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Italian vs English Superstitions
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Italian vs English Superstitions


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  • 2. TABLE OF CONTENTS         What is a superstition? Who is a superstitious person? Superstitions as Culture-Specific Superstitions in Intercultural Communication Italian and British Superstitions Italian versus British Superstitions What to Say and What not to Suggestions for further studies and Limitations References
  • 3. WHAT IS A SUPERSTITION?  Superstition is a belief or practice born from the desire of explaining the unknown and to plan against misfortune. Superstitions identify meanings in the arbitrary and random chances and coincidences of life (Cameron, 2010). WHO IS A SUPERSTITIOUS PERSON?  Personal Superstitions: Believes and actions held only by one individual. → Obama, Wade Bogg, Elizabeth II, Pavarotti.
  • 4. SUPERSTITIONS AS CULTURE-SPECIFIC Hofstede and Hofstede: Uncertainty Avoidance “The extent to which the members of a culture feel threatened by ambiguous or unknown situations” (2005)  1) Malinowsky (1948): Superstitions used to reduce anxiety. → The case of Trobriand Islanders. 2) Lewis (1963): Superstitions as ignorance. → The case of American mothers.
  • 5. SUPERSTITIONS IN INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION  Brislin (1986): The case of an American branch of a Japanese manufacturing plant. → When interacting with different cultures, it is important to be especially sensitive to the superstitions the others may have.
  • 6. ITALIAN AND BRITISH SUPERSTITIONS Never walk under ladders  Four-leaf clover: Faith, Hope, Love, Luck  Horseshoe  Ladybird  Get out of bed on the left side  Seven years of bad luck for breaking a mirror 
  • 7. ITALIAN VERSUS BRITISH SUPERSTITIONS Italian Touching iron  Spill oil  Owl  Black cat  Fox  Put the wallet on the bed   Friday the 17th XVII → VIXI British Touching wood  Spill salt  One magpie  White cat  Ravens and bats  Put new shoes on the table   Friday the 13th
  • 8. WHAT TO SAY AND WHAT NOT TO Italians  “Né di Venere né di, Marte, né si sposa né si parte, né si dà inizio all’arte” “In bocca al lupo”  “Buon fortuna”  “Buona pesca!”  “Buona caccia!”  British “Find a penny, pick it up and all day long you’ll have good luck!”  “Step on a crack you’ll break your mother’s back!”  Say “white rabbit” the 1st of the month 
  • 9. SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDIES Why do superstitions still exist?  Will they exist forever?  What are the superstitions in other countries?  What are the roles of superstitions in the contemporary world?  LIMITATIONS Lack of sources  Time constraint  Difficulties to delimit the phenomenon of superstitions 
  • 10. Grazie mille! Thank you! Any Questions?
  • 11. REFERENCES Brislin, R.W. and Yoshida, T. 1994. Intercultural Communication Training: An Introduction. California:Thousand Oaks. Cameron, E., 2010. Superstition, Reason and Religion 1250-1750. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Hofstede, G. and Hofstede, G. J., 2005. What is different is dangerous. In Hofstede, G. and Hofstede, G. J., 2005. Cultures and organizations: software of the mind. New York:McGraw-Hill. pp.163-205,387-389. Lewis, L.S., 1963. Knowledge, Danger, Certainty, and the Theory of Magic. American Journal of Sociology. Vol. 69, No.1. p.7-12. Malinowski, B. 1954. Magic, Science, and Religion: and other Essays. New York:Anchor Books. Martin, D. B., 2004. Inventing Superstitions: from the hippocratics to the christians. Cambridge, Massachussetts: Harvard University Press. Opie, I. and Tatem, M., 1996. A Dictionary of Superstitions. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Stuart A. V., 1997. The Psychology of Superstition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.