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Michael San Filippo

Italian Language


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Sunday April 13, 2014

In Italian linguistics the term trigramma (trigraph) refers to a group of three letters indicating a unique sound. Examples include the combinations sci before the vowels -a, -e, -o, and -u (as in the words sceneggiato, scimmia, scivolo); and gli before a vowel (as in the words paglia, moglie, aglio).

Isole Egadi

Tuesday April 8, 2014

The Isole Egadi (in Sicilian, ╠suli ╚gadi) are a group of small mountainous islands in the Mediterranean Sea off the northwest coast of Sicily, near the cities of Trapani and Marsala. The three main islands are Favignana, Levanzo, and Marettimo. The name of the islands, which originated from the Greek, means "islands of goats," and the locals residing on the islands are known as egadiani.

There are Paleolithic and Neolithic cave paintings on the island of Levanzo, and the islands were the scene of an important sea battle betweens the Romans and Carthaginians in 241 BC; the Roman victory ended the First Punic War.

Catching Some Zzzz's: The Letter Z in Italian

Sunday March 30, 2014

One of the major challenges of Italian spelling is the graphic rendering of the intervocalic z, which can be both the single letter -z- and the double -zz-. Examples include: rizappare, trapezista, mozzarella, and pizza.

Missing Something? Maybe It Was an Elision.

Sunday March 30, 2014

In Italian elision is the omission of an unstressed final vowel of a word before the initial vowel of the next word. In writing the elision is indicated by the apostrophe.

Mark That Omission With an Apostrophe

Sunday March 30, 2014

In Italian spelling the apostrophe is used to mark the elimination of one or more letters of a word. Examples include: l'arte (la arte), sant'Antonio (santo Antonio), da' (dai), sta' (stai), and 'sto (questo).


Sunday March 30, 2014

The Italian verb avere (to have; to own; to have on, to wear) is used in a multitude of idiomatic expressions; one of them is avere paura (to be afraid). But afraid of what?

If any of these phobias find you in the doctor's office, let's hope it's not because of italofobia.

L'Italiano Non Serve a Niente?

Monday March 17, 2014

ALMA Edizioni received a letter from a disappointed student wondering "Che utilitÓ ha oggi studiare l'italiano?" In response, the editors decided to launch a video contest asking other students to respond. Entries can be viewed on the YouTube channel dedicated to the ALMA Edizioni concorso.

Of course, there's a hashtag to follow the results of the competition: #litalianononserveaniente.


Sunday March 9, 2014

Quite a few Italian neologisms originate from the name of Italy's former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, such as berlusconaggine, berlusconistan, and Veltrusconi.

Now there's a new one, a linguistic mashup that includes the last name of Italy's new prime minister Matteo Renzi: renzusconiani. An example comes from a recent article in Europa Quotidiano titled "I berluscones vogliono trattare con Renzi per tagliare la strada a Angelino":

PerchÚ, oltre che nel merito della questione, questo ammiccarsi di pontieri renzusconiani di fatto mette in non poca difficoltÓ l'azionista numero 2 del governo.


Sunday March 2, 2014

In Italian linguistics the term digramma (digraph) refers to groups of two letters indicating a unique sound. Examples include the combinations sc, gn, and gl.

Clip That Vowel! Shorten That Syllable! Go, Truncation, Go!

Sunday February 23, 2014

In Italian linguistics, truncation (troncamento) is the clipping or shortening of a phonetic element (vowel, consonant, or syllable) at the end of a word. Examples include: bel bambino, quel castello, signor Giulio, buon diavolo, ragion per cui, mal di cuore.

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