Words: Box and smoking

L’inglese secondo gli italiani è sempre piuttosto bizzarro: in Italia si chiama box il garage e smoking il vestito elegante da uomo. Bene, se siete nel Belpaese continuate a esprimervi in questo modo, ma se andate in un paese anglofono sappiate che nessuno vi capirà, dato che box e smoking significano tutt’altro…

Mark Worden (Standard British accent)

I’d like to talk about a couple (1) of words in English which tend to get misused (2) in Italian. For example, a favourite is a “box,” which in Italian is where you park your car. It can also be a part of an article in a magazine, a little section in which you add additional information: we have lots of boxes, as you say, like that in Speak Up. But in the original English “box” doesn’t really have this meaning (3). What a “box” is, is this thing here, which I believe you Italians call a “scatola.” The “box” where you put your car in English tends to be a “garage,” and a “box” in a newspaper article or a magazine article we usually call a “sidebar,” although (4) if you use the word “box” the English will probably… or Americans or English speakers will probably understand you. That’s “box,” that’s a favourite. Another one that’s rather amusing (5) is “smoking” which the Italians use to describe what the British call a “dinner jacket,” which sadly I’m not wearing (6) at the moment, but that’s the correct term. We… they used to talk about a “smoking jacket” or “smoking parties,” but that is now rather out of date (7) and somehow this got abbreviated to “smoking” in Italian and became “smoking,” but it’s essentially wrong because “smoking” for us is essentially inhaling cigarettes. Another term for “lo smoking” in American English is the “Tuxedo” – it means exactly the same thing as… as… as a dinner jacket, and Tuxedo, I believe, was actually the name of a town in upstate New York where people wore this particular style of jacket. I’m… I have to confess I’m not too sure, but just remember “smoking” is all about this – and not jackets – in English.


1  a couple: un paio
2  misused: usati nel modo sbagliato
3  meaning: significato
4  although: sebbene
5  rather amusing: piuttosto divertente
6  I’m not wearing: non sto indossando
7  rather out of date: piuttosto antiquato

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook Email

No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.