24 Comments

  1. It’s clear that the teenager in the second strip is mistaking “capisce” for some sort of food. Does anyone have any idea what kind of dish he is thinking of?

    P.S. My initial impression was that last strip belonged on the editorial page, but then I recognized that her outfit was supposed to be early 1950s, and not late 1840s.

  2. That second strip seems much longer than necessary. An efficient cartoonist could have done it in one panel. Why the huge pause before “capisce”?

    I’ve never seen the strip Half Full before, nor did I know the artist before looking at the credit. But I could still immediately tell that the artist was a woman. Isn’t that weird? I shouldn’t be able to tell, but the drawing style seems distinctly feminine to me.

  3. Because, Carl, the stereotypical stewardess uniforms were based on the high fashion styles of the late 1940s.

  4. @Powers, I would respectfully disagree about the Daddy’s Home–I’d say the silent and shaded middle panel is what makes it work!

    I’m not sure why Maria Scrivan seems familiar outside her Half Full strip. I thought for a minute she might have been at some time one of the Six Chix group, but nothing bears that out.

  5. Kilby, a coworker of mine had the famous Barsotti “Fusilli” panel on her bulletin board. So my impression is that the youth isn’t thinking of any particular other word or specific named dish, but just “one of those alternative pastas Dad likes to order”,

  6. The kid is thinking of “Caprese”, a salad consisting of fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and basil. It’s really good; try it some time, verstehst?

  7. I suppose he could be thinking of “caprese”. But my preference is to see it as funnier if he is not thinking of anything specific but just plugs it into a subconscious “Italian food conversation” template they have.

    And I do like a fresh caprese salad, as well as the more recent invention, a caprese sandwich. I do have the problem many non-Italian-speaking Anglophones (who do however know some textbook rules or patterns for Italian speech) run into with adopted Italian terms — how many syllables to give some of those terms. I’ve only recently converted from 4 syllables for provolone to 3. And I fear my 3 for caprese sounds wrong to those ion the know and should be 2.

  8. I did hear an Italian-American comedian recently do a bit in their routine on that pronunciation issue. But he didn’t want people to do the three-syllable style for “provolone” at all — the issue was on just what the vowel of the fourth syllable should be, like between “provolonay” and “provolony”.

  9. I wouldn’t sweat pronunciation too much. Even lots of names are pronounced differently. “Esposito” is generally pronounced in North America like “Es-pa-ZITE-o” and in Italy along the lines of “Es-PAHZ-ito”. Italian has borrowed many words from English, which they routinely bash bash around in meaning and pronunciation, so why worry about the converse?

  10. How interesting (or anyway oddly coincidental) that your name example should be Esposito. Exactly that relocation of stress (and concomitant alternation of vowel values) has been an issue recently for fan podcasts of Better Call Saul talking about Giancarlo Esposito.

    (WikiP)
    Giancarlo Giuseppe Alessandro Esposito (Italian pronunciation: [dʒaŋˈkarlo dʒuˈzɛppe alesˈsandro eˈspɔːzito]; born April 26, 1958) is an American actor and director. He is best known for portraying Gus Fring in the AMC crime drama series Breaking Bad, from 2009 to 2011, and in its prequel series Better Call Saul, from 2017 to 2022. For this role, he won the Critics’ Choice Television Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series and earned three nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.

  11. Brian in STL: “Esposito” is generally pronounced in North America like “Es-pa-ZITE-o” and in Italy along the lines of “Es-PAHZ-ito”.
    Not exactly, in italian the wovels are always pronounced similar to the short sound in english (think pit, pot, put, pet, pat) so it’s “Es-PO-si-to”.

  12. I wasn’t going to go there, but in agreeing with TedD’s comment, and considering Power’s comment about the ineffable femininity of the cartoon, I can’t help but ignore that inner voice and mention the book Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps….

  13. Around Boston they pronounce “pizza” as an Italian would, as “peet-sa”, not rhyming with “is a” or “quiz a”. But “calzone” gets two syllables and rhymes with “gal’s own.”

    Also in Boston we know how to pronounce Number 7, Phil Esposito. “Jesus saves! Esposito scores on the rebound!”

  14. Around Boston they pronounce “pizza” as an Italian would, as “peet-sa”, not rhyming with “is a” or “quiz a”

    I’m a touch confused. Are you thinking that those others are common in other parts of the US? Not that I’ve heard.

  15. Robert’s family (1st to 3rd generation American Italian) call it “peetz”

    Macaroni (which to the rest of us is pasta) is called “macs”

    Tomato sauce is called “gravy” or “tomato gravy”.

    Many end of word letters are dropped as in peetz – “spuhgett” “mutzerell” and so on. (pizza, spaghetti, and mozzarella)

  16. Well, if you’re going to say “calzone” as if it were English, as if it were “Don’t park in the cal zone,” why wouldn’t you rhyme “pizza” with “is a”?

  17. MiB says Well, if you’re going to say “calzone” as if it were English, as if it were “Don’t park in the cal zone,” why wouldn’t you rhyme “pizza” with “is a”?

    I’m missing something about the “rhyme with is-a” question. There are two big differences between the usual pronunciation of “pizza” and the sounds in (rhyming with) “is a”. There’s the first vowel (ee versus short i). And the consonant cluster in the middle — simple voiced z vs inserted t and unvoiced s.

    So which of those two differences are you focussing on? Or is it both?

  18. I’m talking about the difference between pronouncing an Italian word according to Italian phonology, vs. pronouncing it according to English phonology. If people can say “pizza” correctly, why can’t they say “calzone” correctly? OTOH I have been known to call hors d’oeuvres “horse doovers” put not in polite company.

  19. Mark in Boston – but according to husband (and his family including his late grandparents who moved here from Italy – it is pronounced “peetz” as if no a at the end. (Or am I being thickheaded and that was what you meant?)

    Interesting to see his nieces – adopted from China – talking and saying Italian things as their late grandparents did.

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