(This article contains ‘cuss words’. You have been advised…)
I’ve just spent the last half hour checking words I didn’t know from the latest installment of Dante’s Inferno, Canto XIV.
(Catch up with the series so far on our new ‘Italian Literature‘ page.)
‘Empio’, for example, which means impious (like an imp, I suppose, so devilish?) or ‘ungodly’.
And ‘bestemmiatore’, which I sort of knew, as I’m always being told off for bestemmi-ing in front of the children, staff or customers (= ‘swearing’ or ‘blaspheming’).
There were several more, but of course, that’s part of the attraction of Dante – seeing how the language has changed, and recognising the roots of modern words, both in English and Italian.
Besides that, I’m getting a free education in the classics! Today we have Capaneo, who I confess – product of a British comprehensive school that I am – to never having come across before.
Now poor Capaneo cusses out Zeus, I think it was, but ends up in hell anyway, despite the fact that the whole ‘facenda’ was centuries before Christianity even got going.
Seems rather unfair to me, though Dante thought it reasonable enough.
Talking of blasphemers, I Googled ‘bestemmiatore’ and found the ‘Bestemiatore automatico‘ – a cursing machine!
If you like a good swear, check it out (if you’re a sensitive soul, don’t.)
Pressing the red button, labelled ‘Bestemmia’ got me “Dio bastardo”, pronounced in a teacherly voice, (which I definitely wouldn’t be allowed to say at home or work…)
The other button, ‘Bestemmia No Stop’, starts like this:
“Partiamo con le bestemmie: Dio cane…”
…and gets much worse (and in parts, much funnier!)
Much more wholesome is a suggestion emailed by Penny, a YouTube video of ‘Inferno’, in English and with explanations.
I got five or ten minutes into it but stopped because I had something on the stove. However, I was pleased to have recognised quite a lot from Canto I, which shows I’ve learnt something!
Bene allora, here are those links again:
And of course, don’t forget to listen to Tuesday’s bulletin of ‘easy’ Italian news from EasyItalianNews.com.
Which made me sigh when, in the article about Peter Fonda’s death, they mentioned ‘Dennis Jopper’.
“Porca cane!” I shouted out to the editor, who was knitting peacefully in an adjoining room, “Don’t you know it’s Dennis Hopper?’
Nope, she’d never heard of him.
And, clearly, neither had the writer of the article.
I wonder if Jeff Bezos has this problem with the Washington Post?