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The Scholar, The Doughnut, and The Pear Tree

By Allegra Forbes, IV Form

What do bedroom slippers and doughnuts have in common? Very, very little, unless you are in Italy, where they have a distinct, and often troubling, phonetic resemblance. Indeed, the difference between ciabatta (slipper) and ciambella (doughnut) can be hard to catch when uttered in the typically rapid discourse of Italians. How embarrassing would it be to accidentally ask for a doughnut in a shoe shop and be confused by the salesperson’s amused look? These are not the situations that years of language classes can, or even would think to, prepare you for. In fact, a few years after my family moved to Florence, my (more…)