Sunday, 26 February 2012

Interesting in translation vol. 1

Languages are wonderful things, so different as cultures and histories are varied but still so similar as they are still the same thing, the instrument with humans try to communicate with each other. I'm not a linguist but i still like to learn things about languages and noticing differences and similarities between them on my own.

That said I'm thinking about a series of posts about the interesting, curious, funny and nice (or not so nice) things about languages i found.I will write mainly about the two languages i know better, italian (my own language) and english, but i may wander around to languages i don't know but I've read something about (and i will probably make a fool of myself doing that).

I'll start with one of the most famous italian word: ciao.
Ciao is the main informal greeting in italian, used both when meeting and when leaving people. The thing i find interesting about it is that not many people (not even italians) know its meaning and origin (maybe ciao wikipedia page may help it).  Ciao comes from venetian language as a contraption of  "sciào vostro" or "sciào su" and both can be translated as "I'm your slave".  But when it was borrowed by italian it completely lost even the faintest idea of putting yourself at someone service and now it does only carry the greeting meaning.

Image used under Creative Commons from xueexueg.

1 comment:

  1. I never knew that either! "Your servant, madame (or sir)", said with a more or less ironic bow, was also a common way of leaving somebody in English in the 17th and 18th centuries.