apizza; pie

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Sun Jul 14 06:51:00 UTC 2002

>It is my belief that "apizza" derives from Southern Italian dialects that
>render the Italian feminine definite article "la" ("the") as "a." Thus
>standard Italian "la pizza" is "a pizza" in these dialects. I have heard
>numerous Italian-American older people say it and similar words with the "a"

I've seen this idea somewhere else too. But this doesn't answer the
question to my satisfaction. Assuming a dialect where the feminine definite
article is written "a", I would expect "a pizza" to appear in that dialect
in place of standard Italian "la pizza" ... but in place of standard
"pizza" I would expect dialectal "pizza". Or to put it differently, if e.g.
"Abate Apizza Restaurant" is an equivalent of "Abate La Pizza Restaurant"
then to correspond to the many "[Name] Apizza" places I would expect to see
many examples of "[Name] La Pizza" or "[Name] Lapizza" ... and I don't see
these AFAIK.

Because of my deplorable broad ignorance of Italian and its dialects, I
can't judge whether a reanalysis such as "La pizza" > "L'ap[p]izza" or "Una
pizza" > "Un'ap[p]izza" would be plausible ... perhaps leading to "pizza" >

For that matter, in dialects with "la" replaced with "a" are there things
like "a amica" (= "l'amica" = "the friend"), or does the definite article
just disappear in such a context, or is the "L" preserved sometimes?

-- Doug Wilson

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