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The Return of the Rossi Glossary – in Honor of Mother’s Day


What was the best advice you’d ever gotten from your mother?

My mom was never the one with the quip of wisdom, but when she did, it was usually a zinger.

She used to save it for when we’d bring our friends over the house, and say something like:

“Show me your friends, and I’ll tell you what you are.”

But the real philosopher in the family was Grandma Rossi.

Thing is, you had to understand Italian, and more specifically Neapolitan, to understand her.

But I loved it. Her dialect was rich in melody, and her sayings were from what she used to call “..e gent’ antiche” (the older people of her town).

So in honor of mothers everywhere, but expecially Grandma, I thought I’d share some of her pearls.

They usually had something to do with other people, and how you can’t trust anyone.

For instance, there was this:

“Guard’ o’ tuo e’ nu fa mariole a neciunn” or watch what’s your and don’t let anyone become a thief at your expense.

Then there was this:

“Neciunn’ te dice ‘lava’ a’ faccia che te pare chiu bell’ e’ me”…or, “no one will give you advice at their own expense!

One of the things I’ll always be grateful for is that I learned the language at her feet; and to this day they’ve stuck with me. Like my right arm!

She’s had others, and I’ll dedicate this space each week to give you a word or expression I learned from her that you might hear me use on the show.

Some colorful, some salty, some in her dialect, and some from my wife’s family, albeit in Yiddish, which is a lot like Neapolitan.

Rich in symbolism; rich in meaning.

Enjoy, and to all the moms, a very Happy Mother’s Day

Best of NJ101.5

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