‘Nzallanuto

30 - Nzallanuto


Episode XXX

‘NZALLANUTO

(ndz – al – la – NOO – to)

This term refers to a person who appears distracted, confused, absent-minded and generally not completely aware of what’s going on around him. The word comes from the name of the Greek goddess Selene, one of the three aspects of the Moon (the celestial body traditionally associated to altered mind states): the ‘nzallanuto (inselenito), then, would be someone with his mind lost on the Moon.


This is one of the most common derogatory remarks with which elders are reproached: even when insulting the absent-mindedness that comes with senility, Neapolitans use a sort of romantic expression, in which the reference to the Moon via the goddess Selene makes even an offense more tolerable. Watch out, though, it still is an insult!

 

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