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Giuseppe Di Stefano, born in 1936 in Enna, used to be professor of French at McGill University in Montreal. He's known as a great specialist of Middle French. He's the author of the Dictionnaire des locutions en moyen français. In it, there are two citations, one before the foreword that reads :

Chiddu ca fù fu

facimu finta ca chioppi e scampau

The other can be found before the bibliography at the end of the dictionary :

Cui avi cchiù sali conza la 'nzalata

cui veni appressu cunta li pidati

There's no further information about those two sentences. Di Stefano is from Enna so my guess is this is Sicilian. Any idea of what it means and where it's from?

I see now that the question might go against a site policy on Italian dialects or languages such as Sicilian. Let me specify it further. The quotes are made by a top-notch academic in a scientific work, the second edition of which was published in 2015 by Brepols, a well-known Belgian academic publisher. So it's not the I-overheard-somebody-on-the-fishmarket-in-Catana-what-does-it-mean-please? scenario. I could well imagine the same quotes appearing in a book by this author published in Italy. Would educated readers be expected to understand the quotes (which look like proverbs by the way) or would their meaning be totally opaque to them?

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    Welcome to Italian.SE! Yes, it seems that it's Sicilian, so I don't think it's on-topic here. – Charo Aug 12 '19 at 14:31
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    I would say that "Chiddu ca fù fu" corresponds to Italian "Quello che fu, fu" ("What was, was" in the sense of something that happened in the past cannot be changed anymore), but I don't understand why the first "fù" is with accent, whereas the second one is without accent. – Charo Aug 13 '19 at 8:48
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    It seems that you can find it also in the form "chiddu chi fu, fu" or "chiddu chi fù, fù" (probably due to regional differences). – Charo Aug 13 '19 at 11:07
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    As for the other ones, this is my guess about what they mean in Italian: "Facciamo finta che piovve e spiovve" (maybe "spiovve" is not the best translation, the meaning of Catalan verb "escampar" is that sky became clear again, without clouds, and I imagine that this Sicilian verb means more or less the same thing). In English, it would be more or less "Let's pretend that it has rained and then sky became clear again". – Charo Aug 13 '19 at 12:35
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    "Chi ha più sale condisce la insalata", that in English would be more or less "Who has more salt must dress the salad". "Chi viene appresso conta le pedate", that in English would be more or less "Who goes behind the others must count the footprints". – Charo Aug 13 '19 at 12:35
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I am going to answer the part of the question that is on topic: would an educated Italian (not from Sicily) understand these quotes?

In this case the answer is an unambiguous no. I dare to consider myself an educated Italian, and I can understand easily many archaic and difficult texts, but I haven't the faintest idea of what those sentences mean. Presumably someone originally from a closer geographic area (I'm from Venice) would have an easier time of it.

This is not at all uncommon: political definitions aside, the various regional languages of Italy (Sicilian, Neapolitan, Sardinian, Venetian, Milanese, Friulan...) are for all intents and purposes different languages, not more strictly related to Italian than, say, Spanish or French. Of course the closer one goes to Florence and Tuscany, the closer the languages are (and there is a somewhat special case for Roman), but according to Martin Maiden's A Linguistic History of Italian there are scant few linguistic features that characterize the Italo-Romance languages among Romance languages, to the point that in many ways it is more of a Sprachbund inside the Romance family rather than a subfamily in its own right.

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I'm not Sicilian, I'm not even Italian, but the meaning of these sentences doesn't look so totally opaque to me. Maybe the reasons are that I know several Romance languages (Catalan, Spanish, Italian and French) and that some years ago I read many books by Andrea Camilleri. Anyway, the following explanations are only a guess, so it may be that I am wrong about some details or nuances.

  • I would say that "Chiddu ca fù fu" corresponds to Italian "Quello che fu, fu" ("What was, was" in the sense of something that happened in the past cannot be changed anymore), but I don't understand why the first "fù" is with accent, whereas the second one is without accent. It seems that you can find it also in the form "chiddu chi fu, fu" or "chiddu chi fù, fù" (probably due to regional differences).

  • "Facimu finta ca chioppi e scampau" would correspond to Italian "Facciamo finta che piovve e spiovve" (maybe "spiovve" is not the best translation, the meaning of Catalan verb "escampar" is that sky becomes clear again, without clouds, and I imagine that this Sicilian verb means more or less the same thing). In English, it would be more or less "Let's pretend that it has rained and then sky became clear again".

  • "Cui avi cchiù sali conza la 'nzalata" would be "Chi ha più sale condisce la insalata" in Italian, that in English would more or less translate as "Who has more salt must dress the salad".

  • "Cui veni appressu cunta li pidati" would correspond to Italian "Chi viene appresso conta le pedate", that in English would be more or less "Who goes behind the others must count the footprints".

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  • Much appreciated, thanks again ! – grandtout Aug 13 '19 at 15:43

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