Multimedia5

C. The Stem-Changing Rule in Sicilian


  As we conjugated the verbs jucari and pirciari, you saw how the stem of the verb changed the unstressed u of the Infinitive jucari to o and the unstressed i of pirciari to e. It is a general rule in Sicilian that stressed e and o in words shift to i and u when those vowels are no longer stressed. This affects not only verbs, but also nouns, adjectives and adverbs. For example, in the word veru the e is stressed. Thus words that are derived from veru such as virità or viramenti, which have the stress on different vowels, change the e to i. A similar procedure is followed for words stressed on the vowel o such as volu (flight) which becomes vulàri, vulàta. Here are a few more examples:

  Sòla-sulètta lèttu-littìnu vèntu-vintàgghiu tèsta-tistùni morti-murtali

  Verbs like lèggiri (to read) and sèntiri (to hear), which have a stress on the e, will change the e to i for the first and second persons plural of the Present Tense when that stress shifts to another vowel. Similarly a verb like cògghiri (to pick), which has a stress on the o, will shift to a u in the nui and vui persons of the Presente Tense. The first person of the verbs jucari, sfugari, and allungari, listed before, will be jocu, sfogu and allongu following the same rule.

  There are some verbs that are stressed in two different ways. The shift in the stressed vowel causes the verbs to be written differently: Here are some of them: mòriri / murìri; sèntiri /sintìri, and vèniri /vinìri.

  Observe what happens when we conjugate sèntiri and cògghiri in the Present Tense:

Jo sèntu   Nui sintèmu   Jo cogghiu  Nui cugghiemu
Tu sènti   Vui sintìti   Tu cogghi   Vui cugghiti
Iddu, Idda sènti   Iddi sèntunu   Iddu, Idda cogghi   Iddi cògghiunu
Vossia, Lei sènti   or iddi sèntinu   Vossia, Lei cogghi   or Iddi cògghinu

  The list of verbs that observe this rule is long. It is therefore important to understand the grammatical point so that you can apply it even to words you meet for the first time. Remember that the vowel of the stem of the verbs changes according to the following rules:

If the stem vowel is i, it changes to e as in aspittari-aspettu,
If the stem vowel is u, it changes to o as in allungari- allongu,
If the stem vowel is e as in sèntiri, it changes in i: sintèmu, sintìti,
If the stem vowel is o as in mòriri, it changes to u: murèmu, murìti.

Eserciziu 14: Provide the appropriate form of the Present for these stem-changing verbs: headphone icon
After listening to the answers, use the browser's back arrow to return to the text. Click to hear
the answers
1. Luigi ______ na littra di la zita. (aspittari, to wait)
2. Li carusi ______ lu nvitu pi la festa. (accittari, to accept)
3. Iddi ______ ca vui viniti a la festa. (spirari, to hope)
4. Marìa ______ na bedda torta a la festa. (purtari, to bring)
5. Jo mi ______ la giacca picchì fa càuddu. (livari, to take off)
6. Tu ______ lu puntu dèbbuli. (tuccari, to touch)
7. Iddi ______ pi lu Prisidenti. (vutari, to vote)
8. Jo nun ______ la chiavi di la porta. (truvari, to find)
9. Marisa ______ un travagghiu. (circari, to look for)
10. Mariu nun ______ travagghiari. (vuliri, to want)

Eserciziu 15: React to the following statements and give your advice as in the model.
Remember these are all stem-changing verbs.
headphone icon
After listening to the answers, use the browser's back arrow to return to the text. Click to hear
the answers
Carusi, aspettu ccà nàutri cincu minuti? No, è megghiu nun aspittari.
Boys, shall I wait here for five more minutes?  No, it’s better not to wait.

1. Carusi, accettu lu nvitu di Marìa? 2. Carusi, speru ca vui viniti a la festa. 3. Carusi, portu na torta di puma? 4. Carusi, votu pi li Prisidenti? 5. Carusi, cercu un travagghiu pi Marisa? 6. Carusi, speru ca la situazioni economica cancia. (changes) 7. Carusi, toccu li carti di lu prufissuri. 8. Carusi, vui pusati la paninu supra lu tavulu? (You put) 9. Carusi, allongu nanticchia lu discursu? 10. Carusi, vui liggiti troppu rumanzi! (Too many)