Friday, March 04, 2016


Flower petal carpet, Noto, 2015

At the end of the week which included St David's Day, you could say that petals, particularly those of daffodils, have been much on my mind.  But that's not the only reason for, like everyone in Italy, I have been enchanted this week by the story of an eight-year-old boy from Copparo [ Ferrara Province] who has coined the word petaloso.

It all started when Matteo's teacher gave a lesson on adjectives and Matteo wrote about a flower which was petaloso. The teacher, Margherita Aurora, liked the word [which did not previously exist in Italian] so much that she suggested sending it to the Academia della Crusca, the National Institute for the Protection and Study of the Italian Language, for evaluation. On February 23rd she received a very pleasant reply, saying that the word was well-formed, beautiful and clear but that, to be inserted into the Italian dictionary, it would have to be understood and used by lots of people.  Following a facebook post by Margherita, thousands of people began using the word on all social media, with Prime Minister Renzi congratulating Matteo on twitter.

Matteo's father even tried to get the word registered as a trademark, only to find that three other "inventors" had requested patents in this name three days before, it has emerged today. It has not been revealed exactly what kind of brands these are.

Meanwhile, though, let us add our congratulations to the flood of those reaching Matteo and his teacher and let's enjoy rolling the lovely word petaloso around on our tongues!

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