Playing with the Italian language

Whenever I am travelling abroad, paying a visit to a local bookshop is obligatory.

As in many other cities, in Rome I had the opportunity of going to a bookstore while further nurturing my obsession for train stations. 

When I walked in, I had only planned on looking aorund for a while, of inhaling the relaxing atmosphere that becomes perceptible especially when peacefully observing stressed-out individuals.

Little did I know that an Italian friend would start texting me – and that in the matter of a few seconds we would invent a little game more than adequate for our age group 😉

She asked me some questions and told me how her day was going while I tried to find books whose titles could serve as answers.

I think you can immagine how much fun it was – and how psychotic I seemed frantically running from one end of the bookstore to the other with the sole ambition of taking the next photo.

I whole-heartedly recommend you try out this game when you are in a country  where a language you know is spoken. I think it is an extraordinary way of playing around a bit with the language, of getting creative and maybe even of finding a book you might be interested in!!

Unexpectedly Italian

I am not exactly sure what made me think I could go running for more than 20 minutes before spraining my ancle.

But as I was hobbling home from the park through the almost palpable tranquillity of an Italian Saturday, clenching my teeth and swearing under my breath, I had the idea to create a little collage of random bits and pieces of Italian I gathered in unexpected moments.

Frankly, this is the essence of what I imagined living abroad to be like!

I was blasting anglophone music on my I-pod, merely to distract myself from the sharp pain in my foot, and grabbed a lamp post for balance.

In this moment these little notes caught my eye and the Italian reality crept back into my brain as I studied them with great interest. 

I recalled several words I had studied at some point in the past.

Another day, I caught sight of this little shop called “Animal Zone”.

I snapped a photo of the  shutter and learned the word “cavalluccio marino” (which is adorable). 

I only made sense of the complex joke when I asked an Italian friend to explain it to me!! 🙂

This photographic masterpiece is another example of little Italian advertisments and notes I encountered in the city.

Passing by, I read the word “posatura”.

I instantly remembered an almost forgotten, very demanding interpreting class about parquet floors during which I had learned the word.

Another way of tethering myself to the Italian environment is listening to the radio advertisments or watching the infomercials in the subway stations.

Even on early mornings when I’d rather be undisturbed and stumbling through my own headspace, I sometimes make myself watch, telling myself I will not only establish another contact with the Italian language, but also learn a thing or two about Italian culture :

How are advertisments designed, what are the characteristics of the advertising language and which products are advertised?

It took me some time to accept that biscuits with marmelade are being advertised as a breakfast ma è così che si impara, I guess 🙂