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NONNA USED TO SAY

Nicola Di Fiore began his career in journalism focusing on the under-privileged children in his hometown of Villaricca, next to Naples. He studied Political Science at the University of Naples "Federico II", and now teaches Italian at The Montfort Academy. These are proverbs his Neapolitan Grandma used to say:

O’ purp se coce n’da l’acqua soje 
Literally: The octopus cooks in its own water.

Be patient! Give it time and it will work itself out.

 

Nun sputà in cielo ca n’faccia te torna 

Literally: Don’t spit up into the air because it will fall back on your face. 

Think before badmouthing somebody or before saying something negative.

 

A troppa cunfidenza è ‘a mamma da malacrianza

Literally: Too much familiarity is the mother of rudeness.

 

Se rispetta o’ cane p'amore du patrune

Literally: You need to respect the dog if you love its owner.

If you love a person and he/she is close to somebody you despise, you still have to be nice to that somebody.

 

Ciuccio e ciuccio se grattan’ or L'aucielli s'apparano 'n cielo e 'e chiavechi 'n terra.

Literally: Donkey and donkey scratch each other or Birds pair up in the sky as idiots do on earth. 

People alike stick together.

 

Meglio na vot’ a fà russ’ ca cint’ a fà giall’

Literally: It’s better to turn red once than yellow a hundred times.

It’s better to lose your temper once than let the problem fester inside and get sick from it.