Tuesday, March 18, 2008

On the Subjunctive

Italian-speakers have informed me that the Italian media's lip-reading of Zlatan Ibrahimovic's "insult" of Roberto Mancini (Or was it Luis Figo?) Sunday night hinges on Zlatan having a firm grasp of how to use the subjunctive tense in Italian. This news makes me almost deliriously happy, though I can't quite put my finger on why. (Zlatan's grammar skills? The incredible seriousness of the media? The glory of conjugations?)

I expect that, on Wednesday, a camera will be trained on every substitute on every Serie A team as he exits it pitch, so the world will know what footballers really think of their coaches and, more importantly, about the level of each player's Italian. Any non-Italian who chooses to speak his native language will be approached on the touchline by a Sky minion and ordered to face the cameras and translate. Immediately. Any Antonio Cassano-style mouth-covering (utilized here to great effect by Mancini himself) will dealt with severely.

That is all.


Angharad said...

I find this all highly amusing, as one of the LRers I was watching the match with could hear what Ibra was muttering when he came off the pitch, and was having great fun translating it for the rest of us -- from the Swedish.

So, how does that Italian lipreading thing work again?

Martha said...

Reason #84 Zlatan Must be Worshiped: His ability to speak two languages simultaneously, causing press frenzy in both of them.

Sofie said...

What is this 'subjunctive' thing that you speak of?

Of course, Zlatan's Italian probably is better than mine. Probably.

ursus arctos said...

As Martha knows, I have the pleasure of seeing Ibra live most every other week (though we were out of town for the match in question).

I also have seen more than a handful of her interviews in Italian and can say without fear of contradiction that grammar (and particularly the punctilously proper use of more obscure verb forms) is not his forte. I don't recall ever having seen him speak for more than a minute without at one point throwing an English word at the interviewer and/or the attending PR flack, being unable to find the Italian one (and sure that the Swedish one wouldn't work).

But it's the thought that counts, and I'm sure that Mancio is right when he says that he knows what Ibra was thinking.

And given that it is Holy Week here, it is only fitting that the wayward son has been formally forgiven by both Moratti and Mancini, thus allowing the Gazzetta and their brethren to run the story out for another 48 hours.

I wonder why the mouth covering gambit didn't occur to Cassano when he was sent off at Siena. More than half of the blind population of Italy would swear that they could clearly read his lips on that particular occasion.

Martha said...

Ursus, your input on Zlatan's Italian grammar -- or rather lack thereof -- reassures me further, thank you.

(And, Sofie, I wouldn't count on it.)

Public apologies, public acceptances and, best of all, the always-reassuring grinny training photos -- everything is officially Alright With Inter! I feel better.

And, Ursus, didn't some opposing players try to cover Cassano's mouth during the latest eruption? He clearly needs more handlers.

ursus arctos said...

It can be difficult to tell if opponents (and sometimes teammates) are trying to cover Cassano's mouth or extract some of his teeth, but I think it is fair to think that at least one of the Sienese was trying to help the poor kid out.

Of course there was nothing they could do when he came back from the tunnel and almost to the touchline, having found the perfect angle to mouth his obscenities and threats directly into the sideline camera.

More than a few panini short of a picnic, Antonio.

Neil said...

Conjugations - the bane of my language learning life. Good to see someone else can't handle them either. Although it is pretty impressive that he can be seen to speak both Swedish and Italian at the same time. That certainly puts me in my place.