Ilivetolearn's Blog

April 27, 2009

italian verbosity

Filed under: on the road — ilivetolearn @ 1:45 pm

Once again in Europe I was struck by how economical English is. At museums, on food wrappers–wherever information and/or instructions were given in multiple languages–English was more succinct than Italian, French, German, Spanish…

At Bologna’s botanical garden, I was greeted by this sign:

img_1065I guessed what it meant but I had to photograph it (I loved that SDR combo) so I could figure out the literal translation at home. Here’s my stab at it:

“The visitors are reminded that it is forbidden to lie down on the lawn or to trample on the high grass.”

Somehow I think in this country the sign would have read  “Keep off grass.”

On the other hand, when Italians must limit themselves to few words, they can. Italian cell phones, like many here, come pre-programmed with common text messages you might send. “I’ve arrived,” “My train is delayed,” “What time are we meeting?” –that sort of thing. Elliot’s friend Madeline reported that one of the top four or five ready-made messages on her phone was: “Ti amarò per sempre.” I will love you forever. How Italian.


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