You don’t have to speak Italian to find a recent viral video charming.
In a TikTok video originally posted Aug. 30, 2022, by @guiseppe_matilde, a little girl named Matilde speaks emphatically about a topic that clearly has her riled up.
Wearing a pink Minnie Mouse sweatshirt, light blue jeans and white sneakers, and sporting dark blonde curly hair, Matilde gestures with the classic Italian “finger purse” or “pinched fingers” hand motion, also called mano a borsa. This gesture, used in Italian to mean something along the lines of “What are you saying?”, is often used to express disbelief, frustration or exasperation.
The video comes from use @giuseppe_matilde. Take a look.
Secondo voi ha ragione matilde ? #foryoupage @Giò Canaletti seguitela tutti su istragram matilde_vaccar
The video caption reads “Do you think Matilde is right?” The video (which was reposted by the same account a month later) is adorable even if you don’t understand Italian. But we turned to Internet sleuths for a translation and to see if we did or did not agree with Matilde.
The Sunny Skyz website said Matilde and the adult on the video are talking about clothing. It translates her as saying, “She told me ‘what are you thinking going out in a miniskirt? I’m watching out for you.’ But I put on my own miniskirt. You mind your own business. Think about your own mini skirt, don’t worry about mine.”
You can see other videos of Matilde and her cheeky personality on the above-mentioned TikTok account or on Instagram. Based on some videos of when she was even smaller, she’s long been able to say how she feels, through her words and her gestures.
Here’s a video from April 6 where Matilde is showing off her fashion sense by wearing adult-sized, heeled boots and telling her father “Andiamo,” or “Let’s go/Hurry up!”
An Upworthy story on this post refers to a study that shows that when humans children imitate their parents’ behaviors, they focus more on reproducing the specific actions they see rather than on achieving specific goals. They regularly copy “even arbitrary and unnecessary actions,” the study says, in a behavior called “overimitation.” This is different from how nonhuman primates operate.
“Animals focus on getting the job done,” Mark Nielsen, study author and a psychologist at the University of Queensland in Australia, told Science. “Humans seem to almost forget about the outcome and copy everything we see.”
In other words, this video may be an example of the ways in which culture gets passed on through generations. In this case, it’s not necessary to make the “finger purse” gesture to make a point, but Italians do it anyway, and children like this girl pick it up from their parents.
Do you know of any kids with notable ways of communicating?