-observant fidanzato announces, “I want to teach you something about Italian.”
(What mistake did I make now??)
Him: “Italian is different from English”
Me: “Ya think?”
(He misses my sarcasm.)
Him: “In Italian, we put the adjective after the noun…like, I say, ‘Cicina Bella’, not ‘Bella Cicina’….
Me: “Yes, I knew this,”
(Smiling from his ever-so-typical and flattering use of an example!)
Him: “We say it opposite from you in English.”
Me: “Yes, I get this…”
Him: “Well, then you need to change your blog!”
Ha ha ha ha ha…he knew the name of my blog??
Me: “Yea, I actually did it on purpose.”
(He waits a few seconds…)
So – for all of you out there who either knew, or cared, or cared to know – the grammatically correct title of my blog is, I am thinking, “La Mia Vita Bella.”
But don’t ya think “My Bella Vita” says it just fine?