Review of the Dictionary of Neapolitan Aphorisms, by Noronha

Review by Beppe Molisano, São José do Rio Preto, June 26, 2024, Brazil.

By Beppe Molisano

For us, proud members of the formidable Neapolitan community in Brazil, the Dictionary of Neapolitan Aphorisms by Durval de Noronha Goyos is a work that retrieves our ancestral cultural sentiment, as well as the fondest memories of our childhood and family education, conducted with typical zeal by our mothers, fathers, and grandparents. The Neapolitan soul, fortified by the spirit and grace of San Gennaro, and with the determined collaboration of San Vito and San Nicola, is notably pronounced, and it has been preserved among us in Brazil with the aid of proverbs, aphorisms, and Neapolitan idiomatic expressions. Together with Neapolitan songs, these have constituted the didactic repertoire available to us.

Noronha’s work compiles this rich material, translated by the author from Neapolitan into Italian, Brazilian Portuguese, and American English. It is known that São Paulo, Brazil, hosts the largest Neapolitan community in the world, followed by Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, New York, and… Naples. This explains the translation of the material into English. In turn, the author deemed the version in Buenos Aires Spanish unnecessary due to its linguistic similarity with Brazilian Portuguese.

In the richly compiled material, the author has identified idiomatic expressions found in the poems, theater texts, and Neapolitan songs of Renato Carosone, Tito Manlio, Domenico Modugno, Totò, Labriola, Luigi Merola, Andolfi, Colomba Rosaria, Giovani Bilardi, Salvatore Gambarella, Giuseppe Capaldo, Massimo Troisi, Eduardo De Filippo, Pino Danieli, Vincenzo De Crescenzo, Ernesto Murolo, Roberto Murolo, Gigi D’Alessio, Giuseppe Turco, Salvatore Cardillo, Fred Bongusto, Silvana Napoli Reale, Salvatore Palomba, Salvatore Di Giacomo, M. Galdieri, A. Barberis, Benedetto Croce, Armezio Cavallaro, Pupella Maggio, Cristofaro Letico, Francesco Buongiovanni, A. Romeo, Peppino Di Capri, Antonio Musetti, Edoardo Bennato, Enrico Caruso, Carlo Bernari, G. Fiorelli, Aurelio Fierro, Nino D’Angelo, C. Parente, among others. Even some graffiti have been compiled.

Noronha is the son of a Molisan mother, Sabella Maria Verginia, to whom the work is dedicated. He is the author of 72 books, some published in Portuguese, Italian, English, Mandarin, French, and Spanish. The author has had a rich career as a lawyer, professor, writer, and historian, speaks 8 languages, and has written 3 other dictionaries in addition to the current work: an Anglo-Portuguese legal dictionary, one on Anglicisms, and one in Mandarin Pin-Yin in Mandarin, Portuguese, and English. His works are in over 400 Anglophone academic libraries, according to WorldCat, and in many others worldwide. The Library of Congress in the USA has 20 of his works in its collection, the first acquired in 1980.

The Dictionary is released on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Italian immigration to Brazil, celebrated in 2024, along with A Brief History of Southern Italian Immigration in the State of São Paulo, Brazil, also authored by Noronha, in a duology published by Observador Legal Editora in São Paulo. The Dictionary will also have an international edition to be published in Naples at the end of the year. In Brazil, both works will be launched in São Paulo at the Circolo Italiano on July 15, 2024, and in São José do Rio Preto at the Church of the Redeemer on July 23, 2024.

The author has donated all copies of the first edition of the works for charitable purposes, with the full proceeds from sales dedicated, in São Paulo, to the Church of San Gennaro and the San Vito Association; and in São José do Rio Preto to the Church of the Redeemer and the Amici d’Italia Association. Both events will take place at 7:30 PM and will be accompanied by Neapolitan songs sung by the great community singer, Sergio De Rosa.

1 Neapolitan singer residing in the Bixiga neighborhood, São Paulo, Brazil.