I'm a bad, bad American

Today at lunch, from a conversation about scorpion bites, adolescent torturing of animals, and (as always) the problem with English short vowels, I learned a bunch of new words for animals in Italian and can say that I'm afraid of mice. (Incidentally, this confused the Italians because I didn't know the word in Italian and the English word mice is a homophone for mais, or corn in Italian. Yes, I am afraid of corn.) Having worked that out, the conversation turned to interrogating me on the fauna of North Carolina. I insisted that we have bears and panthers, but the Italians insisted that panthers are only in Africa and we have pumas instead. CP asked if I lived in a fattoria, which he helpfully translated as "factory" in English. Turns out, it means farm. Somehow, CP then started talking about east coast geography - he named the states starting with Florida and moving north to NC. He left out Georgia, which I pointed out. He then asked, "Quanti stati ha America? Cinquanta due (52), si?" I paused, absolutely confused by the question, and had to think how many states there are. Amidst lots of laughter from the Italians, I said that no, we have 50. CP continued to argue with me, though, insisting that Hawaii and Alaska count as states, so that makes 52, right? The moral of the story is, after an hour of attuning my brain to Italian, it takes me a wee bit too much time to access the American side. I also go to reprise my Brad Pitt conversation for Valentina, rattling off as quickly as I could the series brad, bread, braid, broad, brood, and reiterating that, yes, they all sound different to me.

Italian words I learned today: topo (mouse); pozzo (a well); pantagone (giant rat - I think this is slang); fattoria (farm); parccheggiare a spina (diagonal parking); gradi francesi (represented the way we do degrees Fahrenheit, is a measure of water hardness).


Chris Cameron said…
The last panther in NC was actually shot in Orange County back in the very early 1800s. Spot called the Panther's Den near the old antebellum gravel quarry outside Hillsborough.

Popular Posts