Thursday, October 2, 2008

(Missing) word of the week- dating

In my posts on Italian vocabulary, a lot of space has been given over to words that exist in Italian but not in English, or words that exist in English but not in Italian. These gaps usually point to a significant cultural difference between Italy and the English-speaking world.

Here is another example of a word we have in English but not in Italian: "dating." Do Italians not date? Weeellll... let's just say that they don't see going out with a romantic interest in the same way. The structure of courtship has historicallly been different (much more restrictive in Italy before the 1960's), and to this day continues to differ. To express our idea of dating someone the Italians will say things like "I'm seeing Marco" or "I'm going out with Chiara."