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People can't get enough of this Italian preschooler's classically Italian rant

Her inflections and gesticulations are just too much.

italy, italian, preschooler, TikTok

An Italian preschooler's Italian rant has people in stitches.

All people have a need to communicate, but the way we do that varies greatly from place to place. Every culture has its own communication peculiarities that make our human family delightfully diverse.

Not only do humans speak thousands of languages around the world, but we also engage in culturally specific speaking styles, speech patterns and body language, some of which are immediately identifiable.

Case in point: the Italian "finger purse."


Italian people are known for using their hands a lot when speaking. Italian hand gestures can vary a bit between northern and southern Italy, but one of the most universally recognizable is the pinched fingers or "finger purse." That's the gesture in which the tips of the fingers and the thumb are pressed together (forming a purse shape) and pointed upward, often in a repeated back-and-forth or up-and-down motion, sometimes with one hand and sometimes with both. Along with the rhythm of punctuated emphasis on certain words, especially when speaking passionately, the finger purse is often used to convey a question with a sense of annoyance, exasperation or confusion.

It's a gesticulation most of us associate with a classic Italian grandma or grandpa, but when you see it coming from a tiny little Italian person, it's utterly hilarious. A viral video, originally shared by @guiseppe_matilde on TikTok, shows a preschooler engaging in a passionate rant that is unmistakably Italian, both in the actual language she's speaking and in her hand gestures.

According to Italian speakers in the comments, the little girl is conveying a story about how someone commented negatively about her wearing a miniskirt. u/shykawaii_shark on Reddit shared:

"Rough translation for English speakers. Not a literal translation, I made it easier to comprehend

Mother: What kind of sense does that make!

Daughter: They told me 'What sense does going out with a miniskirt make?' Like, think for yourself! I can wear my miniskirt, and you mind your own business!

Mother: Exactly!

Daughter: Think about your own miniskirt, not mine!"

Got a feisty little feminist here.

The full video on TikTok is even better (but it doesn't have the Italian subtitles):

@giuseppe_matilde

Secondo voi ha ragione matilde ? #foryoupage @Giò Canaletti seguitela tutti su istragram matilde_vaccar

As adorable as this video is, it's also an example of how culture gets passed on from generation to generation. An Australian study found that young humans across different cultures imitate adults in ways that animals don't. Animals will imitate adult behavior to the extent that it's efficient and necessary to perform a task, whereas humans will mimic even silly or frivolous behaviors that have no purpose whatsoever.

“Animals focus on getting the job done,” Mark Nielsen, a psychologist at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, told Science. “Humans seem to almost forget about the outcome and copy everything we see.”

That mimicry of unnecessary actions may contribute to the complexity of human cultures. After all, it's not really necessary to do the finger purse to make a point, but Italians do it anyway. Little Italians pick it up from adult Italians, and so the classic Italian communication style is passed on.

And thank goodness it is, because babies gesturing in Italian is absolutely adorable.


This article originally appeared on 11.09.22

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Easy (and free!) ways to save the ocean

The ocean is the heart of our planet. It needs our help to be healthy.

Ocean Wise

Volunteers at a local shoreline cleanup

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The ocean covers over 71% of the Earth’s surface and serves as our planet’s heart. Ocean currents circulate vital heat, moisture, and nutrients around the globe to influence and regulate our climate, similar to the human circulatory system. Cool, right?

Our ocean systems provide us with everything from fresh oxygen to fresh food. We need it to survive and thrive—and when the ocean struggles to function healthfully, the whole world is affected.

Pollution, overfishing, and climate change are the three biggest challenges preventing the ocean from doing its job, and it needs our help now more than ever. Humans created the problem; now humans are responsible for solving it.

#BeOceanWise is a global rallying cry to do what you can for the ocean, because we need the ocean and the ocean needs us. If you’re wondering how—or if—you can make a difference, the answer is a resounding YES. There are a myriad of ways you can help, even if you don’t live near a body of water. For example, you can focus on reducing the amount of plastic you purchase for yourself or your family.

Another easy way to help clean up our oceans is to be aware of what’s known as the “dirty dozen.” Every year, scientists release an updated list of the most-found litter scattered along shorelines. The biggest culprit? Single-use beverage and food items such as foam cups, straws, bottle caps, and cigarette butts. If you can’t cut single-use plastic out of your life completely, we understand. Just make sure to correctly recycle plastic when you are finished using it. A staggering 3 million tons of plastic ends up in our oceans annually. Imagine the difference we could make if everyone recycled!

The 2022 "Dirty Dozen" ListOcean Wise

If you live near a shoreline, help clean it up! Organize or join an effort to take action and make a positive impact in your community alongside your friends, family, or colleagues. You can also tag @oceanwise on social if you spot a beach that needs some love. The location will be added to Ocean Wise’s system so you can submit data on the litter found during future Shoreline Cleanups. This data helps Ocean Wise work with businesses and governments to stop plastic pollution at its source. In Canada, Ocean Wise data helped inform a federal ban on unnecessary single-use plastics. Small but important actions like these greatly help reduce the litter that ends up in our ocean.

Ocean Wise, a conservation organization on a mission to restore and protect our oceans, is focused on empowering and educating everyone from individuals to governments on how to protect our waters. They are making conservation happen through five big initiatives: monitoring and protecting whales, fighting climate change and restoring biodiversity, innovating for a plastic-free ocean, protecting and restoring fish stocks, and finally, educating and empowering youth. The non-profit believes that in order to rebuild a resilient and vibrant ocean within the next ten years, everyone needs to take action.

Become an Ocean Wise ally and share your knowledge with others. The more people who know how badly the ocean needs our help, the better! Now is a great time to commit to being a part of something bigger and get our oceans healthy again.

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