Sunday, August 10, 2008

Starbucks Speaks Italian, or not...

It seems like writing Italian phrases and words is now considered somehow a "touch of class" in many coffee stores, restaurants and other commercial establishments. I find it flattering and I have no problems with it. I share this love for the Italian language.
On the other hand, I find it embarrassing for the people or corporations that spend time and money to write enormous phrases in Italian on their precious wall space when the phrase itself contains elementary school level spelling mistakes. Ouch!
Now, I do not claim that my English is perfect; far from it as you can see. However, rest assured that if I had to write a huge four words phrase in any language in my hypothetical coffee shop, I would make pretty darn sure I got the spelling correct! Especially if I use such word to try elevating the elegancy of the place!
Now check out this "thing" that I saw, and took a picture of, in a Starbucks near where I live:

This phrase is about 6-7 feet long on a wall, and it takes very little to find out that the spelling is WRONG. I could understand the mistake if it was hard to verify... however, it takes only 30 seconds to find out that there is a problem. The easiest way is to search for this exact phrase in Google. At the time I wrote this post there were only 8 results for this, all from pages with spelling mistakes, and Google even offers a different spelling. Note how it says: Did you mean: "La macchina del caffe". Well, click on that link and now you get 4,000 matches. Not bad. A quick look at the italian dictionary will confirm that "Macchina" is the correct spelling! Not the huge wall-inscribed "machina", which is an embarassment for Starbucks. YUK!