Going to Italy? Well good for you! Just as with travelling to other countries, learning a little of their language would do you good. It doesn’t matter if you master it by heart or have a handy dandy translating dictionary with you, as long as you know the words and what they mean then you’re in good hands. However, knowing the meaning of words are sometimes not enough.
As you know, languages have different intonations with words. And in some languages, a little difference in intonation can lead to a difference in meaning. Thus, pronunciation is vital especially if it’s a foreign language. So, if you’ll be travelling to Italy and decide that you want to show of some of your Italian skills then here are the five Italian words that you wouldn’t dare mispronounce.
This word is a noun, which means fig. Sweet and succulent, figs are quite well loved, right? Yes, just make sure that you maintain saying this word in a masculine way in which it ends with a powerful and clear “o”. Be wary, since once you make it slang and say it like “figa” or “fica” then you are in big trouble. Why?—because the last two are Italian words that actually refer to the female anatomy’s vagina.
However, if you would desire to say that something’s generally cool or a certain man is attractive, then you could say “figo.”
This is yet another noun, which could mean penne, or basically the type of pasta. It may also mean “pens” in which the singular form would be “penna”. It would be helpful to know that the Italian language is quite particular with the letters on their words, in which you have to pronounce each letter clearly. Thus, the word ‘penne’ should be pronounced as ‘pen-ne’.
Although non-Italian ears wouldn’t be able to discriminate the difference with regard to pronouncing correctly the double ‘n’ or not; Italian ears however would definitely do, most especially with this word. Why?—Since once you pronounce it as “pene” you are actually referring to the word “penis”. Such little variation in pronunciation could lead to a big difference with meaning!
This is a noun for “nap”. When saying this word, make sure that you pronounce it the way it is written. Do not forget the long “o” in the middle too. If ever you become lazy, and say it like “pisellino,” which literally means “small pea”. However, even though ‘small pea’ is the literal translation, it is also Popeye’s Swee’Pea in Italian, which is the slang word for ‘tiny pene’. Hence, to put it briefly, go have a nap and not a tiny penis.
This verb means “to escape”. This is yet another word that you should be careful in pronouncing the middle vowel. If you mispronounce it to “devo scopare,” then you are actually telling somebody that you’ve got to sweep the floor. Although that seems not so bad at all, you should know that it’s also the slang for making love.
This verb means “to discourage”. If ever you mispronounce it to “scoreggia” what you’ll be talking about actually is to pass gas in a very unpleasing manner. This is quite a common mistake by foreign teachers who are teaching students English in Italy.