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This Every Day Life Guide will help you understand terms, traditions, proverbs and curiosities while in Rome:
» Popular Traditions
» Regional Food and Traditional Dishes
» Roman "Proverbi", Expressions and Behaviour
» Roman Secrets and Curiosities
» Individual & Private Tours

Roman "Proverbi", Expressions and Behaviour

Romans have a very characteristic way of expressing in words and behaviour and the accent and way of pronouncing certain words and combination of letters is so rooted that we can say that there is not much difference between different social levels. Of course, the street talking is significantly expressive and folkloristic, and… creative (youngsters continuously introduce new words and meaning to words into the general vocabulary).

Let’s see a few of the Roman expressions and ways of speaking:

  • the “r” instead of the “l” before a consonant – ex.”dorce” (sweet) instead of “dolce”
  • the “z” instead of the “s” – ex. “perzona” (person) instead of “persona”
  • the double “r” which becomes sweeter, thgen pronounced as a simple “r” – ex. “bira” (beer) instead of “birra”
  • two consonants together, the “nd” or “ld”, for example, become a double “n” and a double “l”, respectively –
  • the “uo” becomes a classic “o” – ex. “bòno” (good) instead of “buono”…
  • … and when “bòno” follows a vocal, it becomes “bbòno”
  • The “gli”, a sound which doesn’t exist in English, is anyway modified into a “ji”, not pronounced as the English “j” but as a sort of double “I”, for example – “mejio” (better) instead of “meglio”
Another characteristic element in the Roman way of speaking is the bad words, which are used to emphasize, to enrich the expression of a concept or a phrase; their theoretically bad meaning is not bad in the “romanesco” everyday-life communication. Among the most common expressions and words are: “fijo ‘na mignotta” (son of a b….), “te possin’ ammazza’” (lit. “could they kill you”), and “ca..o” (di..) is commonly used to reinforce a phrase, similar to the English “hell”, even if the latter has a more limited use…

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