Not a word you come across every day, this one.
If you’re understandably unfamiliar with it, it’s a term for a building reserved for the quarantine of lepers or poor people with other diseases. I was reminded of it while writing earlier about the word quarantine and its Venetian origins. Continue reading
I discovered an interesting bit of etymology recently. I was reading SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome by Mary Beard. In a chapter about work and business, she mentioned a Latin word – otium. Continue reading
I can’t say I’ve ever spent a lot of time thinking about the term still life. I do know that at least once I had thought about the incongruity of the term though. Continue reading
I was reading an Italian short story the other day (in an edition with English translations on the right-hand page) when I saw an interesting word: la persiana. Continue reading
Do Ti La Sol Fa Mi Re Do!
Beautifully done! (and yes, it is Sol, not So!)
Even if you haven’t seen The Sound of Music, you’re probably quite familiar with this little method of assigning syllables to the seven major musical notes.
It’s known as solfège, and is used to help a musician distinguish between different pitches of notes. It’s not something I’d ever given much thought about until one day, likely while I was living in Belgium, I saw The Sound of Music dubbed into French… Continue reading
You might know the song “Yankee Doodle,” even if you’re not American. One line might sound a little strange to you:
Stuck a feather in his cap, and called it macaroni.
Why macaroni? Continue reading
I come across the word morbido in my Italian comic-book reading now and then, and I can never remember what it means. The only thing I ever remember is that it’s quite different from morbid in English. Continue reading