Centro Studi Italiani TM

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N.B.: We use a written accent mark to help students identify word stress and open/closed vowels even though Standard Italian may not require it.


Terms of Endearment

Terms of endearment are called hypocoristic (in French hypocoristique), from the Greek upokore, kore meaning child, and the verb korizo, to pamper. Note that the grammatical gender of the term of endearment often does not match that of the person addressed. Since such terms have different nuances in every language, a translation is not provided. There is an infinite number of hypocoristic terms: anybody can either invent a new word or attribute a new affectionate meaning to a word. For example, various parts of the body may be used (my heart, my eyes), names of flowers (lily, rose), desserts (sweetie pie), animals (kitten) and so on. A partial (and arbitrary) list is provided below which has been culled from lullabies, popular songs and movies (including comedies).

amore (mio)  
amorevole  
amorino  
amoroso  
angelo  
anima mia  
bambino/a (mio/a)  
bellezza  
bello/a  
caro/a  
cicciolina  
ciumachella  
cocco/a  
creatura  
cuore (mio)  
delizia  
dolcezza  
fata  
gattino/a  
gioia  
micio/a  
mio bene  
mi piaci  
nini (ninni)  
passerotto/a  
passione (mia)  
piccolo/a  
pupa  
pupilla dei miei occhi  
stella (mia)  
tenerezza  
tenero/a  
tesoro  
tesoruccio, tesorino, tesorone  
vita mia  

 


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