Monday, 11 February 2013

Typical versus Traditional

Often, our students seem to use the word typical when describing Sicilian food or food which is special for a particular festival or time of year.  

This is because the word typical is similar to the word tipico in Italian, though the meanings have subtle differences between the two languages.  

Although the sense of the word is understood if used in this way, native English-speakers would argue that the word traditional would be much more appropriate.  

Let's look at the meanings of the two words:


typical

 
- definition

ADJECTIVE

1
like most people or things of the same type
fairly typical
typical of

used about people or things that are exactly like what most people imagine they are like

typical of



traditional

 - definition

ADJECTIVE [USUALLY BEFORE NOUN]


typical of the things that people have usually done




So, next time you are using English to describe regional food or food associated with special events, take time to consider if the word you choose is really the most appropriate.   



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