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New Nutella Campaign Celebrates the Many Dialects of Italy

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Each region of Italy has its own distinctive way of speaking, and Nutella has recently introduced an ad campaign to celebrate these regional differences. Dialects are often stigmatized or mocked (not just in Italy, but in any country), and it would have been easy to pick a few vocabulary items to have fun with, but instead they really did their homework, engaging a panel of dialect scholars at various universities to put together a guide to 135 characteristic expressions from 16 different regions. It is “exclusively reserved for those who want to enjoy, with a smile, the beauty of our dialects.” Customers in Italy can purchase jars of Nutella personalized with labels showing the expressions of their region.

In this ad we see Italians starting the day with the terms unique to their dialects. It begins with Sveglia!, the standard Italian way to say “Wake up!”, and then turns to words such as jamm’bbèll (“Get a move on!” in the area around Naples), ’nem ’nem (“Let’s go!” around Milan), anduma (“Let’s go,” around Turin), ddìscitate (“Wake up,” around Brindisi) and dàje (“Come on!” in Rome).

Another commercial turns to the experts, the grandpas. Three Italian nonni, from Rome, Milan, and Naples, explain how they say things like “how beautiful!” “how ugly!” and “hurry up!” They also sing a bit and talk about which dialects they have trouble understanding. Of course, they all understand “Nutella.” You don’t have to understand any dialect of Italian to appreciate these grandpas, or the love and respect for language shown in this campaign.

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Stradivarius Violins Get Their Distinctive Sound By Mimicking the Human Voice
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Italian violinist Francesco Geminiani once wrote that a violin's tone should "rival the most perfect human voice." Nearly three centuries later, scientists have confirmed that some of the world's oldest violins do in fact mimic aspects of the human singing voice, a finding which scientists believe proves "the characteristic brilliance of Stradivari violins."

Using speech analysis software, scientists in Taiwan compared the sound produced by 15 antique instruments with recordings of 16 male and female vocalists singing English vowel sounds, The Guardian reports. They discovered that violins made by Andrea Amati and Antonio Stradivari, the pioneers of the instrument, produce similar "formant features" as the singers. The resonance frequencies were similar between Amati violins and bass and baritone singers, while the higher-frequency tones produced by Stradivari instruments were comparable to tenors and contraltos.

Andrea Amati, born in 1505, was the first known violin maker. His design was improved over 100 years later by Antonio Stradivari, whose instruments now sell for several million dollars. "Some Stradivari violins clearly possess female singing qualities, which may contribute to their perceived sweetness and brilliance," Hwan-Ching Tai, an author of the study, told The Guardian.

Their findings were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. A 2013 study by Dr. Joseph Nagyvary, a professor emeritus at Texas A&M University, also pointed to a link between the sounds produced by 250-year-old violins and those of a female soprano singer.

According to Vox, a blind test revealed that professional violinists couldn't reliably tell the difference between old violins like "Strads" and modern ones, with most even expressing a preference for the newer instruments. However, the value of these antique instruments can be chalked up to their rarity and history, and many violinists still swear by their exceptional quality.

[h/t The Guardian]

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Orange-Themed Trivia
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