Speak Calabrese: Three Calabrese Proverbs You Can Learn Today

Becoming fluent in another language takes hard work, a little patience and a tough skin. You have to listen to the language. You have to speak the language. And it helps if you can live the language.

So if all of this is true … why, oh why is it so dang hard to learn Calabrese?

I hear it all of the time.

I think it is cute and clever.

And I already know a word or two.

Today, I’m gonna share it with you.

And just so you can be deep and philosophical like the Calabrians around me, here are three easy-to-remember Calabrese proverbs you can learn today.

Somewhere over the rainbow
photo credit: santafeegret

Calabrese Proverb: “L’arcu suca acqua.”

Italian Translation: “L’arcobaleno prepara la pioggia.”

Translation for the rest of us: “The rainbow prepares the rain.”

… and isn’t that a sweet thought?


Calabrese Proverb: “Lavùru fattu, dinàri aspetta.”

Italian Translation: “Chi lavora deve essere pagato.”

Translation for the rest of us: “He who works, must be paid.”

and for the record, I couldn’t agree more.


Calabrese Proverb: “Si ‘un ti muovi ti mangianu i muschi.”

Italian Translation: “Se non ti muovi ti mangeranno le mosche.”

Translation for the rest of us: “If you don’t move, the flies will eat you.”

I’m speechless …

I hope you enjoy this three-minute Calabrese lesson and in bocca al lupo!


Are you traveling to Calabria? Click here to see how I can help you plan your trip.

5 Responses
  1. I love the Calabrese dialect. I really want to learn it, after I figure out Italian of course! 😛

    I hear you, LuLu! Does any of your family back home speak Calabrese?

    .-= LuLu´s last blog ..Italian SMS =-.

  2. Marshall Lentini

    More literal renderings to preserve the rustic flavor:

    “L’arcu suca acqua.” — The arch sucks water.

    “Lavùru fattu, dinàri aspetta.” — Work done, dollars expected.

    “Si ‘un ti muovi ti mangianu i muschi.” — Someone aint move, flies eat ’em.


    Ha! LOVE it. Thank you so much!

  3. Lou Spadafora

    Here are a few more for you from my late parents hailing from Cosenza.
    1. Sta attentu qundu u ciucciu si cuia. (Beware when the donkey strains)
    2. Chi puntu passa, cent ‘ Anni campa. (Whoever gets past a given point (obstacle), will live to be 100)
    3. Spissa e mantu, gravu ma no tantu. (Carrying extra food and clothes is very serious but not really.)
    4. Megliu sulu ca mal’accumpagniatu (better alone than I’ll accompanied -as in having a bad marriage partner)

Leave a Reply