You know that I like to compare cultures and habits. Usually I start from little accidents that happen to me as an Italian living in America. And then, I try to understand what of my odd habits strike the people I meet. In the same way as a native speaker can spot a grammar mistake in a sentence, just because it does not sound well, the same happens when someone behaves in a way that is not pertinent to their culture.
Every time I experience one of these cultural gaps, that is something that is normal in one country but odd in another, I feel terribly ashamed. Why? After all it takes time to take on different cultural habits. And then, also Monica Bellucci, in this interview, seems to have all the characteristics of an Italian abroad.
. THE ITALIAN ACCENT
The CNN asked which is the sexiest accent in the world. Guess the answer. So, what are the most peculiar features of the Italian accent? Number one, we cannot resist. We have to pronounce every letter and say it clear. Vowels? Say long, neat sounds. The R? we rotate our tongue to make it visible: it’s there, why shall we ignore it? No way we pronounce SPAGHEDI. When it comes to pasta, there is only one way to pronounce it: SPAGHETTI. And we will order a BRU-SKET-TA not a Bru-she-da. Monica has the Italian accent. I have the Italian accent. Yey! We have something in common!
. THE GREETING KISS…THE ITALIAN WAY
Well, let me share one my little awkward moments. And note that the following scene happens almost every time I meet one of my American friends. Imagine you meet your friend in a public place. “Hi, how are you?” Big smile, both arms opened up and then…panic. I freeze in that position trying to figure out which way to go to give a kiss. Right cheek, or left cheek first? So I go as the Italian way, the right and obviously the other person goes to the left…awkward! Never try to correct your direction as the other person is doing the same. What usually happens is the eskimo kiss, nose to nose. But it is not over. There is a following step. As in Italy we give two kisses, starting from the right cheek and then going to the other one, the attempt to give a second one will only make you fail again. So, if you are going to meet an Italian friend, go right cheek first, then left. No eskimo kiss please.
. HAND GESTURES. IS AN EXTENSION OF OUR VOICE
I am now in my 20th year of segregating of my hands under the table and exercising self control over my facial expressions to avoid they could take the scene over my conversation. After so many efforts, I can stand a nice talk with a foreigner. However, here and there, my Italian heritage prevails and I put myself together only when I see my interlocutor’s eyes following with interest the circle and shapes my hands creates in the space between us. It is true. If you are Italian, your hands and body gestures are like an accent, a prosody, a vocabulary: necessary. I invite everyone to spend a day in a café’ in Italy, just watching the movements and the expressions we make when we speak. Or check this video out from the New York Times. Enjoy!
So, in conclusion, even Monica has the Italian Accent. And she does not seem to care!