So why this obsession at this point in time with language. Well I have become involved with doing some work for a magazine called Ballet2000. Published in Nice it is a tri-lingual (Italian, French, English) magazine devoted to the dance. And I help my friend Simonetta by taking certain Italian and French sections of the magazine – mostly reviews and media reports – and turning them into acceptable English. Now it has always been my understanding that for linguistic convolution the French were second to none and I have often stated that fact in a less than subtle fashion. I now publicly apologize to anyone I ever offended with that belief: Italians can take a phrase that resembles a straight road and turn it into a cloverleaf with feeder lanes and additional overpasses! And as for word creation – I know a few writers who could rival Shakespeare (who it is thought added at the least 1700 words to the English language) for inventive use of language. Now mind you there was the little episode where I spent 20 minutes and even sent an e-mail to my friend Marco asking for the meaning of the verb abbagnatare , in a headline, only to realize that it referred not to a verb form but to Elenaora Abbagnato, the prima ballerina. Colour me imbarazzato on that one.
I find it exhausting work – that would be me at the centre of the picture at the right throwing my hands up in despair as I unravel a 12 line sentence. And as each of the past three deadlines have been met I vow that I will never do it again. But it is a challenge and where else would I have learned the word: sussultanti, an adjective taken (or perhaps made up) from the verb sussultare – to make some one flinch or the sudden movement of tectonic plates during an earthquake. Now all I have to do is find some way to work it into a conversation. La penna della mia zia è sussultanti. No just doesn’t work!
03 ottobre – Santa Geraldine