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Are Italians naughty by nature?

by Bernard O'Shea
Ronaldinho, St. Jakob Stadion, Basel (Switzerl...

Ronaldinho

If you are a follower of world football you would know that some Brazilian footballers and, to a lesser extent, Portuguese ones, are better known by their first names only, or their nicknames. For example, there was the Brazilian Ronaldo and one called Ronaldinho, the -inho suffix on the latter meaning “little“. Thus Ronaldinho = little Ronaldo. I myself have been nicknamed Bernardinho by friends and colleagues (because of my great footballing skills, I guess).

Italian has the same concept, using the –ino and –ina suffixes

  • il ragazzo, the boy
  • il ragazzino, the little boy
  • la ragazza, the girl
  • la ragazzina, the little girl

But Italian also seems to take it further: the suffixes -one and -ona denote “big

  • il ragazzone, the big boy
  • la ragazzona, the big girl

Following this logic, and because of my 90kg-plus figure, my exotic Italian persona would be Bernardone 🙂

Interestingly, Italian also has the suffixes -accio and accia, indicating “bad

  • il ragazzacciothe bad boy
  • la ragazzaccia, the bad girl

Since Portuguese does not have this concept, and from memory French doesn’t have these type of suffixes at all, this would suggest that Italian boys and girls are a lot more naughty than their Romance language counterparts.

My Italian guide books say you should be careful when using the -accio and -accia suffixes in case you offend people, but they do not give any examples of how one might be offensive. This is a pity. Bernardoneaccio (Big Bad Bernie) loves offending people.

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