Lindsay Lewis

English/ ESL consultant: Word worker, writer, teacher, mentor and poet. Author of This Won’t Hurt a Bit! on writing clear content.

Italiano- que bella ! Looking at familiar words through new eyes.

Posted by on Oct 6, 2019

I’m studying Italian and che bella language. I was reading the history of the Medici family, and noticed the word Parliamento.  When I think of the word Parliament, I of course imagine the Parliament buildings, but in fact, the original Parliament was obviously related to the root PARLE  – to speak. In fact, the signores would gather in Florence to discuss matters of political importance. So many of the words are Greek and Latin cognates- and they share much with Spanish and French. Tavola, le table….

Another fascinating word was seminterrato, or basement in Italian. I immediately saw the connection to the English word Cemetary, but of course, the Italian word comes from semi – half, and terra  – earth, suggesting that the basement is half in the earth. One hopes that Cemetaries do not half bury people in earth!

I’m in the acquisition stage of learning, so I listen to tapes for hours about needing a “Prenotazzione, or reservation” for a tavola, going to work by Machina, or car, saying I’d like, Vorrei… I’m very excited to be learning this language. I’ll try not to butcher it but I’m sure I’ll make many mistakes and use Spanish words instead of Italian. Buon viaggero!