Old insult in Italian

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Sunnym00n
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Old insult in Italian

Post by Sunnym00n »

My late grandmother said the literal translation was (or something close to) "you are a little donkey's behind" and sounded something like ma que thoosie na choocha redda. Any idea what the actual Italian would be?
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PippoM
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Re: Old insult in Italian

Post by PippoM »

As I understand from the way it sounds, it might be (in some southern dialect):

"Ma che tu si' 'na ciucciaredda?" (or " nu ciucciareddu")
"Are you a little donkey?"
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AngelaGrace56
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Re: Old insult in Italian

Post by AngelaGrace56 »

PippoM wrote: 16 Jun 2021, 08:49 As I understand from the way it sounds, it might be (in some southern dialect):

"Ma che tu si' 'na ciucciaredda?" (or " nu ciucciareddu")
"Are you a little donkey?"

Ciao Pippo

I've always understood a donkey to be either "na ciuccia" or "na ciucciarella". My family are from Potenza in the South. I can't exactly remember what it meant if someone was referred to as "na ciuccia". Possibly "na ciucciarella" would be less offensive?

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joetucciarone
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Re: Old insult in Italian

Post by joetucciarone »

My parents used that expression when one of us kids was really mischievous. Thanks for the memories!
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PippoM
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Re: Old insult in Italian

Post by PippoM »

AngelaGrace56 wrote: 16 Jun 2021, 09:30
PippoM wrote: 16 Jun 2021, 08:49 Possibly "na ciucciarella" would be less offensive?

Angela
I think it would. "Ciuccio" is a donkey (is it the same word for a male or a female?)
"Ciucciariello" is a little donkey, so, it sounds less offensive.
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darkerhorse
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Re: Old insult in Italian

Post by darkerhorse »

I have donkey as "sceccu" or "asinu".

I wonder if "behind" came into the translation as a result of the similarity between ass and donkey, with ass meaning donkey (ass) or behind (ass).
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Re: Old insult in Italian

Post by MarcuccioV »

PippoM wrote: 16 Jun 2021, 12:39
AngelaGrace56 wrote: 16 Jun 2021, 09:30
PippoM wrote: 16 Jun 2021, 08:49 Possibly "na ciucciarella" would be less offensive?

Angela
I think it would. "Ciuccio" is a donkey (is it the same word for a male or a female?)
"Ciucciariello" is a little donkey, so, it sounds less offensive.

In our family, the Roman side used "asino" while the Sicilian side preferred "ciuccio"... But it was interchangable for either...
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PippoM
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Re: Old insult in Italian

Post by PippoM »

darkerhorse wrote: 16 Jun 2021, 19:32 I have donkey as "sceccu" or "asinu".
"sceccu" is typically Sicilian
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Re: Old insult in Italian

Post by darkerhorse »

Semu d'accordu.
AngelaGrace56
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Re: Old insult in Italian

Post by AngelaGrace56 »

PippoM wrote: 16 Jun 2021, 12:39
AngelaGrace56 wrote: 16 Jun 2021, 09:30
PippoM wrote: 16 Jun 2021, 08:49 Possibly "na ciucciarella" would be less offensive?

Angela

I think it would. "Ciuccio" is a donkey (is it the same word for a male or a female?)
"Ciucciariello" is a little donkey, so, it sounds less offensive.

I followed up with one of my older syblings who still speaks dialect quite well and that's what she remembers too 'na cioccia' or '(n)u cioccio'. I don't know what the dialectal words were for a female donkey or a male donkey?

Yes I knew that "ciucciariello/a" would mean little.

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arturo.c
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Re: Old insult in Italian

Post by arturo.c »

In 1951 Neapolitan singer-songwriter Roberto Murolo wrote a song titled 'O ciucciariello, which became very popular in that time.

Here is the version of Renato Carosone: https://youtu.be/YE06PEENwu4.
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arturo.c
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Re: Old insult in Italian

Post by arturo.c »

Also, the renowned Sicilian singer-songwriter Otello Profazio wrote a well known song about the donkey, and in the introduction of this video tells some Sicilian proverbs about donkeys, the first of which is: 'U sceccu nun è sceccu picché è sceccu, ma picché nun sape d'esse sceccu (The ass is not an ass because he is an ass, but because he doesn't know that he is an ass).
https://youtu.be/TkUfjE66tAc
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Re: Old insult in Italian

Post by Pit »

the donkey is retained a stupid and stubborn animal. To be a donkey (ciuccio-ciucciariello-somaro-ciuco) means to be a stupid person. In the school the teachers always shouted " ciuccio/somaro !!!" to the childrens that didn't studied the lesson and wronglly answered to the simplest questions. In this case very often schoolboys were humiliated wearing a big carton donkey ears ont their head during the lesson. I remember this cruel practice until the end of 1960 in Italian Schools. But ciucciariello is not necessarily so negative. It's the typical mother's warning, " don't be silly!" but in an more loving sweet way.
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Re: Old insult in Italian

Post by darkerhorse »

Sounds like the difference between "dumb ass" and "silly ass" in English.

In early America, such students had to wear a dunce cap instead of donkey ears.
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