Italian-Americanisms? or regionalisms?

Peter A. McGraw pmcgraw at LINFIELD.EDU
Mon Jul 8 16:40:14 UTC 2002

I'm old enough to remember when pizza was a novelty (the early 50s, at
least in Oregon).  It was something you got only in a full-service Italian
restaurant, and it was called "pizza pie."  The first I heard otherwise was
when my aunt (who expected everyone to know as much of every foreign
language as she did) expressed annoyance at the lyrics of a then-popular
song, "When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's amore,"
saying that "pizza pie" was "incorrect"--it should be just "pizza."

Many years later I read somewhere (can't remember where now--Weinreich,
Languages in Contact??) that the Italian community in Tampa, FL (I think),
had reborrowed the item from English as "La Pizzapaia."  Or maybe it wasn't
actually reborrowed, but just borrowed, by a community whose roots lay
outside the parts of Italy where pizza originated.

Peter Mc.

--On Monday, July 8, 2002 11:41 AM -0400 "Joanne M. Despres"
<jdespres at MERRIAM-WEBSTER.COM> wrote:

> My mother and aunt do not call pizza "pie" or even "pizza pie" --
> just "pizza."  And I'd NEVER heard the word "gravy" used of
> tomato sauce until I lived in the Middle Atlantic.  At first it struck
> me as a non-Italian's misconception of an unfamiliar food!
> Joanne

                               Peter A. McGraw
                   Linfield College   *   McMinnville, OR
                            pmcgraw at

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