Via the always interesting Uncle Jazzbeau’s Gallimaufry, an entry about the dialect of Liguria, “that tight, cramped little province — whence my father’s family came — jammed up between the sea and the mountains, stretched out between France and Pisa.” The dialect is called zeneize (=”genovese“); apparently the term ligure ‘Ligurian’ is used largely in connection with antiquity, and there is not even a corresponding word in the dialect. At any rate, he links to two websites exclusively written in the dialect and has an Addendum about the name Baciccia, which is extremely common in the region and has turned up in American Spanish thanks to the many Genoese immigrants (in Argentina bachicha is both an insulting term for Italians and a slang word meaning ‘simpleton’). A tip of the hat to Jim, who makes Uncle Jazzbeau dance.

Incidentally, his previous entry consists of a nice Montale quote about seeing the coastal part of the region, the Cinque Terre, from windows in a train tunnel.


  1. good site…In relation to Baciccia, in Peru the term used was “Bachiche” which meant “Italian” in two ways, one “familiar” and another one peyorative, the obvious reason is that, as well as in Argentina, almost all the Italian Immigrants that came to Peru were of Genoese or Ligurian origin, mostly from the little towns south of the city of genoa as Rapallo, Chiavari, Portofino, Santa Margherita among others.

  2. Can you tell me how one would translate the Spanish “mucho mas” in Zeneize?
    Many thanks in advance, ET

  3. The lunfardo “Bachicha” means “fat, pot bellied” and usually is applied as “gordo bachicha”. A “gordo bachicha” is supposed to be a simple person more interested in eating than any other thing.
    “Bachicha: sustantivo y adjetivo que significa muy gordo/a y deriva del italiano “ciccia” que literalmente significa “carne” .http://didattica.spbo.unibo.it/pais/bonaldi/ipertesto/relazione.html
    Zeneize is “Xeneize”, with an X.

  4. Hi,
    I write from the city of Genoa and i have very good practice with the dialect of the region. First of all, the common name of the dialect is definitely Zeneize, with Z and not X. Both Z in zeneize are pronounced like Z in english.
    About the translation of “mucho mas”, the straightforward way is “multu de ciu'” where ciu’ is to be pronounced somehow similar to “chew”.

  5. Thanks, Mauro!

  6. joyce perata says

    Genevese was my first language in my early years.
    I can I refresh with some lessons

  7. Thanks for reviving this ancient thread! I’ve taken the opportunity to update the UJG links, and I might as well reproduce the Montale quote here: “Ma tanti, tanti di più sono coloro che, senza saperne il nome, le hanno scoperte a guizzi, a spicchi, a frammenti fulminei e abbaglianti, dai pochi oblò che si aprono nel tunnel che porta da Levanto fin quasi alla Spezia.”

  8. (I’ve gotten so Russified that oblò ‘porthole’ makes me think of Radishchev.)

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