Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What Not to Say

Today instead of writing about pretty things, I'm going to give a little Italian lesson about what not to say.  First, let me tell you where I went wrong.

It was last January at 9:00 in the morning.  I had my two year old in the stroller and was going to the Friday market with my friend.  (Friday market is a lovely outdoor market that fills the city center with vendors that sell everything from scarves to apples) We were short on time but as we walked past our regular cafe it just didn't feel right to not stop for cappuccino.  We didn't have the time so we just decided to stop in, say ciao, and get a bottle of water to take with us to the market.  We were feeling pretty good about our Italian at this point and this is what we said:

Us: Ciao Bea!

Bea: Ciao! Come stai? (Hi How are you?)

Us: Bene. Per oggi, vorrei solo un aqua naturali da asporta (Good. For today we would like only water to go)
Us: Perche addiamo a marketa (Because we are going to a prostitute)

Bea:  Nothing.  She just stared at us.

Luckily then her husband stepped out of the back laughing and said no, "addiamo a mercato"

Got that?  Mercato not Marketo.  Easy mistake for an English speaker to make don't you think?  Marketa (actually spelled marchetta in Italian) sounds just like market.

It happened again this summer (but not to me thankfully).  I was in the city center with my boys and these cute little American college students who were studying abroad were standing in the street saying "Marketo?  Marketo?"  Poor things didn't speak any Italian and were looking for a grocery store.  Of course no one would speak to them because in Italian they were asking for a prostitute. 

Okay so remember, Mercato not Marketo.

Allora, addesso vado a un mercato.  Ciao ciao.


  1. Can't stop laughing over this one. Did it take you all these many months to escape the embarrassment and tell us?