Wednesday, 5 October 2011

I'm sorry, I didn't quite get your name.....??

Image: Sharron Goodyear / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Here in Italy people tend to make petnames out of people's (children's) names. One of the reasons for this might be that children "inherit" their names from the grandparents... Which means that some of the names are rather "serious" names for a little child. So maybe that's why they put a little twist on everybody's names??

The funny thing is that since this petname stays with a person for the rest of their lives you may encounter old men who is called Bobbo (which for some reason makes me think of a gorilla. Don't know why.... Hope I haven't offended anyone...)

When I first came here I found it difficult to remember all these petnames and I didn't understand how these names where made up. But now, after three years I have a vague idea of how this works. At least I hope so....

To some names you just add an -ino/ina or -etto/-etta or -ella at the end. This is to name something that is "small", for instance a child. So if a little girl is named Regina she can be called both Reginetta or Reginella. If you're named Paola people will call you Paolina. Lorenzo becomes Lorenzino and Fabio can be called Fabino or Fabietto.

You can also make a petname out of the last syllable of the name by repeating it twice which means that Gabriele becomes Lele and Libero becomes Bobbo (even though I don't understand how Libero and Bobbo are related...)

It's also possible to use the last syllable and then add the suffix -ino. And this is how Luigi becomes Gino...

Other possibilities is to omit the first part of the name without repeating or adding anything to what's left. And in this way Vincenzo becomes Enzo and Lorenzo becomes Renzo....

In Sicily they will call you Totò if you're named Salvatore, but in Napoli you have to be named Antonio to earn the right to be called Totò... Because Italians from the different regions can't be expected to agree on such an important topic...

And to confuse you even more I can add that where I live they have the habit of just using the first syllable (or the first two) in the name when they talk to you. So Paolo is called Pa, Rosaria becomes Ro or Rosà, Fabio is called Fa and Marco Ma. However, a confusing thing is when my husband is talking on the phone and calling someone Ma, I might think that he's talking to Marco, when the person he's talking to really is his mum. Because Mamma is of course called just Ma....

And so, if some time in the future you meet an Italian named Ciccio you should probably be able to guess what his real name is.....  Or not.....

22 comments:

blackenpot said...

Veldig morsomt og ikke minst lærerikt.

Ha en fin kveld, her øser det ned.

A Foreigner in Italy said...

Vet du, jeg skulle faktisk ønske at det øste ned her. Vi har riktignok ikke mer enn 23 grader nå i kveld, men det er en skikkelig klam varme. Kunne tenkt meg en ordentlig høstkveld hvor det både blåste og regnet.

Kos deg i regnet!

Anonymous said...

Cara Linda,
hai perfettamente ragione,il mio nome per
esempio diventa Lilià;Ho letto da qualche parte
che questa usanza era nata per necessità,nel
senso che capitava che nello stesso paese quasi
tutti avevano lo stesso cognome e quindi per
distinguerli usavano il soprannome, che veniva
dato anche tenendo conto delle caratteristiche
fisiche,per esempio MARIA "la rossa",Angelo "lo
zoppo" ecc. Baci:
LILIANA

A Foreigner in Italy said...

Ancora qua si usa i soprannomi come "la rossa", "il bello", ma penso che adesso sia più per scherzo che per necessità.

Baci!

Annikens Verden said...

Herlig innlegg! Ja, kalle navn kan virkelig være frustrerende!

A Foreigner in Italy said...

Ikke alltid like enkelt med disse navnene, nei. Nå har jeg jo hatt tid på meg til å lære dem, men det var ganske forvirrende sånn med en gang.

Rosetta said...

Carissima,a volte i diminuitivi sono segni d'affetto!Io però mi chiamo proprio Rosetta,non Rosa,mi è stato messo il nome di mia nonna che si chiamava Rosina,le altre mie cugina hanno sempre il nome dove centra la rosa,una si chiama Rosamaria,l'altra Rosalba.Comunque ora si usa meno mettere i nomi dei nonni,ognuno sceglie il nome che vuole per suo figlio.Un bacio e buona serata,Rosetta

A Foreigner in Italy said...

Sembra che ci sono tantissime donne con un nome dove centra la rosa. Anche nella famiglia di mio marito ci sono tante Rosaria e Rosalba ed ho anche delle amiche che si chiamano Rosaria.

Buona serata anche a te. Baci!

demie said...

i was surprise to found out that this happens not only in Greece and Italy but in other coountries as well! like Poland for ex. my friend Dorota is also called Dorotitka. i have though adorted tis habit to norwegian names too : Roger/ Rogeraki, Hanne/Hanoula .... it took a while for my friends to get use to it! by the way my name is actually Dimitra. you figure ; )

A Foreigner in Italy said...

I love the name Hanoula! Sounds Greek too me... My Greek friends always call me Lindaki. Sounds nice, I think. But why aren't you called Dimitroulla?? Come to think of it, Dimitroulla is the name of one of the big boats sailing between the different islands in the Aegean.... ;-)

Norwegian Señorita said...

Haha, ikke forvirrende i det heeele tatt! ;)

P.S. Jeg har fått et sted å bo! Jeg kom frem til det samme som deg :)

A Foreigner in Italy said...

Helt riktig, ikke forvirrende ;-) Men de har vel samme skikken i Spania, vel. Har de ikke?

Sikkert lurt å satse på Fantastiske Fernando!

Norwegian Señorita said...

Jeg har det til gode å finne ut om det er slik i Spania også, men jeg har en mistanke om det. Skal komme tilbake til det :)

Haha, Fantastiske Fernando! Vi får se hvor fantastisk han er, men det er godt å ha et hjem!

demie said...

well, some people call me Demoula! or Demaki ( that i like best!)
my mom got through a france fase when she started calling me Demie. now i am this name....

demie said...

Lindaki er forresten helt nydelig!

A Foreigner in Italy said...

Demoula og Demaki var jo fine navn da!

Og jeg syns det er koselig å bli kalt Lindaki.

Vesle Serena said...

Jaaaa enig! Serenella, men også SI! SE! Seré! o soltanto SERE. So morsomt å lese om det. Kan ikke vi slå oss sammen og lage en ITALIA vs NORGE innlegg - med tekst og illustrasjoner? Hadde vært gøy :) Ha en fin fin dag!

A Foreigner in Italy said...

Litt av en gjeng vi tre "utlendinger" blir. Demoula, Sere og Lì.... ;-)

Jorunns hobbyblogg said...

Morsomt
- kan godt forstå at det er forvirrende...
men Bergenserne har en ganske kjedelig variant av dette - de putter en etter navn, som gerden, Liven, Rogeren osv ..... ikke så sjarmerende det da ...

HA en fin dag -regn eller ikke
Jorunn

A Foreigner in Italy said...

Jorunn: Du vet jeg er Bergenser, ikke sant?? ;-))

Jeg syns jo det er litt sjarmerende det der, da... Hihi!!

Lara Kasabian said...

ahahhaha hai proprio ragione... anche io non capivo cosa centrasse BOBO con molti nomi cui è collegato.. and it makes me think to a big gorilla too :)
your blog is very fanny for me! thanks for sharing xxx

Lara

A Foreigner in Italy said...

Lara: Sono contenta che il mio blog ti piace :-) E meno male che pensi che ho ragione. Che vuol dire che qualcosa ho capito della vita italiana ;-)

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