Thursday, July 10, 2014


There is, as Tim Parks writes in Italian Ways, an Italian fantasy about English usage and the proof is in the execrable attempts at translation which can be seen on notices and in advertisements everywhere in this lovely land. The modicani, however, have taken this art to new heights and I have finally identified the habit as a disease called Modican Englishitis.  

Modican Englishitis first manifests itself in a stubborn refusal to imitate correct pronunciation, so that if an English teacher corrects a student who prononces guitar as gweetar, with the stress on the first syllable, the student will listen politely, nod, say, "Ah, gweetar" and happily continue with the erroneous pronunciation.

As the disease progresses, sufferers will insist on pronouncing all past simple tense - ed endings as a separate syllable [finish-èd] and are particularly resistant to the final -s on any English word. I used to think that this refusal to pronounce the final -s came about because foreign nouns which are used in Italian don't have plural forms but now I've come to the conclusion that it is just bloody-mindedness. Patients are perfectly capable of pronouncing the final - s, for where there is not one you can be sure they will add it!  

In Modica you will be invited to use "slots" [but not slot] machines, eat your dinner in the chicken rather than the kitchen and visit the say-ah [sea] to "have a bath". This last is presumably because you don't have a bathroom in the "eighth century" house you have purchased [a mistranslation of ottocento - the nineteenth century]. 

You may not understand a word of the English used in Modica, but never let it be said that life is dool hair [dull here]!

Saying "goodbye" if you have Modican Englishitis


Lee said...

It shore sounds interest, that's for shore! ;)

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Thanks, Lee!

Whispering Walls said...


Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Glad it amused you, WW. It's absolutely true!

Laruchka said...

Hahaha. Sounds a lot like some of my students, especially the kids. The hello as good bye picture cracked me up :D xx

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I'm glad you recognise the syndrome, Laruchka!


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