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How to Talk at Local Italian Festival This Summer


Summertime is fun time. Many of us try to get out of the fast lane and kick back at the beach or in the mountains. School children especially love to forget about homework, tests, and the daily routine of getting to school. We thought about a hardcore lesson with stress on intense grammar and a list of some of the more difficult vocabulary for this issue’s lesson. Then it hit us- we need to just present a lesson for fun and to re-kindle a time when Italian in this country underwent “dramatic” change.

An “Italian” language evolved that was comprehensible to only Italian-Americans and was even incorporated on Italian radio programs and Italian newspapers in this country and is referred to as Italianese; a hybrid language formed by elements of both the Italian and English languages. Some of our readers will remember hearing these words, others will choose not to remember them because they want to really learn proper Italian and teachers of Italian and purists will want to put a bounty on our heads.

However, it’s summer and it’s time to chill out and have some fun. So we hope that this lesson will be viewed in a manner that it was meant to be viewed, just for fun and maybe to bring back a few memories of bygone days with nonno and nonna. Warning: Do not attempt to use these words if you are traveling in Italy. They won’t get you very far.

Italianese – Italian – English

1. Aise scrima – Gelato – Ice Cream

2. Bacauosa – Bagno – Bathroom

3. Bisinisso – Affare – Business

4. Bomma – Mascalzone – Bum

5. Cinciarella – Spuma Ginger – ale

6. Dazzò – Basta – That’s all

7. Dorì – Sporco – Dirty

8. Giobba – Lavoro – Job

9. Grosseria – Negozio di generi alimentari – Grocery store

10. Mascina – Macchina – Car

11. Pichinicco – Scampagnata – Picnic

12. Pulrum – Sala da bigliardo – Poolroom

13. Sanguiccio – Tramezzino – Sandwich.

14. Sciainare – Lustrare – To shine

15. Sciainatore – Lustrascarpe – Shoeshine person

16. Sciumecco – Calzolaio – Shoemaker

17. Sello – Cantina – Cellar

18. Situata – Gazzosa – Soda water (7-Up)

19. Smatte – Scaltro – Smart

20. Sombarì – Qualcuno – Somebody

21. Stappare – Fermare – To stop

22. Stardare – Incominciare – To begin

23. Storo – Negozio – Store

24. Ticchetta – Biglietto – Ticket

25. Traiare – Provare – To try

26. Trobolo – Guaio – Trouble

Our immigrant Italian ancestors even Italianese common expressions or exclamations. Here’s one:

No su yu bisinesso! – Non sono gli affari tuoi! – It’s none of your business.

This month’s falso amico: It refers to word No. 23 in the above list, ticchetta, which in this form doesn’t exist in Italian. There is a word in Italian, etichetta, which means label or price tag. The Italianese word ticchetta obviously was bastardized from the English word ticket and not from the Italian word etichetta.

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