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Monday, April 15, 2013

Italian words for spells, charms, and the working of magic.

Ciao a tutti!

I've spent that last couple of days in bed with a very mild case of the flu and it's given me the time to do a bit of light research into my Italian language lessons.

As an Italian-American, I'm always looking for Italian words and phrases to re-integrate into my practice.  It can be a bit difficult as many words that come down to use through "Italian-American Language" aren't necessarily correct Italian.  They often are dialects, slang, or combinations.

A mundane example that many will be familiar with are:
gabagool - slang/dialect for capicola
prochut - slang for prosciutto
rigot - slang for ricotta
manigot - slang for manicotti
and, of course maddon' or mahdawn for "madonna mia".

Unless there is a personal or compelling reason for keeping the Italian-American slang, my personal preference is to figure our what the correct root word is and to use it and its pronunciation.  For instance, I say "prosciutto" and not "prochut" and I also say "mozzarella" (pronounced mohz-zah-REL-lah) instead of "mootsorell" because I have no personal attachment to the slang. For the most part, I also think that the original Italian sounds more pleasing to my ears.

What does this have to do with spells and charms? I'm glad you asked. :-)
It seems that Italian (not even counting the various dialects) have a whole host of words that can apply to spells and charms and magical workings. 

Here are just a few of the words that I've come across:

charm - fascino
charm bag - borsa (fascino borsa)
conjure - evocare / scongiuro
enchantment - incanto
exorcism - scongiuro / exorcismo
hex - fattura
incantation - incanto, incantesimo
sending (casting) - invio
spell - turno (to turn or change)
spell - sortilegio
spells - scongiuri
to bewitch - a stregare / affatturare
wards - scongiura
a Working - funzionamento magico (magical working)

I'd love it if my native Italian speaking friends can shed some light on this and maybe correct the translation/usage of these words.  I have my own favorites like fascino borsa, scongiuro, incanto, fattura, and funzionamento. 

What's your favorite?


Benedizioni,

---Vincenzo

8 comments:

  1. Ciao Vincenzo,

    esorcismo is the italian translation for exorcism.
    Bannare, bloccare, respingere, ribattere for wards. Scongiura ist not correct but scongiuro; it means conjuration, evocation, incantation. Funzionamento magico: usually you say just magia or lavoro magico. Fascino borsa sounds weird. Maybe "borsa magica" or "borsa portafortuna" (if it should bring/attract luck, like a talisman) or "borsa fatata" (Fay bag for magic work and for attracting fays). B*B

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  2. Wow, thanks for the information! Yes, the mistake with "exorcismo" was my typing and the mistake with "fascino borsa" instead of "borsa magica" was due to the cold medicine. :-)

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  3. I'm keeping a running correction:

    charm - fascino
    charm bag - borsa, borsa magica / borsa portafortuna (to bring/attract luck, like a talisman)
    conjure/conjuration - evocare / scongiuro
    evocation - scongiuro
    enchantment - incanto
    exorcism - scongiuro / exorcismo
    hex - fattura
    incantation - scongiuro / incanto, incantesimo
    sending (casting) - invio
    spell - turno (to turn or change)
    spell - sortilegio
    spells - scongiuri
    to bewitch - a stregare / affatturare
    wards - bannare, bloccare, respingere, ribattere
    a Working (magical working) - magia / lavoro magico / funzionamento magico

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  4. A long long time ago, I made a half-hearted attempt at learning Italian on my own. I had studied French for several years, which made it easier to make the connections, but my skill is beginner level at best. At the moment I'm focusing on Icelandic, to get the grammar for Old Norse, which is my ancestral language :)

    I think my favorite from your list would be affatturare :)

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  5. More corrections:

    charm - fascino
    charm bag - borsa, borsa magica / borsa portafortuna (to bring/attract luck, like a talisman)
    conjure/conjuration - evocare / scongiuro
    evocation - scongiuro
    enchantment - incanto
    exorcism - scongiuro / esorcismo
    hex - fattura
    incantation - scongiuro / incanto, incantesimo
    sending (casting) - invio
    spell - turno (to turn or change)
    spell - sortilegio
    spells - scongiuri
    to bewitch - stregare / affatturare
    wards - bannare, bloccare, respingere, ribattere
    a Working (magical working) - magia / lavoro magico / funzionamento magico

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  6. Do you think that it's more correct to use the full word rather than the slang? I'm sure just by habit some people may use the slang.

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  7. Hi Nick,

    I'm sure that it would probably be considered "more correct" to use the full word in terms of "correct" for speaking the Italian language. I tend to prefer to find the "correct" or full word and try to do so whenever possibly when speaking from my perspective. However, if I were a guest somewhere and my hosts used the Italian-American slang, then I would also do so out of respect to them.

    Even when spelled the same, there are pronunciation differences between the Italian sound of a word and the American sound of the same word even if the difference is where the accent is placed. Listen to http://translate.google.com/#en/it/mozzarella and compare it to how most Americans pronounce it.

    When I started to take Italian lessons, I began to use as many of the Italian ways of pronouncing things as I could. An Italian-American friend asked me if I was getting "too big and fancy" to speak like my immigrant ancestors. My reply, "Not at all! I'm just trying to speak how they did in the old country before it became more and more Americanized. There's no disrespect in that. I see it as reclaiming part of my heritage."

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  8. Switching up the words with italian must be a fun activity to try. I feel like it'd mean more, but that's just me, I have no idea why it actually would! Thanks for the words!

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