https://www.duolingo.com/profile/maddyis7

A year and a half on DL, and I just realised I don't know what the Italian for 'Owl' is!

I have just been having a silly Xmas convo with my brother about sports cars. The subject of two-seaters came up. [Enough room to have a bird in the passenger seat!] lol

He said 'What kind of bird? A seagull?' I replied 'No, an Owl.' Then realised, after all my time spent on DL, I didn't actually know the word for 'Owl' !!!!

Il gufo - just to save anyone having to look it up.

Buon Natale a tutti

December 26, 2014

24 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VanPaz610

Good question... and here the answer! There is a difference between 'un gufo' e 'una civetta' (look at the end of this message) but Duolingo should be 'una civetta': why? Well, I guess that the logo was chosen as a symbol of wisdom (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Owl_of_Athena) and in Italian Athena (or Minerva, in the Roman tradition) has 'una civetta'. So, even though I instinctively say that it is 'un gufo' (to me it looks more like a 'gufo'), it is most likely 'una civetta'.

And now two bonus related trivia as Christmas bonus:

1) What about Harry Potter? Hedvig is 'una civetta', but the special O.W.L. diploma students get at their 5th grade is translated as a G.U.F.O (Giudizio Unico per Fattucchieri Ordinari). And throughout the book, 'gufo' and 'civetta' are both extensively used

2) both animals have inspired verbs! 'civettare' means indeed flirting (little used, even though 'una ragazza civetta' in the sense of a girl who cares about her own aspect is still quite used); 'gufare' means 'hoping that something goes bad' and it is the word of the year on the Italian newspaper as the PM continuously state that those who do not agree with him are 'gufi' whose only activity is 'gufare'! Keep that in mind ;)

About the difference between gufo and civetta, read here: http://animalidalmondo.pianetadonna.it/come-distinguere-un-gufo-da-una-civetta-193915.html#steps_1

December 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/maddyis7

Great answer. I'm off to check the links now. Italian politics will never be the same. [Not that Italian politics has ever been the same!] lol.

December 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VanPaz610

LOL! Just Google 'Renzi' 'gufi, and you'll find plenty of resources :P'

December 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BrucePlumb

No one has yet explained here the difference between una civetta which stands for wisdom and un gufo which is bad luck. Gufo is the type of owl with feathers on its head which look like ears or horns. Civetta has a smooth round head. So the DL image cannot stand for wisdom. I don't know what they intended by using such an image.

September 5, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Moomingirl

I've also seen it listed as la civetta.

Although when I looked it up on Google Translate to double check my spelling, la civetta is translated, not only as 'owl' but also as minx or hussy. That might cover your 'bird' requirement rather nicely. ;)

I would like a native to explain the difference between 'gufo' and 'civetta' if there is any. Otherwise I shall look it up in my dictionary a bit later and see if I can enlighten us all.

Edit: From my monstrously large 666 page Collins English/Italian dictionary:

Owl: (small) civetta; (big) gufo.

It seems that only civetta can be used for the meaning of minx - in fact, the verb 'civettare' means 'to flirt'. Knowing you, I can see you making use of that one ;)

December 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/maddyis7

Only a Minx could give a reply such as this! :) 100 tomorrow eh? Have a 100 Lingots. lol.

December 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Moomingirl

100 today actually and thank you - for the lingots, not calling me a minx. :P

Hope your Christmas went well.

December 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/maddyis7

Then congrats for today :) It's your fault for living on a silly side of the world and confusing me! lol :)

December 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Moomingirl

Don't worry, I confuse myself some days. ;)

December 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/maddyis7

A Quick PS. I've e-mailled la mia amica italiana ( the smarty pants Uni Language teacher) to see if she can explain the diff. But I think I'll stick with il gufo, for now, as la civetta has become permanently engraved in my brain as 'Minx' lol. Christmas was great, hope yours was too. xx

P.P.S. She's just replied, and hasn't a clue either!

December 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JuliaBellaItalia

Have a lingot!

December 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/maddyis7

grazie mille. I think it might be time to start looking up gli uccelli, what with all the partridges in pear trees, round here! :)

December 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/margaritaguese

hahaha best discussion everrrr - I felt like this when after 2 years of Spanish I had never learned how to say 'nail' like uña on your fingertip... lol random!

December 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/forcola55

Maddy, you could "dress it up" a bit and use a wise bird. Un uccello saggio.

Happy New Year

December 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/maddyis7

Ta :) 'Uccello saggio' would work very nicely. I don't think 'un vecchio uccello saggiò would go down quite so well, though. lol

December 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Chris.koch

I had the exact same feeling a while ago: I was reading italian newspapers and encountered "le pizze" (so plural of pizza) and it looked somehow odd to me... after a few seconds I realised why: Pizza does not exist in dulingo's Italian course!

December 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lizziediver

Just goes to remind us how many more words there are in the english language as opposed to italian. Italiano has words that can be used to cover a few things, whereas english is very specific and detailed. Nuts, for example.

December 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/maddyis7

Hmm, not sure I quite follow your example of 'Nuts', which can have loads of meanings in English:

a) Noun: A squirrely delicacy, stored up for post Yule-tide munchings.

b) Adjective/ Adverb: He's Nuts; He was acting Nuts.

c) Slang: The part of the male anatomy, that doesn't take kindly to being kicked.

d) Another Noun (Plural Slang): We really need to put our Nuts together on this one (Brains rather than the description at point C).

And here endeth the lesson, before we all go off our Nuts. :)

December 28, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dr.Mystetious

This all will come in handy some day... Thanks

December 28, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lizziediver

My example of nuts was that in english there is a specific word for every little thing. And with nuts we have walnuts, hazelnuts, etc, but there is often just one word: noci

December 28, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/maddyis7

Aha. Now I understand what you meant. Thanks for explaining :)

December 28, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/simonblynch

They will use 'noci' when being unspecific; like 'nuts' in English. But, like in English, there is a whole world of nutty words in Italian: mandorla, nocciola, pinolo, etc...

December 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ErikaBrowning

Grazie, quests non sapevo

December 31, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ErikaBrowning

Sorry about the spelling

December 31, 2014
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