L’angolo della lingua

L’angolo della lingua

In English you can use two nouns together, with the first assuming the role of an attribute, ie describing the second noun. This is not possible in Italian where the descriptive word has to be an adjective or you use the correct preposition between the two nouns. Here are some examples:

Air pollution – inquinamento atmosferico

Sea breeze – brezza marina

Night birds – uccelli notturni

Rainforest – foresta pluviale

Home remedies – rimedi casalinghi

Car insurance – assicurazione per la macchina


And now a couple of false friends for your amusement.

A very common Italian word for travellers is camera, which means room/bedroom. But the Italian equivalent of the English word camera is macchina fotografica. So don’t say to your friend mi puoi prestare la tua camera per favore when you don’t really want to borrow his bedroom but only his camera to take photos!

The Italian word crudo means raw whereas the English word crude translates as volgare/osceno/rozzo. A couple of sentences to help you remember the difference: ti piacciono le carote crude? = do you like raw carrots? In Italia si preferisce il prosciutto crudo = In Italy people prefer raw ham – prosciutto and  I suoi commenti osceni hanno messo in imbarazzo i miei amici = my friends felt embarrassed by his crude comments

Yvette Devlin