"Italglish" (like Spanglish)

Beverly Flanigan flanigan at OAK.CATS.OHIOU.EDU
Thu Mar 8 18:40:47 UTC 2001

Robert Di Pietro, of the U of Delaware, did extensive work on American
Italian (with subdivisions between Standard Am Ital, Koine Am Ital,
Sicilian Am Ital, etc.) as well as Italianized English; the two phenomena
overlap, as they do in all immigrant groups (see E. Haugen on American
Norwegian, and of course the vast literature on Spanish-influenced English
and English-influenced Spanish).

At 11:28 AM 3/8/01 -0500, you wrote:
>         Some years I ago, I read several pieces in the popular press
>(including NYTimes), about Spanglish, a conflation of Spanish and English
>words used by Hispanic immigrants. This brought to mind similar locutions
>used by my Italian-American immigrant family in the 1940s and 50s, which I
>dub Italglish. For example, the Italian word for "to drive" (a car) is
>"guidare." Yet my relatives always said, when speaking Italian, that they
>were going out to "drivare" a car, attaching the Italian infinitive ending
>"-are" to "drive". This even though, when pressed, they knew the real word,
>"guidare." Somehow, they felt more comfortable with Italglish. I could come
>up with dozens of examples - "cake-a" (instead of "torta") for "cake",
>"carro" for "car",  "grosseria" for "grocery". "farma" for "farm",
>"ride-are"- "to ride." The words were used in otherwise grammatical Italian
>sentences. I took me years to realize these were not real Italian words, and
>today they seem quite absurd (though endearing) to me.
>         My question is, is anyone familiar with any research or articles
>done on this phenomenon, specifically with respect to Italian immigrants?
>                                 Steve

Beverly Olson Flanigan         Department of Linguistics
Ohio University                     Athens, OH  45701
Ph.: (740) 593-4568              Fax: (740) 593-2967

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