Neapolitan: Mogliere

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Senior Member
French - France

I'm reading The Pentamerone, by G. Basile. I'm a little confused because I had already read two translations of the fairy tale Sole, Luna e Talia (one in English, the other in French) and it seems that both translators weren't very faithful to the original.

In the French translation, it is said that the King has two children with Talia: Sun and Moon. When the King's mother hears of them, she decides to kill them and kill Talia as well. In the English translation, it's not the King's mother -- it's his stepmother. But the facts remain the same.

Well, I didn't mind it at the time, because there could have been one word meaning both mother and stepmother. But here I am, reading the Italian (Neapolitan) version:
"La mogliere de lo re, che de la tardanza a la caccia de lo marito aveva pigliato quarche sospetto..."

I know moglie is the Italian for wife. Is mogliere the Neapolitan equivalent? In this case, the translators deliberately changed the context. They may have thought it was really too improper for the hero and heroine to be adulterous lovers...
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  • bearded

    Senior Member
    In ancient Italian, 'mogliera' was the common word for wife (from late Latin 'mulièrem' - accusative case - in classical Latin 'mulìerem'). The word 'mogliera' - instead of standard It. 'moglie' - still exists in jokes, as well as in some dialects. Please note that, in Neapolitan, the final e represents a 'schwa' sound.


    Senior Member
    English (USA Northeast)
    In many romance languages the equivalent of "mogliere" has taken on the additional meaning of "woman" in general. I'm not alleging it is the case in Neapolitan but it could be something worth exploring because if it were needed to be translated as "woman" it could give the text even deeper dimensions and/or ambiguity. Perhaps in the Italian forum you can find a native Neapolitan.

    Edit: I confirmed my suspicions. I found a link stating that the Neapolitan "mogliera" took on the meaning "woman" due to contact with the Spanish language.

    Mugliera moglie mujer spagnolo

    See this link which is Italian. Scroll to the bottom where a glossary of Neapolitan terms is given.
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    Senior Member
    I am not from Naples, but I've got friends there, and they confirm that 'mogliera/mugliere' means wife in the current Neapolitan usage. The word for 'woman' is fèmmena (with the 2nd e pronounced as schwa) from Lat. foemina (=female), see Ital. femmina, French femme. In the glossary, the translation of mugliera is (correctly) moglie=wife.
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