Nonantum, Massachusetts facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Nonantum, Massachusetts
Village
Coletti-Magni Park
Coletti-Magni Park
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Middlesex
City Newton
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)

Nonantum (from a Native American Algonquian word meaning "blessing or prayer") is one of the thirteen villages of Newton, Massachusetts, also known as Silver Lake or The Lake. The lake in question was filled with construction rubble and built over from the 1930s until its total demise in 1971. The neighborhood kids cleared the snow each winter and played hockey on it through the 1950s. The village is one of the centers of Italian population in Newton. The commercial area has numerous restaurants and food establishments featuring Italian cuisine.

Nonantum figures in early Massachusetts history as the home of Waban, one of the first Native Americans in Massachusetts to convert to Christianity. He had been taught by John Eliot.

Lake Talk

Lake Talk is a topolect or cant, spoken particularly among older Italian-American residents. The origins of Lake Talk are unclear. A 2001 article in the Boston Globe speculated that it is a blend of Italian and some World War II code, but others have seen similarities to Angloromani or Italian Romany slang. Many people in the village are descendants of natives of San Donato Val di Comino, Italy.

According to the article, examples of words and phrases in Lake Talk include:

  • mush (pronounced to rhyme with push) -- "guy" or "man", can be positive or negative depending on context
  • wicked pissa, mush!--"extremely awesome, man"
  • 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, also pronounced as "chew-ch") -- "donkey", "horse's ass"
  • cuya moi -- "shut up" or "go to hell"
  • divia (div-ya) -- "crazy", "jerk, screw-up, or harmless screwball," can be used as a noun or an adjective: "The mush is a real divya," or "This mush is divya"
  • inga -- "unattractive" or "bad-tempered person" or "junk" or "crap"
  • jival -- "chick" or "woman", female version of mush
  • 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." Directly translates as "overkill." Better defined as exaggeration or equivocation
  • oy -- "eat"
  • pissa -- "awesome"
  • pukka to the mush -- "tell the guy"
  • quister jival (quest-ah jival) -- "pretty woman"
  • quister (also pronounced as "quish-ta") meaning awesome, good, beautiful
  • quister mush (quest-ah mush) -- "good, standup guy"
  • shapdude (shup-dude) -- "how's it going?"
  • wonga -- "money," "That mush has a lotta' wonga"
  • geech -- "go away"
  • gash -- "feminine 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"

Former Massachusetts State Auditor Joe DeNucci, a Nonantum native, told the Globe:

You talk the Lake language and only people from there can understand you. An awful lot of what it means is how you say it and how you use it. You improvise a lot, mixing it with carnival talk and bebop.
"Mush is the earie." That means "The guy is listening."

Lake talk is not confined to the neighborhood. Nonantum students have spread it to Newton North High School, which serves the area.


Nonantum, Massachusetts Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.