Thursday, March 26, 2009


Allora is Italian for all-righty-then. You have no idea how often the word is used. You are a native Italian speaker about to give directions or to attempt to translate a difficult concept to a non-Italian speaker. You take a deep breath. Allora, you say, and then you explain yourself. You are a judge on the Italian version of Who Wants to Be A Millionaire (which is a team sport!) and you are about to ask the 10,000 euro question. Allora, let’s get started. You are a waiter in a trattoria. Your pencil is poised above your notepad and you look expectantly at your customers. Allora again.

In Canada we say “So” a lot, but there is something much more satisfying with the Italian equivalent. Allora is like smoothing out the tablecloth before you sit down to do your taxes. It’s a soothing word, a word that suggests whatever is to come can be managed, a word that encourages the speaker and listener to roll up their sleeves and try to sort it out. There may be 1000 blue pieces in this jigsaw puzzle, but, allora, let’s begin.

Try to say the word. Drift for a moment longer than you think you need to on the “o” and don’t hurry the “r” either. The o is the o in the word low.

Italians, they tell me, have lower rates of stress because they mingle business and pleasure. Add the word allora to your own inner conversation, to what you say to yourself when you are about to face a challenge. Use it to replace the four-letter words that come to mind, and watch your tension ease. Allora. Anything is possible.

1 comment:

  1. I like it! Reminds me a bit of the "Na Yo" (sp?) which I heard working one summer for a group of Low German speakers, but there was a lot more "get to it!" implied than I am hearing in allora. Maybe I could trade my heritage for a bit more Italian:)