Capisco solo un po' d'Italiano
The headline means, "I only understand a little Italian." That is probably an exageration. The truth is I can handle a few greetings and understand almost no Italian. I think this through in today's religion column for the Tribune & Georgian. Writing of our recent trip to Italy and France I say,
This is where I confess to not being as bad as I wanted to be. It helps to know that I have found in traveling on four continents, that making jokes in other languages is fun. The native speakers enjoy it immensely as it gives them a chance to laugh at me as well as with me. I have pulled off some pretty good jokes by the right use of a limited vocabulary.The full column is online here: Nothing is lost in translation with the language of God.
The odd little phrase book we bought in Italy offered a lot of choice ways to make a joke. I just never had the courage to speak up.
For example, think of the possibilities to say to a guard in The Uffizi Gallery in Florence, the oldest art museum in the world. While looking admiringly on a painting by da Vinci or Michaelangelo, I could have said “Ha anche altri colori?” which means “Have you got any other colors?” Or I could have used the Italian for “Is it under warranty?” “I have just had an accident” “Do you have something cheaper?” “a viper has bitten me” or the ever useful phrase from the book, “I must insist on being compensated.”
There would have been that awkward pause while the guard decided if he heard me correctly. Then the second pause as he considered if I meant what I said. Finally, as I smiled, would come the dawning realization that is was a joke. He would have gone home telling that story.
Of course, it could have gone wrong. He could have misunderstood and been offended. Then I could have just used another phrase from the book like “I have been in the sun too long” or “I had an electric shock.”
This is the end of mining my recent three-week vacation for blog posts. Tomorrow this blog returns to the regular programming. In the meantime, I will share a few more photos from our trip. They don't necessarily illustrate this post, but they are one final look at our vacation.
And for one last look at our phrase book, I find it's fun to mix phrases from part of the book, so you get the Italian for, "I suffer from insomnia and a poor appetite. Can you deal with it temporarily?" Or you can always try, "I've lost a lot of blood. Can I continue on my journey?" I'm sure tourists must need these phrases everyday. After all, they're in the book.
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor
Cafe scene in Rome, Italy
Two scenes of Rome, Italy
Todi, Italy at night
The Tyber River in Rome
Florentine shop owner
An actor pretending to be a statue and a real statue
Griffin on a cliff over the Mediterranean Sea
France's rocky Cote d'Azur
Two views of Provence
A house in Villecroze, France
Two scenes from Villecroze, France
A doorway in Villecroze, France
A fountain in Villecroze, France with grape vines for shade
Two places to be with God - a Jean Cocteau-designed chapel and trees on a hike in Provence
Taking a break on a 12km hike in France
An olive branch in front of the church steeple in Villecroze
Inside the H&M store in Marseilles
Driving in Provence, France
Lavender growing in Provence
Provincial landscape from Les Baux