“Spaghetti” Means Little Strings


Interesting Facts in Easy English

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

  • pasta: a staple Italian dish, shapes made from flour, water, and sometimes egg
  • retain: to keep
  • translation: the process of changing a word into a different language
  • reed: a tall thin grass that grows in a marshy area
  • spiral: a twisted shape
  • figure out: to investigate and come up with an answer
  • turn off: to cause someone to dislike a thing or person

“Spaghetti” Means Little Strings

There are hundreds of kinds of pasta. Some of the types of pasta, such as “spaghetti” and “cannelloni”, have retained their Italian names and are used in countries. The translation of these words into English is “little strings” and “large reeds”. Other types of pasta have English names, such as “bow tie pasta” (farfalle) and “elbow macaroni” (maccheroni). You can actually learn a lot of by studying the names of pasta. For example, tortelleni means “little pies”, while linguine means “little tongues”. “Gemelli” is an pasta twisted up to form a spiral. The Italian word for this pasta translates to “twins” in English. Next time you order “vermicelli”, inspect the shape to see if you can figure out what this word translates to in English. Don’t be if it turns you off your dinner.

Comprehension Questions

  1. What does the word “spaghetti” translate to in English?
  2. Why does the reading mention “twins”?
  3. What challenge is given at the end of this report?

Discussion Questions: Though many people love pasta, a few people are turned off by the texture. Are there any textures that you dislike touching or eating?

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