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PalenQ Apr 2nd, 2007 12:43 PM

And the National Language of Italy Is...
Italian of course but was not until the last few days was it deemed the 'official State lanugage of Italy' according to news reports.

The Italian Parliament, i think, passed a law decreeing Italian as the official state language over the protests of some regions who dialects of Italian are apparently different enough from standard Italian (which the news report says is most similar to that spoken in Tuscany) that they dothed protest.

Especially upset was Northern Leaguer types and especially Venetians.

Now my question is is this much ado about nothing or is the variances in dialect significant enough to make this no more than soem bureaucratic move.

Do Venetians have trouble understanding Sicilians for example or Tuscans?

TravMimi Apr 2nd, 2007 12:53 PM

I'm from Tuscany. My mother is from Milano. When her family is speaking in dialect I don't understand much at all. My father is from Sicily. When his family is speaking Sicilian I understand NOTHING. Thankfully we all speak Italian and English so we can understand each other, now and then anyway.

PalenQ Apr 2nd, 2007 12:57 PM

So pretty much all regions speak Italian fluently and they also use their own dialect as their lingua franca?

Interesting - i thought it was about all Italian. Thanks

TravMimi Apr 2nd, 2007 01:07 PM

I'm very glad they have finally done it. In private speak whatever you want, for public use , it's italian. No need to print phone bills in more than one language. US should do it with English.

PalenQ Apr 3rd, 2007 06:08 AM

Prego - would someone like a Sicilian or Venetian kindly write some simple sentence in each language - i'm curious of the difference or is it mainly in the way it's spoken.

just curious about this all and am not doubting the differences!

TravMimi Apr 3rd, 2007 06:18 AM

Palen - This is from my brother. Sicilian - How are you? (comu si senti) Not Bad (unn c'e' mali) Pleased to meet you (piaciri di canuscirui)
This is all I know - Iu unn parru sicilianu (I don't speak sicilian)
It all wouldn't be so bad if it sounded like it's written, but it doesn't lol.
They use a lot of U-s

Kate Apr 3rd, 2007 06:30 AM

I have a little house in Puglia and am desperately learning italian to converse with the locals (not much cause for them to learn English down there, even in the tourist trade).

My gardener speaks Puglianese, but I've notice he switches to 'proper' italian when he speaks to me (and speaks s l o w l y and l o u d l y).

My (Sicilian) italian teacher in London says I'm picking up a Puglianese accent, not that I can tell the difference!

dfr4848 Apr 3rd, 2007 06:55 AM

When taking Italian in college, I had professors from Rome, Milan and Venice. In my experience, and after having been to Italy several times, the differences were more in the pronunciation than in words. The differences in dialetics between Rome and Milan, for ex., were rather pronounced.

Eric_S Apr 3rd, 2007 07:05 AM

Every region in Italy has its own dialect. These are not dialects of standard Italian, but of vulgar Latin. They are quite different from one another, and the differences increase with distance. For example Lombard has very little to do with Sicilian.

Starting from the XIII century one of these dialects, the Florentine, was increasingly adopted by the elites as a lingua franca and literary language, and forms the basis of what is now known as Italian. It was only after around 1950, essentially thanks to television and internal immigration, that Italian become widespread in the general population. Until then most people spoke the regional dialects. In some regions dialects are still holding strong, for example in Veneto and Sicily, especially among older people.

Of course people from different regions also have different accents when speaking italian, but that's another story.

toscoman Apr 6th, 2007 07:47 PM

This is a good one! I don't think it will make much difference in Bozen (Italian: Bolzano, Ladin: Bulsan) where they speak German (as in much of Südtirol/Trentino-Alto Adige). They say if you get into trouble with the law, make sure you get a local lawyer because the judge won't (in all senses) speak Italian.

LoveItaly Apr 6th, 2007 10:45 PM

There is even a difference with residents of the northern region of Veneto..a sort of "sing song" to their speach. I have smiled when in Venice as sometimes I have heard someone speaking and knew they were not from Venice but from the northern area of Veneto.

sheila Apr 7th, 2007 12:50 AM

I understand that Veneziano is a whole other language rather than a dialect.

A bit like Scots.

Girlspytravel Apr 7th, 2007 04:49 AM

Sheila, both Sicilian and Venetian are separate languages from Italian. You do not hear educated Venetians speak "Venexiano."

_jinx_ Apr 7th, 2007 04:31 PM

I thought it was grinning and gesturing with both arms! I get along just fine that way.

Jinx Hoover

easytraveler Apr 7th, 2007 04:46 PM

Ah- hem! After my second glass of Merlot (is that an Italian wine? No matter...) I feel it's time to uncork my opinion:

What are "languages" and what are "dialects" are purely political classifications and, unfortunately, not scholarly linguistic classifications.

You have northern Italian 'dialects" which are closer to Provencal French. But the speakers of Provencal French are going to claim that Provencal is a totally separate "language".

if you say that members of a language family share the same writing, then Chinese, Japanese, and until recently, Vietnamese, belong in the same family - which, obviously they do NOT.

It suits POLITICIANS to say that their own people all speak Italian, or French, or Chinese...nuts to the politicians!

Long life the differences of speech, which adds to the richness of the human experience!

I need another glass of Merlot... :)

TravMimi Apr 7th, 2007 04:48 PM

Glad that last post was in English.

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