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A Leftover Jukebox Word

In this week's episode of La Ladra, there's a curious adjective (in the form of a past participle). Eva and Dante are discussing the popularity of their dishes, a ginger risotto and seafood couscous.

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The adjective is gettonatissimo, the superlative form of gettonato. It comes from the verb gettonare. But let's backtrack a moment and talk about the noun the verb comes from: il gettone.

 

Depending on your age, and if you have travelled to Italy, you may or may not have heard of a gettone, the special token people would use, back in the day, to make phone calls in a bar or cabina telefonica (phone booth). It was a coin with a groove on either side.

 

In addition to using gettoni for making phone calls, people used them for playing songs on the juke box. It was common to go to the bar to make phone calls, and there would often be a little booth where you could use the phone in private. In the same bar where you might make a phone call, there might also be a jukebox. 

 

So if lots of people put a gettone in the juke box for a particular song, we could say that song is gettonata. These days, gettoni are used at laundromats, for supermarket carts, and at carwashes, but little else. The term gettonato has remained, however, to describe something as popular, something that people choose over other things.

Stasera sei tu in vantaggio, i tuoi piatti sono gettonatissimi.

Tonight you're ahead. Your dishes are hugely popular.

Caption 2, La Ladra EP. 8 - Il momento giusto - Part 4

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If we backtrack even further from the noun gettone, we find the verb gettare (to throw, to cast). If you have learned how to say "to throw" in Italian, you have most likely learned buttare. It is a synonym for gettare in many cases, and is a more informal word in general, when it means the physical act of throwing. But gettare is used in specific situations such as the one in the example below. 

 

Ammetto che è la prima volta in vita mia che ho voglia di mettere radici in un posto. -Ahi ahi ahi. Hai deciso di gettare l'ancora? Ebbene sì, lo ammetto.

I admit that it's the first time in my life that I have the desire to put down roots in a place. -Uh oh. Have you decided to drop anchor? Well, yes, I admit it.

Captions 24-27, La Ladra Ep. 7 - Il piccolo ladro - Part 6

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As we have seen, verbs and nouns may be used to form new words. One modern-day example of this is in the description of a single-use item or something disposable.

Vola, vola, vola sulla bicicletta Contro la cultura del consumo "usa e getta"

Fly, fly, fly on the bicycle Against the culture of "disposable" consumption

Captions 40-41, Radici nel Cemento La Bicicletta

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You will see usa e getta crop up in ads for and labels on dustcloths, latex gloves, contact lenses, etc. From two verbs: usare (to use) and gettare (to throw), a compound adjective was born: usa e getta (use and throw/single-use).

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