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.
When I read it quickly, to me it sounds like "e na gaglina da marmitta" which in my Calabrese dialect would mean "she's a chicken for the pot", meaning she's too old, no spring chicken. In my part of Calabria (Reggio), "marmitta" is a pot, I believe from the Greek language.
It is so logical how languages develop. Just today I had an epiphany. For years I've been using a tiny pasta called "acini pepe" (which my mother calls "cus-cus-segliu") to make Italian Wedding Soup. While putting it away in the cupboard, I noticed my box of "cous-cous" which has the exact same shape, only smaller. I believe cous-cous is a food mostly associated with Northern Africa.
So, what's old is new! My dad is the one who used to say that phrase, and he was from Tuscany. So, I don't know if that's right or not. I remember him messing around with the lawn mower one time and grumbling that phrase at it. And on numerous other occasions to express his displeasure at something. Thanks for sending.
Looking for Biagianti, Modesti & Vincenti in Tuscany and Tomaino, Curcio, Mazza, & Rizzo in Calabria
TO ALYZA... I know very well the meaning of the tongue-twister you said (Cheech kah-mah-nah kah-lah - Kah-lah kah-mah-nah cheech). The correct version is (in the dialect of Alife): Cicciu cumÃ nn'a CÃ²la e Cola cumÃ nn'a Cicciu. Its translation into Italian is: Francesco comanda a Nicola e Nicola comanda a Francesco. In english is: Frank orders (do something) to Nick and Nick orders (do something) to Frank. We use this proverb to indicate when someone wants to do something and asking someone else to do, so as to "bounce" the thing to do ... I hope you understand my explanation... GAETANO
That is interesting. The meaning of the expression must have changed because my family used it when someone said something about someone else but really it is something that applies to the person that said it.
For example: If a stubborn person (testa dura) calls another person stubborn. Then you tell them "cicci camana calla call camana cicci!"
The equivalent expression in English is: "That's the pot calling the kettle black".
People used to say that expression because a pot is black and a kettle is black. So the pot is calling the kettle the same thing that he is!
Thank you for replying! This is so interesting to me. I'm sure that a lot of expressions have changed- it's been 100 years!
Talk about memory lane.
My aunt used to call my uncle "chooch"/"cheech" or some variation of it over 50 years ago. As I think of the usage, she probably was referring to a jackass or donkey. I don't believe we were ever told the meaning of the word.
It has taken me this long to find out what she was talking about. Unfortunately, they are both gone now, but I have to believe my aunt meant it in an affectionate way(I'm just not sure how).
Researching surnames Ianniello, Tamburrino, Mattora/Martora/Mattori & Scialla in Santa Maria Capua Vetere, Caserta, Campania.