Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Carpets and walls

Many houses in the UK have carpets, but this is very rare in Italy. That's probably why we had to borrow the French word la moquette to indicate the carpet. I’ve noticed that the vast majority of students, when looking to translate carpet, resort to tappeto, perhaps because they are misled by their dictionary. But tappeto means rug not carpet! Unless what you are trying to convey is something slightly less mundane such as: carpet of leaves = tappeto di foglie.

And did you know that the walls in a house are called pareti?

Appendiamo il quadro su quella parete
Let’s hang the painting on that wall

La parete is an internal wall within a house or a building, which has been properly done up and decorated. Il muro is a much more generic expression which refers to any wall, in or out of a building. If the wall is a big one, for instance the one surrounding an old town, than it becomes feminine (and it is only used as a plural):

Le antiche mura della città
The ancient walls of the town

The big wall in China is la (grande) muraglia cinese

1 comment:

  1. Similar to the town of Pietramurata in Dro, Trento, which lies on very flat land at the bottom of a huge wall of rock, as if the landscape were the wall and floor in a house :)