Sicilian: Bedda Nica Ducci

Dill Pickle

New Member
English - US
My family is of Sicilian heritage on my mother's side. As a child my mother and grandmother would pinch my cheeks and say in a pleasant high pitched voice "bedda nica ducci." I know it was a pleasantry, but don't know what it means except the bedda part. I'm also not sure of the spelling. Anyone also familiar with this phrase?
 
  • theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    Hi DP, and welcome.
    Here's everything you need to know about the "nica" part (Sicilian for "little"): Le origini di “nicu”: quando i siciliani non resistono alla tenerezza - Sicilian Post

    My guess is that what you heard as "ducci" was simply the addition a diminutive ending to "nica," and the word they were saying was some specific dialect version of "nicuzza." There's a "nicaredda" version, so there may well be "nicaduccia" or "nicaduzza" as well. So they were lovingly calling you a pretty little thing. No Sicilians in my family: I've just read a lot of Andrea Camilleri. :)
     

    danieleferrari

    Senior Member
    Italiano (Ligure)
    Hi DP, and welcome.
    Here's everything you need to know about the "nica" part (Sicilian for "little"): Le origini di “nicu”: quando i siciliani non resistono alla tenerezza - Sicilian Post

    My guess is that what you heard as "ducci" was simply the addition a diminutive ending to "nica," and the word they were saying was some specific dialect version of "nicuzza." There's a "nicaredda" version, so there may well be "nicaduccia" or "nicaduzza" as well. So they were lovingly calling you a pretty little thing. No Sicilians in my family: I've just read a lot of Andrea Camilleri. :)
    Hats off to you, @theartichoke, such a perfect explanation. What if 'ducci' was the diminutive of his/her proper name, though (just a wild guess, probably)?
     

    theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    Hats off to you, @theartichoke, such a perfect explanation. What if 'ducci' was the diminutive of his/her proper name, though (just a wild guess, probably)?
    Elementary, my dear Watson (or whatever Montalbano would say instead). If "ducci" was part of her (I'm guessing from "bedda") proper name, the only part of the phrase she wouldn't understand would be "nica." :)
     

    danieleferrari

    Senior Member
    Italiano (Ligure)
    Makes sense to me. Case closed. 😁

    I also thought it'd be a diminutive form of tesoruccio > *ducci, but I'm pretty sure you're right (I'm not a native Sicilian speaker, though, and you seem to be much more into it than I am). Your readings have paid off quite well, I dare say.
     
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    theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    Mind you "duci" means sweet in Sicilian.
    True -- I hadn't thought of that. That raises the question, then, of whether "nica" without a suffix can function as a noun, or whether three adjectives in a row would be used as an endearment. Alas, I remember nothing from Camilleri that would let me answer either of those questions. :D
     

    Pietruzzo

    Senior Member
    Italian
    That raises the question, then, of whether "nica" without a suffix can function as a noun, or whether three adjectives in a row would be used as an endearment.
    Mine was just a side note to the discussion. I don't really know whether "bedda nica duci" makes sense in Sicilian and (above all) was what the OP used to be told.
     
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