Matt LeBlanc Nonantum Lake language

The Lake Language Glossary and Matt LeBlanc

My mom friend Penny grew up in Newton but not in Nonantum and she was the first person who told me about The Lake Language. We box at Nonantum Boxing Club so we had Nate who grew up in Nonantum explain it to us. He said the early residents of Nonantum were gypsies followed by Italians. Words from both languages evolved into The Lake jargon.

The mark of a true, old-school Lake resident is talent for the so-called Lake language – a collection of words and phrases believed to have roots in Romany, a language spoken by Gypsy immigrants from Europe, and brought back to the Lake early this century by local youths who worked for a time with traveling carnivals.

The Romany words mixed with Italian, English, and other street slang of the 1930s and ’40s to produce a lively mix that is one of the strongest links to the Lake’s proud and rough-and-tumble past. from

quister jival [Quis-tah jiv-il] means pretty girl

divia mush [di-vy-ah moosh] is a crazy guy

quister mush is a good, stand-up guy

chor’d means stolen

chabby means young boy

Cuya moi [coo-ya moy] means shut up, or go to hell

“Sarge, mush has a coramunga in his cover!” or, loosely translated, “That guy is carrying a gun!”

Lake language – which is phonetic with no official spellings – is most often mixed with English words to make its meaning clear. For example, “How can you oy [eat] that inga [junk, crap]?” or “This mush is divia” [this guy is crazy] or “That mush has some overshay” [he lies, tells untruths, pronounced ovah-shay].

Nonantum isn’t a big place and you get the sense that everyone knows everybody. True to form, Nate’s uncle grew up with Matt LeBlanc. Will Lake Talk survive? Nate thinks he’s the last of the Mohicans though his kids can joke around in Lake Talk.

Want to understand  Lake Talk? Here are more examples of words and phrases from the Boston Globe .

  • mush (pronounced to rhyme with push) — “guy”, can be positive or negative depending on context
  • wicked pissa, mush!–“extremely awesome, guy”
  • chabby — “boy child”, possibly related to the Romany word chavvie = “boy”
  • chor’d — “stolen”, possibly related to the Romany word choro = “thief”
  • chuccuo — (chu-co) — “donkey”, “horse’s ass”
  • cuya moi — “shut up” or “go to hell”
  • divia (div-ya) — “crazy”, “jerk, screw-up, or harmless screwball”
  • inga — “unattractive” or “bad-tempered person” or “junk” or “crap”
  • jival — “girl”
  • mush has a cormunga in his cover — “guy is hiding a gun”
  • mush is the earie — “the guy is listening”
  • over-chay or overchay (ova-chay) — “it’s a lie” or “he’s an actor”
  • oy — “eat”
  • pissa — “awesome”
  • pukka to the mush — “tell the guy”
  • quister jival (quest-ah dival) — “pretty girl”
  • quister mush (quest-ah mush) — “good, standup guy”
  • shapdude (shup-dude) — “how’s it going?”
  • wonga — “money”
  • geech — “go away”
  • gash — “girly man”
  • jawl — “steal” or “look at”
  • dikki ki dotti — “unreal or unbelievable”
  • minje — “dirty or unattractive woman”
  • suv — “to have sexual relations”
  • corey”– “the male sexual organ”

Matt LeBlanc Nonantum Lake language

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