Archive for the ‘Italian’ Category

9/9: not a non-event

September 9, 2021

(Astonishingly, this silly posting will devolve into references to male pubes (NOAD entertains both /pjúbìz/ and /pjubz/ as pronunciations, by the way, so do as thou wilt) and photos of hunky young men stripped down to them, so it’s not to everyone’s taste.)

It is once again Negation Day, a festival for semanticists, also customarily the day for the annual convention of No Joke, aka the Society for Language Play.

This year, the semanticists will gather en masse at the Square of Opposition, where a statue of Larry Horn, caught in mid-smile, will be unveiled; and in collaboration with the No Joke meeting, there will be staged performances of Monty Python’s “Argument Clinic” sketch. Then, as usual: a clinic for those suffering from overnegation and undernegation; and a bazaar where shoppers can rummage for negative polarity items and reinforcements for their everyday negatives. (Just Don’t Do It: because of ugly incidents in the past, metalinguistic negatives have been banned from the festival site.)

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Why is he calling her his thesaurus?

May 28, 2019

Today’s morning name was the Italian phrase il mio tesoro, and there’s no mystery where it came from: on my overnight iTunes, the 1959 Carlo Maria Guilini recording of Don Giovanni had reached Luigi Alva singing “Il Mio Tesoro” just as I woke. What was odd was that my still sleep-addled brain was puzzling over why Don Ottavio was calling Donna Anna his thesaurus.

Attribute it to an overactive mental-association apparatus connecting It. il tesoro ‘treasure’ (but also ‘darling, honey, dear’) to Engl. thesaurus referring to a specialized type of dictionary (derived ultimately from Greek). In this case, one reproducing a historical connection between It. tesoro ‘darling’ and It. tesoreria ‘thesaurus’, which are, etymologically, second cousins, more or less.

After this, on to the aria, with performances by Alva, Araiza, and Domingo.

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Chic peas and more

October 13, 2018

The fall special at Dan Gordon’s (on Emerson St. in Palo Alto), as it first appeared on the menu, about a month ago:

Summer Stew $16.95
smoked pork / cippolini onions / chic peas / prunes / red rice

(with the very notable spelling chic peas and with the misspelling cippolini for cipollini). But now the ingredients list reads:

smoked pork / cippolini onions / chickpeas / dehydrated plums / red rice

(with the notable dehydrated plums). Actually, all four ingredients have linguistic interest.

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Through the centuries in the morning

September 10, 2018

The morning name for the 6th: Attraverso i Secoli, the title of an elementary Italian textbook from about 60 years ago. Not mine, but Ann Daingerfield Zwicky’s. No longer in my possession, after several years of the Great Library Divestment, but still I remember it, and it somehow surfaced in my dreamtime.

The title attraverso i secoli ‘(down) over / through(out) / across the centuries / ages’ is a PP with the very interesting P attraverso, which (historically) is itself a P + a N derived from a verb of motion (cf. the English V traverse).

And the expression as a whole is formulaic, a conventional way of referring to (all of) historic time.

As a bonus, there’s the book Il Quidditch Attraverso i Secoli by Kenilworthy Whisp.

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The Three Marcos, the Three Marcusites

August 27, 2018

(Hunky men in skimpy underwear, but otherwise not alarming. And it will take you to some surprising places.)

Today’s Daily Jocks guy, for Marcuse underwear, with the ad copy (lightly edited):


(#1) Marco Brown, the pool boy with a white thong in his heart

Sporty & sexy, the premium Egoist collection from Marcuse will give everyone around you wild thoughts. Available in 2 colors [white and navy] and 3 styles, jockstrap, [bikini] brief & thong.

The first of the Three Marcos. On to the others…

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