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The Rossi Glossary Returns, The Origins

The origins of "Rayisms"


Late Night members of the Rossi Posse can get befuddled by a variety of phrases I use during the course of the show.

Words like “ahshpett”; “strunz” “shem” and a host of others too numerous to mention.

So not to overload you with too much information, let me give you the background of where they come.

Grandma Rossi.

Grandma and Mr Broccoli yakking away in the bakery!

No one was better at turning a phrase than Grandma!

She mainly spoke in a very heavy Neapolitan dialect of Italian.

Neapolitan is a very “sing-song” kind of dialect; full of quotes from “e gente antiche” (the elders of the tribe; the ancients); and double entrendre, something she would use quite often, with the kind of figurative language that would make a sailor blush.

Neapolitans were noted for that…and for some reasons, the women moreso than the men.

Let me give you an example.

There was a time when a girl of questionable morals was passing the store. Noticing her, my grandmother, with a look of disgust, described her by saying: Quella’ teneve nn’ sacc’ eh’ train a trazi e’ uscire luogo’ bassh”; or “she’s had more than a few subway trains in and out down there!”

Need I say more?

So periodically you will see expressions that come from my experience growing up in the ethnic stew that’s been my life thusfar.

And not just Neapolitan, but Sicilian, Yiddish, and Puerto Rican Spanish.

And please….feel free to add your own…or if there’s something you remember your parents or grandparents using, please share below!

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