Words, Words, Words: Parannanza

Last night I was at a dinner party and made some new acquaintances. One of them was a very cute two year-old Italian girl. Just before it was time to eat, her mother tied a tiny red apron on her, which I thought was much sweeter and more grown-up than a bib, which a big girl of her age might have resented. When I complimented her style, saying “Mi piace la tua parannanza!” (I like your apron!) her mother was impressed by my vocabulary and asked how long I had been in Italy.

I was a bit surprised, thinking to myself that ‘apron’ wasn’t such a difficult or unusual word to know. But I did a bit of digging today and discovered that parannanza is not the only word for apron.

Grembiule is the much more commonly used word, and it seems that many Italians have never heard of the word parannanza! Even my trusty Word Reference site didn’t have it in their dictionary, although a Google search proved I hadn’t just made it up. Strange, I thought...

Until I remembered from whom I had learned the word: Maritino. This man is fanatic for the Italian language and writes and speaks it as if every phrase were a line of poetry. In fact, back in our courtship days, he actually wrote me poems, and it was from these that I learned words like leggiadria (gracefulness, loveliness) and bramare (to long for, to yearn for). He has awakened in me a desire to deepen my understanding and appreciation of this beautiful language. I've been reading in Italian much more these days, realizing how much I still have to learn.

Since my two favorite things are memorizing random bits of information and impressing people I’ve just met (usually by reciting said random bits of information), I’ve decided to look up and memorize one new (and hopefully impressively unusual) Italian word a day, and share it with you, dear bloglings. Then I will try to use that word in a sentence at least three times that day, even if it is only to the Maritino.

I can already think of one for tonight…

Amore, mettiti la parannanza e lava i piatti!!  

(Love, put on an apron and wash the dishes!!)

(Just realized that grembiule should actually be the word of the day, as I already knew parannanza, and just discovered grembiule...)

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LanguageTiffany ParksComment