Friday, April 9, 2010

Word of the week- tedesco

The word tedesco quite simply means "German" (the language, the person and the adjective.) The plural is tedeschi (teh-DESK-kee), "Germans," which is also a fairly common surname in Italy.

The relationship between Italy and the Germanic world is not an easy one. The Germanic tribes invaded Italy toward the end of the Roman Empire, contributing to its demise. More modern Germans have been enamored of Italy, as shown in the picture above by the German artist Overbeck (Italy, to the left, embraced by Germany, to the right.) An unbelievable number of German-speaking tourists descend every year upon the bel paese. But Italians have mixed feelings toward Germans.

The word tedesco, in a colloquial, secondary, meaning, denotes a person who is punctual, precise, rigorous to the point of rigidity, strict. It is usually not a compliment. Alas, I have been told that I am troppo tedesca (too German.)