Italian Language/"er"

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Question
Hi Paolin - I'm stuck on something - again!

On your tv I've often heard someone using the above as in
er Califfo or er mutande.

What does it mean?  I mean er, of course, as I know what the
word means. LOL

Tks & regards

Joe

Answer
Hello Joe!

"Er" is a form of article in the local dialect of Rome and Latio, the Italian region around Rome. This dialect is called "romanesco". Some dialectal forms are frequently used especially in tv also because many great and very popular actors (such as Alberto Sordi, Anna Magnani, Aldo Fabrizi) used those expressions in their movies.
"Er" stands simply for "il" (the). When used before a name of a person, such as in the cases you quoted, it gives special importance to it, usually - even though not necessarily - in an ironical sense. It could mean that person is "the one and only"' "the best": er mejio der mejio (il meglio del meglio, the best of the best). As you can notice, "romanesco" is quite hyperbolic!
You can read something here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romanesco_dialect

and here you can find some specific information about grammar and about "er" too; I'm sorry this page is in Italian only:
http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammatica_del_dialetto_romanesco

Thank you for your question Joe! Good bye,

Paolin  

Italian Language

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Paolin

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I read and correct your italian texts, either translations or written compositions. I read or listen to your oral compositions, readings and speechs and help you improve your pronunciation and style. I read and correct also your advertising short and medium texts. I answer questions about Italian language, slang, style, punctuation. I don't answer about dialects and specific local slang.

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I'm mother tongue; I graduated at Classic Lyceum (100/100), studying classic Italian language and classic Latin and Greek. The 5 years long daily exercise in translation from ancient Latin and Greek to modern Italian taught me to appreciate a correct italian translation and/or text composition. I graduated at University in Law studies and Jurisprudence, learning to appreciate deep differences between a strictly specific and technical language and other styles. I'm currently PhD candidate in Philosophy of Law. I read fiction, classic novels, philosophical books and papers, legal books and papers.

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Italian mother tongue; diploma at Liceo Classico (100/100; year 2001); Laurea at University (110/110 cum laude; year 2008); PhD in Law: Philosophy of Law and Sociology of Law

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