Translation gaffe at Gatwick

I was shocked to see this beginners’ translation blunder at Gatwick airport. This picture shows a box inviting passengers to donate their spare currency. The largest word on the box says Change. Presumably, this is the original English word. No doubt, the intended message is that passengers should give over their remaining small change. The…… Continue reading Translation gaffe at Gatwick

Using translation to show how the perfect differs across languages

Many western European languages have a perfect tense, formed by combining an auxiliary verb (meaning ‘have’ or ‘be’) with a past participle. Different languages use this verb form in different ways. A recent paper used translations of a well-known French novel to explore those differences. The aim was to see which tense the translators used…… Continue reading Using translation to show how the perfect differs across languages

Italian dictionary will now include feminine forms

The Italian publisher Treccani will change how it lists nouns and adjectives in the next edition of its Dizionario della Lingua Italiana (Dictionary of the Italian Language), due to come out in October. Previous editions have followed the traditional practice of listing nouns and adjectives under only the masculine form of the head word. The…… Continue reading Italian dictionary will now include feminine forms

Romance languages: pronouncing C and G

Here is a tip to help you learn to pronounce the main national Romance languages more correctly. These Romance languages all pronounce the letters <c> and <g> in two different ways, depending on the vowel that follows them. In these languages, these letters are pronounced as [c] and [g] if they are followed by a…… Continue reading Romance languages: pronouncing C and G

Doing work and playing roles in Italian

Several constructions in Italian use the verb fare (‘do’, ‘make’). Two of these constructions look very similar on the surface but syntactically they behave in very different ways. A short book Fare: Elementi di sintassi, by Nunzio La Fauci and Ignazio M Mirto (2003) analyses them. Here are 2 examples: (1) Adamo fa il medicoAdam…… Continue reading Doing work and playing roles in Italian

Only eadsets

Italian phonetic spelling of headset. The ‘eadset in question was in the City Train sightseeing train bus, Sorrento (2012)

Unappetising dishes in Liguria

Didn’t fancy eating a Ligurian, not even fish baked. Somehow the verdure sound less healthy in English. Also, not sure why they are fried in English but rustic in Italian. Pictures taken in 2013 (in Liguria, of course)

Tea: a cappuccino?

Looking for tea on this menu, I eventually found it nestling alongside cappuccino. Difficult to think of two hot drinks that have less in common with each other. In this case, the only common feature was the price. Despite this unpromising beginning, the tea was fine… Below, from the same menu, an alarming disclaimer: the…… Continue reading Tea: a cappuccino?

Italian tongue twister

Trentatré Trentini entrarono a Trento, tutti e trentatré, trotterellando Meaning: thirty-three people from Trento (northern Italy) entered Trento, all thirty-three trotting. I first came across this tongue twister in the mid 1990s in an excellent BBC Italian course Italianissimo. Sadly, this no longer seems to be available.

Silly transliteration

A Bulgarian footballer Bontcho Guentchev played for the English club Ipswich Town from 1992 to 1995. Many people wondered how to pronounce this odd looking name. This strange combination of letters was supplied to the club by the Bulgarian football association. It was supposedly a transliteration of the player’s actual name, which in the Cyrillic…… Continue reading Silly transliteration