Monday, November 22, 2010

Word of the week-raffreddore

Our word of the week, which is timely, is il raffreddore, referring to the (all too) common cold. Note the presence of the root word freddo. To say that they have a cold, Italians will tend to use the adjective: sono raffreddato/a, literally, I'm chilled.

Inevitable accompaniments of our unpopular friend are la tosse cough (verb: tossire) and lo starnuto sneeze (verb: starnutire). Both verbs are -isc forms of -ire verbs e.g. tossisco, starnutisco.

A curious thing I noticed while living in Italy is that Italians can be rather dramatic about their colds, which seldom are mere colds, but at the very least an influenza, bronchite, broncopolmonite, or even a doppia broncopolmonite. Would it be too cynical to think that this has something to do with generous sick leave benefits and national health insurance?