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one would assume gioco is "joke" (verb tense) just by the cognate sound.
Yes, it comes from the Latin iocor meaning "I play", "I joke", "I jest." The "g" must have come from imitation of the English or French sound of the letter "j" ("joke", "jeu"), because it was not in the Latin.
Is there a difference between gioco and giuoco and all the other alt forms?
"giuoco" is archaic, people use only "gioco" nowadays
The pop down for figlio is cub, calf, welp, lamb, foal...No mention of son. And the meaning for the above are no figlio at all
son is now the first on the list...but child is absent.
edit: actually i just remembered (ok ok I looked it up) that bambino also means child. Does anyone know when to use one or the other? Is bambino only used for babies/toddlers?
"Bambino" is not used only for baby/toddlers. You are defined "bambino" until you're a "teenager" (ragazzo). You can use "bambino" to mean "figlio" but "figlio" is more specific in this case.
You need to add MIO to mean FIGLIO: il mio bambino (mio figlio) talking about a children not about a boy
I'm surprised the discussion isn't locked yet
What makes Gioco the one to use other then any other of the words on the list?
Ah, "I play with my son" seems to be incorrect when I write it, but is noted as the correct translation. Maybe I should try writing "I play with my son" on the off-chance that it may be correct.