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What is a 'panini?'

There is no such thing as 'A PANINI' because the word 'panini' is plural, 2 or more rolls in the bella lingua italiana (beautiful Italian language). A single sandwich of that ilk is a 'PANINO.' Actually, in order to make it a sandwich, it should be called a 'PANINO IMBOTTITO' which is a filled roll.

Why do I rant? Because it has become commonplace in the US to screw up a beautiful language like Italian.

Also, there is no need to end the following Italian words with an 's' because they are already plural...spaghetti, panini, ravioli, cannoli, etc. I've heard these words with an 's' attached in South Philly. Oy vay!

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    1. It's just the nature of the language. It gets changed whenever it goes to a new location. It happens to Chinese dishes, too. For example, Chinese nouns do not have a plural form. Instead, it uses numbers or quantities. One does not order "dumplings" at a Chinese restaurant. One orders a "plate of dumpling", "a bowl of dumpling", "five dumpling", etc. There are dishes properly referred to as "boas" ("oa" sounds like "ow" as in "cow") but are usually referred to as "dumpling" in the US.

      3 Replies
      1. re: raytamsgv

        Boa or bao? And thanks for that. Never knew it. Heading to SFBA soon and will practice :)

        1. Well, you've taken a bit of a liberty yourself, with the beautiful language that is Yiddish. The standard spelling is "Oy vey!", although veh, weh, and vay are alternates. Weh, "woe" in German, is the root and is pronounced vay.

          3 Replies
          1. re: greygarious

            I wholeheartedly agree with you. You are absolutely correct. I did take that liberty, and I know the spelling is 'Weh' (Capitalized because it is a noun), but dealing with illiterati is tedious.

            My foreign language in high school and college was Deutsch. That was more than 50 years ago.

            Danke viel mal! Adesso io imparando italiano!

            1. re: ChiliDude

              The correct spelling is "אוי וויי" (and there is no capitalization in Yiddish).

              1. re: ChiliDude

                Danke "vielmals", bitte.

                But I'll give ya a break -- my Latin class was more than 25 years ago and I'm not sure I'd remember the u-declination either.

            2. Do Italians honor English plurals when borrowing words like 'hamburger' and 'hot dog'?

              2 Replies
                1. re: ChiliDude

                  I know. The Italian rule, across the board, is that foreign words are always expressed in the singular. Therefore you would have "un hamburger" or "due hamburger". This rule avoids the hybrids so annoying to speakers of the original language, such as the French spaghettis, which not even English does, or not officially.

                  People may defend Americanizing these Italian words, but I am getting tired of explaining to people why they got a glass of milk in an Italian bar when they asked for a latte. Likewise people who expect a "panini" to be a complicated grilled combination of something, something, sun-dried tomatoes, and goat cheese will be underwhelmed by what can pass for a panino in the old country.

              1. Well it so happens we aren't in Italy so a panini is " a small, flat loaf of Italian bread that is often cut, filled with cheese, meat, or vegetables, and eaten warm" The word has been adapted from Italian and is used to mean a singular sandwich as far as its meaning is concerned in the US.



                24 Replies
                    1. re: c oliver

                      'Panini' is not the first or the last word to be Anglicized. Merriam-webster will change their definition accordingly, with time. They're already late.

                      1. re: ChiliDude

                        Funny. I was thinking the same thing about your original point.

                        The train has left the station. The horse is out of the barn and halfway into the next county. The fat lady sang years ago.

                        Do you foresee a time when millions of people across America will suddenly start saying "panino"? It's not going to happen. Never ever.

                        1. re: Veggo

                          Exactly. If you run around saying "panino" in restaurants and lecturing people on the correct usage people will think you're a crank.

                          It's right up there with ranting about cappuccino only being served at breakfast in Italy. Good luck with that one.

                          1. re: Bob Martinez

                            Knowledgeable baristi (as long as we're going there) will tell you the reason cappuccino is only served in Italy before 11am is that much of the population is lactose-intolerant and drinks very little milk. In Sicily it's like 71%, rest of Italy between 42-51% or something like that. Not so in Scandanavia where they drink capps all day.

                            1. re: Panini Guy

                              Wouldn't it be bariste (while we're going there)?

                              1. re: linguafood

                                Is this Wiki line correct?
                                "The native plural in English is baristas, while in Italian the plural is baristi for masculine or mixed sex (baristi: "barmen", "bartenders") or bariste for feminine (bariste: "barmaids")."

                                1. re: paulj

                                  Ah, paulj, the living dictionary. I won't argue with you.

                                  I just thought pasta/paste, but I'm sure you are right.

                                  1. re: paulj

                                    The Wiki is correct, except I would question the use of "barmaid" in English, which sounds like something out of Tom Jones (the novel, not the singer). The singular barista is both masculine and feminine, like poeta.

                                2. re: Panini Guy

                                  If you're lactose-intolerant at noon, you're just as lactose-intolerant at breakfast. Italians drink lots of milk and eat tons of milk-products, a category that includes mozzarella, eaten in quantity at all hours.

                                  And I have never heard anyone in Italy give a specific hour of the day as a cutoff for drinking cappuccino, except maybe Beppe Severgnini, a journalist who spent a lot of time in the US and who can be very funny. The real prohibition is cappuccino directly after a meal, which is considered to hinder digestion.

                                  1. re: mbfant

                                    Most aged cheeses have very little,if any, lactose, as the bacteria used to make them digest it. Mozzarella, being a fresh cheese, has some, of course.

                                    1. re: mbfant

                                      Breakfast is not typically a big meal in Italy, at least in urban centers, thus morning cappuccino consumption isn't interfering with much of anything digestive-wise. Later in the day it would.

                                      So yes, you may be absolutely correct that it relates to digestion. And I may absolutely correct in that it relates to lactose intolerance.


                                      As noted in the chart, Italy does drink a lot of milk. But let's also remember that a typical Italian cappuccino ritual is one 5-5.5 oz in the morning, of which 1.5-2.0 is espresso. They're not the ginormous atrocities served in the US.

                                      Italy, Spain, Greece have the highest levels of lactose-intolerant population in Europe. Which is why soft cheeses such as sheep's milk soft cheeses (e.g. ricotta) and buffalo milk (e.g. mozzarella bufala) are also popular - less problems with it. If you get a cannoli in Palermo or even Naples, odds are it's gonna be sheep's milk cheese.

                                      1. re: Panini Guy

                                        The question is, even if 50% of the population is lactose intolerant, why would this mean that the _entire_ population can't have cappuccino after 11am? And why is this specific to cappuccino? There are lots of lactose-laden foods and drinks you can enjoy in Italy all day and all night long.

                                        This question has been discussed at length in several other threads, but as far as I can see, this is the first time anyone has mentioned lactose. Have you really heard this explanation from "knowledgeable baristi", or is this your own theory?

                                        "Cappuccino after noon - faux pas in US?"

                                        "Cappuccino in the PM?"

                                        "Cappuccino after dinner? A-ok or a no-no for "authentic" Italian dining?"

                                        1. re: DeppityDawg

                                          No, not my own theory. I used to own a cafe. Have been to Italy several times, visited factories that make espresso machines. Talked to a lot of people in the industry. FWIW, the "tradition" is less stringent in northern Italy than in Rome and south. Few will raise an eyebrow in Bologna or Verona or Venice and none in Trieste. And not coincidentally, the prevalence of lactose intolerance is less there.

                                          Keep in mind also that Americans are much more fussy and whiny about what they consume - it's what we do. An American and Italian may both have discomfort at consuming a bit of milk. But the American will be the one openly complaining.

                                        2. re: Panini Guy

                                          Cheeses like ricotta and mozzarella have more lactose than their aged counterparts like brie, cheddar, and Swiss.

                                          1. re: Panini Guy

                                            <<<<<If you get a cannoli in Palermo or even Naples, odds are it's gonna be sheep's milk cheese.>>>>>

                                            In keeping with the nature of this thread, wouldn't that be "cannolo"?

                                            1. re: sandylc

                                              It most certainly would be cannolo.

                                            2. re: mbfant

                                              I'd rather be lactose intolerant in the evening, after I've gotten home.

                                          2. re: Bob Martinez

                                            "It's right up there with ranting about cappuccino only being served at breakfast in Italy. Good luck with that one."

                                            I was chastised by a British gentleman for ordering tea after dinner. How stupid. I wanted some tea, so I ordered it and then I drank it. So sorry if it's only acceptable to drink coffee after dinner in England. Too bad for the people there who would actually prefer tea, I guess. I wonder what the punishment is????

                                            1. re: sandylc

                                              "I wonder what the punishment is????"

                                              No punishment. We make allowances for foreigners. But we'll talk about you afterwards - "Did you see that sandylc drinking tea? Let's not invite her/him back again".

                                          3. re: Bob Martinez

                                            Not millions but I do. 'Course I usually make them at home :)

                                      2. Please make sure you repeat your rant in France, the Netherlands, and England, where "panini" is used in the exact same way as in the US...(probably more countries, but those are the ones in which I distinctly remember eating *A* panini)

                                        ..i.e., it's not just "commonplace in the US" -- it's commonplace in many places around the world.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                          Like a lot of words, it's wrong but IMO not worth a rant :)

                                          1. I appreciate a good linguistic rant almost as much as I enjoy a grammar or syntax rant. Maybe upset readers should each go and have a latte to calm their nerves, a latte being, of course, milk, a non caffeinated white beverage.

                                            (__8 ])

                                            1. Maybe a bit OT, but irks me a LOT when people insist on pronouncing Italian food itmes as if they were actually ITALIAN. I'm NOT so things like provolone, mozzarella, and proscuitto have a NON-Italian accent??

                                              10 Replies
                                              1. re: kseiverd

                                                I speak a very little Spanish and even less Portuguese so without even thinking about it, I tend to pronounce them 'that' way :)

                                                1. re: kseiverd

                                                  There are actually two, maybe three, issues here. One is the giving of the full flourish to the Italian words, with trilled R's and all. That used to drive me up the wall until I actually learned to speak Italian and began to see how the Italian pronunciation can just slip out (not that I can seriously trill an R). However, yes, I'll grant you that.

                                                  I would also grant, but only outside Italy, three syllables for provolone instead of the correct four.

                                                  Where I draw the line is on the insistence on dialect pronunciations that don't even reflect the spelling of the word. Italian is actually pronounced just the way it's spelled (the few basic rules of pronunciation are not hard to learn). Pro-sciut-to. Mozz-a-rel-la. Ri-cot-ta. "Proshoot", "moozarel", "rigot" and the like are neither correct Italian nor standard American pronunciations of correctly spelled Italian words. (Speaking of correct spelling: prosciutto, not proscuitto, which would, of course, be pro-skweet-to.)

                                                    1. re: mbfant

                                                      Why should spelling from Standard Italian trump dialect pronunciations?


                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                        Because pronouncing what is written always trumps pronouncing something else that you have in your head. If the menu says pastafazool, sure, order it like that. If it says pasta e fagioli, pastafazool is outranked.

                                                      2. re: mbfant

                                                        I really appreciate your comments. My wife's grandparents came from Italy...Southern Italy where the letter 'c' became a 'g' and the final vowel in words was dropped. Capocollo (the real Italian spelling) became gabagool, ricotta became as you mentioned 'rigot' and pasta e fagioli became pastafazool.

                                                        My late mother-in-law was named Isabel instead of Isabella after both her grandmothers as was customary in the Italian naming process, but the dialectic pronunciation dropped the 'a' at the end when her mother was in an American hospital.

                                                        Now here's the kicker...I miei antenati non erano italiani.

                                                        1. re: ChiliDude

                                                          Nemmeno i miei, ma ci abito. Che vuoi fa'?

                                                              1. re: ChiliDude

                                                                "Why do I rant? Because it has become commonplace in the US to screw up a beautiful language like Italian."

                                                      3. In South America, Spanish speakers will also say "paninis" as in "voy a pedir los paninis/el panini"--it happens. You'll just have to live with it. That's the other side of having a popular and successful cuisine; it ends up becoming part of other languages and cultures. In a sense you lose "ownership" of the word.

                                                        1. There's nothing wrong with pointing out the correct use of the word, especially at all those places boasting about their 'authentic paninis.'

                                                          4 Replies
                                                          1. re: Steve

                                                            I believe the point was that you're going to be plenty busy hitting up every sandwich shop on several continents.

                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                              I know, education is a lifelong commitment, but if we can gather together every Chowhound who believes in this subject deeply, we can change the course of human history.

                                                              1. re: Steve

                                                                I think we'd have a slightly better chance of changing the course of history in a meaningful way if every Chowhound who believes in this subject deeply would make a conscious effort to let go of this and to care about something else instead.

                                                              2. re: sunshine842

                                                                The husband and I have often discussed that we should just carry a Sharpie with us.

                                                              1. re: sr44

                                                                LOL :-D

                                                                That should be its own thread .... The erroneous usage of "au jus" !

                                                                1. re: sr44

                                                                  Doncha mean with au jus sauce?

                                                                  1. re: sr44

                                                                    & washed down with a glass of chai tea.

                                                                      1. re: 4X4

                                                                        Yes, but I do order "2 burritos supreme." Never thought it was odd.

                                                                      2. When a recent contestant on Jeopardy introduced themselves to the audience they stated that the most odd thing they've ever experienced was winning a spelling bee and seeing the word "speliing" appear engraved on the trophy.

                                                                        Now that's something to complain about!!

                                                                        1. The question is when we speak of food from other countries, do we HAVE to follow the rules that the rule originated, or our own? While I know Italian and French, I don't know the grammar of Spain, Germany, Russia, etc. Do you also speak other country's food based on their rules? Does anyone know them all? In the US, if I want more than one tamale, I'll ask for tamales. If I want more than one wiener schnitzel, I'll order wiener schnitzels.

                                                                          28 Replies
                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                            In the case of the schnitzel, you can use the Chinese rule alluded to further down (or up?) thread -- the plural of schnitzel is….. schnitzel!!! :-)

                                                                            1. re: linguafood

                                                                              That would be easier than figuring out if wieners should also be plural. My sister and I used to add an "s" to Chinese words to make them plural. And, then we laughed hysterically. Added to the problem, what if you don't know the country of origin? Or if it's phonetic?

                                                                              Someone once asked, is it just Italians who think their rules should apply to the world, eg no fish w/ cheese ever?

                                                                              1. re: chowser

                                                                                I don't even know for sure if Italians give a shit whether the rest of the world eats seafood with cheese.

                                                                                People who care a lot (or perhaps too much) about these things come in all nationalities.

                                                                                The plural of Wiener is Wiener, incidentally. But don't let that fool you into thinking that all German plurals are like the singular.

                                                                                  1. re: linguafood

                                                                                    I defer to your superior German, of course, but in the case in point (paired with Schnitzel), isn't wiener an adjective, thus not capitalized?

                                                                                    Tamales is the plural of tamal, not tamale (I recently learned from the excellent "Gran Cocina Latina"). Whether "tamale" is acceptable as an idiomatic American singular could probably get a lot of people's blood pressure going, but I don't speak Spanish and won't get into that.

                                                                                    Italians don't care if you use cheese on your seafood in your own cuisine, but they certainly disapprove (condescendingly) if you put parmigiano on your spaghetti alle vongole anywhere in the world.

                                                                                    1. re: mbfant

                                                                                      Wiener refers to having origins in the city of Wien (Vienna).

                                                                                      The French and Germans and British all happily sprinkle parmesan on their seafood pasta and the Italians don't give a damn.

                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                          Yes, I know wiener comes from Wien. That makes it an adjective and lowercase, no?

                                                                                          In that the Italians have bigger fish to fry, of course they don't care what the barbarians do. But if they stop to notice a plate of spaghetti alle vongole covered with grated parmesan, they will be turned off at the very least.

                                                                                        2. re: mbfant

                                                                                          In the US, tamale is the common use, no different than saying Milan instead of Milano. But, I also pronounce tamale/tamales like an American.

                                                                                          I'm the heathen who loves parmigiano on my spaghetti alle vongole. It seems on TV (which is such an accurate depiction of real life, I realize) that fish and cheese are a bad combination no matter what the cuisine. I think that others take that attitude because I've heard Italian Americans say the same.

                                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                                            Since it's highly unlikely that the Italian peering into my plate is going to eat my pasta OR pay for it....I really don't care what he thinks.

                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                              LOL, I enjoy running my fingernails along the chalkboard in front of anal retentive people.

                                                                                          2. re: mbfant

                                                                                            "Wiener" is always capitalized, whether it's a noun or an adjective.


                                                                                              1. re: DeppityDawg

                                                                                                You are absolutely correct, and that idiot who was running for mayor of NYC pronounces it as weiner (whiner).

                                                                                                1. re: ChiliDude

                                                                                                  I would too, if that was my last name and I was that big of a public idiot :/

                                                                                              2. re: mbfant

                                                                                                It's an adjective, but it's capitalized anyway. Like Nürnberger Würstchen. Don't ask me why. German's complicated, and as a native, I never bothered much with the grammatical rules -- they're bred into me :-)

                                                                                                I like a little parm on my vongole.

                                                                                                1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                  Lingua, you rebel!

                                                                                                  Doncha know everyone should do things the same way! What will the world come to?

                                                                                                  1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                    My grandfather always put parm on all his fish pastas. My father did and so now I do.

                                                                                                    I know it is "wrong" but I like the taste. If it tastes good, eat it!

                                                                                                    My grandmother and her other son thought they were nuts.

                                                                                                    1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                      Maybe if we called it clams instead of vongole, it would be fine. I love clams casino, like Giada. Just hold the pasta.


                                                                                                    2. re: mbfant

                                                                                                      But the Spanish 'tamal' comes from Náhuatl 'tamalli'


                                                                                                      So while the English 'tamale' may be a backformation from 'tamales', it may be closer to the 'original'. It's worth keeping in mind that Náhuatl is only one of many pre-Columbian languages that would have had a word for this type of food.

                                                                                                      argues that 'tamale' just sounds better to English speakers.

                                                                                                      There are many examples of Spanish speakers adding sounds to borrowed words to make them sound better. Words that begin with 's', are changed to 'es...'; 'hamburger' becomes 'hamburguesa'.

                                                                                                  1. re: ChiliDude

                                                                                                    Yep. Plural of schnitzel is schnitzel.

                                                                                                2. re: chowser

                                                                                                  No, you say "Bitte, ich möchten Wiener schnitzeln."

                                                                                                  1. re: ChiliDude

                                                                                                    Don't you mean "Bitten, ichn möchten Wienern schnitzeln?".

                                                                                                    Wenn schon, denn schon!

                                                                                                    1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                      This is exactly where panini/panino discussions lead.

                                                                                                3. Well, put it this way: unless you refer in American English conversation to the plural of pizza as pizze, your argument is arbitrary. (Then again, plurals in American usage are arbitrary: we don't consistently employ proper Latin or Greek plural forms for nouns borrowed directly into English.)

                                                                                                  18 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                    You're right about "pizze" (and "espressi", "paste", "opere", etc.), but in those cases maybe English speakers can be forgiven since at least they get the singular form right. But there are other examples more like "panini", and I wonder if ChillDude gets as upset about those, too: "broccoli", "zucchini", "salami", "confetti", … After all, only the illiterati would say "That broccoli you made was so salty I couldn't eat very much of it". The only correct usage is of course "Those broccoli you made were so salty I couldn't eat very many of them".

                                                                                                    1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                      Of course it's arbitrary. English doesn't have a French Academy telling it what to do (like use "médias" or "spaghettis"). We leave our language to natural forces and evolution. As a result, it would be very artificial, and affected, to insist on treating well-established words like zucchini and broccoli as plurals or asking for two pizze. Where I have trouble is with the instantaneous Americanization, and redefinition, of new imports. Panino/panini became current in America relatively recently, and what with global communications, etc., I just don't see what is so hard about calling a panino a panino. For that matter, I don't see what's so hard about calling it a bread roll or a sandwich, as the case may be. That is where redefinition comes in, since clearly the word means something else outside Italy. Finally, I would prefer an American plural, paninos, to turning the Italian plural into a singular.

                                                                                                      One final thought: somebody mentioned opera, which is interesting. It is a singular feminine noun in Italian, but it's actually a Latin plural, of opus. I don't know how long it has been that way.

                                                                                                      1. re: mbfant

                                                                                                        But the instantaneous Americanization is what's so American about it. You want it Americanized in an Anglicized way.

                                                                                                        1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                          beesobooru. (baseball)
                                                                                                          Yeah, um, try again.
                                                                                                          Americans anglicize things,
                                                                                                          Japanese nipponicize things.

                                                                                                        2. re: mbfant

                                                                                                          as above -- make sure you hit the world up for changing the name...I'm dying to hear how you make out convincing the French (or any of the other nationalities we mentioned upthread) that their calling it panini is wrong.

                                                                                                          Every country puts its own twist on foreign words -- it's not just the US....but because you don't see the others on a daily basis, you're certain we're the only ones who do so. Far from it.

                                                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                            I don't have any interest in convincing the French they are wrong. They are at least consistent and have an official policy. That "spaghettis" cracks me up is neither here nor there.

                                                                                                            Of course every language does things with foreign words -- who could imagine otherwise? And how do you know what I see on a daily basis? All anyone has to do is sit here at the computer and the world passes by. But I spend most of my life working on the vocabulary of food at the interface of English (or maybe "the Englishes") and Italian. And I would like the Italian to get a little more respect. But, hey, I didn't start this thread.

                                                                                                            1. re: mbfant

                                                                                                              There are plenty of inconsistencies in French, too, and as for official policy, two points. First, the Académie française doesn't really have any official authority in France, and in the rare cases where anything they say ends up being declared official policy, this policy only applies to France, and not to the other French-speaking countries/regions around the world. Second, few people know or care what the Académie says about anything, and those that do are free to disagree with them. I really can't think of any cases where they have changed French usage just by declaring such and such to be right or wrong. Not in modern times, anyway. As you said, it's natural forces and evolution, for English, but also for French, for Italian, etc.

                                                                                                              1. re: mbfant

                                                                                                                No, but I started the thread, and I'm surprised by the number of replies and the diversion to other languages when I specified Italian. I just find it strange when I hear those of Italian descent butcher the lanquage. It's not so much the dialects that I find strange, it's the pluralization of Italian words with an 's' that are already plural.

                                                                                                                BTW, as of 2 years ago an Italian newspaper claimed that only 20% of the Calabrese speak standard Italian.

                                                                                                                1. re: ChiliDude

                                                                                                                  It happens every time in these language peeve threads. Just another example of how you can't control other people's behavior, even when it seems so obviously wrong to you… Unless you say "SIMON SAYS stop using panini as a singular".

                                                                                                                  See this CH thread from 9 years ago:

                                                                                                                  "Italian plurals-panino vs panini...biscotto vs biscotti"

                                                                                                                  1. re: ChiliDude

                                                                                                                    That doesn't bother me nearly as much as gyro pronounced with a g.

                                                                                                                  2. re: mbfant

                                                                                                                    In Spanish we say los espaguetis...

                                                                                                                2. re: mbfant

                                                                                                                  I know: a very very long time. In addition to being the plural of "opus", "opera" was already used as a feminine singular noun in Classical Latin, with a redefined meaning and its own plural form, "operae". I agree that this is interesting, and I think that "panini" in English is interesting in the same way, and already too well-established (since the mid-1980s, according to the OED) to be worth ranting about. If anything, the real culprits are older words like "zucchini" and "martini", which give English speakers the mistaken impression that Italian words should end in "-ini". So you get things like "fettuccini" and "linguini", and "one panini, two paninis".

                                                                                                                  If someone wants to learn Italian — and I'm all for that — they will have to learn the real rules for Italian and the meaning of "panino" and "latte" etc. in Italian. But that is a separate question from how these words are used in English (and will continue to be used in English, like it or not).

                                                                                                                  1. re: DeppityDawg

                                                                                                                    Did you ever see "Breaking Out"? I think that's the name, though I always just think of it as "the bicycle movie." The teen-age son, a bike racer in Indiana, becomes besotted with Italian everything and makes his mother cook Italian too. At some point the father (Tom Bosley?) complains about all the "-ini food" they're having to eat.

                                                                                                                    1. re: mbfant

                                                                                                                      <Did you ever see "Breaking Out"?>
                                                                                                                      Breaking Away.

                                                                                                                      <At some point the father (Tom Bosley?)>
                                                                                                                      Paul Dooley.

                                                                                                                      It's an excellent movie.

                                                                                                                      1. re: mbfant

                                                                                                                        Wow! That's going back about 3 decades, and in Bloomington, IN. It was Breaking Away, and Dennis Quaid was just a child then.

                                                                                                                    2. re: mbfant

                                                                                                                      "I just don't see what is so hard about calling a panino a panino. "

                                                                                                                      It's simple for someone who knows Italian but it's not that simple of a language to learn (as someone who is learning it) and it's a lot to expect the average American to know that pasta should be paste plural, panino becomes panini and latte remains as latte when there are hundreds of words from other languages that have infiltrated English.

                                                                                                                      The French Academy tries to regulate other language's words when they become Frenchified. It isn't about the Italians telling the French how their words should be pronounced, as this thread is. I can imagine the uproar if Italians were to try to tell the French how to translate Italian words. Even worst, if Americans did.

                                                                                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                        Nobody is ever going to tell the French how to do anything they don't want. Once in Paris my Italian husband and I went to a café for breakfast and saw cappuccino listed on the posted menu. We ordered it, with croissants, and waited for about half an hour while the barman prepared an elaborate drink that was not recognizable as cappuccino. Meanwhile a French guy came in and I think ordered a café au lait. He was given what seemed to us a perfect cappuccino. We blurted out that ours was not cappuccino. The barman simply complained to the French guy, possibly thinking we wouldn't understand, but more likely not caring, that these Italians want to tell him what a cappuccino is.

                                                                                                                        1. re: mbfant

                                                                                                                          LOL, that just fits the stereotype perfectly!

                                                                                                                  2. I think this whole thing has gone awry. Thanks for all the replies. I thought this topic would be ignored, but I was wrong.

                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: ChiliDude

                                                                                                                      Well, you could start a thread on wasei-eigo food words.....go through each country one by one......endless thread possibilities ;)

                                                                                                                      1. re: ChiliDude

                                                                                                                        This topic has never been ignored on CH.

                                                                                                                      2. I don't know if anyone caught Top Chef when someone made panini and Padma called one a panino. Later Hugh Acheson said something about panino, but in a plural sense. Over correction.

                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                          Missed that but heard "aroncino" and thought of this thread :)

                                                                                                                          1. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                                            Dang, it was arancino. I can't even get the word right. Thanks.

                                                                                                                        2. This entire posting has been diverted because someone did not read the road signs.

                                                                                                                          1. So why does Italian use '-i' for (masculine) plurals? Spanish and French use '-s' like English. At least one of the regional languages in Italy, Fiulian (north of Venice), also uses the '-s' plural. Both forms can be traced back to a simplification of the classic Latin inflection system. For that matter modern English is a simplified version of Old and Middle English inflection.

                                                                                                                            Vowel changing plurals may part of what makes Standard (Tuscan) Italian great for opera, but whether it makes that language more 'bella' is purely subjective.

                                                                                                                            discuss this and other variations in Romance languages.

                                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                              I think Sardinian uses an S too, but that still doesn't make it right to use panini as a singular!

                                                                                                                              1. re: mbfant

                                                                                                                                Not if you're speaking Italian but if you're speaking English, it is acceptable, just as saying Rome is, not Roma. Unless we're going to go back and fix every word that comes from a foreign language and use their forms of grammar, American English is acceptable here. If the Italians want to call hamburger(s), hamburgero(i), that's their business.

                                                                                                                                1. re: mbfant

                                                                                                                                  What do they call this kind of sandwich on Sardinia?

                                                                                                                                  The Sicilian Wiki entry is:
                                                                                                                                  'Lu paninu è na forma nica di pani tagghiata orizzuntarmenti e farcita cu diversi ngridienti.'

                                                                                                                                  1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                    If by this kind of sandwich you mean a grilled sandwich of six things plus goat cheese, it really doesn't have a special name in Italy because it scarcely exists. I wouldn't expect it to have a special name in Sardinia. I'm not sure what vowel variations they would use. Su paninu?

                                                                                                                                2. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                  There are many confusing rules to Italian (although I'm guessing English is far more confusing). Why use uno only in front of a z or s+consanant and un for all other masculine words? Uno zio or un panino. "Bella" makes it difficile for people learning the language. And, even more difficult for those who don't want to but want to use words that are common English usage.

                                                                                                                                3. What's going to be really hard is asking my butcher for a salamo.

                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                      That would, of course, be salame in the singular. Nobody says all these words have to be treated consistently. I just happen to be for evolution of language rather than instant adoption with simultaneous change of grammar/syntax and meaning. Don't think I don't know it's a lost cause ...

                                                                                                                                      1. re: mbfant

                                                                                                                                        Borrowing is a kind of evolution, and it is not usually instant. As a matter of fact, "panino" and "panini" etc. have been around for a while in English. The OED gives attestations of "panino/panini" in English starting from 1955, but the first examples in English of the shifted meaning ("sandwich") and the reanalyzed grammar ("one panini") don't appear until the 80s and early 90s, when the form "panini" really started taking over in English:


                                                                                                                                        A lot of English speakers may not have encountered this word in English until the 2000s, and this gives them the false impression that the word has only been borrowed from Italian into English recently (and with the "wrong" meaning/grammar to boot, hrmph!) In fact, the current situation in English is the result of a gradual, decades-long, and ongoing evolution within English.

                                                                                                                                        [If it seems like I repeated "in English" a little too much in the preceding, good. It was intentional.]

                                                                                                                                    2. I don't know - what's a panini with-a you?

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                                                                                                                                      1. re: plasticanimal

                                                                                                                                        I really love your play on words!

                                                                                                                                        I'm amazed that my simple posted question has caused so much discussion both on the subject and its diversions from it.

                                                                                                                                      2. What's the singular for biscotti?

                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                          Un biscotto e un salamo. There are so many English words w/ an Italian background that are used in their plural. When we were young, we'd eat uno spaghetto raw out of the box. Only we called it dry spaghetti.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                            un biscotto yes, but not salamo but un salame. Two salami.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: mbfant

                                                                                                                                              I needed to add the smiley icon. I just loved paulj's new word, salamo.

                                                                                                                                        2. A Roman walks into a bar and orders a martinus.

                                                                                                                                          Bartender: "Don't you mean a martini?"

                                                                                                                                          Roman: "If I had wanted a double, I would have ordered one."

                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                          1. What the hell did I put into motion with my original post?

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                                                                                                                                            1. re: ChiliDude

                                                                                                                                              Welcome to Chowhound, Dude.

                                                                                                                                              It's how we roll.