OWN
01/12/2013 08:47 am ET

Staten Island, NY: How To Speak Like A Native

Most people have probably heard the term "the five boroughs" in conversations about New York City. But what they might not know is, the borough of Staten Island, NY has a unique subculture and vernacular all its own.

Elura and Michele, best friends, business partners and Laverne-and-Shirley-esque stars of that new OWN docu-series "Staten Island Law," are corporate lawyers-turned-"mobile mediators." (Basically, they drive around Staten Island and help resolve disputes of all sizes between residents, including their own friends and family!)

As a primer on how one might translate their inimitable terms and phrases, the duo helped us put together this list of Staten Island-isms that natives use:

1. "The island," "the forgotten borough," or "Shaolin": This is how Staten Islanders refer to Staten Island.

2. "He's a little doozie pats": from the Italian tu sei pazzo, which, literally translated, means, "You are crazy." On Staten Island, one who is "doozie pats" is crazy.

3. "She thinks who she is":
One who is a snob.

4. Mommadella: An old Italian lady. Example: "I'm cookin' sauce like a mommadella."

5. Mommie: Term of endearment. For example: Mother to child: "Come here Mommie, and tell Mommy what happened."

6. "But" at the end of a sentence, as in, "I love that new haircut you got but":
(Usually said with no hesitation prior to the "but.") Used thusly, "but" adds emphasis instead of indicating some sort of exception. The statement "I love that new haircut you got but," therefore, does not indicate that something is wrong with the haircut, but rather, that the speaker really likes the haircut.

7. Lemon ices: Any flavor of Italian ices. On Staten Island, you'll find "chocolate lemon ices," "rainbow lemon ices," and "cherry lemon ices"... and none of them are lemon-flavored at all -- except "plain lemon ices."

8. Skeeve: from the Italian term schifoso. It literally means "disgusting," but on Staten Island it's used a verb, as in, "Yuck, I skeeve that!" Derivations include "skeevatz" -- something that is really, really disgusting -- or "skeevioso" (someone who is really disgusting).

9. Ciuccio or "big ciuccio," often pronounced "chooch": Italian slang for a dumb oaf or hardheaded idiot.

10. Cafone, often pronounced "gavone": Someone with no social graces.

Watch the premiere episode of "Staten Island Law" on Saturday, Jan. 12 at 9 p.m. ET on OWN.

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