Monday, 12 October 2009

Berlusconi Invades Britain!

Well, not quite. But it might be the only hope I have of ever speaking Italian properly. Today has been a day of linguistic tragedy, a complete mental block when it comes to reading the swathes of Italian that had, until today, been pretty commonplace since undergraduate days. Maybe it’s a bit like riding a bicycle. Once you start thinking about the mechanics and forces of physics that keep you upright, going in a straight line at speed along a tarmac road, it all goes horribly wrong and you fall off, with only a couple of scraped, bloody kneecaps full of grit to show for your intellectual musings.

And so I fear this has happened to my reading of Italian. I’ve been thinking about it too much, creating cases and passive tenses where really there are none. Reams of printed word rendered into incomprehensible gobbledygook. But surely this is a simple language by comparison with German or Latin (ablative absolute, anyone?), a musical means of communicating where an abundance of gesticulation, a poetic grasp of rhythm and an avoidance of the full stop at all costs is to be admired, nay, revered. Just going with the flow should be the order of the day. But it’s all gone wrong. Too much Anglo-Saxon cogitation, or maybe a desire for Teutonic efficiency and noun endings has sounded the death knell on the afternoon’s proceedings. I shall shelve away my translation of the eleventh-century Giovanni Diacono’s Istoria Veneticorum for another day, have a cup of tea and ponder the slapstick comedy potential of Berlusconi actually trying to invade Britain. 
Photo from

To help you on your way, I add a link (with Italian subtitles) to a recent ribbing of Signor Berlusconi at the hands of British comedians on the BBC’s Mock the Week. Enjoy! 

1 comment:

daveandannaswedding said...

My Italian always improves after a glass of wine...