Italian-Americanisms? or regionalisms?

Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Sun Jul 7 18:22:16 UTC 2002

> >Gravy 'tomato sauce for pasta'-- DARE has a meaning =sweet
> >sauces, but this meaning isn't there.   I asked them what
> >they'd call gravy for turkey, or meat, and some said 'brown
> >gravy'
> >
> >Pie  'a pizza'.  When you say, "We had a pie last night"
> >you mean a pizza.

These two are familiar to me from my childhood in New Jersey. This sense of
"gravy" is distinctly an Italian-American usage. I never heard it outside of
an Italian-American home. It might be regional as well. "I was making ziti
with the meat gravy..." AND "All day long the poor guy's been watching
helicopters and tomato sauce. You see I had to drive over to Sandy's place,
mix the stuff once and then get back to the gravy." ("Goodfellas," 1990)

"Pie" is used by non-Italians. Short for "pizza pie" or "tomato pie." (This
last is an old usage. I haven't heard it since my early childhood, but you
can still see painted signs advertising "tomato pies" on the Jersey Shore.)

> >Ricotta-  pronounced /rih GAWT/-- with open o (cot/caught
> >distinction is maintained almost universally by students
> >here).
> >
> >Manicotti-- same thing /man ih GAWT/
> The latter two sound familiar for New Haven also. I'm not
> sure of the vowel quality (/a/ vs /ao/)--perhaps it's back
> unrounded?--but the <c> as /g/ (voiceless unaspirated) and
> the loss of the final /i/ is the norm here.

These are also often heard on "The Sopranos."

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