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.
Episode 6: This week’s word is easily our most delicious – Schfoiadell. WARNING. For those who have a sweet tooth, watch the following episode with extreme caution or be ready to go visit your local Italian bakery immediately.
Episode 7: This week’s episode is short. Actually, it’s less of an episode and more like a public service announcement. Are you mispronouncing the word grazie? Click on the video and in less than 60 seconds you’ll know for sure. And remember, friends don’t let friends pronounce the word grazie incorrectly.
Episode 8: We have another quick episode this week that examines the proper use of the phrase TI AMO. Who should receive TI AMO and who should you say TI VOGLIO BENE to? Find out by watching this week’s Cosa Dici.
Episode 9: We’re doing something completely different this week on Cosa Dici. Every week we put together a short video that we hope provides equal parts education and entertainment. And although Luna makes it look effortless, there are always some outtakes and bloopers that have to hit the cutting room floor….until today.
This is going to be our last video for a couple of weeks. We plan on taking that time to gather new material, so please comment or email us if you have any words or phrases you want to know more about. If your suggestion gets used, we’ll make sure to give you a shoutout in the video.
Episode 10: We’re back! This week we’re talking about the word – Gavone. A big thank you to Michele Yorio for suggesting the word. And remember, if there’s a word or phrase that you want to know more about, let us know in the comments section or shoot us an email.
Episode 11: This week we’re calling for all of our Goombah’s to learn about the word – Goombah. Does Goombah get a bum rap? Find out when Luna gives you all of the linguistic details.
Episode 12: Last week we talked about the word Goombah. This week we have the female equivalent – Goomar. The words have very similar pronunciations, but as you’ll hear from Luna, they can have similar and wildly different meanings. So be careful how you use it.
Episode 13: This week’s word is typically paired with a famous hand gesture – Marone. Broadly used to signify any occasion for emotion, Luna gives you the backstory on the origin of the word.
Episode 14: We’re really excited for this week’s word. In theory it simply refers to a deli meat, but in pop culture it has a much broader connotation towards Italian Americans. This week’s word is Gabagool.
Episode 15: This week Luna is on location, and vacation, in famous Rome. She’ll give you a tour of the Vatican, provide you with some historical facts, and of course, throw in a quick language lesson.
Episode 16: This week’s word has a multitude of uses – Gagootz. From something you eat, to someone who isn’t that smart, and even the thing that sits on your shoulders, maybe it’s time to add gagootz to your vocabulary.