One of the pleasures of spending Christmas in Naples is the annual adverts for Mars written in Neapolitan, which I enjoy trying to make sense of: knowing standard Italian is a help, but seldom enough! I saw the one below while on the way to get ice cream (notwithstanding the fact that Naples is currently colder than Cambridge!).
On the way back, I came across the following bonus poem on a dustbin, which I started off feeling was pretty easy, but I soon fell into complete uncertainty, only managing to make sense of it with the help of my trusty native guide Ardief. Translation into Italian and English underneath. Note in particular the fun forms saccio = sappio = so ‘I know’, sciore = fiore ‘flower’, dongo = do ‘I give’, chella = quella ‘that’, chistu = questo ‘this’, and the general lack of final -re in infinitives. Also that where Italian has subjunctive + conditional for ‘If I were … I would’, the poem has subjunctive + subjunctive.
Se fossi poeta: Se fossi musicista ti suonerei qualche nota, se fossi cantante ti canterei una canzone, se fossi poeta te lo direi con le parole, che tu mi fai impazzire mi fai vivere e morire. Se fossi poeta, te lo direi con le parole, ma non te lo so dire, e per fartelo capire ti do questo fiore, per dirti una volta e cento volte ancora sei tu, quella del cuore.
If I were a poet: If I were a musician, I would play you some notes, if I were a singer I would sing you a song, if I were a poet, I would tell you in words that you drive me crazy, you make me live and die. If I were a poet, I would tell you in words, but I do not know how to tell you, and to make you understand I give you this flower, to tell you one and a hundred times still that it is you who are the girl of my heart.