10 words to learn before the trip to Sicily

10 Words to Learn Before the Trip to Sicily


The Sicilian dialect is so original and authentic, that one never can confuse it with any other Italian dialect. Like everything else on the island (architecture, cuisine, art, etc.), it reflects the strong influence of neighboring cultures - Arab, Greek and others.

 

We have selected for you 10 the most popular Sicilian words that a traveler should learn before the trip to Sicily. Sicilians can form 50% of a sentence using just these 10 words.

1. MINCHIA

This is the first word that you hear, arriving in Sicily, and the last word that you hear when leaving. The literal translation - "male genital organ", although Sicilians use it for the expression of a wide range of emotions: gratitude, joy, anger, worry, fear, contentment, wonder and so on.

2. COMPÀ/CUMPÀ – ‘MPARE/ ‘MBARE

Used to greet a friend, acquaintance or even a stranger, which whom a Sicilian wants to make friends.

3. MIZZICA

Exclamation expressing awe, wonder or disbelief in something.

4. AVAIA/ AVÀ / VAIA

This word you can probably hear only in Catania and nearby area. Means “come on!”

5. FUTTITINNI

Literally meaning "don't care", although the meaning is much broader and reflects the Sicilian philosophy of life: take life easy, think only of the most important things and not worry about trifles, do not waste time on things that are unimportant and undeserving of attention.

6. AMMATULA

Translated as "vain”. The origin of the word is very interesting. In the Byzantine period matula – is a vial of clear glass for patients’ urine collection. The doctor, alchemist or magician examined matula, made diagnoses and prescribed treatment. More often, however, the patient died, and the family said: "He spoke to matula," which later was transformed into a "honey words of ammatula" and meant futile medical intervention.

 

7. PERI PERI

The literal translation is "feet feet" or “walking feet”, meaning “circle around”. Actually, you will rarely hear Sicilians saying “go around”, “circle around”, “walk around”. They will say “feet feet”.

 

8. CAMURRIA

Literally translated as "boredom", "trouble", "annoying", "anxiety". The term means a certain discomfort that persistently and over time caused by annoying people and that if you do not stop immediately, can develop into a real anger. 

9. PACCHIONE

There are two opposite meanings of the word on the island. On the slopes of Etna pacchiona - is a beautiful girl, a true erotic dream, and in Palermo, pacchiono refers to an unattractive man having body overweight. Just one word clearly shows the differences between these two beautiful cities.

10. NTZU

Ntzù - a classic Sicilian expression for the negation of something. In Sicily, no one will tell you "no", you will hear only ntzù. So simple, isn’t it?

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