Before the traditional Wednesday morning lockdown moan, here’s something uplifting from Manoel in Brasil:
Soggetto: Grazie mille
La ragione per cui sto scrivendo questo e-mail è perché ho voglia di ringraziarte pelo il tuo sito, ho imparato abbastanza studianto atravverso le lezione di Listening e oggi già sono capace di communicarmi senza dificoltà, riesco a capire le maggioranze delle parole che i italiani dicono, tutto questo grazi al tuo sito.
Grazie mille, per fare questo mio sogno accadere.
Di solito, raccomando questo sito a qualcuno di miei amici che hanno voglia de imparare il italiano.
Abbraci dell’ Brasile.
Wasn’t that sweet? I get emails like that often, though mostly in English. (n.b. if you found the above hard to read, get studying!)
An hour or so later, though, there was this from someone who chose not to give her name:
Subject: Re: Why is using a dictionary as you read a dumb idea?
The “irritating person” was 100% correct. The apostophy connotes possession. The permit does not possess anything.
Now unsubscribing from your list.
If you missed the original debate about my alleged misuse of an ‘apostrophy’ (sic), you can find it in the P.S. of the article published on April 17th Why is using a dictionary as you read a dumb idea?
Oh, and by the way, I know that the Merriam-Webster dictionary has ‘kamikaze’ as 1.) a noun, and 2.) an adjective.
And yes, raising both hands in a gesture of surrender, I confess – I used it as a verb in the title of this article. Please stop now with the lit cigarettes on my sensitive parts!
Oh naughty Daniel, what are you thinking? Tut tut! You’ll corrupt the youth, and so on and so forth.
But no actually, there’s a long and perfectly acceptable tradition of using nouns as verbs – language is not, after all a fixed thing, immutable and sacred, but something that evolves over time.
Italian too, though they don’t like to admit it. If you ever get into an argument with an Italian who swears blind that the laws of grammar never change, whip out a copy of anything written by Dante.
E poi, sometimes we poets DELIBERATELY mess about with language, which is ironic because when I try hard to make a mustake, thinking that everyone will notice and giggle, no one actually seems to.
For example, in the first verse of this poem from the apostrophe-laden ebook No Permit’s Required (the ‘s = is here, as can be plainly seen by anyone reading the first poem in the free sample chapter (.pdf) – so please don’t write in about it):
I googled how to write a poem
I wondered lonely as a cloud
Your mom and dad they fuck you up
There’s not to reason why
– was all I knew about verse
I googled how to write a poem
and found a website with advice
Start with ones that rhyme, it said
I clicked another link instead
Turns out, anyone can be a poet
history is lousy with them
Read the rest, if you so wish, on p.20 of the FREE sample chapter (.pdf). But please don’t write to tell me that you found, not one but THREE errors, and an obscene word, and some very non-standard punctuation, just in the first few lines! Or the joke will be on you.
The -25% offer on the ebook ends on Sunday night, by the way. Many thanks to the kind people who’ve already bought a copy. If you think the fires of my ego need further stoking, it’s (IS, not ‘possession’) available here for just £8.99. Assuming you keep an eagle-eye open for spelling mistakes and blatant abuses of grammar, it should keep you occupied for most of a single lockdown morning, which is good value if you ask me.
Before I move on to business, I must just add that I recently had a very polite email from Anne in Chicago, a long-time bête noire and professional writer herself, she tells me, pointing out a couple of spelling glitches in a recent article.
To which I replied, also politely I hope, thanking her and promising to get them fixed ASAP, which I did.
Feedback IS welcome, but courtesy and kindness lubricate the cogs of human interaction, don’t you think?
The End Is Nigh!
Anyone who’s been passively following, or actively participating in, our ‘Book Club’ (we’re reading Umberto Eco’s Il nome della rosa together) will already know that today is THE day, the moment that the final chapter of our ‘riassunto’ will reveal whodunnit (yes, I prefer the double ‘n’, thanks.)
Read Capitolo 8, or find the whole series on our Literature page.
And don’t forget to scroll down and read the comments from club members around the world!
I have to keep reminding myself to point this out, otherwise people email to ask where the promised free material for learning Italian is: if you’re not interested in poems or reading in Italian (more fool you), there are thousands of pages of free material for learning Italian (remember Manoel from Brazil?) on the club website.
You just have to click the link and start learning.
There’s even an article about how.
Don’t forget to listen to Tuesday’s bulletin of ‘easy’ Italian news, over at EasyItalianNews.com, will you?
It’s free, as is subscribing, though donations are occasionally solicited…