I’ve enjoyed the recent references amongst my Kansas City friends on Facebook to one of my favorite restaurants, Il Centro. Adding to the fun is the, now, obligatory comments about how everyone was sure to pronounce the name correctly.

For the non-KCers out there, as an Italophile, I was quick to correct my friends who called the spot “eel sen-tro” rather than the correct “eel chen-tro”. What was the point of that year of Italian if not to help people with such mistakes? It became a running gag for friends, once I convinced them I was right1, to continue to say it improperly around me just to get me fired up about it.

Anyway, there’s a local car dealer that is now selling Fiats. They run a commercial on the radio station we listen to when at our LVS that we hear probably 15 times a weekend. The man speaking on the commercial doesn’t sound like some old boy Hoosier with a drawl from the hills of southern Indiana. He sounds like a normal dude from the suburbs. But he pisses me off as soon as the commercial starts.

“Bon JAIR-no!”

What? “Bon JAIR-no”? How do you get that from buongiorno”? Of all the ways you could mispronounce that word, turning the “-gior-” into “-jair” makes no sense at all; there’s no “A” in it! I would have thought a man running a Fiat dealership would have had some assistance in any Italian words/phrases he wanted to drop in his ads. I guess not.

Ten years ago I might have written him a nasty email, correcting him and demanding that he recut the commercial with the proper pronunciation. But I’ve mellowed in my middle age, and instead I’ll just write a blog post that 15 people see and continue to stew each time I hear it. Which I’ll bet amuses some of you quite a bit.

  1. I think it finally took the restaurant running ads on local TV for me to win the argument, my education be damned.