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Lesson Transcript


Hi everybody! Marika here.
Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I’ll answer some of your most common Italian questions.
The Question
The question for this lesson is: What are some examples of Italian "loanwords" we use in everyday English?
You may not know it, but you probably use some Italian every day.
Did you know that “bravo,” “dilemma,” and “paparazzi” are all Italian words?
English is full of Italian loanwords. We use them in almost every aspect of our lives, especially in art, music, cuisine, and architecture.
The most obvious is probably cuisine. I’m sure you’ve seen silly people try to imitate Italian by saying, spaghetti, cappuccino, espresso, mozzarella, maccheroni…. Well, they’re actually Italian words!
You might have seen al dente or pasta fresca, which means “fresh pasta,” on English pasta packages. Those are two different ways to prepare pasta. Did you know that the words “zucchini” and “broccoli” are also from Italian?
Music and art also have plenty of Italian loanwords. Take finale, scenario, solo and concerto. Those are all commonly used in English.
There are lots more on a technical level too: like forte, fortissimo, piano, pianissimo, motto, stanza.
In arts and architecture, studio, villa, graffiti, veranda, and ghetto, as well as “apartment” from appartamento, are all Italian loanwords.
The list doesn’t end there. Umbrella comes from the Italian ombrello; lottery comes from lotteria; and tombola is also an Italian game. Madonna, monsignor, and padre are all loanwords related to religion. Scherzo in Italian means “joke,” and “novel” comes from the Italian novella. “Sonnet” comes from sonetto.
Italian is everywhere!
Be careful with some loanwords, though. The Italian word doesn’t always mean the same thing in English.
For example, manifesto in Italian means “poster.”
English loanwords don't always follow Italian grammar either. “Zucchini” and “macaroni” are spelled differently in Italian. English words like “panini” and “salami” are mistakenly used in the plural form.


Pretty interesting, right?
Do you have any more questions? Leave them in the comments, and I’ll try to answer them!
A presto! “See you soon!”