Those among you who have an ear for languages — or music, as the two seem to go hand in hand — probably haven’t failed to recognize how this week’s word, influenza (een-floo-ehn-zah) sounds a lot like the English “influence” of which is, in fact, the Italian translation.
Influenza can mean just that, something that can affect the way something happens or a person behaves, just like in the sentence nella tua tesi, vedo chiaramente l’influenza degli studi classici che hai fatto (I clearly see the influence of your classical background in your thesis), or la cucina Siciliana ha una chiara influenza Araba (Sicilian cuisine has a clear Arabic influence).
From an etymological point of view, influenza comes from the Medieval Latin influentia which in turn came from the Classical Latin verb influere, or “run inside,” especially in relation to liquids. You can see then how the word influenza in Italian got the meaning it has: think about it, isn’t being influenced by someone or by something just like having them making themselves comfortable inside us?
But influenza in Italian is one other thing especially, a thing we all fear this time of the year, but that we’ve been awaiting for, in 2020, with a whole new level of stress: the flu. The evil viruses of the orthomyxoviridae family give us the sniffles and high fever, and we often get vaccinated against them just about now, at the beginning of the fall. Of course, you all know the same word exists in English to define the same illness, even if in Italian is often used, more generically but not accurately, to define all cold season ailments that give you a sore throat and a bit of a temperature.
This year, avoiding influenza is very important, because its symptoms can be easily mistaken for those of another evil little virus which has been playing havoc with humanity for the past 9 months. Let’s keep our guard up!
- Devo andare dal medico, ho bisogno del vaccino contro l’influenza!
- I must go to the doctor: I need the flu vaccine!
- Pensa con la tua testa, subisci troppo l’influenza dei tuoi amici.
- Think with your own head, you are too influenced by your friends.
- Ho mal di gola, ma niente febbre. Non dovrebbe essere influenza
- I’ve got a sore throat but no temperature. It shouldn’t be the flu.