Learn Sicilian | CCI Buffalo

Centro Culturale Italiano di Buffalo is pleased to announce we are AGAIN offering Sicilian language lessons in the FALL!

Location: 2351 Delaware Ave. Buffalo, NY 14216


To minimize the spread of COVID-19, the CCI is requiring class participants to provide proof of vaccination. If participants are not vaccinated, they must wear a mask for the entire class duration. Please be advised that class rules are subject to change based on Erie County mandates and CDC recommendations. If language lessons must transition to an online format, participants are entitled to a full refund if they do not wish to take the class online. For more information about CCI’s language lessons and COVID, please contact Toni Marie Di Leo at 716-432-9512.


Conversational Sicilian for Beginners: Part 1

This is an introductory class for students who have no experience with the Sicilian Language, or have heard it spoken in the home and wish to rekindle their knowledge of their ancestors' native tongue. 

A Study Guide will be provided to all students, and each will be loaned a copy of Joseph F. Privitera's 'Sicilian Phrasebook and Dictionary' as a reference along with other texts, on-line sources, and videos of speech and songs in Sicilian.  Copies of the phrasebook are also available for purchase in the CCI Gift Shop.

Click the image for a video on the Sicilian Language

Conversational Sicilian for Beginners: Part 2

This is a 'continued' beginners' course, drawing on the references from Part 1, and expanding on the vocabulary, parts of speech, and pronunciation presented therein.  
Completion of Part 1 is required before you may register for Part 2.

Use will be made of videos, in Sicilian, with class discussion and translation of the videos and of selected published essays on Sicilian life. A Part 2 Study Guide will be provided to all students, and each will be loaned a copy of Joseph F. Privitera's 'Sicilian Phrasebook and Dictionary' as a reference.

The goal is to end the semester with a session during which the instructors and students will speak only in Sicilian.

  In presenting the Sicilian Language, instructors Angelo Coniglio and Maria Garozzo-Payne will intersperse lessons with their personal remembrances as Sicilian-speakers, and references to Sicily's rich history, culture, and customs.   Different dialects of the Sicilian Language will also be addressed.

September 2022
Conversational Sicilian Part 1

One-hour classes will be held weekly starting on Monday, September 26, 2022 at 6:00 PM . 

Part 1 Class cost is as follows:
* $120.00 for CCI Members
* $175.00 for non-members

February 2023
Conversational Sicilian Part

Classes will be held at 6:00 PM on Mondays.
Starting date to be announced.




To register:send a check to CCI Buffalo, 2351 Delaware Ave. Buffalo NY 14216. If you have any questions about registration, contact Toni Marie Di Leo at 716-432-9512 or email her at ccibuffalo@gmail.com.

AFTER REGISTERING, please contact instructor Angelo Coniglio and answer the questions listed below.

* What is the ancestral town of your Sicilian forebears?
* Do you speak any Sicilian, and at what level?
* What are your reasons for learning Sicilian?

Email your answers to afconiglio@aol.com, and please include your full name in your response.


In addition to formal Conversational Sicilian language classes,
starting in September 2022, CCI will offer the
Sicilian Discussion Hour

One-hour discussions will be held weekly starting on Saturday, September 24, 2022 at 11 AM.  The hour will be spent informally speaking Sicilian among participants, while discussing Sicilian customs, culture and history. 

Discussion hour cost is as follows:
* $120.00 for CCI Members
* $175.00 for non-members

Meet the Instructors!    

Angelo Felice Coniglio is the youngest son of parents who emigrated from Serradifalco, Sicily in 1913 and 1914. Sicilian is Angelo’s first language, and when he began grammar school, he spoke no English. Angelo is a retired civil engineer who worked concurrently as a professional engineer and adjunct professor at the University of Buffalo School of Engineering for 25 years. Since retiring, Angelo has developed extensive experience in the genealogy of Sicilian immigrants writing genealogy columns in print and digital media and lecturing internationally. Angelo is a volunteer librarian at the Williamsville LDS Church’s Family History Center, and the Director of the genealogy studies program at the CCI GENEALOGY STATION.

To read more about Angelo’s take on the Sicilian language, visit http://www.conigliofamily.com/TheSicilianLanguage.htm.

Angelo also invites the CCI community to check out his historical novella, titled “The Lady of the Wheel,” set in Racalmuto, Sicily in the 1800s. (Copies available in the CCI Gift Shop.)

Email: afconiglio@aol.com


Maria Garozzo-Payne’s grandfather emigrated from Brucoli (Siracuse), Sicily in 1924. Her grandmother emigrated in 1950, and her mother followed in 1955. Maria’s father also emigrated from Catania, Sicily in 1958. Maria grew up in a three-generation household where Sicilian was the primary language, and her grandmother ensured that she never spoke in English to her grandchildren. Maria is a retired public servant of 35 years for the City of Buffalo with a master’s degree in public administration. She most recently worked as a principal accessor for the Department of Assessment and Taxation. Maria’s family still resides in Italy and Sicily, and she travels abroad as much as possible. On her most recent trip to Sicily, Maria was told that people that grew up speaking “Old Sicilian” are national treasures for having preserved the Sicilian language of the 1920s.

Maria currently serves on the CCI Board of Directors, and she has been taking Italian language lessons for several years. “I am very excited to have the opportunity to share my love of the Sicilian language with people who are eager to learn it!”

Email: casapayne@aol.com































































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