Thursday, 3 November 2011

The spaghetti controversy

The strange debates Facebook stir. My brother was complaining about some advert of some spaghetti/pasta brand (this one I think), which was supposed to be quite stupid. My brother talked about "a spaghetti", then a common friend mentioned how badly is the word spaghetti pronounced by some Quebeckers "spayghetti", "shayghatti", what have you. Of course, I had to barge in. I had to, because I have Italian friends, who taught me a thing or two about but pasta, but also about Italian language. (You know where this is going, don't you?) So anyway I barged in and said: "One should say spaghetti, not a spaghetti, as spaghetti is a plural". It's uno spaghetto, duei spaghetti, as I have learned. A spaghetto is a noodle, a spaghetti is two.

Of course, another friend said that in French, the plural would be spaghettis, as we francised the noun and adapted it to French grammar rules, including the use of an "s" at the plural form (it appears that the same is done in English, which uses spaghetti as a singular). I hate to sound pedantic, but I am a purist when it comes to Italian language, even though I know very little about it. I think one should adopt its vocabulary as close as possible to the original. If they really wanted to adapt it to French grammar, why don't we say, "I'll make a spaghetto with many spaghettos"? Not only are French and English imperialist languages, but they are inconsistent in their imperialism.

I wonder what my readership thinks about it, especially my Italian readers (I know I have one or two). Should we adopt Italian grammar as much as possible? I do think so. But I am biased. Well, I often am, but that doesn't mean I am not right. And all this reminds me that if I need to give lessons, I better learn Italian properly.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

An enjoyable post Guillaume, and I must say that I just like how spaghetti (plural?) tastes, and since I don't know any Italians, I don't really mind how it sounds. I think that the nature of language is to evolve, and change, and I have only ever known spaghetti as spaghetti, and pizza as yummy, so I will leave the linguistic debate to those more knowlegdable than me. Now I have a craving for pasta, and it is only morning:-)