The American author was recently knighted by the president of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano.
Three years ago, Hales was a hard-working journalist, author of a college textbook on health, among many other works. Today, she’s a rock star among Italian linguists.
Perché (because) Hales’ wrote La Bella Lingua, a nearly 300-page omaggio to the Italian language. For more than 20 years, Hales had kept her Inner Italian a secret. I know I’m not alone in saying, grazie, Signora Hales, for going public with your magnificent obsession.
With humor, grace and curiosity, Hales leads us on un’avventura molto divertente (a very entertaining adventure). Whether fighting back her nervousness at interviewing the president of La Crusca–Italy’s most august language academy–or mixing it up with comic actor and director Roberto Benigni–who put her at immediate ease by addressing her in the familiar tu—Hales’ bella figura is luminous.
“Somewhere en route to fluency, I turned into Diana, pronounced Dee-ahn-aah, and entered a parallel universe where I wear my heels higher and my necklines lower, dance barefoot under the Tuscan moon, and swim in island coves so blue that the Italians say the color twice: azzurro-azzurro.”
Hales inspires all of us who aspire to “become Italian, one word at a time.”
Visit Hales’ site or check out the book on amazon.com.
I am in the midst of reading this book and am having a wonderful time! I love the historical references and have come to understand the reason for certain colloquial sayings. What a treat! I’m trying to learn Italian for upcoming visits and the book helps make the language more of a “living” thing. Brava!
Ciao, Sharona —
I’d read about Diana’s wonderful honor by the Italian president… AUGURI to her! But what this reinforces to me is that you never know how far your “Inner Italian” (or “Inner Whatever) may take you in life. Being TRULY passionate about something not only makes your life richer in experiences, but may even lead to a fascinating new career.
We should all follow Dee-ahn-aah’s example and go for it!