Monday, August 17, 2009

Mierda! Oops I mean merda!

Buongiorno, buongiorno!

Does this ever happen to you? You're reading an article or a book in English and you find an Italian typo? You know, either the word is used incorrectly or there is a misspelling.

Happens to me all the time!

Latest example: "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle," by Barbara Kingsolver.

The book is about eating foods that are grown close to home, and in one chapter, she recounts a visit to Italy.

She says that in the small towns she visited there, many restaurant owners would offer her samples of the town's native olive oil, and would say that the olive oil from nearby towns was "Mierda."

Except that, it's "merda" (shit) in Italian.

(Did they really say that? I would guess more often than not they probably used the phrase "fa schifo," a slightly more gentile way of expressing the same thought).

Admittedly, Kingsolver makes a point of saying she got by in Italy by speaking a mix of French, Spanish and Italian words.

But didn't her publisher, Harper Perennial, think she should get the word right for the book?!

Barbara, next time, just ask me! I will keep you from making that mistake on page 246.

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