Today’s Language Lesson: “Ironico E Sensibile… Linguisticamente Elegante”

The first review of the translation of ‘Crossing Europe on a Bike Called Reggie‘ – ‘Attraverso l’Europe su una Bici di Nomme Reggie‘ – is in!

“Ironico e sensibile, ma anche preciso e coraggioso senza apparire presuntuoso. Utilissima, per il lettore italiano, la visione del nostro Paese tramite gli occhi di uno straniero, a maggior ragione se ne deriva un giudizio equilibrato ed obiettivo. Stile scorrevole ma linguisticamente elegante, non sfigura a confronto con i “grandi” della letteratura di viaggio, come Bettinelli, Thubron e Ollivier. Mi ricorda un po’ -per la leggerezza nel proporsi- Bill Bryson. Ancora complimenti all’Autore.

I spend my working life as a teacher of French trying to persuade kids not to stop reading when they come to the first word that they don’t understand. Did you? Look for the cognates (words similar in English and this case Italian), think of the context, look at the picture (OK, there isn’t one so here’s the Italian cover…


…did that help?), make educated guesses, keep away from the dictionary (or Google Translate). What can you work out?

  • ironic
  • linguistically elegant
  • up there with the ‘greats’ of travel literature(!)
  • reminiscent of Bill Bryson

That’ll do fine.

OK… for those of you who did stop after the first unknown word (although, admittedly, you’re probably not the kind of reader who makes it this far in a web post…), here’s a translation into English:

“Ironic and sensitive, but also precise and courageous without appearing presumptuous. To the Italian reader, a vision of our country through the eyes of a foreigner, even if it results in a balanced and objective judgment. Flowing style but linguistically elegant; compares well with the “bigs” of travel literature such as Bettinelli, Thubron and Ollivier. It reminds me a little in its lightness of Bill Bryson. Congratulations to the author.”

(O.K., I used Google Translate just a bit…)

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