Tips

6 Sicilian gestures you need to know before going to Sicily

Here is a brief dictionary to decipher the main movement and grasp the secret nuances, but beware, it is not always easy to reproduce these movements.

The gesture is an all-Italian feature: all the inhabitants of the peninsula communicate using a rich repertoire of gestures and movements. But if there is a region that stands out in this particular way of communicating it is undoubtedly Sicily, which tends to accentuate this trait to the point of making it extremely dramatic.

How to survive and understand what a Sicilian really wants to communicate when moving around us using quite unusual expressions and gestures? Here is a brief dictionary to decipher the main movement and grasp the secret nuances, but beware, it is not always easy to reproduce these movements.

Nun sinni parra - It can not be done

Literally  it translates as 'don’t even mention it', something that absolutely can not be considered.
When a Sicilian is not quite willing to do something, the issue should not be mentioned in front of him, or the reactions can be unpredictable. It is something that totally upsets the person who is listening and the Sicilian shows this mood by putting the high part of the  hand folded between the chin and the neck and then moving it forward.

Tanticchia - A bit

The thumb and middle finger touch each other to express a serious lack of something. Generally the gesture is accompanied by a sad expression, in order to emphasize the contrast between the lack and the desire of abundance.

Si ti pigghiu! - If I catch you!

During your trip to Sicily you will often hear a mother screaming this sentence to his son suggesting dire consequences. Literally it translates as 'If I catch you', and it is a sort of reaction to something negative that has been committed by someone and has to be punished somehow. To represent the threat, Sicilians place the entire hand, inside the mouth,  between the teeth, after finishing the sentence.

Accura -  Beware

Literally translated as 'beware', in the sense of 'keep your eyes open'. It is a real invitation to pay special attention, as an apparently peaceful situation could turn into something bad or because something could turn out to be disadvantageous. To give this advice the tip of the finger pulls down the eye area to open the pupil.

Bonu - Appetizing

The index is at the center of the cheek and makes some swinging movements, pushing on the skin. With this gesture Sicilians indicate that something is appetizing in terms of taste or sight.

'Nze / Nonzì - No

And finally here is one of the most popular features in the world, the way in which the Sicilians raise their heads upwards, producing a sound that may be transcribed with 'nze' to say no to something.

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