I am the leading expert in my field and have been on this site for seven years. This is a rather obscure question, I know, but of late I have been seeking an answer.
My maternal grandmother was from Parma (I was there last September, I spent the month in Europe). She never learned to speak English, but she understood it. I never learned to speak Italian, but I understood it. So I would speak to her in English and she would answer me in Italian.
Now my question: She had a nickname, this is what all people who loved her called her and I will spell it phonetically: Ma-dah-ning. Her brother (who died at age 102!) was called (again phonetically) pep-ping or pep-peeno.
Do you have any idea what these two words mean and how they are actually spelled? Thank you.
It’s easy for me to understand that “pep-ping or pep-peeno” corresponds to the Italian term of endearment/nickname “Peppíno”, which stands for “Giuseppino”, a small form of the given name “Giuseppe” (Joseph, in English).
In Italian, in fact, we often use the nickname “Peppino” for someone whose real name is “Giuseppe”.
As for the nickname “Ma-dah-ning”, it’s not so easy to know the Italian feminine given name from which it derives, though it could be e.g. “Maddalena”(English, Madeleine, Magdalene, Madeline),whose term of endearment could be in Italian "Maddalenina".
Anyway I’m not sure about the derivation of “Ma-dah-ning” from "Maddalena" and therefore the best way to know the origin of “Ma-dah-ning” would be to know the real name of your maternal grandmother.
So, please let me know it, so that I can help you more.
Looking forward to hearing from you soon, all the best,