apizza; pie

Frank Abate abatefr at EARTHLINK.NET
Thu Jul 11 20:29:37 UTC 2002

Larry Horn asked:

I don't know if "abeets" (apizza) for
"pizza" extends beyond the villages that populated New Haven's
Wooster Street neighborhood in the early 20th century.  Anyone
outside New Haven come across this pronunciation?

One can find _apizza_ as a spelling in the names of some pizza parlors not
far from New Haven, esp. in towns that were populated by ex-New Haven
Italians -- East Haven is the best example (btw, the local allegro pron for
East Haven is something like "STAY-v at n").  There's an ethnic joke about East
Haven that claims that the last names of everyone who lives there ends in a

The furthest afield use of apizza I have seen is in the name "Sal's Apizza",
a parlor in Meriden, about 25 miles north of New Haven.  That may not seem
far, but Meriden has little to do culturally or historically with New Haven.
On the other hand the reputation of the Wooster Street-style "apizzas"
within Connecticut may well explain the use of the term that far away.

So far, I have not been able to track down anything on the origin of
_apizza_.  Anyone else?  Could it be regional or dialectal Italian?  Perhaps
from an area in Italy from which  many New Haven immigrants came?

As for the pron, it has stress on the second syllable, something like
"ah-BEETS".  The "p" is sounded like a bilabial fricative.

As for _pie_ = 'pizza', I recall encountering this for the first time in
college (Xavier U in Cincinnati), from the mouths of Northeasterners.  It
struck me then as very odd.  Being a Midwesterner by upbringing, I never
refer to a pizza as a "pie".  Even the term _pizza pie_ seems a bit odd to
me.  For me, it's simply _pizza_.

Frank Abate

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