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Siri Kirpal
05-21-2014, 10:08 PM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

Okay, so I've got a character who is probably in her late teens/early twenties, circa 1913, in Western Oregon. Parents are Italian immigrants; girl maybe have immigrated as a child or been born in the USA. Last name is Vitale. I think that's more or less Northern Italian.

I'm not too keen on using "padre" for father as readers from California will associate the word with the guys who came over with the Conquistadors and founded the missions. What other word for father might she use? Ditto for mother?

For pious exclamations, I've got "Dio mio!" Would that be appropriate? What about "Sancta Maria!"

What pet name might she use for the guy who's courting her?

Grazie.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

Moriar
05-21-2014, 10:28 PM
Italian girl, here :)
First thing, the last name "Vitale" is actually most common in the South of Italy, not the North. So either you could find another one, or change their provenance from north to south.

For the words: father would be "padre" but it is quite formal. You could use "papÓ", which is the equivalent of "dad". Note that it has the accented a which you may not have on your keyboard. (The word "papa" without the accent means "Pope" -not to be confused! :) )
For mother (which would be "madre") you can use "mamma" (Mom).

If they are religious, they wouldn't actually use religious exclamations, I think? If you still want to use them, "Dio mio" is used usually to show shock (ever seen those old ladies, hands in the air, rolling their eyes heavenward?). "Santa Maria" -not really used (maybe more in the past).. depends what you want those exclamations to show.

For the guy courting her - caro (dear), caro mio (my dear -used also as "You'd better bring me a prettier present next time, caro mio"), amore mio (my love).

I hope it helps, I'm happy to answer more questions :)

Siri Kirpal
05-22-2014, 01:53 AM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

Moriar, Grazie!

Glad I asked!

For the exclamation, I want the girl to be thinking the Italian equivalent of "OMG, what a handsome guy!" What would she use instead of "Dio mio"? [Note: My own take on religious exclamations is the exact reverse of what it seems to be throughout Judeo-Christianity, so I'll have to be extra cautious with it.]

Caro/Cara, I knew about because my Italian teacher in college used them, but I wasn't sure if they were appropriate between lovers (not yet physical). I thought I might have her say "Caro" [guy's name]. "Amore mio" is good.

I'll make the famiglia Southern Italian if that comes up in the book. (It might not.)

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

Gringa
05-22-2014, 05:22 AM
"Che bello regazzo" is what I hear in Italy re: OMG, what a handsome guy!

Siri Kirpal
05-22-2014, 06:45 AM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

Grazie, Gringa!

Does anyone have any other nicknames for parents, the equivalent of Daddy and Mommy? or Ma and Pa?

(And thank you, Moriar, for alerting me to the difference between the Pope and the parent. :))

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

Moriar
05-22-2014, 02:10 PM
My pleasure :)
On the South/North: most Italians who emigrated where from the South anyway, so if it should come up, I would find it even more believable.

"Che bello ragazzo" is "technically" correct but we don't say it. Instead we say "Che bel ragazzo".
For the "OMG, what a handsome guy!" it depends. Considering you are talking about almost a century ago, she would probably say something like "Oh cielo, che bel ragazzo!" (Without saying it to his face I should think :) ). Or "Oh Dio, che bel ragazzo!" (or the even more colloquial "Oddio, che bel ragazzo"). If she says it aloud, her parents might tell her to not name God's name in vain, depending on the family.

For the nickname, "caro" is more a term of endearment, but it's not common to say "Caro George" as in "Dear George". When you say caro, you often don't need the name, basically, unless she is talking about him to someone else (as in "my dear George brought me the loveliest flowers yesterday").
For parents: " Ma' " and " pa' " are common abbreviations for Mom and Dad (yes, the same as in English!), although in 1913 the family might be a bit more formal. I can suggest that you just use the English version (so capitalized and without apostrophe: Ma & Pa), but that's entirely up to you, of course.
And, it comes to me now, they could use "babbo" which is sort of "daddy" (Santa Claus in Italian is "Babbo Natale" -figure that!), and is between father and dad, and would be more used then that in today's Italy, but still well known. A diminutive would be "babbino" (ever heard of the aria "Oh mio babbino caro"?)-there is "mammina" too (Mommy).

Hope it helps!

melindamusil
05-22-2014, 08:29 PM
My pleasure :)
On the South/North: most Italians who emigrated where from the South anyway, so if it should come up, I would find it even more believable.


+1
Not too long ago I read a book about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City. The employees were mostly immigrants, mostly from Russia and Italy. The Italian immigrants were mostly from South Italy and immigrated because drought conditions made farming difficult, plus (IIRC) most of the land was owned by wealthy Italians who lived in the north and leased it similar to tenant/sharecropping.

Siri Kirpal
05-22-2014, 09:55 PM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

So helpful! Mille grazie!

She's thinking this to herself after just meeting the guy, so sounds like she has a bit more leeway in what she thinks. Thanks for all the variants!

Thanks also for the parental variants. Yes, I love that aria and wondered if that was the appropriate version of Daddy.

Thanks also Melinda for the historical footnote. It does help with perspective.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal