05 September 2013

Piano a piano

This morning I wrote a letter in Italian to the Secretary of the Governor General of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem - at the direction of my Lieutenant - asking how I might take part in the activities of the Order's upcoming pilgrimage for the Year of Faith.

Before sending the letter by fax, I asked the secretary here at the Casa Santa Maria to give it a read and tell me if it made sense.  She said she could understand it, but it was not correct Italian; even so, she seemed to think it sufficient to send.

Still, I asked her to help me correct it and she scribbled away on the letter.  I was, I think, glad to see that she also had to stop and think for a moment when choosing the appropriate preposition in certain cases where I chose incorrectly.

As I continue to learn the language, one thought continually comes to mind: When you want Italian to be precise, it isn't; and when you don't want it to be precise, it is.

Ah, well, as they say here: "Piano a piano."  Literally, it means "floor to floor," but figuratively it means "little by little."  There seem to be in Italian many words that have a variety of meanings which are not immediately connected.

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