Not all those who wander are lost.

Parola del Giorno #3 – the un- “s”

I am definitely not a linguist, but I must admit that I have developed quite an enthusiasm for prefixes and suffixes. I never considered what an impact they could have on someone who’s learning a language. My Italian vocabulary is growing at a fairly steady rate these days, but with the simple addition of 4 new prefixes or suffixes it has quadrupled in size.  I’ve struck language gold, and I thought I’d share the wealth:

Parola del Giorno #3: the un- “s”

The “s-” prefix is similar to the English “un-”  or “dis-” in that it basically turns any word into its opposite.

  • When gambling or playing sports, it is always better to be fortunato (lucky) than sfortunato (unlucky).
  • Don’t forget to blocca (lock) the door on your way out. If you forget your 4-digit code, it’ll be impossible to sblocca (unlock) your iPhone.
  • In the morning, si trucca (we put on makeup).  At night, si strucca (we remove makeup).

And finally, a personal favorite: sgrassatore. The root “grasso” means fat, and the suffix “-ore” turns it into an action done by someone or something. Add that “s-” to the mix and you have something that un-greases. So when your attempt at Spaghetti alla Carbonara goes all wrong, you’ll need a sgrassatore (a degreaser) to help you clean the oil splatter off the counter.

In an effort to de-fragment my brain, I have started applying the “s” prefix to English words.  As in “A.S. Roma has had a slucky season” or “My hands are full. Could you slock the door for me?”

Try it out at home, I promise it’ll make your conversation a little more sboring.


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