Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Bergamo Street Sign Language Lesson XXXVIII

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In this installment of Street Sign Language Lesson, we have the sad story of an elephant and a cat, condominium anger over misuse of trash bins, blow out sales, country-western dancing, conspiracy theories, the universal fine-grain constant and more.


Nata libera morta da schiava

Nata libera morta da schiava
Born free and died a slave

Well, we hate to start on a negative note, but here it goes. We saw this small billboard that initially grabbed our attention with a photo of an elephant, but then upon closer inspection it was a sad outcome: the Indian elephant named Andra died. We know it's a girl because of the endings with the letter A (nata, libera, morta, schiava). In the photo, Andra is shown with a big wound (vistosa ferita) on its head. Furthermore, this ad is personalized for Bergamo: the elephant is carrying a "grazie ragazzi" flag, the flag of the hometown soccer team Atalanta. Ouch.

The billboard mentions that the elephant was performing in the Roland Orfei circus. The Orfei family are legendary circus entertainers in Italy. We remember our first trips in Italy in the late 1990s and early 2000s when we'd see faded, garish posters of Moira Orfei everywhere. Those posters scared us.



Lilo non rientra a casa dalle 19 di ieri….

Lilo non rientra a casa dalle 19 di ieri….
Lilo hasn't come home since 7 pm yesterday…

From elephants to cats. Maybe this cat ran away to the circus? I love the details in the description of this cat: taglia piccola circa 3 kg, coda molto corta causa operazione, carattere diffidente – translated as "small, around 3 kg, very short tail because of an operation, distrustful character. What operation? Why distrustful?

There is nothing in this poster that gives you us a clue as to the sex of the cat. We know, like why should it matter!? The only clue is the name "Lilo", which is mostly used as a feminine name.


Questo bidone è del condominio no [sic] non la patumeria [sic] di tutti

Questo bidone è del condominio no [sic] non la patumeria [sic] di tutti
This bin is for the condominium and not the trash can for everyone

This sign was on a trash bin just outside our building. Apparently when trash day comes, (some) people use the opportunity to dump whatever they can. Well, the person who wrote this has had enough of this behavior!

Note all caps writing, very typical in Italy. See Lo Stampatello: How Italians Write. Note extra word no and misspelling patumeria. It should be pattumiera with two Ts which means "trashcan".

Lo sbarazzo

Lo sbarazzo
Clearance

Speaking of getting rid of stuff... lo sbarazzo appeared on signs recently and after a little research we found out that it is an invented
name of a shopping event that happens in Bergamo once a year in Bergamo. It took place March 4 – 6 in 2022, its 5th year. During the event, shoppers can find good deals.

The word lo sbarazzo isn't a word per se, but it's clear that it comes from the verb sbarazzare, which means to clear or sbarazzarsi di, reflexive, which means to eliminate or throw away or get rid of.

Corso di balli country

Corso di balli country
Country-Western dancing course

American Country-Western music lives in Bergamo. Love that Uncle Sam. In English, we don't say "country dancing" because it means something different than "country-western dancing". In this poster "country-western" wasn't used, and country is used as a synecdoche for the whole "country-western dancing". Lezione di prova gratuita – free trial lesson. Don't be shy.


Auto anamnesi per l'access in ospedale

Auto anamnesi per l'access in ospedale
Understand your own (recent) case history (before) entering the hospital

This sign caught our attention because we were like woah, what is auto anamnesi? (It sounds like amnesia but it's not. False friend.) We saw this sign entering the hospital Humanitas Gavazzeni in Bergamo.

Anamnesi means "case or medical history", in particular when gathered by a doctor asking a patient questions. (It's also one of those nouns ending in I that's feminine. See A Rule of Thumb for Predicting the Gender of Italian Language Nouns.) Auto as a prefix in Italian (and in English) means in this case "of or about yourself". So, in this case, auto anamnesi along with the rest of the sign means to do a self check of your recent history before entering the hospital, with respect to fever, breathing problems, or other worrisome symptoms.

Il GP non serve per sapere se sei SANO ma per sapere se sei OBBEDIENTE

Il GP non serve per sapere se sei SANO ma per sapere se sei OBBEDIENTE
The green pass isn't used to see if you are healthy but to see if you are obedient

Conspiracy theorists sure have a lot of energy and time on their hands to spray paint messages and stick posters like this everywhere. Thanks, but no thanks for your "public service" announcements. The EU Digital COVID Certificate is known in Italy as the Green Pass (GP). The fact that the common name of it in Italy is in English says a lot about the Italian penchant for using English. Love the sinister reference in the sign to the Cheshire cat from Alice in Wonderland.

Digression: Something that we have noted in the last 10 – 15 years is that conspiracy theory believers come from both sides of the political spectrum. This is also stated in the study Conspiracy mentality and political orientation across 26 countries (Nature: Jan 18, 2022). "We conclude that conspiracy mentality is associated with extreme left- and especially extreme right-wing beliefs, and that this non-linear relation may be strengthened by, but is not reducible to, deprivation of political control."


SI RICORDA ALLA GENTILE CLIENTELA CHE OGGISI RICORDA ALLA GENTILE CLIENTELA CHE OGGIAVISSIAMO I SIG. CLIENTI CHE NELLA GIORNATA DI GIOVEDI' 17 FEBBRAIOAVISSIAMO I SIG. CLIENTI CHE NELLA GIORNATA DI GIOVEDI' 17 FEBBRAIO

AVISSIAMO I SIG. CLIENTI CHE NELLA GIORNATA DI GIOVEDI' 17 FEBBRAIO PER ORDINANZA DEL SINDACO DI BERGAMO E' FATTO DIVIETO DI VENDITA DI BEVANDE ALCOLICHE CON GRADAZIONE SUPERIORE AI 5 GRADI E DI TUTTE LE BEVANDE IN VETRO E LATTINA
Dear clients, we inform you that during the day of February 17 by order of the mayor of Bergamo it is prohibited to sell drink with alcohol drinks above 5% and all drinks in glass or cans.


SI RICORDA ALLA GENTILE CLIENTELA CHE OGGI, 17/02/2022: LA VENDITA DI ALCOLICI E BEVANDE IN VETRO E LATTINE SARà SOSPESA PER TUTTO IL GIORNO A CAUSA DELLA PARTITA ATALANTA – OLYMPIAKOS
We would like to remind our customers that today February 19, 2022 that the sale of alcoholic drinks and beverages in glass or can is suspended for the whole day because of the game between Atalanta and Olympiakos.

From conspiracy theorists to soccer fans. A bit of a generalization, but both create unnecessary graffiti in our opinion. Bergamo soccer fans incessantly write "1907" on buildings around the city as if we were ever to forget the founding date of the team, we could just pop our head outside to remember. When we first came here, we thought that number was a secret math problem or a hidden message. But alas, no.

These signs were seen in two different grocery stores on February 17, 2022, the day of a match between Atalanta and the Greek team Olympiakos. We were just minding our business oblivious to the game and were wondering why there was caution tape not only in the liquor aisles, but also on the refrigerator case with fruit juices in glass bottles. The ban is in effect for games of the Serie A championship games for the 2021/2022 season, but only in areas near the stadium. From what we can tell, you can still drink inside the stadium where we assume they don't sell the hard stuff?


fine-structure constant - bergamofine-structure constant - bergamofine-structure constant - bergamo

137
137

Speaking of math, mathematics is the universal language. No translation needed. And, speaking of hidden message, we saw these carved stones in the Castagneta neighborhood of Bergamo and wondered what the heck they meant. After a little research, we realized the symbols and numbers carved into a rock are about physics. 1/137 = 0.00729927 is a called the fine-structure constant, a dimensionless physical constant. It is also known has Sommerfeld's constant, commonly denoted by α (the Greek letter alpha). The constant quantifies the strength of the electromagnetic interaction between elementary charged particles by the formula by the formula 4πε0ħcα = e2.

A mystery remains and that's what the "29 5" or "295" means. It's probably the number of missing cats in Bergamo.

4 comments:

  1. Hello, I just discovered your blog. I have been living in Bergamo for most of my life, and I have never noticed the two 'physics' carved stones in Castagneta. I cannot figure out where they can be. Could you please give me some more directions? Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  2. They are at the intersection of Castagneta and Via Valverde: https://goo.gl/maps/gybUpbQGNWuKs9Rr8

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks! Nice long walks and hikes by the way!

      Delete

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