Happy New Year to all reading this, to our past clients and to all the people that are going to come into our lives in 2013 from the Passion for Italy Team. Our globe or planet earth is opening up more and more each year as more people travel the world to explore different countries and new experiences with people of a different language.
As i live and work, back and forth between two countries, Italy and Australia, I am never ceased to be surprised by the difference between our cultures in all areas of life. People living in english speaking countries such as American, Australia and England that are not exposed to other languages like Europe is, tend to be unaware that a language shapes a country in more ways than one.
Having studied Italian now for over 25 years, it has been a long slow haul for me to pick up the language being a fourth generation Australian descended from a mixture of the British Isles. I continually get frustrated by not having the right words for in depth philosophical discussions in Italian like I do in english. It is a never ending journey to continue to learn and go deeper.
The study of languages is a fascinating one and the more I learn about the Italian language the more I love it. The sayings are so beautiful and romantic and at other times simply hilarious. There are many that make me laugh so much – there is a saying for when one is irritated – that you have a fly up your nose which is such an apt and great description because when you are irritated – that is what it feels like and then when one says it, it makes one laugh so then you forget your irritability….!!
I often ask my Italian partner, what is the word to describe e.g. – ‘standing in the shade of a tree’ and he will say here is not one word like in english – you say “standing the the shade of the tree”! This always amuses me. Some words cannot be translated at all, both in english and Italian. One can only find a meaning that is close to it but is not the real meaning. I often see that in subtitles when watching movies and announce that it is wrong!!.
A translation of a book is also determined by the mastery of the language by the translator and his level of education and a translator could inadvertently give a sentence another meaning. Take the bible for example, it was translated from Aramaic to Hebrew, then latin, roman, italian, then english. Maybe a few sentences might be a bit skewed as the translators back then were not big travellers – the only means of slow travel being horseback or sailing boats and they were not highly educated as we are today.
The point that i am trying to make however is that travelling to a foreign country opens up a whole new world in more ways than one. To not be able to speak in your native language can push you into a whole new way of communication. It is amazing how people can express things with their hands and of course the italians are masters of sign language. You only have to watch two Italians talking from a distance and you can tell what they are discussing from their hand language. It is like the deaf sign language.
Although at the end of it all the beauty about us humans is no matter what language we speak, we all have the same emotions and goodness and evil inside of us. We are all the same. We laugh and we cry the same. The best form of communication when travelling in a foreign country is your smile – it opens doors and welcomes you in so don’t forget to do this when you are exploring the world.
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