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Words from Italian
English vocabulary owes Italian a big debt in two categories that provide a lot of enjoyment for many people: music and food. During the 17th century, when the idea first started catching on of giving some instructions to performers of musical scores, many of the important composers were Italian—and it was natural for them to use their own language. The result is that the standard terms for musical expression today are Italian. Many Italian food terms made their way into American English particularly as a result of 19th-century immigration, but chances are we might have adopted them anyway: Who doesn't like Italian food?
Now You Try
Officially, Italian uses only 21 of the 26 letters in the Roman alphabet. The letters it doesn't use (j, k, w, x, and y) do appear in Italian books and newspapers—but usually only to spell foreign words. Young Italians think it's cool to use these foreign letters, so they may eventually be accepted into the language. But for now, official Italian finds other ways to spell the sounds we normally associate with these letters. In light of that information, see if you can answer these puzzlers!