Continuing on with our last article, on Italianisms in the Lunfardo dialect, which originated in working class districts in Buenos Aires in the late 19th century, below are several more interesting Lunfardo words.
Mistongo (from mishio, an Italianism derived from the Genovese miscio) -The original Genovese word meant “without money” and has generalized to include “humble”, “insignificant” and “poor”.
Vento (from vento, an Italianism from the Genovese vento) – The Genovese original meant “money” and still means the same thing in Lunfardo, as well as in the rest of Argentina, and Uruguay. In Río de la Plata, it has specialized into meaning specifically “proceeds of a scam”. It was one of the first Lunfardo words documented and can still be heard today in Buenos Aires.
Funyi (from the Genovese funzo (plural funzi)), derived from the Italian slang fungo (“mushroom” or ”hat” – interestingly, the top part of mushrooms was known as a “hat” in Italian slang). It means “hat”, and has been reported to mean “backside”or “butt” in Uruguay.
Amarrocao (from the Italian marroco, derived from the Turinese maroc, “bread”). It seems that Caló – a language spoken by the Roma – had some influence on the change from -r¬- to -rr¬-, and marroque appears as a phonetic variant. It was marroco that evolved into the derivative verb amarrocar (“to get by” or “to manage”) and this meaning expanded due to its phonetic similarity to amarrar, finally meaning “to pick up something and put it away”. Amarrocao, (picked up and put away”) – the participle form – still exists today.
While most Italianism in Lunfardo are simply “evolved” forms of words borrowed from Italian and its variants, the dialect has an interesting feature known as “vesre”, which is a reversal of the syllable order of a word. The Lunfardo word nami – “girl”, or “woman” – is an example of this phenomenon applied to the Italianism mina, derived from the Italian femmina (“woman”).
Visit other posts to learn more Lunfardo words of Italian origin: