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#596819 - 03/09/11 07:00 PM Robert De Niro's Italian.
Sonny_Black Offline

Underboss
Registered: 05/30/10
Posts: 3019
In GF 2, De Niro speaks a lot of Italian/Sicilian and I've been wondering how good he actually speaks that. For me it sounds as Italian as it can be, but I'm no Italian.

So I'm wondering what the Italian speaking members on this board think of it? Do you hear some accent or does he really speaks it fluently?

I've read that he went to Sicily for a couple of months just prior before they began filming to learn the Sicilian dialect.

Since De Niro is apparantly only part Italian could he really speak it before he appeared in GF2?

Even Al Pacino couldn't speak Italian and he's a full Italian-American as far as I know.
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#596822 - 03/09/11 07:06 PM Re: Robert De Niro's Italian. [Re: Sonny_Black]
pizzaboy Offline
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Registered: 12/02/06
Posts: 15940

Loc: Throggs Neck
Originally Posted By: Sonny_Black
Since De Niro is apparantly only part Italian could he really speak it before he appeared in GF2?

Not only couldn't he speak it before, Sonny. I recently saw him state in an interview that he hasn't spoken it since!

He claims he only understands a few words of Italian today. He never really heard it in his house growing up because---like you mentioned---he's actually only about 1/4 Italian. But his perfect annunciation in Part 2 is a testament to his dedication to his craft.

My family is Calabrese, so it's really a different dialect, and I can't give you an unbiased opinion. But all of my Sicilian friends tell me DeNiro's annunciation of a Western Sicilian dialect was spot-on.
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#596831 - 03/09/11 07:40 PM Re: Robert De Niro's Italian. [Re: Sonny_Black]
Sicilian Babe Offline


Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 17125

Loc: New York
DeNiro's Sicilian is perfect. All of the actors like Bruno Kirby, etc. from those scenes spoke it very, very well.
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#596848 - 03/09/11 09:31 PM Re: Robert De Niro's Italian. [Re: Sonny_Black]
olivant Offline


Registered: 02/11/03
Posts: 12064

Loc: Texas
Originally Posted By: Sonny_Black
So I'm wondering what the Italian speaking members on this board think of it? Do you hear some accent or does he really speaks it fluently?



I'm not fluent, but my Dad was. We watched it together and he translated some things for me even though he is Napolitan. DeNiro's Italian is pretty good by any measure, but I thought it lacked the fluent quality. I asked my Dad to repeat some of the lines and I could tell how much better he spoke it than DeNiro. Of course, if you don't grow up with it than its quality suffers. You can only "learn" it so well. Those of us who have some speaking ability in another language probably have to think about what we want to say first and then translate it in our minds. I will shout out some Italian words and expressions without thinking about them. But long expressions and sentences - no way. I have to think about what I want to say first.
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#596850 - 03/09/11 09:38 PM Re: Robert De Niro's Italian. [Re: Sonny_Black]
Sonny_Black Offline

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Registered: 05/30/10
Posts: 3019
Thanks for the feedback guys!

For an adult it apparantly is extremely difficult to fully adept a new language and speak it fluently without accent, so that's why I was wondering this.

So I understand De Niro did an amazing job considering Italian wasn't his native language. No wonder he was awarded an oscar for this role. smile
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#597203 - 03/13/11 01:19 AM Re: Robert De Niro's Italian. [Re: Sonny_Black]
VinnyGorgeous Offline
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Registered: 01/18/11
Posts: 1635
If somebody gave De Niro the role of a Chinese monk, De Niro would find a Chinese monk, kill him, climb into his skin and speak Chinese as fluently as Mao Zedong. These method actors, I tell ya, they are what they act.
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#638402 - 03/05/12 09:40 PM Re: Robert De Niro's Italian. [Re: Sonny_Black]
45ACP Offline

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Registered: 07/29/07
Posts: 85

Loc: Oklahoma
Frank Sivero (GENCO GFII) says he was born in Sicily (1:05) and he said De Niro spoke as good Scicilian as he (Sivero) did and "he spoke the dialog perfect" in the film (4:05).

http://www.tmz.com/videos/1_c6q773s7

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#639856 - 03/14/12 04:41 AM Re: Robert De Niro's Italian. [Re: 45ACP]
YoTonyB Offline
Neighborhood Guy

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Registered: 06/14/04
Posts: 823

Loc: Elmwood Park, Illinois
I saw the subject of this thread and immediately thought of this song...deep track from Bananarama called "Robert De Niro's Waiting (Talking Italian)"



tony b.
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#639993 - 03/15/12 01:21 AM Re: Robert De Niro's Italian. [Re: Sonny_Black]
carmela Offline

Underboss
Registered: 08/14/10
Posts: 1973

Loc: NJ
Absolutely, DeNiro's accent was near perfect, if not perfect. BUT, the dialogue, however had a couple minor errors. One being in this clip right here. If you're not accustomed 100% with the Sicilian dialect, then you wouldn't notice.
The mistake: when he's talking to the Don, he is asked his name. He replies. Then he is asked what was the name of his father, to which Vito replies, "Iu sei chiamu Antonio Andolini." Wrong. "Iu" is sicilian for "I". What he should have said is "Iuddru sei chiamu" which in Sicilian means, "He was called...".

Just figured I'd mention it, since I know of a couple mistakes like this in the movie and as minor as they are, I know how you guys love to pick this stuff apart. lol


Edited by carmela (03/15/12 01:25 AM)
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#705917 - 03/25/13 10:37 PM Re: Robert De Niro's Italian. [Re: Sonny_Black]
Tommaso99 Offline

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Registered: 03/25/13
Posts: 1
I dont want to be controversial here, but whilst i have heard far worse accents than De Niro's (Pacino's for instance), his accent is unmistakably american. The stresses he places on the words, are correct, and grammatically im sure he's got it pretty spot on since that's just about repetition, but accent wise he sounds no where near native. This is perhaps partly why he speaks even more softly in the italian dialogue in an attempt to mask his accent

Im sure Frank Sivero is referring to De Niro's ability to speak the language (learn the sicilian dialogue) rather than the authenticity of his accent - and furthermore it's not like he is going to criticise his colleague publicly.

Re one of the above posts that points out a grammatical error with the use of the 1st person ("eu"/"iu") rather than the 3rd person singular ("he"), i've never heard "iddru", perhaps it's a regional variation, but the standard sicilian word for "he" is "iddu" - and owing to De Niro's whispering is easily muffled into "iu".

Granted it takes a little bit of a musical ear, and/or familiarity with the language, but just listening to De Niro's accent compared to Sivero's, or Don Tommasino's should make it painfully clear that he sounds very very different!

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#705919 - 03/25/13 10:44 PM Re: Robert De Niro's Italian. [Re: Tommaso99]
carmela Offline

Underboss
Registered: 08/14/10
Posts: 1973

Loc: NJ
Originally Posted By: Tommaso99
I dont want to be controversial here, but whilst i have heard far worse accents than De Niro's (Pacino's for instance), his accent is unmistakably american. The stresses he places on the words, are correct, and grammatically im sure he's got it pretty spot on since that's just about repetition, but accent wise he sounds no where near native. This is perhaps partly why he speaks even more softly in the italian dialogue in an attempt to mask his accent

Im sure Frank Sivero is referring to De Niro's ability to speak the language (learn the sicilian dialogue) rather than the authenticity of his accent - and furthermore it's not like he is going to criticise his colleague publicly.

Re one of the above posts that points out a grammatical error with the use of the 1st person ("eu"/"iu") rather than the 3rd person singular ("he"), i've never heard "iddru", perhaps it's a regional variation, but the standard sicilian word for "he" is "iddu" - and owing to De Niro's whispering is easily muffled into "iu".

Granted it takes a little bit of a musical ear, and/or familiarity with the language, but just listening to De Niro's accent compared to Sivero's, or Don Tommasino's should make it painfully clear that he sounds very very different!


That was me that made that post. And you are saying the same thing I was. Yes, regional..the region being Sicily. I pointed out something that nobody on here would have noticed unless fluent in speaking sicilian dialect.

I merely wrote the "r" in iddru because to write sicilian is based on phonetic spelling, as it really is not a proper language. If you are familiar with sicilian, then you know that an "r" is heard when saying, "iddu". For the benefit of members here, I included the "r". It cannot be wrong, being that there is no real right or wrong when writing sicilian.
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#706193 - 03/26/13 06:43 PM Re: Robert De Niro's Italian. [Re: Sonny_Black]
olivant Offline


Registered: 02/11/03
Posts: 12064

Loc: Texas
Unlike english, many languages express their pronouns differently verbally and in writing. Italian is one of them that does so. However, given the above posts, is Sicilian for He the same verbally and in writing?
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#706226 - 03/26/13 08:22 PM Re: Robert De Niro's Italian. [Re: Sonny_Black]
carmela Offline

Underboss
Registered: 08/14/10
Posts: 1973

Loc: NJ
The thing is Sicilian isn't proper, so there really is no way of writing it. You try the best you can phonetically. To say "he" in Sicilian, you'd say, iddru. To pronounce that would be, "ee drew". So, to answer your question, if I understand you correctly, yes, it'd be the same, being that you write sicilian the way you hear it.
The poster above, Tommasso, says to spell it "iddu". No matter what, when pronouncing it in sicilian dialect, you're going to hear an "r". That's just the way it is, so I'd choose to spell it, "iddru".

And to the topic of this thread, De Niro says "Iu" meaning "I", when he should have been saying "Iddru" for "he".

My head is spinning now.


Edited by carmela (03/26/13 08:30 PM)
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#706532 - 03/27/13 08:14 PM Re: Robert De Niro's Italian. [Re: pizzaboy]
BaltimoreSteel69 Offline

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Registered: 03/09/13
Posts: 94

How can you tell the difference between dialects?


My family is Calabrese, so it's really a different dialect, and I can't give you an unbiased opinion. But all of my Sicilian friends tell me DeNiro's annunciation of a Western Sicilian dialect was spot-on.
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#706555 - 03/27/13 09:13 PM Re: Robert De Niro's Italian. [Re: BaltimoreSteel69]
carmela Offline

Underboss
Registered: 08/14/10
Posts: 1973

Loc: NJ
Originally Posted By: BaltimoreSteel69

How can you tell the difference between dialects?


My family is Calabrese, so it's really a different dialect, and I can't give you an unbiased opinion. But all of my Sicilian friends tell me DeNiro's annunciation of a Western Sicilian dialect was spot-on.


Your sicilian friends are in sicily? I'm going to go out on a limb and say no. Then how would they know it's spot on? I don't care who you are, if you are born in the US and speak sicilian, you're speaking it with an american accent and any sicilian (in sicily) can hear that american accent.

All this aside, if you read my previous posts, I wasn't saying his accent was bad. I said he used the WRONG pronoun.


edit: sorry, I see you were actually quoting Pizzaboy in your post (even though you didn't actually quote him). Then I guess my post more pertains to Pizzaboy. lol


Edited by carmela (03/27/13 09:21 PM)
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