Thursday, September 14, 2006

N'Italian-American Slang

A few weeks ago I posted my N'Italian Lessons 101. I got tons of hits to this blog from that post, and came up on hundreds of Google searches. Today I'm going to follow up with some English slang that is commonly used by Italian-Americans in the New York/New Jersey area. These are typically used with some of the N'Italian 101 fact, some of the words are used by New Yorkers in least the ones that I grew up with. I think I'll call this N'Italian-American slang.

whaddya talkin? Pronounced waddya talkin' or wuddya talkin'. It simply means "what are you talking about?" or "what do you mean?"

shyster. Pronounced 'shy-stuh. Someone who is a cheat or crook, someone not to be trusted. Often used as a synonym for a lawyer. See below for sample usage.

how ya doin? or hey, how ya doin?. This is a common greeting that means "how are you?", "nice to meet you?" or "how's it going?" A dead giveaway that you're a born and raised New Yawka. Sample usage:

Tony: "Joey, this is Vinny."
Joey: "Hey, how ya doin?"
Vinny: "How ya doin?"

beautiful. This has the same meaning as the regular English word, but is pronounced bee-'you-tee-full. You really have to hear it to appreciate it.

some shit. This means "hard to believe" or "can you believe that?" A variation is some shit, huh? Sample usage:

Frankie: "So, they want $2.50 for a lousy cuppa coffee. Some shit, huh?"
Vinny: "Yeah, some shit."

fuhgeddaboutit. This is pronounced fuh-'ged-da-bow-tit. It is a very versatile expression that can mean "forget about it" literally, or "no big deal," or sometimes "no friggin' way." Sometimes emphasis is on the fourth syllable, fuh-ged-da-'bow-tit, especially when context is "no friggin' way." Sample usage:

Paulie: "Tony, I'm a little short today. I owe you a C-note."
Tony: "Fuhgeddaboutit. Pay me when you got it."

Paulie: "Can you believe that bitch? Her friggin' shyster is askin' me for another $500 a month in alimony. You think I'm gonna' pay that? Fuh-ged-da-'bow-tit."

fuggin' a. Pronounced the way it looks. Variations include fukkin' a and friggin' a. This can have different meanings depending on the context, including "way to go," "good for you" or "I agree with you." Another very versatile expression. Sample usage:

Frankie: "You believe those Mets? Took both games last night. Keep it up they could make it to the series."
Joey: "Fukkin' a."

waddya gonna' do? or wuddya gonna' do? Pronounced the way it looks. This expression can mean "oh, well", "shit happens", "nothing you can do about it," depending on the context in which it is used. Sample usage:

Tony: "Thirty friggin' grand for my kid's tuition. In advance! Some shit, huh?"
Vinnie: "Waddya gonna' do? Schools ain't cheap no more."

are you shittin' me? Pronounced the way it looks. This means "are you kidding me?" or "you're kidding me." There are many variations. Sample usage:

Tony: "Did you hear about Vinny? Wife caught him with his goomah yesterday."
Joey: "You shittin me?" or "You're shittin me, right?" or "You gotta be shittin me."

badaboom badabing. Pronounced like it looks. See my very first post for the the history behind this phrase. Commonly used to mean "piece a' cake," "done deal," "no problem," "just like that," or "instantly." A variation is the shortform, simply badabing.

So, there ya go. All you need to talk N'Italian with a New Yawka.

Badaboom Badabing...


kenju said...

Since the Sopranos graced HBO, we have become familiar with most of those. Fun to hear and fun to read about.

Duke_of_Earle said...

These sound like some of the dialogue from the original Rocky movie. "Yo, Adrian!"


Anonymous said...

Ha, ha! I always thought it was 'Badabing Badaboom'. I learn something new everyday. Have you ever seen the traffic sign on the Belt Parkway on the Queens/Brooklyn borderline? I noticed it going to Gateway Mall. It proclaims 'Welcome to Brooklyn! Fuhgeddaboutit!'That sign is a New York gem!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Badabing! Didn't you receive my comments last week? Chris

Duke_of_Earle said...

Hey, BB, long time no post. I keepc oming back by here but no one's home. You Okay?


Anonymous said...

Its weird becuase naturally, i say all that in my normal talk and i dont even live New York.

Greg said...

Fun to read these. Thanks. Been dating a full blooded Italian gal from Estaven, CT (East Haven for you non-residents) for some time. (I'm half Italian). Always an experience when I'm at a gathering of the familia. I have flashbacks of visits to my Uncle Tony Palumbo's house when I was a kid.