Dolce Vita Bloggers: Five Italian Words.

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Growing up with Italian grandparents has meant we've always, always, been surrounded by the beauty that is the Italian language. While we didn't learn to become fluent as kids, we still knew the very basics - we were always proud that we could count to ten in Italian - and could still acknowledge certain words our Nanna and Grandad said.

Rai Uno has been the perfect background music to chats with Grandad by the fire or afternoon coffee and biscotti for as long as we can remember. To this day hearing it when we walk through their door brings us a great deal of comfort and security. This months fantastic Dolce Vita Bloggers post from Kelly, Jasmine and Kristie made us smile, as it got us thinking about Italian words that mean the most to us. This bought back so many happy memories of our Grandad. There isn't a day that goes by where we don't think about him, he is always on our minds and we very much miss hearing him say some of these words...

Mangia (Eat)


We're pretty sure we can confidently say that anyone who has grown up in an Italian home will have been told this a hundred times...over one lunch! No matter how much food we consume, we don't think it will ever be enough. Nanna and Grandad just want to see us happy and healthy and obviously that means eating plenty of good food; "Mangia, mangia,"

Boh (Italian slang for I don't know)


This is simply something our Grandad would say when he was at a loss for words, or if he'd been talking about something for a while and then stopped to have a rest. It's ingrained into our minds the exact way he said it. We find ourselves using it if we don't know what to do or say now when talking to each other or Jen. Most of the time it's our way of dealing with being at a loss of what to do or say when missing Grandad. If we feel like crying or getting mad that we miss him, we can say "Boh" and smile, like he gets it. We can see him shrugging and saying "Boh, what can I do?" which is another one of Grandad's many phrases that helps keep us calm. 

Brutta (Ugly)


Another Grandad favourite, boy do we miss hearing him speak. For as long as we can remember our Grandad has had this joke with us. We'd be sat on the couch and he'd just look over and shout "Brutta" to which we'd reply "Bella" with our tongues out.  We laugh thinking about the words he taught us from a young age and think he just found it funny that we knew what he was calling us and could joke with us in Italian - he was a goof and we miss him more than words can say. 

Mamma Mia (Literally "My Mother.")


Technically we know this is two words, but we're counting it as one. Everyone always has their opinions on stereotypical Italians; they love pizza, they talk with their hands and they always say "Mamma Mia." Even though we can 100% tick each of those off for Nanna and Grandad, we used to tell our friends, "No, our Grandad doesn't say that a lot," then we'd take them to meet Nanna and Grandad and within the first ten minutes of us being in their house Grandad would say it like ten times! Maybe we were immune to it! :p Our five year old niece was chatting to us a few days ago and we got on the subject of Grandad. Jen asked if she remembered him and literally the first words out of her mouth were "Mamma Mia." Me (Kelly) and Jen just laughed and asked if he used to say it to her a lot. She replied "No, he used to say it to Mummy." While it breaks our hearts that we never got to see Grandad with our Niece we know, and from the stories Jen tells us, that he absolutely adored her and was over the moon that he got to be a Great Grandad for a little while. He wanted that more than anything. We can see him watching our Niece with so much love in his big brown eyes and turning to our sister in law in awe of her, and saying "Mamma Mia". 

Carciofi (Artichokes)


Besides our counting to ten and basic greetings and conversation starters, we didn't speak Italian growing up. However, for some reason we always called Artichokes by their Italian name, always. Whether it was because we loved them so much and just liked how it sounded in Italian better, we don't know, it's just always something we did/do. Spelling it on the other hand was hilarious and we made Grandad laugh once when writing a recipe down. We spelt it how we said it and wrote it with a K and probably two F's. When Grandad looked at the paper and asked "what is that?" and we explained it's Carciofi, he couldn't stop giggling! For memories like that alone, it's one of our favourite words! 


What are your favourite Italian words? Do you have any that have sentimental value or do you just like the sound of them?



Buona Giornata! 



22 comments :

  1. Love reading about stories of your granddad! Today I learned the slang word "boh"! #DolceVitaBloggers

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    1. Aww thank you! Haha it's a good one! :) xx

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  2. I love using boh! But it's more like a sound rather than a word ;-)

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    1. True, it's like a sigh isn't it? That's how we can picture Grandad saying it! :p

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  3. You girls always get me teary, it's such a beautiful thing that thinking about the language is a way to remember your nonno. I also have to comment on boh...I use it so often now that I use it without thinking when I'm in Canada, forgetting that it doesn't translate haha!

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    1. Aww thank you Jasmine! Pretty much everything we do reminds us of him. He is such a huge part of who we are! <3 Haha we're like that too. It just comes out when we don't know what to say, even at work, but we mainly say it to each other, otherwise we'd probably confuse our co-workers!! :p xx

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  4. I love "boh"!! I use it all the time. My husband still calls artichokes "carciofi" too. :)

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    1. Yay! Reading this made us smile! :) xx

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  5. This is soooo sweet! I love the meanings and memories these words have for both of you! Thank you so much for creating a lovely post as always. xx

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    1. Aww thank you very much Kristie. It was another great topic! <3 xx

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  6. Nice memories! I say carciofi too, even when I'm speaking English. Sounds a lot more appetizing. Ciao, Cristina

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    1. Thank you Cristina. It does sound a lot more appetizing doesn't it!? :)

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  7. Oh, that's such a sweet post with lots of great memories. And I have a love/hate relationship with "boh". My boyfriend uses it all the time and I hear it from Italians around me all the time as well. And it's useful! But I never use it... The inflection is just so hard to get exactly right and I worry about making a fool of myself :)

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    1. Thank you! :) We've never really thought about how we say it...which we probably should, if we say it in front of Italians! :p Usually it's just something we say to make us all smile when we feel like the room is quiet and someone is missing and we don't know what to do about it! Our Grandad was a talker! :) xx

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  8. I think "boh" is the winner in this group. Everyone (old and young) uses this word and I think even if you don't speak Italian or know Italian slang it's pretty obvious what it means! haha

    I absolutely adored the stories you shared and your connection to these words - so beautiful!

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    1. Thank you so, so much for your sweet words and for reading. It really means a lot to us! Any excuse to talk about our Grandad! :p <3

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  9. This is so sweet! I love how the Italian language is so intertwined with beautiful memories of a loved one.

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    1. Thank you very much! We could go on for days! It's definitely a language that brings us incredible comfort! <3

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  10. Such great memories with your words. I had to choose five but boh would be my bonus word, love that :)

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    1. Thank you! Haha boh seems to be very popular! :)

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  11. I love that you chose words that have a special significance to you and remind you of your nonni!!! <3 Mangia has to be my favorite! ;)

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    1. Aww thank you! <3 We'd say Mangia is definitely in our top 3! :)

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