Non è la fine del mondo

Alessia Gazzola (b. Messina, 1982) is a medical examiner and author of the Alice Allevi series (Longanesi), which is an appealing mix of forensic medicine, mystery, and romantic comedy. While collaborating with RAI on the Alice Allevi TV series, Gazzola began writing Non è la fine del mondo: ovvero La tenace stagista ovvero Una favola d’oggi (It’s Not the End of the World: or The Tenacious Intern, or A Contemporary Fable) (Feltrinelli, 2016), a romantic comedy-drama introducing film editor intern, Emma De Tessent.

The best way to describe thirty-year-old Emma is the way she describes herself: “Tenacious intern. Unshakeable dreamer. Calamity for crabby producers and Zen writers.” Importantly, she is also an unapologetic devotee of regency romance. And when the Fairmount movie studio doesn’t renew her annual contract, she becomes a type of romantic heroine herself—but one for the contemporary age.

The language of Non è la fine del mondo is intelligent, fresh, and romantic, like the character of Emma. The lexicon also reflects the influence of globalization and the digital era on the Italian language, especially with respect to the borrowing from English.

BORROWINGS
ANGLICISMS
succo di frutta dal brik (Eng. juice box)
Mi pare quasi che aspettassero che io finissi; l’ultimo sorso della cannuccia, che peraltro per un crudele fenomeno della fisica mi viene rumoroso quanto quello di un bambino che beve il succo di frutta dal brik…
(It almost seemed like they were waiting for me to finish; the last sip from the straw that, moreover, because of a cruel phenomenon of physics is as loud as a baby drinking from a juice box…)

under twenty-five
Al che già immagino la scoperta di un meschino intrallazzo tra l’Orrido Cognato e una qualunque neolaureata under twenty-five.
(At which point I’m already imaging the discovery of a wretched affair between The Horrid Brother-In-Law and some neo-graduate under twenty-five.)

catering, garden party
“Emma, puoi darmi una mano? Occorre sentire quelli del catering per il garden party.”
(“Emma, can you give me a hand? We need to talk to the catering people about the garden party.”)

FOREIGNISMS
übercapo (Ger. über [Eng. over] + Ital. capo [Eng. boss])
Ralph Milstein è lo übercapo della Waldau, in visita eccezionale presso la sede italiana al fine di supervisionare i preparativi per la preproduzione di Il codice della pioggia.
(Ralph Milstein is the überboss of Waldau, on a rare visit to the Italian office to supervise the preparations for the preproduction of The Code of the Rain.)

mèches (Fr.; Eng. highlights)
…mentre i miei capelli sono del color del manto del più anonimo dei ratti, che se non faccio le méches, dimostro almeno dieci anni di più.
(…while my hair is the color of the coat of the most anonymous of rats, so if I don’t have highlights, I look at least ten years older.)

SOCIAL MEDIA TERMS
chatto (Eng. I chat)
Finisco il mio caffè, che profuma di caldo e di buono, e chatto via WhatsApp con mia sorella, che si compiange perché dovrà partecipare a una festa da sola.
(I finish my coffee, which smells of warmth and goodness, and I chat on WhatsApp with my sister, who’s complaining because she’s going to have to go to a party alone.)

whatsappando (Eng. whatsapping)
E invece mi aspetta mentre inganna il tempo whatsappando con la velocità di un teenager.
(And instead he waits for me while killing time whatsapping with the speed of a teenager.)

EXPRESSIONS
andare in tilt (from pinball jargon; Eng. to go into “tilt” mode; [slang] to lose it)
Glielo ricordo con dolcezza, perché MG è fatta così, è molto ansiosa, le devi dire di continuo che va tutto bene o va in tilt.
(I remind her about it gently, because that’s the way MG is—she’s very anxious, you have to continually tell her that everything is going fine or she loses it.)

vivere sulla pelle (literally, to live on the skin [often negative]; Eng. to live [something]; to experience)
In definitiva, una storia come tante, ma siccome l’aveva vissuta sulla sua pelle, la signora Vittoria la ricordava e la raccontava come una viccenda eccezionale.
(All in all, a story like so many, but because she lived it, Vittoria remembers it and tells it like it was an extraordinary event.)

COMPOUND WORDS
belladolcesensibile (Eng. beautifulsweetsensitive)
Solo un’interprete dell’Ufficio affari esteri sembra ascoltarlo—e guarda caso è belladolcesensibile.
(The only one who seems to listen to him is an interpreter from the Foreign Affairs Office—and, as chance would have it, she’s beautifulsweetsensitive.)

cioccolatamunita (Eng. chocolateequipped)
Cioccolatamunita e vestita color ciuffo di malva, busso alla porta del Produttore.
(Chocolateequipped and dressed in a bouquet-of-mallow color, I knock on The Producer’s door.)

HYPHENATED WORDS
signorina so-tutto-io (Eng. Miss Know-It-All)
Quindi, mia cara signorina so-tutto-io, non ho fatto che cercare di recuperare il maltolto.
(So, my dear Miss Know-It-All, all I did was try to recoup the ill-gotten gains.)

che-cavolo-ho-una-vita-mia-anch’io (Eng. what-the-hell-I-have-a-life-of-my-own-too)
…proprio in quello spazio di tempo fulmineo il Produttore entra nella mia stanza e mi invita a cena—di nuovo—, e di no io non posso proprio più dirlo perché che-cavolo-ho-una-vita-mia-anch’io.
(…precisely in that lightening-quick space of time, The Producer enters my office and invites me to dinner—again, and I really can’t say no anymore because what-the-hell-I-have-a-life-of-my-own-too.)

In Translation: Gazzola’s Alice Allevi series has been translated in German, French, Spanish, Turkish, Polish, Serbian, and Japanese.

On Film: L’allieva (The Student), the Alice Allevi series starring Alessandra Mastronardi, is available on RAI Play.


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