Personal Patois

Here is a partial list of my favorite expressions, the ones that have become part of the internal cant from which I must translate when speaking or writing to others:

  • “Banjaxed.” Usually with a head shake and a half-smile/half-frown.

  • C’est pas grave.” With a smile and a dismissive hand wave.

  • Che cosa?!” Always an interjection, it sometimes escapes before I’m able to catch it.

  • Ciao.” I’m not alone here; the whole world says it.

  • Genau”, while nodding.

  • Grazie.” Though I must give honorable mention to “obrigado.

  • Je vous-en-prix.” It possesses a grace that surpasses “de nada”, “don’t mention it” or, even, “prego.”

  • … jus’que …” There’s something about the sound of it. How could I go back to up to?

  • Kif-kif.” Accompanied with an indifferent shrug.

  • No sé.” Slowly shaking my head with an expression of exaggerated confusion.

  • Sláinte.” Toasting those gathered in my life raft.

  • Vite!” Waving both hands, palms up, in tight circles close to my torso.

  • Vale.” With a big smile and a slight nod.

There are, of course, many more, along with countless nouns and some verbs, but these are the ones that I must suppress several times a day.

Have you a personal patois?

This entry is part of my journal, published May 30, 2003, in Baltimore.