Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Bergamo – Street Sign Language Lesson XXIV

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Evviva! (hurray! in Italian), we've reached the first blog post of 2018. Over 10 years blogging and still making no sense. Some things never change. So, without further ado, let's get to this installment of Street Sign Language Lesson, where – drumroll please – we'll deal with a lost cat (dang, not again), dog poop (dang, not again), review some signs in the PAM supermarket (dang, not again), and review a prostate drug ad (ok, this really is a first).

Lost cat poster in Bergamo.A cake stand.Atalanta fan mural: banned everywhere.
Left: Lost cat poster in Bergamo. Center: A cake stand. Right: Atalanta fan mural: banned everywhere.

Abbiamo perso il nostro gatto – Brianna – "We lost our cat Brianna."
Just when I thought I had it all straight on cat posters and how to refer to your cat – masculine as gatto and feminine as gatta – along comes this poster to turn me upside down. Brianna is a girl – blu di Russia, femmina – but they don't say abbiamo perso la nostra gatta as I might have expected.

The poster (like all good cat posters) has a good use of subjunctive: Per favore controllate ovunque la nostra Brianna si sia potuta nascondere – which translates as please, check everywhere because our Brianna could be hidden. I guess you can't trust those Russian blue cats.

Alzatina – "tiered cake stand"
I saw this alzatina in a recent visit to I Giardini di Giava. It struck me as a very practical name for a tiered cake stand. In English, you have to think about tiers, cakes, and stands with no reference to an action or verb. Alzatina is the diminutive of alzata, which is a shelf or rise, which in turn comes from the verb alzare - to raise or lift. 

Diffidati Ovunque Bergamo – "Warned everywhere - Bergamo"
I had to ask a Bergamasco friend to translate this one. Diffidati refers to fans who have received injunctions (diffide) to stay away from stadiums because of rowdy behavior. Furthermore, diffidati is the past participle of the verb diffidare – to have been warned. Our friend writes of the slogan: "Vuol dire che hanno ricevuto diffide (dalla polizia/tribunale) a non frequentare gli stadi in molte città (ovunque). Noi tifosi bergamaschi siamo quelli diffidati dappertutto e siamo fieri di questo." It is a point of pride to for at least some Bergamo soccer fans.

Pick up after you dog plea stenciled on a sidewalk in Bergamo.Sign asking customers to not use the automatic check-out for items discounted 50%.Amazon lockers in Bergamo.
Left: Pick up after you dog plea stenciled on a sidewalk in Bergamo. Center: Sign asking customers to not use the automatic check-out for items discounted 50%. Right: Amazon lockers in Bergamo.

L'ha fatta grossa? Raccoglila! – "Made a mistake? Pick it up!"
Here we go again. If it's not cats, it's dogs*. La Repubblica (Hoepli Editore) dictionary says farla grossa means commit a serious action. This message was stenciled on a sidewalk in Bergamo Città Alta. The rest of the message reads: È un obbligo ma anche un gesto d'amore verso la tua città – "It's not only your duty, but also an act of love for your city." And so it goes to get owners to pick up after their dogs.

* Makes me think of the song "Fortune Presents Gifts Not According to the Book" from Dead Can Dance that appeared on their Aion release. The lyrics include the following lines "Because in a village a poor lad has stolen one egg / He swings in the sun and another gets away with a thousand crimes / When you expect whistles it's flutes / When you expect flutes it's whistles."

Informiamo i sig[g] clienti che la merce con bollino 50% non va battuta alle casse automatiche – "We inform our dear customers that merchandise with a 50% sticker should not be scanned at the automated checkout."
Non va battuta is the same as non deve essere battuta or "should not be scanned". Note "a" at the end of battuta to agree with la merceSig. is "Mr." and plural is sigg. is "Messrs."

Ordina su Amazon, ritira qui – "Order on Amazon, and pick up here"
An indication of the slow, tireless penetration of Amazon: here we are in PAM supermarket in Bergamo, via Camozzi, and we see they have cleared precious floor space for Amazon.

Prostamol drug sign - no more excuses bearded daddy.Affectionate mom looking for job as babysitter.
Left: Prostamol drug sign - no more excuses bearded daddy. Right: Affectionate mom looking for job as babysitter.

Prostamol: contribuisce a favorire la funzionalità della prostata e delle vie urinarie. Da oggi basta scuse! – "Prostamol: helps to promote the functioning of the prostate and urinary tracts. From now on no more excuses!"
What caught my eye was the Da oggi basta scuse! La scusa is an "excuse"; plural is le scuse. Da oggi is more literally translated as "from today", but I think it's better reads as "from now on". This drug ad was seen in a pharmacy on Via Torquato Tasso.

Signora Lucia, amorevole mamma italiana di 50 anni cerca lavoro come babysitter – "Ms. Lucia, affectionate Italian mother of 50 years is looking for work as a babysitter."
Amorevole caught my eye in this sign we saw walking along Via Masone. Other -evole words are piacevole – "pleasant", gradevole – "pleasant", sgradevole – "unpleasant", onorevole – "honorable", and the useful vomitevole – "nauseating" as in something that makes you vomit. Find more -evole words on

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