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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Italian Was Not His First, Second, or Third Language

Scottish caricaturist Emilio Coia was not well acquainted with his father's native land.

Despite his antecedents - his father, who had emigrated from Italy, was the owner of ice-cream shops and cafes in Glasgow - he spoke little or no Italian and had visited the land of his forebears but rarely.
Like me, Coia had a rudimentary grasp of Italian. The one Italian word he could spell correctly, he said, was 'ciao', because it was anagram of his surname. [Link]
Well, that's one more word than I can spell correctly in Finnish.

Kaisa Kyläkoski

Ciao is 'Hei' in Finnish. Fairly easy to spell. Say it once for hello and twice for bye-bye. Other (short) words also in spoken form at


Thanks, Kaisa! If I ever visit my great-grandparents' homeland, I will now be able to say "hello" and "goodbye". Between which there will be a long, awkward silence.

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