Words travel all around the world and after so many decades they come back home. I am still reading the book “L’Italiano e’ bello” by Mariangela Galatea Vaglio and I would like to share this article with you because it got my attention. There are many words that we use and that we think have Anglo-Saxon origin, but instead are latin. So despite we think that we loan these said words from another language, we are actually using them properly because they are from latin, our mother language!
- The word sport, it is English for sure, but its origin is latin (sportula). Sportula was a small basket used by the housewives when they went to buy food. In the ancient Rome during the sport competitions, the winners got a crown and one sportula, which was useful and important for everyday life.
- The word computer comes from latin too (computo, which means calculation). Regarding this word the author, in her book, mentions that the very first personal computer was also Italian, Olivetti, did you know that? To think that everybody thought that the genius was American 😊. Even if they called it Perottina from Perotto, the surname of the man who invented it. It was used even in Nasa operations which sent the man to the moon. Curious eh? A small but yet a big step for the mankind made by Italians… just saying… 😊
- Another word is jeans or better blue jeans, it comes from “blu di Genoa, Genova” (the cloth used by the dockers to make the uniforms for their job because this kind of cloth was resistant and indestructible. As the jeans which were the uniform for the American workers.
So if I have to sum up what I said above: these words and many others were born from latin (today a dead language for us but not for the church which still uses it for writing catholic books), then they have been exported abroad and became English, causing a lot of confusion in making people believe that they had a completely different origin, when they hadn’t.
It is incredible right? But this is just another example in how a language evolves!