Linguistic/National Question

In what countries is the language spoken in the capital different from the language spoken by the majority of people in the rest of the country? As you can see, there is more than one country where this is the case.

Some cases from the past include

Austria-Hungary, where the capital Vienna spoke High German but most of the people spoke Czech, Slovak, Venetian, Slovenian, or Serbo-Croatian.

In Ireland, before English became popular in the early 1800’s, most people around the capital spoke English, while the majority of the population spoke Irish.

I found nine countries, two in Europe, two in Southeast Asia, two in South Asia, one in Oceania, one in the Caribbean, and one in Africa.

Hop to it!

Check Out Siculo Gallo-Italic

[youtube=] These are fascinating Romance dialects spoken in Sicily. The are called the Gallo-Italic dialects of Sicily. Some of them are also found in other parts of Italy, mostly in the far south in Basilicata. Gallo-Italic languages are spoken in far north of Italy and are so called because there is heavy French influence on these Italian varieties. They include Venetian, East and West Lombard, Piedmontese, Ligurian, Emilian and Romagnolo. In the 1100’s and 1200’s, Sicily was ruled by Norman rulers from the north of France. They had conquered much of Italy, and were in control of parts of the north also. In order perhaps to consolidate their rule in Sicily, which they had just conquered, they sent some Norman soldiers to Sicily to help populate the region and set up Norman outposts there. These were mostly soldiers from the southern Piedmont (Monferrate)  and Ligurian (Oltregiogo) regions of Italy and from the Provencal area in the south of France. There were also a few from the Lombard region and other parts of northern Italy. They went down there with their families and formed a number of settlements in Sicily and a few other places in Italy. Over the next 800 years, their Gallo-Italic language came under heavy influence of varieties of Sicilian in Sicily, Basilicatan in Basilicata and other languages in other parts of Italy. Yet the heavy Gallo-Italic nature of their lects remains to this day and Sicilian speakers of surrounding villages find Gallo-Italic speakers impossible to understand. The dialects have tended to die out somewhat in the past 100 years. Villagers were tired of speaking a language that could not be understood outside the village and increasingly shifted to the Sicilian language. A situation of bilingualism in Gallo-Italic and Sicilian developed. Over time, this became trilingualism as children learned Standard Italian in school. Gallo-Italic was used inside the village itself, and Sicilian was used for communication with outsiders. Whether or not Gallo-Italic lects in different parts of Sicily can understand each other is not known, but they have all undergone independent paths of development over 800 years or so. The same is also an up in the air question about Basilicatan Gallo-Italic and Gallo-Italic settlements in other parts of the country. This is an interesting question in need of linguistic research. In this 1 1/2 minute video, I am not sure if I understood a single word he said. The language he is speaking sounds like a mixture of Provencal Piedmontese with a heavy dose of Sicilian. Sicilian itself is so odd that a Sicilian speaker can barely be understood at all outside of Sicily. It has at least 250,000 words, 25

How Learning One Language Well Helps You Learn Others

Repost from the old site. In the comments, the ever-perceptive dano notes:

dano: The thing is, I’ve found that once you learn to speak a European language, and particularly a Latin-based one, you see similarities in many words across the board and a rough kind of pattern emerges, making it easier to learn more languages.

Dano is correct – once you learn one Romance language, you can learn others. Also, the better you know English, the more easily you can learn a Romance language because so many English words have Latin roots. I also have knowledge of Proto Indo-European, so I can see roots that go back even farther back than Latin. It helps to learn Greek and Latin roots in English. That way you can pick up more English words that you don’t know just by figuring out roots. Also it helps a lot with Romance languages. Let’s try a little experiment. I know English very well, including many obscure terms, and I am familiar with many Latin roots. I know Spanish pretty well. I know a tiny bit of French and know a few words in Indo-European. With that knowledge, let us see how far that will get me in Venetian, a language I had never heard of before, and Italian, a language I have never been able to make heads or tails of. Comparison of Venetian and Italian with English, Spanish, French and Indo-European Venetian grasa, Spanish “grasa”, English “gross” fat, corpulent Venetian can, Indo-European “kuon”, French “chien”, English “canine”, “hound”, dog Venetian çena, Spanish “cena”, dinner Venetian scóła, Spanish “escuela”, English “school” Venetian bała, Spanish “bala”, English “ball” Venetian pena, English “pen” Venetian bìsi, English “peas” Venetian diałeto, Spanish “dialecto “, English “dialect” Venetian sgnape, English “schnapps” Venetian scóndar, Spanish “esconder”, English, “abscond”, to hide, to depart rapidly to avoid persecution Venetian baxar, Spanish “besar”, English “buss”, to kiss, kiss Venetian dormir, Spanish “dormir”, English “dormitory”, to sleep Venetian pàre, Spanish “padre”, English “patrilineal”, father, in the father’s family line Venetian parlar, French “parler”, English “parlance”, to speak, way of speaking Venetian scusàr, Spanish “excusar”, English “to excuse”, to forgive Venetian aver, Spanish “haber”, English “to have,” to possess Venetian essar, Spanish “estar”, to be, English “essence,” essential quality of a thing Venetian sentir, Spanish “sentir”, English, “sentiments”, to feel, feelings Venetian venir, Spanish “venir”, to come Venetian cantar, Spanish “cantar”, English “cantata”, to sing, song, “canto,” a type of lyric poetry, Venetian vaca, Spanish “vaca”, cow Venetian vardar, Spanish “guardar”, English “to guard”, to look, to guard Venetian sghiràt, English “squirrel” Venetian récia, Spanish “orecha,” English “ear” Venetian plàstega, Spanish “plastica”, English “plastic” Italian forchetta, English “fork” Italian ratto, Spanish “raton”, English “rat” Italian pipistrello, English “pipistrelle”, bat, a type of bat Italian asino, English “ass”, donkey Venetian mustaci, English “mustache” Italian io, Spanish “yo”, English “I” Venetian mare, Spanish “madre”, mother, English “matriarchal”, rule by women Italian uscita, English, “exit” Venetian fiól, English “filial”, son, relating to a son or daughter Italian quando, Spanish “cuando”, when Venetian cascàr, English “cascade”, to fall, waterfall Venetian trón, English “throne,” chair, king’s chair Venetian bèver, Spanish “beber”, English “to imbibe”, to drink Venetian trincàr, English “to drink” Venetian òcio, Spanish “ojo”, English “ocular”, eye, of the eye Venetian morsegàr, English “morsel”, to bite, a bite Venetian nome, Spanish “nombre”, English “name” Venetian solo, Spanish “solo”, English “solo”, only, alone Venetian grande, Spanish “grande”, English “grand” big, great Italian piccante, Spanish “picante”, English “piquant”, spicy hot Venetian cale, Spanish “calle,” street Venetian łéngua, Spanish “lengua”, English “language” Venetian senpre, Spanish “siempre”, always Venetian mar, Spanish “mar”, English “maritime”, sea, of the sea Venetian nostre, Spanish “nuestro”, our Venetian vite, Spanish “vida”, English, “vital”, life, living Venetian virtuosi, Spanish “virtuoso”, English “virtuous” Venetian serae, Spanish “seria”, would be Venetian spirito, Spanish “espiritu”, English “spirit”, ghost, spirit Venetian segura, Spanish “seguro”, English “secure”, safety, safe Venetian robar, Spanish “robar”, English “to rob”, to loot, to steal Venetian mal, Spanish “mal”, English “malevolent”, bad, evil-minded As we can see, there is a huge amount of similarity between Venetian, an obscure language I had never heard of, and Spanish and English. Even the frightening Italian has quite a few Spanish and English cognates. Learning one foreign language, or even learning your own language very well, really does help you to learn even more languages so much more easily. Go ahead and give it a shot!

A Look At the Venetian and Friulian Languages

Repost from the old site. Here we will compare Friulian and Venetian with Italian. The Friulian language is spoken in northeastern Italy. Among Friulian speakers, the language is affectionately known as Marilenghe and is best known from the Udine, the main town of the Friulian zone. It has 794,000 speakers and is in pretty good shape. There is a close relationship with Ladin and Romansch. Most speakers also speak Standard Italian. In regions of Slovenia bordering Friuli, almost everyone speaks Friulian as a second or third language. Friulian is closer to French than to Italian. legal status of Friulian and feels that it is lacking, although a landmark law was passed in Italy in 1999. This law was very controversial, and public opinion in Italy continues to be that regional languages should all give way to Italian. Venetian is said to be a dialect of the Italian language, but it is actually a completely separate language related more to French than Italian. It is spoken mostly in northeastern Italy in Venice, Trieste and other areas by 2,280,387 people, but the number may actually be up to 3 million. ethnic nationalist myths have arisen – that Northern Italians are Celtic (more White) and that Venetian is some kind of Celtic language. There was a Celtic language spoken in the area some 1,800 years ago, but it has not left much trace on the languages of today. North Italians are not Celtic and Venetian has no relation to Celtic. Venetian is close to the northern Italian languages Piedmontese, refer to such a mindset as “that of the Roman Empire” and those who promote it as fascists. My English translation is a free literary translation and is not literal or word for word at all. It translates the text into the best possible literary English. Central (Udine) Friulian Copiis Il puar biāt al ą copiāt il Siōr par dīj: “O soi come tč”: ma il Siōr nol ą copiāt. Magari chel biāt j ą vuadagnāt, ma i fīs, daspņ, cetant ąno pajāt no savint jéssi sé? Il lōr destin al č, savéso quāl? Copie de brute copie origjnāl! Eastern/Coastal (Triestino) Venetian Copie Il sempio il gą copią il Sior par dir “Mi son come ti” ma il Sior no’l gą copią. Forsi quel sempio xč divegnudo sior, ma i fioi, dopo, quanto i gą pagą par non saver come xe stado? Savč vł qual xč il loro destin? copie dela bruta copia original! Notes: Both Friulian and Venetian are structurally separate languages. It’s very difficult to write in Friulian, and very few people know how to do it properly. Venetian is easier to write, and more speakers are able to write it. Friulian ā is a long a. Venetian x is the same as English z Venetian ł resembles the “lh” sound. This sound does not occur in English. Standard Italian Il poveretto voleva copiare il Signore per dire: “Io sono come te’, ma il Signore non ha copiato. Forse quel poveretto ha guadagnato ma i figli, dopo, quanto hanno pagato non sapendo cosa ? Sapete qual’č il loro destino? Essere copia dell’originale brutta copia! Notes:  Poveretto: povero di mente: simpleminded fellow. Signore: educated, gentleman. Guadagnato: learned something, got wiser. Pagato: to pay in a moral, education way, to “learn your lesson.” English The simple man tried to copy the gentleman so he could say, “I’m just like you”, but the gentleman could not be copied. Now, maybe that simple man learned a thing or two, but how much would his sons, later on, have to pay for not knowing a thing? The sons’ destiny? To be a copy of the original rude copy.

Virgilio Giotti, Triestine Venetian Poet

Repost from the old site. Let’s take a look again at Triestine Venetian. Virgilio Giotti was a famous poet who wrote in Triestine Venetian. He was born in 1885 in Trieste, a child of Riccardo Schonbeck and Emilia Ghiotto. He died in Trieste in 1957. He is considered to be the most important Triestine Venetian author. For this, he was honored in 1957 by the Accademia dei Lincei. Highly-regarded critics such Mario Fubini, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Gianfranco Contini, Cesare Segre and Franco Brevini enthusiastically described Virgilio Giotti as one of the most important Italian writers in Italian “dialects” of the 1900’s. From 1907 to 1919 he lived in Firenze. In 1912, he met Nina Schekotoff, a Russian from Moscow, the only woman he ever loved. In Tuscany, she bore him three children – Natalia, (Tanda), Paolo and Franco. Sons Paolo and Franco both died in Russia during World War 2. Giotti first book was Piccolo Canzoniere in Dialetto Triestino, published in Florence in 1914. He became famous in 1937, when the great critic Pietro Pancrazi, in a review in Corriere Della Sera pointed out the anti-dialectal character of Giotti: his poetry was described as écriture d’artiste (literary writing) or patois de l’ame (the language of love). Pancrazi described Giotti as a poet who wrote mainly in dialect, but he differed from the usual poetry of Italian “dialects” that was often folkloric, standardized, generic, etc. Giotti spoke Tuscan Italian as his principal language, and he considered Triestine Venetian as “the language of the poetry” only – that it only had a literary and cultural value, but was not useful beyond that. Giotti’s Triestine Venetian lexicon was impoverished and full of simple words, with only a very sparse use of idioms. Giotti’s Trieste was far from the Trieste of Svevo, Saba and other writers: there’s no Port wine, no psychoanalysis and no Mitteleuropa. Giotti’s world is one of sensations, little places, family and friends, the arcana of quotidian existence. He was a romantic poet of everyday life. Let’s look at one of Giotti’s poems, With Bolàffio, in classic Triestine Venetian, then in modern Triestine Venetian, then in an Italian translation by Antonio Guerra (Italian language link) or Tonino Guerra (a famous Italian screenwriter), (Italian language link) and finally I will try to translate it into literary English. If you think you can do a better job of translating this into nice poetic English, even a line or two, give it a shot. This translation stuff is kind of fun! Con Bolàffio Virgilio Giotti Classic Triestine Venetian Mi e Bolàffio, de fazza un de l’altro, col bianco tavoja de la tovàia in mezo, su i goti e el fiasco in fianco, parlemo insieme. Bolàffio de ‘na piazza de Gorìzia el me conta, ch’el voria piturarla: ‘na granda piazza sconta, che nissun passa. Do tre casete atorno rosa, un fiatin de muro, un pissador de fero vècio stravècio, e el scuro de do alboroni. Xe squasi mezogiorno E un omo, vignù fora de là, se giusta pian pian, e el se incanta sora pensier. Bolàffio in ‘sta su piazza bela, noi, poeti e pitori, stemo ben. La xe fata pròpio pai nostri cuori, caro Bolàffio. In quel bel sol, in quela pase, se ga incontrado i nostri veci cuori; là i se ga saludado stassera alegri. Con Bolàffio Virgilio Giotti Modern Triestine Venetian Mi e Bolàffio, de muso un co’ l’altro, col bianco tavoja dela tovaia in mezo, su i calici e il fiasco de fianco parlemo insieme. Bolaffio, de ‘na piazza de Gorizia il me conta ch’el voleria piturarla ‘na grande piazza sconta che nessun passa Do tre casete atorno rosa, un fiatin de muro un pisador de fero vecio stravecio, e il scuro de do alberoni Xe quasi mezogiorno E un omo, vignù fora de là, se giusta pian pian, e il se incanta sora pensier. Bolàffio in ‘sta sua piaza bela noi, poeti e pìtori stemo ben. La xe fata proprio pei nostri cuori caro Bolaffio In quel bel sol, in quela pase, se ga incontrado i nostri veci cuori; là i se ga saludado stasera alegri Con Bolàffio Virgilio Giotti Italian translation by Antonia Guerra Io e Bolaffio, l’uno di fronte all’altro, col bianco della tovaglia in mezzo, i bicchieri alzati e accanto il fiasco, parliamo insieme. Bolaffio mi racconta di una piazza di Gorizia, che vorrebbe dipingerla: una grande piazza nascosta, dove nessuno passa. Due tre casette intorno, rosa, un poco di muro, un pisciatoio di ferro, vecchio stravecchio, e lo scuro di due alberoni. È quasi mezzogiorno. E un uomo, venuto fuori di lì, si mette a posto pian piano, s’incanta sopra pensiero. Bolaffio, in questa sua piazza bella, noi, poeti e pittori, stiamo bene. È fatta proprio per i nostri cuori, caro Bolaffio. In quel bel sole, in quella pace, si sono incontrati i nostri vecchi cuori; là si sono salutati stasera, allegri. With Bolàffio Virgilio Giotti English translation by Robert Lindsay Bolaffio and I, face To face, sitting down At a table dressed in white In the middle Picking up the wineglasses and a bottle nearby Together we’re talking Bolaffio is telling me He would like to draw A picture of a square in Gorizia It’s a big hidden square Nobody is walking through 2 or 3 small houses around Rose-colored, a small wall An iron pissoir* Very old, and the dark shadows From a couple of trees It’s around noon And a man came out Of that pissoir Slowly, he buttons up his pants And he stops himself No thoughts in his head Bolaffio In his nice square We, painters and poets We feel good here It was created just for our hearts Dear Bolaffio In this nice sunshine, In this Peace, our old hearts Have met each other And tonight They’re enjoying each other *pissing place= Vespasiano, where to piss My friend Paolo describes Giotti’s language as the old “Modern” Triestine Venetian.


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