Italian language: Maybe I’ll Call You Trottolino Amoroso
- WTI Magazine #148 Feb 19, 2022
Hello! February has come and with it Saint Valentin’s Day, so I though about teaching you a few ways to call your partner in Italian. I have to say that I feel quite embarrassed writing them since some of them are really lovey-dovey, but how else will you learn them?
Let’s start easy with some that can work for both females and males without changing the ending. Amore – love – it’s the most common one and the one I’ve heard most bilingual couples use. Other popular ones are cuore – literally heart − and tesoro – literally “treasure” which can be translated with “darling.” Tesoro, as you’ll see most other pet names, can be declined by adding -ino for males or -ina for females which adds a nuance of being “cute” – tesorino, tesorina.
You can also hear people call their partner piccola or piccolo, “baby.” Again, you can easily add -ino or -ina at the end to make it sound even more (sickly) sweet. Or along the same line cucciolo or cucciola (remember that generally speaking if it ends in -o it is for males and if it ends in -a it is for females) literally meaning “puppy,” which can become cucciolino or cucciolina, to make it cute and small, or cucciolotto and cucciolotta, to make it bigger and cute (always cute). Another one patato or patata, literally meaning “potato” but here meaning “cute,” which more often becomes patatino or patatina meaning both “little” and “cute” or even just tato and tata, a short version of it which comes from its ending. And of course, tato and tata can become tatino or tatina. Why not?
Then we have a series of pet names literally coming from animals. What do I mean? You can call your partner passerotto/a – big, cute sparrow – or orsacchiotto/a – teddy bear or big, cute bear – or topolino/a – little mouse – or micio/a – cat – or micetto/a or even micino/a – little, cute cat – or pulce – flea, I know it might not sound nice, but I guess it can be seen as small and cute. But you can get really creative here, you just need to add −ino or −ina to any animal you want to use: scoiattolino/a – little squirrel – paperino/a – little ducky − marmottino/a – little, cute marmot − and so on.
If you really want to go cheesy you can call them luce dei miei occhi – literally “the light in my eyes,” meaning the “apple of my eye.”
A pretty famous one which is also used as a stereotypical pet name is trottolino amoroso. Trottolino which doesn’t really mean anything, but like all others giver you the idea of something cute (trottola means “spinning top”) while amoroso here means “lovely/loving.” This expression comes from the chorus of a famous 90s song by Amedeo Minghi and Mietta entitled Vattene amore – Go away, my love – and even if some Italians haven’t heard it, they would still know this expression. The chorus goes: magari ti chiamerò trottolino amoroso dudù dadada− and maybe I’ll call you trottolino amoroso doo doo dah dah dah (these are just random singing syllables).
Well, I hope you’ll get to spend some lovely time with your trottolino/a amoroso/a or that you’ll find yours soon!