Some idiomatic sentences, quotations (2nd part)

of piedmontese tongue
a bit in a mess

indice casa indietro


It is also said...
What we report here are not idiomatic sentences since their use is not general, but limited to specific environments, or geographic areas, or... anyway are not used by all. Often they have an ironic sense. We also report some of the comparison of the type already seen, but with an opposite meaning with respect the quality indicated by the adjective. Here there are only few examples among a very large number.

  • esse an sël tch literally: to be on the piece. to be on duty, to be at work. It ses-to gi 'n sël tch? = are you already on the piece? i.e.: are you already working?. It comes from the workshop language.
  • ël color dj'aso cit literally: the color of the little donkeys. Used to refer to an unidentified and not fine color, always in an ironical sense. A l'ava un caplin color dj'aso cit, che a fasa un pch sgiaj = She had a hat little donkeys colored, that was a bit terrible.
  • bianch coma la coa d'un merlo literally: white as the tail of a blackbird. Indicates a black thing, or at least certainly not white.
  • vate a cat 'n casul literally: go and buy a ladle . It is a way quite "kind" to tell someone to give up annoying.
  • a l' l'ltima roa dël cher literally: it is the last wheel of the cart, i.e. it is the last thing you have to bother about, there is something else more important.
  • grassios com na ronza literally: nice (kind) as a bramble, meaning very rude.
  • segrt coma 'l tron literally: secret like the thunder, meaning everybody knows it Ironic comparison.
  • ël rije dl'artajor cand che j'anciove a-j van a mal literally: the laugh of the delicatessen seller when his anchovies are giong rotten, meaning quite a bitter laugh, when it is necessary to dissimulate a dreadful situation..
  • a l' mj carilo che ampinlo literally: it is better to load him than fill him, the meaning is he is a person that eats a lot, more than what he can carry. .
  • mostr ai gat a rampi literally: to teach the cats to climb, that means to give advice to someone much more skilled on the subject..
  • esse nen bon a trov d'aqua an P literally: not being able to find water in the (river) Po, i.e. not being able to do something very easy.
  • f 'l lun-es literally: to do the monday, that means to be "out of order" for an heavy dinking. Once, manual workers were payed on saturday (the saturday was a complete working day, up to the evening). On sunday they had money to drink something in a "pila" (usually wine) and someone of them, on monday morning, was not able to go at work. A serious man was the one who could seriously say:: I l'hai giumai fit ël lun-es = I've never done the monday.
  • da vende e da pende literally: to sell and to hang, with the meaning abundantly, how much you want, and something will remain as a spare.
  • a-i son le ples ch'a l'han la toss literally: there are the flees that have the cough , it is used to comment when a great importance is given to little things..
  • avj la blëssa 'd l'aso literally: to have the beauty of the donkey, the meaning is when a person is young, more or less is always beautyful. Included the ones who will be hopeless ugly.
  • jë smens ëd curios literally: the seeds of curious, with the meaning something that doesen't matter to you.
  • and coma na barca ant un bsch literally: to go as a boat in a wood, with the meaning something that doesen't work so much.
  • ch'as arleva ch'as arlava literally: either it is going to rise again or it is going to wash again, with the meaning either the wether is going to become sunny or is going to rain. A certainy correct forecast (arlevsse is referred to the clouds that go up and away).
  • pist l'aqua ant l mort literally: to crush the water in the mortar, with the meaning to speak to the winds, to do something useless.
  • pitst che la rba a vansa, ch'a chrpa la pansa literally: rather than thing remains that crash the belly with the meaning nothing has to be wasted, no matter the price.
  • avans mach ij p fra dal lt literally: to have left only the feet out of the bed with the meaning to save nothing, to expend all.
  • roa dëscussa literally: barefoot wheel with the meaning unprovided person.
  • ant la guardarba dij can literally: in the wardrobe of the dogs with the meaning left on the ground.
  • s-cianca frit literally: omelette tear(er) with the meaning rascal.
  • ai temp dl mila doi e ms literally: In the times of thousand two and half with the meaning a lot of time ago, too much time ago.
  • cand ij giari a l'avo ij sco literally: when mice wore the sabots with the meaning a lot of time ago, in the tales of the past.
  • a Turin a l'han rangi fin-a cola dl bur literally: in Turin they have solved also the one of butter with the meaning all can be solved. It follows from a true clamorous event of lack of butter in Turin.
  • nen savj quanti p a intro ant n' stival. literally: not even know how many feet enter into a boot with the meaning to be dreadfully unacquainted, to be stupid.
  • l'armanach a marca patele. literally: the calendar indicates blows with the meaning patience is going to finish.
  • avj j'euj fodr 'd sautissa. literally: to have the eyes lined with sausage with the meaning not to notice the evidence, easy to cheat.
  • but 'n papin s'na gamba 'd bsch. literally: to put a compress on a leg of wood with the meaning to do something useless, not pertinent.
  • rest an sl pav. literally: to remain on the pavement with the meaning to lose the work, to remain pennyless.
  • but 'l cher anans ai beu. literally: to put the cart before the oxen with the meaning to put the cart before the horse, not to follow the correct order.
  • pende la saraca. literally: to hang the anchovy with the meaning to save up as hard as possible.
  • d 'd patele ant la saraca. literally: to beat the anchovy with the meaning to save up as hard as possible. Similar to the previous one
  • guast la por. literally: to ruin the soup of leeks with the meaning to make a project fail.
  • pl na pules për vend-ne la pl. literally: to skin a flea for selling its skin with the meaning to try having an advantage from every little possibility.
  • d la pignata an goerna al gat. literally: to leave the pot guarded by the cat with the meaning to rely on unreliable person or situation.
  • f set pass an 's na pianela. literally: to do seven steps on a tile with the meaning to act extremely slowly.
  • butsse j'ss a baron. literally: to put his own bones to heap with the meaning to overwork hard .
  • cont dla rava e dla fava. literally: to tell about the turnip and the broad bean with the meaning to chatter, to speak a lot without consistence .
  • fsse brus j'euj con le siole dj'otri. literally: to make one's eyes burn with onions of someone else with the meaning to have troubles for problems of somebody else, to take undue troubles .
  • avj trov la smens dij gratacuj. literally: to have discovered the seeds of the dogrose with the meaning to have discovered what was already known by everybody.
  • avj bat (la testa) (da cit) an s'na pera bleuva. literally: to have beaten the head (while baby) on a blue rock with the meaning to be stupid.
  • capon che a veul cant da gal. literally: capon that wants to sing as a cock with the meaning presumptuous.

Also in Piedmont, as in whatever part of the globe, there are many quotations. Not all of them are exclusively piedmontese as a concept, since often they are referred to experiences common to all the people around the world. Anyway, sometimes, they are expressed in an original way, from the particular experience of each population. Here we report some example, not particularly chosen.

Na cativa lavandera a treuva mai na bon-a pera. literally A bad laundress does never find a good stone.. When someone doesn't want or is not able to do a job, always tries to find some pretext for not doing it.

Mass la gent e gav la fica: doi mest ch'a servo a gnente. literally Killing people and put out the snow are two useless jobs.. People will dead, sooner or later, by themselves and the snow, in spring, will melt by itself. It is better to have a bit of endurance and not do soething that could be worse than the problem.

Ògni uss a l'ha s tabuss. literally Each door has its own door-knocker. Everywhere there are problems. None can think of not having problems and none can think that other people have no problems even if this is not evident.

A l' mj n'aso viv che 'n dotor mrt. literally It is better an alive donkey than a dead doctor. You don't have to risk important things for obtaining what is not necessary or not valuable.

Për gnente gnanca ij can a bogio la coa. literally For nothing, not even the dog wags its tail. None will do something for you if you do not do something for him.

Chi bl a veul ëvn, quaics a l'ha da sufr. literally Who wants to become beautiful has to suffer something . If you want to improve yourself, you have to pay some price.

Santa Lussia cra, tuti ij mis as vëdd për tra. literally Saint Lucy clear, all the months you can see the ground.. This is a meteorological quotation, coming from the times befor the green-house effect, when in Piedmont snowed a lot in the winter. If the St. Lucy's day (16 december) is a fine day, the winter will not be too cold, with not so much snow. You will be able to see the ground each month.

Se a fica an sla feuja, l'invern a d pca neuja.. literally If it snow on the leaf, the wintwe will not be a trouble.. Another meteorological quatation. If the snow comes early (before the leaves are fallen down) the wintwer will not be so cold.

Mj frust scarpe che linseuj.. literally It is better to waste shoes than sheets.. Obviously: It is better to stand and walk then to be ill in bed.

Chi a deurm con ij can as ussa con le ples.. literally Who sleeps with dogs wakes up with flees.. It is not possible not to be influenced by people that one goes about with.

Sovens chi a l'ha da d a ciama.. literally Often who owns (things that could give), asks for (things to others). Often a rich person behaves like a poor.

Pan e nos, mang da spos. Nos e pan, mang da can.. literally Bread and nuts, eating like a bridegroom; nuts and bread, eating like a dog. It is good to eat nuts with bread, but it is necessary to eat more bread than nuts. (The contrary is not so bad, but the quotation is referred to years ago, when it woulkd have been too expensive).

Mach ij cj a son cheuit e bon ampressa.. literally Only the cabbages are cooked and good quickly. For doing things in a good way you have to take the required time.

L'aqua a v tuta an P.. literally All the water goes into P (the river). The money goes always where there is no need of it.

As ciapa p ampressa un busiard che un sp.. literally A liar is caught quicker than a cripple. The lies don't do so much way.

Chi bin as ancamin-a,.. a l'ha 'ncora tut l travaj da f.. literally Who starts well... has still all the work do to. If it is important to start well, it is not enough, since it is also required to continue well, up to the end of the job.

Tre cse dolorose ant na famija: l fornel ch'a fuma, 'l cuvercc ch'ha pieuv, la fomna ch'a crja.. literally Three things are painful in a family: the roof that (from which) rains, the stove that smokes, the wife that yells. Self explanatory.

Le madne a stan bin mach ant ij quder.. literally The madonnas are good only in the paintings. It follows from the double meaning of the word "Madna", in Piedmontese, that can mean the Holy Virgin or also the mother-in-law. The first, in paintings, is a good thing, the second ... never.

Chi a l'ha fit ij proverbi a l'ha fje giust.. literally Who did quotations did them correctly. Wisdom of quotations...!

Chi a l' lest a mang a l' lest a travaj.. literally Who is quick at eating is quick at working. Apology of efficiency (sustained, maybe, by some lack of food)

Vardeve dai bulo, dai cavaj ch'a arculo, da l'eva dij gheu, da j'arme da feu.. literally keep away from bully, from horses that backs, from water of puddles, from fire-arms. Some dangerous things, to be learned by youngs

J'aso 'd Cavour a-i gnun ch'a-j lauda, as laudo da lor... literally No one praises the donkeys of Cavour (a village), so they praise themselves. An invitation at not praising oneself

A fsse grat da j'utri, ... a grato mai andova a smangia... literally To make someone scratching you, he will never scratch where it is itchy. You cannot hope that someone else will solve your problems

A venta nen dje n'escopass a tute le mosche ch'a passo.. literally It must ont to give a blow to each fly that passes. An invitation to be a bit tolerant. Don't react badly for each trifle

Careful at similar words
We consider here some italian words (or word commonly used in italian) that are equal or similar to piedmontese words, but with a completely different meaning. (Just some examples)
In italian that is: In piedmontese the meaning is:
pera the pear (fruit) pera stone, rock
brusco sudden brusch sour (adj.)
magna eat! (in Rome) magna aunt
barba beard barba uncle (masc.) and also beard (femin.)
baby baby (of course) babi toad
sette seven set-te sit down
bona pretty (adj.) (in Rome) bna fine, penalty (to pay)
roca hoarse (at femin.) rca rock
nata born (femin.) nata cork
rapa turnip rapa bunch
mare sea mare mother
stop stop (of course) stop corked
masnada gang masn little child
biro ball-pen biro turkey

Careful at vowels "o, , u"

The word bota is read / but& / and means bottle
The word bta is read / bot& / and means blow
The word buta is read / b[ue]t& / and means put (imperative pres. 2nd pers. sing. of the verb to put).

The word col is read / cul / and means that
The wordcl is read / col / and means neck
The wordcul is read / c[ue]l / and means ass, buttok (used in Piedmontese with less malice than in Italian).

Piedmontese words that are not translatable into an unique italian word

In Piedmontese there are words that have not a corresponding italian word, and the exact meaning can be given by an italian locution or phrase. Here we report some example, with an tialian and an english word approximating the actual meaning, then explained.

Parola Approx. Ital. Approx. Engl. Exact meaning
Baudëtta scampano chiming sound of bells merrily coming from bell towers of churchs, long and rithmic, classic of great holydays
Bëscheuit ----- ----- chestnuts made to dry in the oven
Foson rendere to produce to be well used and well usable, to produce very well, to have a good ratio product to cost
Sgur pulire to clean to clean by scratching strongly
Magon rimuginare, affliggersi to revove in one's mind to distress oneself in silence
Miton ----- ----- to cook with a very low fire, very slowly
Crcia sporcizia dirtiness sticky dirtiness to be scratched away
Sbiriat cacciare to drive away to drive away by means of the brute force

Correspondences among piedmontese and English words

There is quite a number of words, in Piemontese, very similar to the corrispondent English words, but with a different root with respect to the related Italian words. Often there is a French word , in use or no more used, which acts as a bridge.
This list derives from the work on the English-to-Piedmontese vocabulary and so it is in a "nearly" alphabetic order (but not the first part) and it will grow as the said vocabulary grows. Obviously not "all" the words of this type are listed here.

English = Italian Piedmontese = Italian French word
to abridge = abbreviare, ridurre abres = riassunto abrger
artichoke = carciofo articich, arcicich = carciofo artichaut
marauder = predatore maroda = depredazione, rubacchata marauder (vrb.)
brow = ciglio, orlo broa, brova = ciglio, orlo -----
sabre = sciabola saber = sciabola sabre
sabreur = sciabolatore sabreur = sciabolatore -----
flatterer = adulatore flateur = adulatore flatteur
to flatter = adulare flat = adulare flatter
to tumble = cadere tomb = cadere tomber
cheerio = un saluto generico cerea = un saluto generico -----
address = indirizzo adressa = indirizzo adresse
to reproach = rimproverare arproc = rimproverare reprocher
alley = viale lja, alja = viale alle
armourer = armaiolo armur = armaiolo armurier
atlas = atlante atlass = atlante atlas
aubergine = melanzana obergin-a = melanzana aubergine
to await = aspettare a l'avait = in agguato -----
amenable = riconducibile armnbil = riconducibile ramener (vrb.)
to amuse = divertire amus = divertire amuser
debauchery = dissolutezza dsbucia = dissolutezza dbauche
badinage = scherzo badinagi = scherzo badinage
to brave = affrontare, sfidare brav = sfidare, affrontare braver
ballast = massicciata balasta = massicciata (ferrovia). ballast
counter = sportello di cassa contuar = sportello di cassa comptoir
tanning = concia tanagi = concia tannage
barouche = calesse barocc = calesse -----
barnacles = occhiali baricole = occhiali -----
bassoon = fagotto (mus.) basson = fagotto basson
vulture = avvoltoio voltor = avvoltoio vautour
bind = nastro, bordo di vestito bindel = nastro (per vestiti) bande
bonnet = berretto, etc, bonet = berretto bonnet
bran = crusca bren = crusca bran
brand = tizzone brandon = tizzone -----
bray = raglio (di asino) braj = raglio d'asino -----
broach = spiedo brcia = spiedo brochette
buck = caprone boch = caprone -----
to budge = muoversi bog = muoversi -----
busk = stecca, bacchetta busca = bastoncino, filo di paglia -----
chagrin = dispiacere sagrin = dispiacere, preoccupazione chagrin
chaff = (anche) roba senza valore ciarafa = roba senza valore -----
chit = bambino/bambina cit = bambino (cita = bambina) -----
clause = clausola (anche) clause = clausola (anche) -----
cocoon = bozzolo cochet = bozzolo cocon

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