What are you saying?
Have you ever thought about the origin of those famous Italian American words?
We did. That’s why we created our content series called Cosa Dici.
Let's learn about Italian American!
Have you ever wondered what the origins of some words are? For example, capisce, agida, or marone?
So many of these words were created through a combination of English and the regional languages of Southern Italy. Italian immigrants created this sort of pidgin (incomplete) language that exists in certain parts of the United States (mostly New York and New Jersey, but can also be seen in cities like Chicago and Boston).
It all started at the end of the 1800s, and carried through the 1950s, when there was a vast wave of migration from Southern Italy to the United States. Those who immigrated, brought with them their regional vernaculars and thus, over time, those languages merged with English (especially as Italians sought to assimilate as much as possible).
So, to celebrate the history of Italian Americans, every Friday Luna Splendori will bring you a new lesson that combines culture, language and our heritage. We call this series Cosa Dici?!, which means What’re you saying?
About Luna: Luna works at Collina Italiana as our program assistant, but is also currently in school studying linguistics and completing a thesis on Italian American culture and language. She’s as passionate about the Italian and Italian American languages and cultures as she is about helping people learn the origins of the words she loves.
Episode 1: This week on Cosa Dici we’ll be examining the word capisce. And if you’re not familiar with the term “schwa” then this is an episode you can’t afford to miss.
Episode 2: This week on Cosa Dici we’ll be focusing on the word agida. Whether you think it means uncomfortably full, or maybe just uncomfortable, Luna will be discussing the different meanings and origin of the word.
Episode 3: We’re switching up the format this week for a topic that we feel is incredibly important. – What is the true meaning of dialect? – You may be surprised once Luna digs into the history.
Our goal with this week’s episode is to encourage you to discover the numerous regional vernaculars that are quickly disappearing. This is part of our Italian heritage and hopefully won’t be completely lost.
Episode 4: We have a fun word this week – stunad. And as Luna says, “If an Italian American calls you a stunad, it’s not a compliment.”
Episode 5: This week Luna is examining a lesser-known word – Musciad. We’re interested to hear if it’s a word that you use with your family or just generally lives in your vocabulary.