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language, people

Learn Italian to be a genius. Albert Einstein spoke Italian, as well.

2016-03-25 • By

einstein a padovaDid you know Albert Einstein spoke Italian?

During one of my random surfing on the internet, I bumped into this note appeared on the newspaper “Corriere della Sera” on October 28th, 1921. It shortly reports about a lecture given the day before by Albert Einstein in Padua University.

Here’s what the article says (my translation).

“In the lecture hall of our University Albert Einstein gave today the announced conference. The hall is very crowded. Professor Ricci-Curbastro of physics and mathematics department introduces Professor Einstein with eminent words also reminding that three centuries ago, in the same hall, Galileo Galilei taught a new subject: mechanics. Professor Einstein, who speaks in Italian, expressed his pleasure to talk in the city where works Professor Ricci, to whom is due absolute differential calculus, the mathematical tool necessary to convey the general relativity.
Afterwords he presented in summary, as in the conferences in Bologna, the essential features of this theory. Professor Einstein was very much applauded.”

Albert_Einstein_1921_by_F_SchmutzerEinstein spoke English with a very strong German accent. There are many recordings of his speeches in English. He also spoke Italian and French: it’s well known Einstein had a job at the Federal Office for Intellectual Property in Bern, Switzerland. To get a job like that people must be proficient in the three national Swiss languages German, French and Italian.

And Einstein spoke Italian well enough to give conferences.

On October 22nd, 24th and 26th 1921, the year he was awarded by Nobel prize, he held some conferences on general relativity at Bologna University. Papers reported that he was acclaimed like a star by the students.

language

Italian language has a new word, thanks to internet. Or not?

2016-02-28 • By

The story of a neologism in Italian language invented by an eight years old student and pushed by social networks.

A new word has just entered in the Italian language. It was invented by a 8 years old child, Matteo, during the Italian lesson, in an exercise on adjectives. The story was a trend topics for a couple of days and it even peeked out in international news.
To cut it short: to describe a flower, the student used the adjective “petaloso” to mean that it’s full of petals, but the word doesn’t (didn’t!) exist in Italian. His teacher marked it as a mistake, but the word is constructed by adding to the word “petalo” (petal) the suffix “-oso” meaning full of. The teacher sent it for an evaluation to the Accademia della Crusca, the Italian National Institution of Language. Which, surprisingly (or not?) answered with a letter explaining to Matteo that the word grammatically made sense and it was clear and comprehensible.

Nevertheless, to become a word of Italian language it must be understood and used by a great number of people in many sentences.