Caro messaggio…

WhatsApp has not only changed the way people communicate, it’s also become part of the Italian language and often replaces the words messaggio (message), messaggino (short message) and SMS.

First there was SMS

You see, in the days of SMS (Short Message Service), Italians used this acronym to mean message. For example:

  • Ti invierò un SMS. (I’ll send you an SMS).
  • Ho ricevuto un SMS da Paolo. (I got an SMS from Paolo.)
But a messaggio was still a messaggio

Of course to a lot of people, an acronym like SMS was cold and technical and not terribly creative, so they used the words un messaggio (a message) or the ending –ino, meaning little or short: un messaggino (a short message).

  • Ti invierò un messaggio. (I’ll send you a message.)
  • Hai ricevuto il mio messaggino? (Did you get my message?)

By the way, don’t forget that since messaggio ends in –io, it forms its plural with just one –i, not –ii.

  • Basta con tutti questi messaggi! (Enough with all of these messages!)
  • Credo che un messaggino sia sufficiente. (I think a short message is enough.)
And then there was WhatsApp

But, enter the queen of all messaging applications. At first, as with all new things, people weren’t quite sure how to use the word WhatsApp in italiano, so we held onto messaggi and messaggini and just specified that it’s a message sent via WhatsApp.

  • Mandami un messaggio via WhatsApp. (Send me a message on WhatsApp.)
  • Ho ricevuto una foto via WhatsApp. (I got a photo on WhatsApp.)

But eventually, as more and more people used WhatsApp, we were able to dispense with the messaggio and messaggino.

  • Ho ricevuto un WhatsApp da Carlo. (I got a WhatsApp from Carlo.)
  • Ti invierò un WhatsApp con la ricetta. (I’ll send you a WhatsApp with the recipe.)

So, arrivederci messaggio, messaggino, and certainly SMS! But of course not for everyone. My mother, for example, who cares about precision and linguistic preservation (and who maybe just hasn’t gotten used to all of the terms for new technology that seem to be coming out every day), wrote:

  • Ti ho mandato un messaggino via WhatsApp con la vera ricetta della carbonara. Salvala e non chiedermela più! (I sent you a message on WhatsApp with the real recipe for carbonara. Save it and don’t ask me again!)

Grazie mamma, messaggio ricevuto! (Thanks Mom, message recieved!)

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Image by Wow Phochiangrak from Pixabay.

Categories: Italian, Vocabulary
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