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What is a 'panini?'

ChiliDude Oct 29, 2013 02:06 PM

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. c oliver RE: ChiliDude Oct 29, 2013 02:17 PM

    I think you may be preaching to the choir here. :)

    1. raytamsgv RE: ChiliDude Oct 29, 2013 04:09 PM

      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
        c oliver RE: raytamsgv Oct 29, 2013 04:13 PM

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

        1. re: c oliver
          raytamsgv RE: c oliver Oct 31, 2013 11:50 AM


          1. re: c oliver
            EWSflash RE: c oliver Nov 2, 2013 08:47 PM

            Snake or dumpling?

        2. greygarious RE: ChiliDude Oct 29, 2013 04:28 PM

          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
            ChiliDude RE: greygarious Oct 29, 2013 04:57 PM

            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
              DeppityDawg RE: ChiliDude Oct 30, 2013 07:07 AM

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

              1. re: ChiliDude
                linguafood RE: ChiliDude Oct 30, 2013 10:00 AM

                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. paulj RE: ChiliDude Oct 29, 2013 04:29 PM

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

              2 Replies
              1. re: paulj
                ChiliDude RE: paulj Oct 29, 2013 04:57 PM

                Good question! Who knows.

                1. re: ChiliDude
                  mbfant RE: ChiliDude Oct 30, 2013 12:37 AM

                  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.

              2. r
                Rick RE: ChiliDude Oct 29, 2013 04:41 PM

                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: Rick
                  c oliver RE: Rick Oct 29, 2013 04:50 PM

                  Well, I do believe those are wrong.


                  1. re: c oliver
                    Rick RE: c oliver Oct 30, 2013 09:43 AM

                    Or is merriam webster wrong?

                    1. re: c oliver
                      cowboyardee RE: c oliver Oct 30, 2013 10:19 AM

                      '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.

                    2. re: Rick
                      ChiliDude RE: Rick Oct 29, 2013 04:59 PM

                      Not worth the bother.

                      1. re: ChiliDude
                        Bob Martinez RE: ChiliDude Oct 30, 2013 09:55 AM

                        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
                          Bob Martinez RE: Veggo Oct 30, 2013 10:50 AM

                          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
                            Panini Guy RE: Bob Martinez Oct 30, 2013 12:27 PM

                            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
                              linguafood RE: Panini Guy Oct 30, 2013 12:46 PM

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

                              1. re: linguafood
                                paulj RE: linguafood Oct 30, 2013 01:11 PM

                                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
                                  linguafood RE: paulj Oct 30, 2013 01:14 PM

                                  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
                                    mbfant RE: paulj Oct 30, 2013 03:33 PM

                                    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
                                  mbfant RE: Panini Guy Oct 30, 2013 03:29 PM

                                  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
                                    zeldaz51 RE: mbfant Oct 31, 2013 07:10 AM

                                    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
                                      Panini Guy RE: mbfant Oct 31, 2013 10:03 AM

                                      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
                                        DeppityDawg RE: Panini Guy Oct 31, 2013 10:50 AM

                                        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
                                          Panini Guy RE: DeppityDawg Nov 4, 2013 07:18 PM

                                          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
                                          vincentlo RE: Panini Guy Nov 1, 2013 12:30 AM

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

                                          1. re: Panini Guy
                                            sandylc RE: Panini Guy Nov 5, 2013 09:39 PM

                                            <<<<<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
                                              mbfant RE: sandylc Nov 5, 2013 11:53 PM

                                              It most certainly would be cannolo.

                                              1. re: sandylc
                                                Panini Guy RE: sandylc Nov 8, 2013 01:34 PM

                                                Yep. My error.

                                            2. re: mbfant
                                              tastesgoodwhatisit RE: mbfant Oct 31, 2013 07:44 PM

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

                                          2. re: Bob Martinez
                                            sandylc RE: Bob Martinez Nov 5, 2013 09:33 PM

                                            "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
                                              Harters RE: sandylc Nov 13, 2013 10:36 AM

                                              "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
                                            c oliver RE: Bob Martinez Oct 30, 2013 11:46 AM

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

                                      2. sunshine842 RE: ChiliDude Oct 29, 2013 04:46 PM

                                        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
                                          c oliver RE: sunshine842 Oct 29, 2013 04:50 PM

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

                                          1. re: c oliver
                                            sunshine842 RE: c oliver Oct 29, 2013 04:52 PM

                                            totally agree

                                        2. c oliver RE: ChiliDude Oct 29, 2013 04:54 PM


                                          1. tim irvine RE: ChiliDude Oct 29, 2013 04:58 PM

                                            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. k
                                              kseiverd RE: ChiliDude Oct 29, 2013 04:58 PM

                                              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
                                                c oliver RE: kseiverd Oct 29, 2013 05:06 PM

                                                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
                                                  mbfant RE: kseiverd Oct 30, 2013 12:49 AM

                                                  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
                                                    Bkeats RE: mbfant Oct 30, 2013 07:01 AM

                                                    Around here, its just muzts

                                                    1. re: mbfant
                                                      paulj RE: mbfant Oct 30, 2013 09:01 AM

                                                      Why should spelling from Standard Italian trump dialect pronunciations?


                                                      1. re: paulj
                                                        mbfant RE: paulj Oct 30, 2013 03:41 PM

                                                        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
                                                        ChiliDude RE: mbfant Oct 30, 2013 12:31 PM

                                                        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
                                                          mbfant RE: ChiliDude Oct 30, 2013 03:43 PM

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

                                                          1. re: mbfant
                                                            chowser RE: mbfant Oct 31, 2013 04:24 AM

                                                            Adesso? Sei fortunato.

                                                            1. re: mbfant
                                                              ChiliDude RE: mbfant Oct 31, 2013 04:55 AM

                                                              Sto un vecchio pensionato.

                                                              1. re: ChiliDude
                                                                DeppityDawg RE: ChiliDude Oct 31, 2013 06:10 AM

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

                                                      3. w
                                                        Wawsanham RE: ChiliDude Oct 29, 2013 05:15 PM

                                                        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. s
                                                          Steve RE: ChiliDude Oct 29, 2013 06:37 PM

                                                          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
                                                            sunshine842 RE: Steve Oct 29, 2013 06:57 PM

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

                                                            1. re: sunshine842
                                                              Steve RE: sunshine842 Oct 30, 2013 05:08 AM

                                                              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
                                                                DeppityDawg RE: Steve Oct 30, 2013 09:58 AM

                                                                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
                                                                sandylc RE: sunshine842 Nov 5, 2013 09:49 PM

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

                                                            2. s
                                                              sr44 RE: ChiliDude Oct 29, 2013 07:04 PM

                                                              I think it's served with au jus.

                                                              6 Replies
                                                              1. re: sr44
                                                                LotusRapper RE: sr44 Oct 29, 2013 07:09 PM

                                                                LOL :-D

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

                                                                1. re: LotusRapper
                                                                  c oliver RE: LotusRapper Oct 29, 2013 07:13 PM

                                                                  Already was :)


                                                                2. re: sr44
                                                                  ricepad RE: sr44 Oct 29, 2013 07:15 PM

                                                                  Doncha mean with au jus sauce?

                                                                  1. re: sr44
                                                                    pine time RE: sr44 Oct 30, 2013 08:28 AM

                                                                    & washed down with a glass of chai tea.

                                                                    1. re: pine time
                                                                      sr44 RE: pine time Oct 30, 2013 12:26 PM

                                                                      At 3 pm in the afternoon.

                                                                      1. re: pine time
                                                                        Kalivs RE: pine time Oct 31, 2013 03:08 AM

                                                                        Better than chai coffee!

                                                                    2. 4
                                                                      4X4 RE: ChiliDude Oct 30, 2013 06:52 AM

                                                                      Kind of reminds me of this story from The Onion:


                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: 4X4
                                                                        DebinIndiana RE: 4X4 Nov 6, 2013 06:11 PM

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

                                                                      2. h
                                                                        HillJ RE: ChiliDude Oct 30, 2013 10:09 AM

                                                                        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. chowser RE: ChiliDude Oct 30, 2013 10:32 AM

                                                                          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
                                                                            linguafood RE: chowser Oct 30, 2013 10:34 AM

                                                                            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
                                                                              chowser RE: linguafood Oct 30, 2013 11:19 AM

                                                                              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
                                                                                linguafood RE: chowser Oct 30, 2013 11:25 AM

                                                                                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
                                                                                  chowser RE: linguafood Oct 30, 2013 12:17 PM

                                                                                  Maybe it's just Scott Conant.;-)

                                                                                  1. re: chowser
                                                                                    512window RE: chowser Oct 30, 2013 02:01 PM

                                                                                    It is.

                                                                                  2. re: linguafood
                                                                                    mbfant RE: linguafood Oct 30, 2013 11:51 PM

                                                                                    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
                                                                                      sunshine842 RE: mbfant Oct 31, 2013 04:14 AM

                                                                                      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
                                                                                        ChiliDude RE: sunshine842 Oct 31, 2013 04:57 AM


                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                          mbfant RE: sunshine842 Oct 31, 2013 07:02 AM

                                                                                          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
                                                                                          chowser RE: mbfant Oct 31, 2013 04:29 AM

                                                                                          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
                                                                                            sunshine842 RE: chowser Oct 31, 2013 04:51 PM

                                                                                            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
                                                                                              chowser RE: sunshine842 Oct 31, 2013 04:55 PM

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

                                                                                          2. re: mbfant
                                                                                            DeppityDawg RE: mbfant Oct 31, 2013 06:14 AM

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


                                                                                            1. re: DeppityDawg
                                                                                              mbfant RE: DeppityDawg Oct 31, 2013 07:02 AM

                                                                                              Thank you. That was the question.

                                                                                              1. re: DeppityDawg
                                                                                                ChiliDude RE: DeppityDawg Oct 31, 2013 08:44 AM

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

                                                                                                1. re: ChiliDude
                                                                                                  sedimental RE: ChiliDude Oct 31, 2013 09:34 AM

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

                                                                                              2. re: mbfant
                                                                                                linguafood RE: mbfant Oct 31, 2013 09:20 AM

                                                                                                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
                                                                                                  sedimental RE: linguafood Oct 31, 2013 09:31 AM

                                                                                                  Lingua, you rebel!

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

                                                                                                  1. re: sedimental
                                                                                                    linguafood RE: sedimental Oct 31, 2013 09:37 AM


                                                                                                  2. re: linguafood
                                                                                                    melpy RE: linguafood Oct 31, 2013 10:49 AM

                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                      chowser RE: linguafood Oct 31, 2013 10:54 AM

                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                      paulj RE: mbfant Oct 31, 2013 09:47 AM

                                                                                                      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'.

                                                                                                2. re: linguafood
                                                                                                  ChiliDude RE: linguafood Nov 12, 2013 01:57 PM

                                                                                                  yeah, right!

                                                                                                  1. re: ChiliDude
                                                                                                    linguafood RE: ChiliDude Nov 12, 2013 02:49 PM

                                                                                                    Yep. Plural of schnitzel is schnitzel.

                                                                                                3. re: chowser
                                                                                                  ChiliDude RE: chowser Nov 12, 2013 01:56 PM

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

                                                                                                  1. re: ChiliDude
                                                                                                    linguafood RE: ChiliDude Nov 12, 2013 02:49 PM

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

                                                                                                    Wenn schon, denn schon!

                                                                                                    1. re: linguafood
                                                                                                      Bob Martinez RE: linguafood Nov 13, 2013 07:27 AM

                                                                                                      This is exactly where panini/panino discussions lead.

                                                                                                      1. re: Bob Martinez
                                                                                                        linguafood RE: Bob Martinez Nov 13, 2013 09:15 AM

                                                                                                        All roads lead to Wiener Schnitzel.

                                                                                                4. Karl S RE: ChiliDude Oct 30, 2013 03:05 PM

                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                    DeppityDawg RE: Karl S Oct 30, 2013 04:15 PM

                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                      mbfant RE: Karl S Oct 31, 2013 12:09 AM

                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                        Karl S RE: mbfant Oct 31, 2013 01:13 AM

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

                                                                                                        1. re: Karl S
                                                                                                          Chowrin RE: Karl S Oct 31, 2013 10:41 AM

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

                                                                                                        2. re: mbfant
                                                                                                          sunshine842 RE: mbfant Oct 31, 2013 04:17 AM

                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                            mbfant RE: sunshine842 Oct 31, 2013 07:09 AM

                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                              DeppityDawg RE: mbfant Oct 31, 2013 07:56 AM

                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                ChiliDude RE: mbfant Oct 31, 2013 08:41 AM

                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                  DeppityDawg RE: ChiliDude Oct 31, 2013 09:00 AM

                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                    Chowrin RE: ChiliDude Oct 31, 2013 10:42 AM

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

                                                                                                                  2. re: mbfant
                                                                                                                    melpy RE: mbfant Oct 31, 2013 10:50 AM

                                                                                                                    In Spanish we say los espaguetis...

                                                                                                                2. re: mbfant
                                                                                                                  DeppityDawg RE: mbfant Oct 31, 2013 06:06 AM

                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                    mbfant RE: DeppityDawg Oct 31, 2013 07:13 AM

                                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                                      small h RE: mbfant Oct 31, 2013 07:24 AM

                                                                                                                      <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
                                                                                                                        ChiliDude RE: mbfant Oct 31, 2013 08:53 AM

                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                      chowser RE: mbfant Oct 31, 2013 10:38 AM

                                                                                                                      "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
                                                                                                                        mbfant RE: chowser Oct 31, 2013 02:00 PM

                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                          chowser RE: mbfant Oct 31, 2013 02:34 PM

                                                                                                                          LOL, that just fits the stereotype perfectly!

                                                                                                                  2. c
                                                                                                                    ChiliDude RE: ChiliDude Oct 31, 2013 05:00 AM

                                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                                      sedimental RE: ChiliDude Oct 31, 2013 05:15 AM

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

                                                                                                                      1. re: ChiliDude
                                                                                                                        DeppityDawg RE: ChiliDude Oct 31, 2013 06:20 AM

                                                                                                                        This topic has never been ignored on CH.

                                                                                                                      2. chowser RE: ChiliDude Nov 1, 2013 10:57 AM

                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                          Hobbert RE: chowser Nov 1, 2013 11:21 AM

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

                                                                                                                          1. re: Hobbert
                                                                                                                            chowser RE: Hobbert Nov 1, 2013 12:24 PM

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

                                                                                                                        2. c
                                                                                                                          ChiliDude RE: ChiliDude Nov 2, 2013 12:43 PM

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

                                                                                                                          1. paulj RE: ChiliDude Nov 4, 2013 09:11 PM

                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                              mbfant RE: paulj Nov 5, 2013 08:15 AM

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

                                                                                                                              1. re: mbfant
                                                                                                                                chowser RE: mbfant Nov 5, 2013 09:16 AM

                                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                                  paulj RE: mbfant Nov 5, 2013 09:17 AM

                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                    mbfant RE: paulj Nov 5, 2013 09:31 AM

                                                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                                                  chowser RE: paulj Nov 5, 2013 09:19 AM

                                                                                                                                  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. paulj RE: ChiliDude Nov 5, 2013 09:30 AM

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

                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: paulj
                                                                                                                                    DeppityDawg RE: paulj Nov 5, 2013 09:38 AM

                                                                                                                                    The harder the better.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: paulj
                                                                                                                                      mbfant RE: paulj Nov 5, 2013 10:18 AM

                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                        DeppityDawg RE: mbfant Nov 5, 2013 04:06 PM

                                                                                                                                        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. p
                                                                                                                                      plasticanimal RE: ChiliDude Nov 6, 2013 12:50 AM

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

                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                      1. re: plasticanimal
                                                                                                                                        ChiliDude RE: plasticanimal Nov 6, 2013 07:21 AM

                                                                                                                                        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. paulj RE: ChiliDude Nov 6, 2013 05:41 PM

                                                                                                                                        What's the singular for biscotti?

                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: paulj
                                                                                                                                          chowser RE: paulj Nov 6, 2013 06:00 PM

                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                            mbfant RE: chowser Nov 7, 2013 04:39 AM

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

                                                                                                                                            1. re: mbfant
                                                                                                                                              chowser RE: mbfant Nov 7, 2013 04:46 AM

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

                                                                                                                                        2. r
                                                                                                                                          ricepad RE: ChiliDude Nov 7, 2013 09:49 AM

                                                                                                                                          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. re: ricepad
                                                                                                                                            ChiliDude RE: ricepad Nov 7, 2013 05:32 PM

                                                                                                                                            Good one!

                                                                                                                                          2. c
                                                                                                                                            ChiliDude RE: ChiliDude Nov 7, 2013 05:42 PM

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

                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: ChiliDude
                                                                                                                                              sunshine842 RE: ChiliDude Nov 7, 2013 06:08 PM

                                                                                                                                              Welcome to Chowhound, Dude.

                                                                                                                                              It's how we roll.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: ChiliDude
                                                                                                                                                linguafood RE: ChiliDude Nov 8, 2013 08:10 AM

                                                                                                                                                Gern geschehen!

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