Is Barbera feminine or masculine (grammatical gender)? And why is there a photo of the great Ethiopian Emperor Menelik II on my blog today?

Is Barbera (the grape and wine) a feminine or masculine noun? In other words, what’s its grammatical gender? Is it correct to say la Barbera or il Barbera?

Believe it or not it’s an orthographic that comes up frequently in Italian winespeak.

The Barbera d’Asti Consortium published my post answering the linguistic conundrum this week.

My research for the post led me to dig up my grad school notes on the great Italian poet, scholar, and critical theorist Giovanni Pascoli.

And one of his poems led me to the renowned Italian soldier and patriot Giuseppe Galliano (the one the liqeuer is named after).

And that led me to the great Ethiopian Emperor Menelik II (1844-1913) (above).

Galliano died at the Battle of Adwa (1896) where Emperor Menelik defeated Italian imperialist forces led by General Oreste Baratieri.

The biography of the Ethiopian ruler is as fascinating as it is thrilling: he was a brilliant military strategist and he became the first Africa ruler to repel European colonialism. The Italians’ defeat at Adwa stunned the world and Menelik became an icon of African and African-American independence.

Read my post on Barbera’s grammatical gender here. Next week, I’ll translate the poem (which also fascinated me) in its entirety with a brief critical apparatus.

In other news…

Parzen family made it home from Italy safely and soundly last night.

Georgia and Lila Jane (above) enjoyed one last taste of pizza yesterday morning for breakfast at Malpensa airport outside Milan.

The ladies at the food court were so sweet to them. It was a wonderful coda to our stay in a country where children are universally adored.

Both girls were extremely well behaved on our flights and both were overjoyed to sleep in their own beds last night — as were their parents.

Thanks again to all of our friends who made the trip so fun, special, and memorable. It was a really great one.

One of these days I’ll get around to telling the story of the Michelin-starred chef who made Lila Jane a hamburger on the spot (because ethereal housemade spaghetti tossed in delicately sautéed cuttlefish and garden-grown tomatoes just wouldn’t do)…

Top image via Wikipedia Creative Commons.

One thought on “Is Barbera feminine or masculine (grammatical gender)? And why is there a photo of the great Ethiopian Emperor Menelik II on my blog today?

  1. And, you know at even the best restaurants there is an off menu burger. Talking to you, Osteria Francescana.

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