As a nation state, Italy has emerged only in 1871. Until then the country was politically divided into a large number of independant cities, provinces and islands. The currently available evidences point out to a dominant Etruscan, Greek and Roman cultural influence on today's Italians.
Some of you may have noticed that my mind wanders in strange directions now and then...
I have a question for our members who live their daily lives in Italia and are native or near-native speakers of the language.
I think it fair to say that the typical American delicatessen customer might request "a quarter pound" of prosciutto or "a half pound" of genoa salami (give me these two - have to be really thinly sliced - and a good loaf of bread and I am a happy man!). When an Italiano makes a similar purchase, is he more likely to request "un ottavo chilo/chilogrammo di prosciutto" or "cento grammi di prosciutto"?
Do Italians use both forms (ottavo-, quarto-, mezzo chilo and cento-, due cento-, cinquecento grammi) in daily life or is one preferred and the other rarely or never used?
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