This time I’ll highlight four quaint words/expressions that you may hear on a visit to Italy.
Spaghettata: it’s a spaghetti party – a pasta-based meal that can feature any type of pasta and not just spaghetti. Eg Stasera festeggiamo l’arrivo di mio cugino dalla Francia: tutti a casa nostra per una spaghettata! = This evening we celebrate my cousin’s arrival from France: everyone’s invited to our place for a spaghetti party!
Apericena: this is a neologism of the last 20 years. The word is derived from aperitivo and cena and describes a gathering at which aperitifs are served together with a “dinner” consisting of a range of food such as sliced salami and prosciutto, cheeses, olives, quiches etc rather than aperitifs followed by a formal dinner with specific courses. Eg Allora vi va bene se c’incontriamo verso le 19:00 a Piazza delle Erbe per un’apericena? = Is it OK with you if we meet around 7 pm at Piazza delle Erbe for aperitifs and [informal] dinner?
Tizio, Caio e Sempronio: these are not actual names but indicate a number of unspecified people. The English equivalent is Tom, Dick and Harry. However in Italy you can use just the word tizio to indicate a particular (though unknown) person, eg guarda quel tizio lì – ha l’aria sospetta = look at the guy over there – he looks suspicious.
Boh!: there is no English equivalent – but it means “I don’t know”. It is usually uttered with particular gestures: you shrug your shoulders, turn your palms towards the sky, and turn the corners of your mouth downward….. Eg Sai quanto gli è costata la nuova Ferrari? Boh! = Do you know how much he paid for the new Ferrari? I don’t know/no idea!
Try these words the next time you find yourself conversing in Italian. Impress your friends!