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Oct 29, 2013 02:06 PM

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. The original comment has been removed
          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.