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H.L. Mencken (1880–1956). The American Language. 1921.

Page 410

contri for country, fait for fight (it is also used for punch, as in chiaver nu fair, give a punch, and nato fait, another punch), loffari for loafers, ghiroppe for get up, bomma for bum, pulizio for police, nun gudde for no good, orré for hurray, giorge for judge, wazzo maro for what’s the matter, laste for last, naite for night, toccho for talk, tenne for ten, dollari for dollars. All of the macchiette coloniali are gaudy with the same sort of loan-words; one of the best of them, says Dr. Livingston, is Farfariello’s “A lingua ’nglese,” which is devoted almost wholly to humorous attempts to represent English words as ignorant Italians hear and use them.
  As in the case of Yiddish, there is a movement among Italian intellectuals in America, and especially in New York, for the restoration of a purer Italian. These purists are careful to use the sotterraneo to take them nell bassa città. But the great majority prefer il subway or the tonno (=tunnel) to take them tantane (=downtown). All the common objects of life tend similarly to acquire names borrowed from American English, sometimes bodily and sometimes by translation. In the main, these loan-words are given Italianized forms and inflected in a more or less correct Italian manner. Dr. Livingston presents a number of interesting examples from the advertising columns of an Italian newspaper in New York. Pressers are pressatori, operators are operatori, machines are mascine, carpenters are carpentieri, presser’s halpers are sottopressatori, a store is a storo, board is bordo, boarders are abbordato, bushelmen are buscellatori, customs-coats are cotti da costume, men’s coats are cotti da uomo. “Originally,” he says, “the policy of this paper was to translate, in correct form, the Italian copy. The practice had to be abandoned because poorer results were obtained from advertisements restored to the literary tongue.” In other words, the average Italian in New York now understands American-Italian better than he understands the standard language of his country.
  The newly arrived Italian quickly picks up the Americanized vocabulary. Almost at once he calls the man in charge of his ghenga (=gang) his bosso, and talks of his work in the indiccio (=ditch) and with the sciabola (=shovel), picco (=pick) and stim-sciabola (=steam-shovel). He buys sechenze (=second-hand) clothes, works on the tracca (=track), buys food at the grosseria (=grocery)