Mafia Swagger

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darkerhorse
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Mafia Swagger

Post by darkerhorse »

A crossword puzzle I recently completed had the clue, "Sicilian word which roughly translates as swagger." The answer was "Mafia".

I never heard that translation before, and I wonder if it's commonly accepted.
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Re: Mafia Swagger

Post by darkerhorse »

For those whose native language isn't English, swagger means arrogant or pompous, and is often associated with a confident walking style. Think of Joe Pesci.
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Re: Mafia Swagger

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First I had ever heard of such a translation. I remember hearing that its root was a Sicilian corruption of "mi figlia", and was related to vigilante revenge against a rapist of a woman's daughter whose screams were heard echoing thoughout her town...
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Re: Mafia Swagger

Post by darkerhorse »

I've heard something similar.

For what it's worth, the publication is NY Times Hardest Crosswords No. 12, puzzle 7, clue 47 down. I bought it at Barnes % Noble.

By the way, I forget, do you have Sicilian ancestry by paper trail or only by DNA inference?

No intense offended.
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Re: Mafia Swagger

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Wouldn't the Sicilian be "figghia mi"?

Mafia sounds more like the Italian "mi figlia".
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Re: Mafia Swagger

Post by darkerhorse »

This supports the crossword puzzle translation.

https://www.etymonline.com/word/mafia

Again, just think Joe Pesci.
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Re: Mafia Swagger

Post by MarcuccioV »

I think it's an older translation than the more 'modern' Sicilian, and I wouldn't be surprised as to an Arabic infusion in the wording.

No paper trail yet (still searching), found in DNA makeup and many DNA matches (more Sicilian DNA matches than mainland Italian). mtDNA also Sicilian. Most common locations being Messina & Agrigento provinces...
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Re: Mafia Swagger

Post by MarcuccioV »

I also have a few DNA matches that are 100% Sicilian -- so that makes it difficult to refute...
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Re: Mafia Swagger

Post by PippoM »

I didn't know the word "swagger", and, now that I know it, I wouldn't have translated it to "mafia".
But I've found in the Treccani encyclopedia (the most famous in Italy), that "mafia" can also be used, in familiar speech, as "Ostentazione di eleganza, di spavalderia" (i.e., "swagger", I think).
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Re: Mafia Swagger

Post by darkerhorse »

PippoM wrote: 25 Nov 2022, 09:11 I didn't know the word "swagger", and, now that I know it, I wouldn't have translated it to "mafia".
But I've found in the Treccani encyclopedia (the most famous in Italy), that "mafia" can also be used, in familiar speech, as "Ostentazione di eleganza, di spavalderia" (i.e., "swagger", I think).
Yes, similar meanings.

I wonder if the original meaning of mafia was swagger, or if mafia became used for swagger in familiar speech after being coined for organized crime.

For example, "google" has taken on the meaning of "search on the Internet" after the original meaning was just the name of one search engine.

I wonder if "mafia" has also been adopted that way. First, referring to organized crime itself, and later adopted in familiar speech to refer to their perceived characteristics.
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Re: Mafia Swagger

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I was promoting the example of Joe Pesci who usually plays a role with swagger no matter if he's in organized crime or not.

In the Godfather, all the Corleone brothers were in organized crime, yet Sonny had more swagger than Michael who had more swagger than Fredo.
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Re: Mafia Swagger

Post by darkerhorse »

Pippo,

Would a Sicilian say "figghia mi" for my daughter?
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Re: Mafia Swagger

Post by MarcuccioV »

I don't know if Pippo will respond unless you quote him. In my Aunt's Sicilian family (out of Palermo province) it was "figghia mea"...
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Re: Mafia Swagger

Post by PippoM »

I don't speak Sicilian, but I think "figghia mi" is not correct. I'd say "figghia mea" is better, but it sounds like what one says when he/she is talking to a daughter (a "vocative"?). For instance: "my daughter, listen to what your father says!". On the contrary, if one is stating something about his/her daughter, for instance, "my daughter is tall", I'd say "mea figghia è auta".
That's about the position in the sentence. As to the word itself, I think it also depends on the town (Sicily is a large island), and I found the equivalent of italian "mia", written as "mea", "mo" o "mi' "
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Re: Mafia Swagger

Post by darkerhorse »

Thanks for weighing in.

I've heard "mia" used in Sicilian for English "me", as in pointing to yourself and meaning the equivalent of English "me".

But, I haven't heard "mia" used in Sicilian for English "my", as it is in Italian.

I'm also not familiar with "mea" as a Sicilian sword, but maybe it's being spelled phonetically to represent a pronunciation like "may-ah" in English, perhaps similar to the Italian word "me" with the last syllable drawn out.

Of course, my experience is limited (Siracusa).

In the opening scene of Godfather II, when Mrs. Andolini finds her son Paolo murdered, it sounds like she says "figghiu mi" or perhaps "figghiu me" but not "figghiu mia" from what I hear. It's translated as "My son" in the subtitles. Does anyone have subtitles in Italian/Sicilian?

Anyway, the original point was word order - not "mea figghia" which could sound like Mafia, because the word "figghia" would come first however the word for "my" is spelled.

Semu d'accordu?
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