May I introduce myself?
The most entertaining presentazione (introduction) I ever heard came when the distinguished chairman of psychiatry introduced my husband at the medical school of the University of Pisa. Although they had met before, he had obviously never read Bob’s curriculum vitae.
“Dottor Hales,” he began in Italian, graduated from West Point, the United States Military Academy in 1970. He paused and reflected, “at the time of the Vietnam war.” He then observed that my husband had trained as an Army paracadutista (parachutist). As he skimmed ahead, his face suddenly lit up. “Dottor Hales,” he announced dramatically, parachuted into Vietnam and won the highest military honors and many medals for his bravery.
“Che eroe!” (What a hero!) a young doctor behind me murmured in admiration. Not comprehending a word, my husband, whose only military assignment outside the continental United States was Hawaii, nodded as if in modest recognition. I struggled not to giggle (ridacchiare).
Italians take introductions seriously. Putting two people in contact with each other for the first time, according to Il Galateo (an Italian etiquette book), is “un momento affascinante della vita di ognuno “(a fascinating moment in everyone’s life). “Due interi universi—la vita di due individui—convergono per integrarsi.” (Two entire universes—the life of two individuals—meet to make a whole.)
That’s why knowing how to presentare qualcuno a qualcun altro (introduce someone to someone else) is important. Whom do you introduce to whom? A child to an adult (un ragazzo a un adulto), a younger adult to an older one (un adulto più giovane a quello più anziano), a man to a woman (un uomo a una donna), a less recognized personality (una personalit
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