"Buon ano"That's me wishing all my Italian neghbours a "happy anus" instead of a "happy new year".Again.Bloody double letters.
...do you mean like the time (the late 80s, fortunately, I think I have since lived it down...) I tried to explain (to the parents of friends) about the "organic" push to eat without preservatives in food ("senza preservativi") instead of "senza conservanti"?
great idea! I have one for you.. My boyfriends parents speak no english and I was trying to be clever in italian one day by saying..." sometimes I want to scappare la mia vita" ( escape my life ) .. but instead I fatally inserted by accident the word "scopare" instead...yeah.. they didn't even blink an eye but my boyfriend was on the floor laughing... can you say RED FACE for the next week!
I'm sure all English speakers living in Italy have many of these 'faux pas'. I've asked a waiter for balsamo (hair conditioner) for my salad instead of 'aceto balsamico' and asked a grocer if he had any fiche verde (instead of the masculine fichi) and then told him that I liked the green fiche. But those were all mistakes that happened with strangers.I think my worst error was when meeting my future husband's parents I told them that I had molti morbi (many diseases) instead of molti morsi (many bites) I had several mosquito bites at the time.Lucky for me that they didn't try to tsalk my husband out of the marriage.
Francesca: By far the greatest faux pas is the Italian Chef that suggests you eat cat.http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,586306,00.html?test=latestnews
The stories in the comments are hilarious. My worst one is telling my father-in-law I don't like fiche. I went on to say that we don't eat much fiche in Texas. Luckily he doesn't hear well - my husband, on the other hand, jerked his head and around and said, "DON'T SAY THAT AGAIN ... I'll explain later."Gulp.
@Dave514: that really doesn't count as a faux pas of the same kind, as he intended exactly what he said, so the discussion is that he didn't make a mistake that could be interpreted wrongly.Feline meat until recently (post-WWII) was considered perfectly "fair game" in a number of regions of Italy. In fact one of the most common descriptions that rolls off the tongue for the Palladian city between Padua and Verona is...Vicenza-mangia-gattiIt isn't common anymore, but I've heard that it is possible to find it still (obviously very discretely). And it doesn't seem unusual that someone born in the 30s-40s in a war-torn area would have had feline stew as a matter of survival at some point.As another consideration, I can't see how it can be placed on ethical levels much differently than equine meat, since some many horses are pets, too, but that doesn't seem to present a problem to hardly anyone, unless on a gastronomical level (equine can be a bit stronger than beef).
@Dave514: I think the better example of a public faux pas (in reverse) would be exemplified by an Italian professor I had in college that taught design theory. In a lecture in front of a whole hall, he pronounced in English what he expected was a profound philosophical statement: "per diventare bravi designer, dovete abbracciare il caos", but what he DID say was "in order to become great designers, you must embrace cows".
Thanks, everyone for posting! But, would you mind posting directly on the Up Your Bottom website? If your entry gets chosen, you will receive a free copy of our book.Grazie a tutti!!!
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