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Cari amici,

“La signora è americana ed è una giornalista, due specie che mettono me perlomeno in guardia.“ (The lady is American and a journalist, two species that, at the least, put me on guard.)

“On guard” is exactly how I felt when I began reading this review of La Bella Lingua: La Mia Storia dell’Amore con L’Italiano, recently published by Treccani. Instead, the author, Professore Pasquale D’Ascola, praised my book as “elegante e snello, così valentino, denso di sapere, di studio e di amore per l’italiano e per i native” (elegant and graceful, like a Valentine, full of knowledge, of study and of love for Italian and for its natives). Grazie, Professore, per le belle parole!

These kind words mean so much to me because of my deep affection and appreciation for Italian, Italy and Italians. I am delighted that the Italian translation of La Bella Lingua is now available from, IBS books, Libreria Pino and other independent booksellers.

The distinguished author and professoressa Valeria Della Valle officially presented the Italian translation of La Bella Lingua in Rome at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni. My thanks to Valeria and Massimo Bray, direttore generale of Treccani, who described La Bella Lingua as un libro importante per diffondere l’interesse e l’amore per la lingua italiana” (an important book for spreading interest and love for the Italian language).

I also have been delighted to hear from Italian readers, who say that they are enjoying my perspective on their language and believe that my book is improving their understanding of English and English-speakers.

For me, the Italian edition of La Bella Lingua has been a revelation. Although my books have been translated into more than a dozen languages, I was never able to read any of them. With the Chinese and Japanese editions, the only words I recognized were my name.

Since so many things sound better in Italian, I wondered if this truism applied to my own writing. If you read English and Italian, you can be the judge. Consider these two sentences describing la bella lingua:

“While other tongues do little more than speak, this lyrical language thrills the ear, beguiles the mind, captivates the heart, enraptures the soul, and comes closer than any other idiom to expressing the essence of what it means to be human.”

“Le altre lingue parlano e poco più, mentre questa, cosi lirica, solletica l’orecchio, seduce la mente, cattura il cuore, rapisce l’anima e più di qualsiasi altro idioma si avvicina e esprimere l’essenza di ciò che significa essere umani.”

Personally, I vote for the Italian—with applause and gratitude to Maria Baiochhi and Anna Tagliavini, who did the translation for Treccani.

My Weekly Blog

As a subscriber to this newsletter, you might also enjoy my weekly blog. After ten years of focusing on language in “Becoming Italian Word by Word,” I have broadened its focus to “A Passion for Italy.” You can read recent posts here.

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Looking forward to a new decade, I extend my best wishes for your happiness, health and success.




Dianne Hales

PO Box 473
Bodega Bay, CA 94923
United States