When I was a little girl, my papa` used to call me “baloss” [with the accent on the “o”]. I loved that nickname! It always made me happy when he called me so.

“Baloss” is not an Italian word, but a dialectal term. “Baloss” may be translated in English as “astute”, or “clever”, but these translations do not really give the right idea or strength of the vocable. Maybe “trickster” and “mischievous” combined could render a better idea.
I do not know how to speak my parents’ dialect because they did not allow me to practice it when I was growing up; they spoke dialect among themselves, but they always addressed me and my brother in Italian: they did not want us to be confused in school or to have problems while studying our language and grammar. I do understand my parents’ dialect, I just sound really funny if I try to speak it, just like when I began speaking English years ago.

Dialects in Italy are like a whole different language and Italy has so many dialects, mainly due to the different groups of people that dominated different areas of the country in its long history. For example: the North of Italy [where I was born] was dominated for years by French, and Austrian-Hungarians [yellow area in the map]. The dialects of North of Italy have many many words derived from the languages of these countries.
Sicily in the South, on the other hand, was dominated by Spanish, Arabians and more: Sicilian dialect is undecipherable to me, just like Arabic. Thank goodness for the proper Italian language!
It’s fascinating to analyze dialect words. Here is an example: the word “pomodori” [=tomatoes, in English] is called “tomates” in dialect; and in French? “tomates”!
The word “mela” [=apple in English], is called “pomme” in dialect and in French…

Oh, and the photo at the beginning of the post shows the sign of a store in Bellagio, Italy. Nothing to do with me, personally, but I HAD to photograph it.


Today I am grateful for the fun I find in playing with words.

4 thoughts on “Baloss

  1. I like the origins of words as well. I am too lazy to chase down the origins myself as you know. but I like you to tell me about them.Valerie.

  2. Pingback: Share Your World 36 « milepebbles

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