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Is it OK when David Rocco pronounces Italian words correctly but not when Giada does it?

Giada de Laurentiis (whose grandfather Dino just passed away, by the way) takes a lot of heat here for the way she pronounces Italian food items very 'Italian' and very specifically. While watching David Rocco's Dolce Vita the other night it was apparent that he really does the same thing with possibly just a bit less 'flair'. All either of them are doing is pronouncing Italian words as an Italian would, albeit in the middle of American/Canadian English-sounding sentences. But I haven't seen anyone give David a hard time over it. Is Giada just over-the-top for some people, and why?

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  1. I've never been bothered by Giada's pronunciation--she was raised in a very Italian home, after all--nor Rocco's. In fact, given the consistently awful mangling of even simple words and phrases by well-known food celebs--more so it seems when they're guests at some Tuscan estate--bravo for both. For me, watching Giada is problematic for other reasons, like her unnatural and extreme facial expressions. Rocco's smily face energy is sometimes out of control, and he tends to ruin things with his Italian ragazzi frat boy friends shtick. Other than that....

    8 Replies
    1. re: bob96

      I had never heard of David Rocco, so I went and watched his Amalfi episode on YouTube. His Italian is very good but with a definite American accent. I found his use of "rigotta" instead of "ricotta" annoying (his local hostess came right back at him with "ricotta"). I found his giving the full flourish to the name Maria a bit borderline when he was speaking English -- it was fine when speaking Italian.

      Giada, as others have pointed out, has a funny way of pronouncing Italian vowels. To me it doesn't come across so much affected as peculiar. I have watched Giada on YouTube with my Italian husband and my Italian coauthor, both of whom were much more disturbed (read "apoplectic") over how she made carbonara than how she pronounced it.

      1. re: mbfant

        It sounds to me like she's overenunciating. It's not something she does in her earlier seasons. Kind of like that oversmiling habit she picked up along the way.

        1. re: mbfant

          Rocco's Canadian. His Italian may well be good--and it does sound like it is whenever he manages to string a sentence together--but he's trapped in the same small repertoire of cliched gestures and verbal ticks that producers (and/or he) feel need to be there for "Italian" to register. His cooking and enthusiasm for all things Italian are fun, but his range is so stiff and limited: a stagy perkiness that wears thin. His Amalfi and Naples episodes also showcased a local comic-singer named Eddie who embodies in excruciating intensity all of the same cheesy flourishes. Ouch. Giada, pronunciation aside for the moment, is, well, now just Brand Giada, all teeth and head and smile and pretty close ups of garlic being whacked and young women friends laughing over their prosecco.
          '

          1. re: mbfant

            Very interesting to hear from someone with your experience, ear and linguistic ability.

          2. re: bob96

            By the way how do you pronounce her name.. is it GWEEEDA .. the opposite of Guido?

              1. re: sandylc

                Unless she mispronounces her own name, which I doubt, the G is more of a DJ sound.

                1. re: mbfant

                  Thanks. That's better than my attempt.

          3. If you're referring to criticisms of her pronunciations on this board, it is OK for Rocco because he is a man. It is not for Giada because she can cook, is popular, and is smoking hot, which makes her and any other attractive female a moving target for the Chowhound flock to peck to death.

            11 Replies
            1. re: Samalicious

              I don't know who David Rocco is and how he pronounces Italian words, but Giada completely over-enunciates. I have never heard any Italian -- either here or in Italy -- pronounce words the way she does.

              1. re: roxlet

                +1 Italians do not talk the way Giada does, and her claim to be Italian is ludicrous.

                1. re: pikawicca

                  Really? You can identify every accent in Italy? I thought Italy was pretty diverse in terms of food, culture and accents. I can't even place every American accent even though I've live here most my life.

                  1. re: reatard

                    You don't have to place every single American accent to know if the speaker is a native speaker.

                    1. re: chowser

                      Have you ever heard anyone with a Spanglish or Chinglish accent? I know some second generation American native English speakers with accents that sound awfully "foreign" to just about everyone that hears those accents.

                      1. re: chowser

                        I would've agreed until I heard a Tangier accent. The US is far too diverse to place every accent.

                      2. re: reatard

                        Italia is a rather new country, as you probably know.

                        Unficiation for the majority of the states came in 1861, with Trieste and the Alto Adige ( or Südtirol ) being annexed and incorporated at the end of WW I.

                        There are regional dialects everywhere, not counting German. Add an Italian decendant from Argentina, Brasil, and anywhere in North America, and the rich tapestry of the language gets even more involved. Nothing wrong with that: At least they are trying to keep the language alive by speaking it.

                        Do you want true Italian authenticity ?

                        Try Romanch, or Ladin, the language left by the Romans that is still spoken by those primarily living in the Alps, about 70,000. That is officially recognized as the 4th language of Switzerland.

                        Salve- salut - ciao = All the same greeting, no matter what you are cooking.

                      3. re: pikawicca

                        "+1 Italians do not talk the way Giada does, and her claim to be Italian is ludicrous.
                        By pikawicca on Nov 17, 2010 09:53PM"

                        So, since she was born in Rome of two Italian parents, this makes her claim to be Italian ludicrous in what way?

                        1. re: ttoommyy

                          Born in Rome, but moved to California shortly thereafter.

                          1. re: ttoommyy

                            I was going to post asking the same question.

                            oh great I really need to pay attention more I got sucked into another old thread.

                      4. re: Samalicious

                        Samalicious, perfectly stated! If Giada weren't such an attractive woman, she wouldn't be fodder for the endless criticism.

                      5. There is a difference between Giada's and David's pronunciation. Giada's is extremely exaggerated. David speaks like most Italians I've ever met and heard. I was brought up in an all Italian home. All my relatives are Italian... All of them and they all speak Italian. None of them pronounces Italian words like Giada.

                        David's intermix of Italian and English in his sentences don't bother me because I take it to mean he's explaining to us what he's saying to the merchants and his friends. I wouldn;t mind Giada's intermix if she weren't so dramatic about it.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Gio

                          That's pretty much what I thought, Gio. I agree, but David seemed to be doing almost the same thing in the show that made me ask this. I think there's also an integrating element in David's shows because he lapses into Italian so often during different parts of the show. Giada's 'Italian' stands out more, especially because she seems like she's recording the words for one of those English-Italian pronunciation websites.

                          1. re: Gio

                            I always thought Giada over-enunciated because she is trying to make the words understandable to people who don't know Italian.

                            Julia Child who was not a native French speaker but who spoke French fluently did the same thing when she used French words on The French Chef.

                            I haven't seen David Rocco so I can't comment on his show.

                          2. Isn't his show too new (new to US tv, anyway)? I haven't even watched an episode yet. That's my reason why you haven't heard any criticism yet.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: funniduck

                              His show has been on the air in the US since Memorial Day, when the revised channel began (almost 6 months now). It usually takes about 20 minutes or less for comments to hit Chowhound.

                            2. I'm not one bothered by Giada's pronunciation. That said, I don't watch her too much either. I think you have a few things going on here:

                              1) Giada is far more visible/famous than David Rocco. Generally, the more famous you are the harsher people are towards you.

                              2) David's vague Canadian accent throws audiences just enough not to question his pronunciation of anything. Whereas Giada's familiar American accent makes it appear to the public that her pronunciation is affected. And generally American audiences tolerate anything they see as 'putting on airs' about as well as they tolerate puppy torture.

                              3) Giada is female and attractive. I'm not gonna say people are extra critical of attractive successful females. No, actually I will say that. Yep. That about covers it.