by Ainsley Okoro
The English aren’t naturals when it comes to foreign languages – which may be why they spent hundreds of years ensuring the rest of the world spoke theirs.
As a Brit of a certain age, therefore, the five years in which I’ve tried to master Italian have been far from plain sailing.
Howlers that still make me cringe? Asking a Forte dei Marmi waitress where to leave la mancia (the tip)…only to end up enquiring what to do about la minchia (a crude term for the male genitals). Even worse was the time I confused ho scoperto (“I discovered”) with ho scopato (“I f*****”). It was only our second meeting – but I hope my future mother-in-law guessed what I wanted to say.
But all that trouble to learn the world’s most romantic language…only to find that half of Italy now seems to speak “Anglo-Italiano”, an ugly mishmash of English and Italian.
Accommodation for your visit to Florence? If gli hotel are fully booked, lo staff may point you to un bed and breakfast among i top in the area. Staying longer than a few days? Why not try un residence or un loft with un big open-space and equipped with tutti i comfort?
And being near the town centre should make it ideal to fare lo shopping at un shopping centre, boasting a wide range of i fashion outlet and i discount shop.
Just as bad is the media, where you learn Il Premier Silvio Berlusconi has misused il suo private jet to carry le showgirl and i VIP to i party at his villa. He is also said to have bedded una sexy escort. It’s not the first time il tycoon has committed un gaffe and the scandal has damaged il feeling between him and voters. Now he grumbles about il suo privacy and lo stress.
Following il summit di G8 in Italy – with altri leader such as Barack Obama and le first ladies – Berlusconi called un meeting of his cabinet to tie up un budget. But a journalist has un scoop – during briefing, Berlusconi blamed Il Ministro del Welfare for the deficit hitting un record.
But the worst offenders are beauty and gossip magazines: Madonna non è piu single. She’s found un nuovo boyfriend and she and il suo partner have been photographed in un resort. Fancy un po’ di restyling, Signora? Learn all about il beauty, gli accessory-must and i color this season – sono black and white. And il new look is un paio di jeans with un T-shirt extra large.
Elsewhere, una showgirl from un reality show is drinking i cocktail in un bar, before indulging in a spot of il clubbing then going home with un pop star from un boyband.
Surely Italian has enough words of its own that do the job just as well – velina rather than showgirl, spuntino instead of snack, il fine settimana, not weekend.
Little surprise that in 2008 the prestigious Dante Alighieri Society announced a campaign to halt the use of English in Italian. It’s going to be a tough task – Anglo-Italiano is now il nuovo trend…
Ainsley Okoro works for the property for sale in Italy website Homes and Villas Abroad.com and specialises in Calabria property and Tuscany property