A Place To Find Your Family History

Old Greci Proverbs and Sayings - Part 1

April Verse: Mary Recs Inzeo was born in Greci in 1921 and came to America through Ellis Island in 1936. She lives in Waukesha, Wisconsin now and tells us this verse was often quoted in Greci when she was growing up. It's kind of like like when we say ...

"April showers bring May flowers"..

Aprile, dolce a domire I ucelli candono e lalbera fiorita.

April, so sweet for sleeping Birds sing and everything blooms

Thanks to her niece Mary Inezeo Six

*****************************************************************The following proverbs and sayings were collected and published in a journal written by the students in the Greci elementary school in the school year 1986 -1987 The Journal was entitled "Katundi die e sot" - (Arberesh)

"Greci ieri e oggi" - (Italian)

Greci Yesterday and Today"...

Dr. Bartolomeo Zoccano of Greci sent us a copy. (I hope any Italian speaking cugini who see this will send e-mail to fix up and finish my translations!) - Dick Vara


Parla poco e ascolta molto.

Speak little and listen much.

Anche la pulce fa la tosse.

Even the flea gets a cough.

Ha perso il sangue e la roba.

Has lost his clothes and his blood (Has fallen from grace)

Chi vuole il fuoco deve andare a trovarelo.

He who wants the fire must go and find it.

Lei come 1'uccello sulle spine.

You're like a bird on the thorns.

Chi piange si asciuga le lacrime.

He who weeps dries the tears.

La tua parole nell'orecchio di Dio.

Your words in the ear of God.

Quando ti arriva la piena addosso allora te ne accorgi.

When the fullness is upon you then you notice it" (You are only aware of it when it overwhelms you)

La lingua pur non avendo 1'osso rompe le ossa.

The tongue has no bones but it breaks bones.

Quando 1'uccello va avanti e indietro ho il riudo.

When the bird goes to and fro (forwards and backwards) I'll have the answer (solution). ['riudo' is from the verb 'riudire' to re-hear or to hear again, which itself is from the verb 'udire' (to hear) which in turn is from the Latin verb 'Audire', to hear. It also means 'to understand by way of received information']

Il sangue non diventa acqua

Blood does not turn into water.

Vende la verdura dove casca 1'asino.

Sell the vegetables where the donkey falls.

Sono note perfino le fave nel maggese!

Even the broad beans in the fallow field have been counted!

Vuoi tuo padre e trovi tua madre.

You want your father and find your mother.

Dividiamo le nocciole con il cece.

We separate the hazelnuts from the chickpeas.(Because hazelnuts and chickpeas look very similar in both size and colour.)

Anche il fiume si prosciuga.

Even the stream dries itself.

Dove arrivi poni il cavicchio.

Wherever you get to, drive in the hole digger.
('Cavicchio' can mean a conical piece of wood or metal with which to plant by making holes in the ground, with the pointed end.

Chi si punge esce fuori.

Whoever hurts themselves is out.
('Pungersi' means to lightly hurt oneself with a pointed object, similar to being pricked by a thorn when picking roses. Presumably this expression would be used when a gathering of women would stitch or sew together and therefore if one of them caught themselves on a needle that person would have to leave so as not to risk staining the large article with blood. I have seen groups of women sewing, embroidering or making lace edging to sheets etc for a bride's 'bottom drawer')

Chi non e' nato in casa non deve entrare.

He who was not born at home does not need to go in.

Pancia piena gamba ballerina.

Full stomach dancing leg (You're happy when you've eaten)

Cambi gli occhi con la coda.

Stop looking through the corner of your eyes..? or Change the way that you look sideways.. ? or Stop looking at things like that..

II maiale dopo aver mangiato rovescia il fragolo.

The pig overturns the plate after he has eaten. (Overturning your plate after eating is severe sign of ungratefulness)

Scheggia dopo schegia cade 1'albero.

Chip after chip fells the tree.

Chi ha pane non ha denti.

He who has bread has no teeth.

Quando troppo galli cantano non sorge il sole.

When too many roosters crow the sun does not rise.

Non toccare il serpente alia coda perche' ti morde il dito.

Don't touch the snake's tail because he will bite your finger.

Devi fare il baccone quanta hai la bocca. ?

You must take a mouthful when you have a mouth.

Dagli tre soldi.

Give them three pennies.

Lega il mulo dove vuole il padrone.

Tie the mule where your boss wants.

Quando il gatto lava 1'orecchio viene la pioggia.

When the cat washes it ears it's going to rain.

I cucchiaio sa che cosa c'e' nella pignatta.

The spoon knows what's in the pot.

Chi ha il cucchiaio non brucia la mano.

He who has a spoon does not burn his hand.

Some of the translations were provided by Aldo D'Ambrosio aldo_gbm@hotmail.com