Ciò is one of the most famous words in Venetian. In standard Italian the word ciò is a kind of relative pronoun, meaning something like ‘that which’. But in Venetian, the meaning is very different. You hear it everywhere, and it’s often overused by zealous movie scriptwriters wanting to make their characters sound Venetian (such as in the wonderful film Pane e Tulipani where most of the Venetian heard is spoken by an actress from Turin).
But what does it mean? Well that’s a really good question. Look at the examples below and then tell me:
‘Ciapa, ciò!’ (‘Take it, here you go!’)
‘Ciò ti!’ (‘Hey, you!’)
‘No xe mercore, xe zioba!’ ‘E ciò!’ (‘It’s not Wednesday, it’s Thursday!’ ‘Good heavens!’)
‘Sistu sicuro che no xe mercore?’ ‘Ciòòòòòòòòò!’ (Are you sure it’s not Wednesday?’ ‘Very sure!’)
‘Sistu Venessian?’ ‘E ciò che mi sò Venessian!’ (‘Are you Venetian?’ ‘Of course I’m Venetian!)
‘Ciò, devo dirti na cossa …’ (‘Listen, I have to tell you something …’)
3 thoughts on “Venetian word of the day: Ciò”
Thanks Luca! Been trying to figure that one out for a while. See you soon!
I guess they went to Argentina and taught the Argentinians to shout after each other with “Che”, on the model Ciò, devo dirti na cossa …’ (‘Listen, I have to tell you something …’) or Ciò ti!’ (‘Hey, you!’)
They did indeed. There are communities in Argentina that still speak Venetian who are descended from 19th century immigrants.