Mamma li Turchi!

Excerpt from Wikipedia:

In Italian phrases such as “bestemmia come un Turco” (“he swears like a Turk”) and “puzza come un Turco” (“he stinks like a Turk”) were used often.[2] One of the most infamous Italian phrase (and one much used by headline writers) was “Mamma li Turchi!” (“Mamma the Turks are coming”) this is used to suggest an imminent danger.[3] In addition, Italians regularly use the expression “Fumare come un Turco” (“To smoke like a Turk”).

Yesterday I learnt the phrase “Mamma li Turchi”, but meant as a joke. When running to my Italian Prof. (it is quite hot outside so I usually run from my office to the hangar and back, in order not to be exposed too long to the sun) he gets usually shocked to see me, because he assume that something has happened from my sudden appearance and fast breathing. But it is interesting to me, because I just knew a little about Ottoman history in Italy (except this very nice BBC documentary [part 1] & [part 2]), although I am aware of the Ottomans/Turks in Sicily some centuries ago.

To comment on the phrases: Yes Turks swear for every small thing, way too often and they smoke really a lot, but Italians seem to do it them alike. Stinking? No way! Ok, maybe reek of smok, but not more.

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2 Responses to “Mamma li Turchi!”


  1. 1 saffet ucar August 7, 2007 at 6:30 pm

    adamlar ne kadar korkmus bizimkilerden yav?????

    üstünden kac yüz yil gecmis, hala korkuyorlar :))))

  2. 2 ferramis August 8, 2007 at 10:42 pm

    🙂 Ben bile korkuyorum 🙂 Saka bir yana, bugün Essene vardim. Yarin Bochumda olurum, ama sadece bir kac saatligine.


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