Saturday, April 14, 2012

Language Barriers

East Boston, Mark Morelli © 2009
Language Barri-ahs
by Norah Dooley
(Thanks to Mark Morelli for his photo)

When I first met my husband who hails from Eastie ( Boston) he was
telling me about one of his best friends.  We were about to meet Ralphie for the first time and he said I should understand that his friend had a "whopped sense of humah"  - Since his friend was, like myself, of Italian distraction, I took my then BF  to task for using an ethnic slur to describe the man's wit. "Anyway," I said, "What is a Wop sense of humor ? And why is it past tense?

Ahem. My bad.  He meant 'warped' - as in twisted, perverted, weird.

Skip ahead some 25 years... My husband returns to pick us up from a parking garage in East Boston and apologizes to our daughters for his delay .

"It was like a wazone in there!" he explains.

Our teenage progeny ponder and confer amongst themselves. They are stumped. I am convulsed with laughter.  They ask..."Is that some East Boston slang, dad?  Like scheeeevy* or gravone*? Was it cheesy? Like a calzone? All closed or locked up? What?"

No, says he.
It was like Baghdad, Afghanistan. You know - it was a 'war zone' in the garage.

Sometimes, even a regional dictionary cannot help.

Now that we have stretched our minds, maybe we should go stretch out
and do some powah-yogher, right?

scheeeevy*= ( It.) schifoso = lousy, crappy, disgusting
gravone*= (It.) cafone = poor peasant or ill mannered

 In case you need a translation of Bawstin-ese I love this site.

No comments: