Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by North_Of_60, May 18, 2007.

  1. North_Of_60 New Member

    Canada, English
    Ok, my MIL wants to be known as "Noni" to my daughter. Fine. DH's father's family is Italian, though they have been in America for many generations now (MIL married into the family and is not Italian).

    This is fine by me, however, I have recently learned that both the translation and spelling are off. The reason I found out is because my sister's fiancé is Italian. Like, actually born and raised there, has only lived in Canada for a few years, Italian. His "grandma" is Nonna, which according to my internet translations actually translates to "grandma".

    "Noni", which my MIL refers to herself as translates to "verniers" or "ninth" (depending on the site) in English? "Nonni", with two n's, translates to grandPARENT. Not grandmother/ma.

    My sister actually asked me the other day how she became known as Noni, because when her and her fiancé were visiting, to him, who's first language is actually Italian, it sounded really off, and silly.

    Since then someone else asked why "Noni" when grandma in Italian is Nonna, and since then it's bugging me. I feel almost silly calling her that now that I know it's the incorrect usage of the word.

    Furthermore, it's spelled wrong! And, for Christmas she personalized a wooden rocking chair for DD and signed it, in permanent marker, on the back of the chair (!) as "Noni". So her incorrect usage of the word, and it's incorrect spelling is permanently marked on a piece of furniture!

    In front of first generation Italian's, it's actually quite embarassing.

    Am I correct? Before I bring this up I want to make sure I have it all right.
  2. TrentinaNE

    TrentinaNE Senior Member

    English (American)
    The WR dictionary entry for nonna has links to several prior threads. :)

    In short, grandmother/grandma = la nonna
    grandfather/grandpa = il nonno
    grandparents = i nonni

    As to your MIL's choice, why don't you just tell people it's derived from the Italian for grandmother? Grandkids have called their grandparents stranger things, in my experience. ;)

  3. Scopa Nuova Senior Member

    Texas, USA
    USA, English
    I hope you don't mind just one small correction, which is probably just a typo, for the sake of the non-native English speaking viewers. They use our English as examples.

    "She and her fiancé" is a compound subject of the verb were and requires the nominative case "she". "Her" is correct in front of fiancé because it is a possessive pronoun in this case.

    You are in an awkward position between family members and I don't envy you. Elisabetta of course gave you the correct translations but better yet a good suggestion on how to gracefully avoid a confrontation.

    The best of luck

    Scopa Nuova:cool:
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 19, 2012
  4. Le Peru

    Le Peru Senior Member

    Italy - Umbria
    Could it be your grandmother was used to use "noni" as a diminutive form of "nonna"? And, consequently, she forgotten the original form "nonna" (it is so many years she lives in Canada, it is understandable).
    It is also normal, I think, to use diminutives, such as "mamy(mami)" standing for "mamma". Or "papy(papi)" for "papà".

    It is only my guessing, but I hope it can be of help to you.

  5. Scopa Nuova Senior Member

    Texas, USA
    USA, English
    I hope you don't mind the corrections. I make the same kind of mistakes with verbs when I write in Italian and appreciate corrections.

    However, my real purpose is to give support to your idea that noni may have been a word developed in her family as a diminutive or other slang. It happened in my family. My grandparents were born in Italy but their children (my parent's generation) corrupted the language quite a bit with "cute" variatons of the original Italian.

    Buona giornata

    Scopa Nuova;)
  6. Le Peru

    Le Peru Senior Member

    Italy - Umbria
    Not at all.
    Thanks :)
  7. Camellia New Member

    U.S.A english
    Hello to all,
    My husband and I have been told we are going to be first-time grandparents. It seems as though now a days, not only do the new parents chose their childs name but approve the names the grandparents on either side will use. I am 100% Italian-American, but only speak English. My mother's family was from Abruzzi and my father's from Naples.
    I have searched the dictionary for the Italian name for grandmother/grandfather and found, nonnie, and nonno, but somewhere in my memory, the term Bobbo, (forgive the spelling) for grandfather is lerking. Is this such a term, and is Noni also used for grandmother? My parents grandchildren called them Nana and could anyone help me out on this....I appreciate your time......C
  8. marixx Member

    Italia Italiano
    Grandmother: nonna
    Grandfather: nonno
    Grandparents: nonni

    Babbo is another way of saying papà (dad)
  9. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    nonno = grandfather
    nonna = grandmother
    nonni = grandparents

    Not sure about the other question but just wanted to clear up the words and what they mean:)
  10. klsfm New Member

    Noni is Sicilian slang for grandparents AND grandmother. It is not a literary Italian term. The Italian language, as we know it, is fairly new. Italy use to be made up of many tribes, or families, that each had their own language. Many Sicilians still speak their own language at home but proper Italian is taught in the schools. It is similar to Mum in British English. Mum is a flower, but it also is a common slang word for Mother. Another example would be the American Southern Granny, another slang term for grandmother. The original spelling of Noni is Nonee, not Nonni, which means ninth. It was bastardized by Sicilian immigrants to America in the 1800's who learned to read and write in English, never knowing how to read or write in their original language. It is a commonly accepted spelling in North America, just like Colour vs. Color. Both spellings are considered correct. I had a Noni and now my Mama is called Noni by my 3 daughters. It is common in American/Sicilian households. I hope this helps!
  11. joanvillafane Senior Member

    U.S., New Jersey
    U.S. English
    klsfm, your family experience may be very interesting and similar to that of the original poster but I don't think you can generalize in such a broad way, and I think other forum members may agree with me that terms like "proper Italian," and "bastardized" are not neutral descriptors. If American Italian or Italian American or whatever it may be called, comes up with a word like "Noni" it should be clear to those who use it that it is not recognized as standard Italian.
  12. Teerex51

    Teerex51 Senior Member

    Milan, Italy
    Italian, standard
    Shouldn't you check your facts and your spelling before you make such sweeping (and inaccurate) statements? :(

    I think you're confusing Sicilian-American usage with the Sicilian dialect (where grandfather is avu, by the way). Also your history of the Italian language is fascinating...
    Italian may be a relatively new language (still, it's much older than Sicilian-American) but I think you're confusing it with the tribal languages of the Plains Indians. :D
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2012
  13. longplay Banned

    Please, North of 60 : can you tell us the "real" first name of your MIL ? noni is a nickname, perhaps ."Noni" might be a dialect form of "nonni" o "nonna" also (old Venice and
    Veneto dialect). Thanks !:)

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