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.”