Italian language in Venezuela

Italian language in Venezuela

The Italian language in Venezuela has been present since colonial times in the area around Caracas and Maracaibo. The language is found in many modisms and words of the Venezuelan Spanish language.


The same name of Venezuela comes from the Italian Amerigo Vespucci, who called the area "Little Venice" in a typical Italian expression. Some Italians participated in the first European colonies in Venezuela, mainly in the island of Margarita and in Cumana, the first European city in the Americas, but their influence in the local language was very limited.

During the Venezuelan Wars of Independence some Italians helped Simón Bolivar against the Spanish Empire and they brought some Italian military words to the Venezuelan Spanish language. The military officer Agostino Codazzi created the first "Atlante" of Venezuela and - as a consequence - many geographical words in Venezuela are loanworded from the Italian.

In the second half of the 20th Century, more than 300,000 Italians moved to Venezuela and left - linguistically - many words in the local language: "Ciao" (English: Hi) is now a usual friendly salute in Caracas, for example. There are even expressions in the local young people that mix Italian and Spanish words: "Muérete que chao" is an example.

Today, some young Italo-Venezuelans use a slang with Italian dialect words and Spanish in Caracas to communicate between them.

Italian language teaching in Venezuela

In the 2000s there are nearly 50,000 Italians residents in Venezuela, who speak the Italian language and/or the Italian dialects with their sons and daughters (the second generation Italo Venezuelans.

The teaching of the Italian language is starting to be better implemented between the nearly one million Venezuelans who are Italian descendants [Santander Laya-Garrido, Alfonso. "Los Italianos forjadores de la nacionalidad y del desarrollo economico en Venezuela"] , but there are only a few Italian language Institutions in Venezuela.

According to the Italian Embassy in Caracas the "...Italian language teaching is guaranteed by the presence of a consistent number of private Venezuelan schools and institutions, where Italian language courses and Italian literature are active. Other similar courses are organized and sponsored by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Associations. The Didactic Office of the General Consulate of Caracas, together with this Embassy, is negotiating an Agreement with the Venezuelan Authorities for the recognition of the Study Diplomas emitted by the Italian School (in Venezuela there is a Civil Association called "Agostino Codazzi" which offers the complete didactic cycle from elementary to high school) so that there can be access to the University system in Venezuela with an Italian high school diploma. Since 2002, the Italian Government has become the promoter for a provision which makes it mandatory to teach Italian as a second language in a consistent number of public and private schools within Venezuela..." [ Section:Cultural cooperation]

List of some Italian words in the Venezuelan Spanish

*Balurdo. Strange kind of stupid. From the Italian "Balordo".
*Barco. From the Italian "Barca" (boat).
*Calarse. To digest (or sustain) something bad. From the Italian "Calarsi" with the same meaning.
*Chao. Friendly salute. From the Italian "Ciao" (English: Hi).
*Comadre. Stepmother. From the Italian "Comadre".
*Compadre. Stepfather (and even: "special friend"). From the Italian "Compadre"
*Cretino. Stupid. From the Italian "Cretino".
*Espagueti. Food. From the Italian "Spaghetti".
*Facista. Fascist. From the Italian "Fascism".
*Gafo. Stupid. From the Italian "Gavone" (low class peasant).
*Lasaña. Food. From the Italian "Lasagna" (a food made with pasta and meat).
*Macho. Strong man. From the Italian "Maschio".
*Mafioso. Criminal. From the Italian "Mafioso".
*Milanesa. Food. From the Italian "Milanesa" (a food made with meat and bread).
*Paisano. From the Italian "paesano", meaning an Italian (or southern European) immigrant
*Pasticho. From the Italian "pasticcio" (a lasagna).
*Pico. Geographical term meaning the top of a mountain. From the Italian word "Picco".
*Pizza. Food. From the Italian "Pizza".
*Radio. Radio. From the Italian "Radio"
*Terraza. Balcony. From the Italian "Terrazza"



* Guido Gómez de Silva, Guido. "Breve diccionario etimológico de la lengua española" Madrid. ISBN 968-16-2812-8
* Santander Laya-Garrido, Alfonso. "Los Italianos forjadores de la nacionalidad y del desarrollo economico en Venezuela". Editorial Vadell. Valencia, 1978.
* Vannini, Marisa. "Italia y los Italianos en la Historia y en la Cultura de Venezuela". Oficina Central de Información. Caracas, 1966

ee also

*Venezuelan Spanish
*List of Spanish words of Italic origin

External links

* [ Dictionary of Venezuelan Modisms and words (in Spanish)]

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