For the past twenty years I have made these seven mistakes over and over again. All are embarrassing, like asking for fish when I wanted a peach. Others are downright humiliating. It took me a long time to realize that making errors is simply part of the learning process. So, enjoy these foolish gaffes and use them to avoid making the same mistakes.
Pesca vs Pesce
Alberta, our friendly fruit and veggie lady said all stranieri make this error. I cannot count the number of times I have asked her for fish when what I wanted was a peach. Just one letter, makes such as difference. Pesce, of course, is fish, while pesca is a peach.
Fagioli vs Fragole
At Ristorante Da Francesco, I’ve ordered beans (fagiole) with whipped cream (panna) on numerous occasions. Of course, I thought I was ordering strawberries with whipped cream, that is until Sara, the owner, kindly corrected me. “I think you mean fragole (strawberries), not fagiole (beans),” she said.
Cane vs Carne
I know in some countries, people do eat dog, but, not in Italia. So, I am quite sure the gentleman who took my order for cane at the hillside trattoria in Barga knew that what I really wanted was the delicious looking meat (carne) that the man at the next table was enjoying and not cane, which of course means dog. Oh, I hope so!
Papà vs Papa
I’m guessing that there are several hundred Italians who think that I think I am a pope, for that is approximately the number of people who I have told that I am un papa (a pope), rather than un papà (a father). Further, when I announced that, as pope, I had a daugther (un figlia) and three grandchildren (tre nepote), I truly did embarrass myself. Grazie Donato for letting me know the difference a little accent mark can make when speaking Italian.
If hundreds of Italians think I think I am a pope, then thousands must think I am constantly sexually excited, as unbeknownst to me, that it what I have inadvertently told the many Lucchesi I have met over the past two decades. How was I to know that in Lucca the locals use the word eccitato, which in any Italian dictionary is defined as excited, to mean sexual excitement. When Monica at Pasticceria Pasquinelli filled me in on the local definition I thought I’d have a small heart attack. Now, I only use the word felice, which means happy, as I am happy to see you, happy to be with you again, NOT I am sexually excited to see you or I am sexually excited to be with you again or….YIKES!!!
Penna vs Pene
It took me only one time to make this errore, but it was a big one. Thinking I was asking the butcher if I could borrow his pen (penna), I mistakenly asked to borrow his pene or penis. When Donato elbowed me I knew something was not quite right. Eventually the butcher to handed me his pen, but not until the line of customers took a good look at the man asking to borrow something that wasn’t for sale in the meat department.
Anno vs Ano
I’m sure that many of my friends do have a nice ass (ano), but it isn’t something one wants to point out, especially in a Happy New Year greeting card. I had meant to write Buon Anno (literally good year), but left out an N and consequently sent Good Ass (Buon Ano) greetings to dozens of friends around the world. What a way to begin the start of a new year!
I hope your week starts off well. Buona settimana amici.