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Originally appearing in Volume V14, Page 890 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ITALIAN LANGUAGE.1 The Italian language is the language of culture in the whole of the present kingdom of Italy, in some parts of Switzerland (the canton of Ticino and part of the Grisons), in some parts of the Austrian territory (the districts of Trent and Gorz, Istria along with Trieste, and the Dalmatian coast), and in the islands of Corsica2 and Malta. In the Ionian Islands, likewise, in the maritime cities of the Levant, in Egypt, and more particularly in Tunis, this literary language is extensively maintained through the numerous Italian colonies and the ancient traditions of trade. The Italian language has its native seat and living source in Middle Italy, or more precisely Tuscany and indeed Florence. For real linguistic unity is far from existing in Italy; in some respects the variety is less, in others more observable than in other countries which equally boast a political and literary unity. Thus, for example, Italy affords no linguistic contrast so violent as that presented by Great Britain with its English dialects alongside of the Celtic dialects of Ireland, Scotland and Wales, or by France with the French dialects alongside of the Celtic dialects of Brittany, not to speak of the Basque of the Pyrenees I The article by G. I. Ascoli in the 9th edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, which has been recognized as a classic account of the Italian language, was reproduced by him, with slight modifications, in Arch. glott. viii. 98-128. The author proposed to revise his article for the present edition of the Encyclopaedia, but his death on the 21st of January 1907 prevented his carrying out this work, and the task was undertaken by Professor C. Salvioni. In the circumstances it was considered best to confine the revision to bringing Ascoli's article up to date, while preserving its form and main ideas, together with the addition of bibliographical notes, and occasional corrections and substitutions, in order that the results of more recent research might be embodied. The new matter is principally in the form of notes or insertions within square brackets. 2 jln Corsica the present position of Italian as a language of culture is as follows. Italian is only used for preaching In the country churches. In all the other relations of public and civil life (schools, law courts, meetings, newspapers, correspondence, &c.), its place is taken by French. As the elementary schools no longer teach Italian but French, an educated Corsican nowadays knows onl his own dialect for everyday use, and French for public occasions.and other heterogeneous elements. The presence of not a few Slays stretching into the district of Udine (Friuli), of Albanian, Greek and Slav settlers in the southern provinces, with the Catalans of Alghero (Sardinia, v. Arch. glott. ix. 261 et seq.), a few Germans at Monte Rosa and in some corners of Venetia, and a remnant or two of other comparatively modern immigrations is not sufficient to produce any such strong contrast in the conditions of the national speech. But, on the other hand, the Neo-Latin dialects which live on side by side in Italy differ from each other much more markedly than, for example, the English dialects or the Spanish; and it must be added that, in Upper Italy especially, the familiar use of the dialects is tenaciously retained even by the most cultivated classes of the population. In the present rapid sketch of the forms of speech which occur in modern Italy, before considering the Tuscan or Italian par excellence, the language which has come to be the noble organ of modern national culture, it will be convenient to discuss (A) dialects connected in a greater or less degree with Neo-Latin systems that are not peculiar to Italy; 3 (B) dialects which are detached from the true and proper Italian system, but form no integral part of any foreign Neo-Latin system; and (C) dialects which diverge more or less from the true Italian and Tuscan type, but which at the same time can be conjoined with the Tuscan as forming part of a special system of Neo-Latin dialects. A. Dialects which depend in a greater or less degree on Neo-Latin systems not peculiar to Italy. i. Franco-Provencal and Provencal Dialects.—(a) Franco-Provencal (see Ascoli, Arch. glott. di. 61-12o; Suchicr, in Grundriss der romanischen Philologie, 2nd ed., i. 755, &c.; Nigra, Arch. glott. iii. i sqq.; Salvioni, Rendic. istit. lamb., s. ii. vol. xxxvii. 1043 sqq. ; Cerlogne, Dictionnaire die patois valdodtain (Aosta, 1907). These occupy at the present time very limited areas at the extreme north-west of the kingdom of Italy. The system stretches from the borders of Savoy and Valais into the upper basin of the Dora Baltea and into the head-valleys of the Orco, of the northern Stura, and of the Dora Riparia. As this portion is cut off by the Alps from the rest of the system, the type is badly preserved; in the valleys of the Stura and the Dora Riparia, indeed, it is passing away and everywhere yielding to the Piedmontese. The most salient characteristic of the Franco-Provencal is the phonetic phenomenon by which the Latin a, whether as an accented or as an unaccented final, is reduced to a thin vowel (e, i) when it follows a sound which is or has been palatal, but on the contrary is kept intact when it follows a sound of another sort. The following are examples from the Italian side of these Alps: AosTA: travalji, Fr. travailler; zarzi, Fr. charger; enteruzi, Fr. interroger; zevra, Fr. chevre; zit, Fr. cher; gljd4, Fr. glace; vdzze, Fr. vache; alongside of sa, Fr. sel; man, Fr. main; epousa, Fr. epouse; erba, Fr. herbe. VAL. SOANA: talj~r, Fr. tailler; coti-sse, Fr. se coucher; fin, Fr. chien; fivra, Fr. chevre; vatli, Fr. vache; mdngi, Fr. manche; alongside of aldr, Fr. aller; portd, Fr. porte; amara, Fr. amere; neva, Fr. neuve. CHIAMORIO (Val di Lanzo): la spranssi dla vendeta, sperantia de ilia vindicta. VII; pansci, pancia. USSEGLIO: la miiragli, muraille. A morphological characteristic is the preservation of that paradigm which is legitimately traced back to the Latin pluperfect indicative, although possibly it may arise from a fusion of this pluperfect with the imperfect subjunctive (amaram, amarem, alongside of habueram, haberem), having in Franco-Provencal as well as in Provencal and in the continental .Italian dialects in which it will be met with further on (C. 3, b; cf. B. 2) the function of the conditional. VAL SOANA : portdro, portdre, portdret ; portdront ; AOSTA : dvre = Prov. agra, haberet (see Arch. iii. 31 n). The final tin the third persons of this paradigm in the Val Soana dialect is, or was, constant in the whole conjugation, and becomes in its turn a particular characteristic in this section of the Franco-Provencal. VAL SOANA: Bret, Lat. erat; sejt, sit; pertet, porta'vet; portgnt, portdvgnt; CHIAMORIO: jeret, erat; ant dit, habent dictum; bjssount jet, habuissent factum; Viu: che s'minget, Ital. che si mangi: GRAVERE (Val di Susa): at pensd, ha pensato; avdt, habebat; GIAGLIONE (sources of the Dora Riparia) ; macidvont, mangiavano.—From the valleys, where, as has just been said, the type is disappearing, a few examples of what is still genuine Franco-Provencal may be subjoined: Civreri (the name of a mountain between the Stura and the Dora Riparia), which, according to the regular course of evolution, presupposes a Latin Capraria (cf. maneri, maniera, even in the Chiamono dialect) ; farasti (ciarasti), carestia, in the Viu dialect; and fintd, cantare, in that of Usseglio. From CHIAMORIO, li tens, i tempi, and chejches birbes, alcune (qualche) birbe, are worthy of mention on account of the 3 [It may be asked whether we ought not to include under this section the Vegliote dialect (Veglioto), since under this form the Dalmatian dialect (Dalmatico) is spoken in Italy. But it should be remembered that in the present generation the Dalmatian dialect has only been heard as a living language at Veglia.] final s. [In this connexion should also be mentioned the Franco- The Ladin element is clearly observable in the most ancient examples of the dialects of the Venetian estuary (Arch. i. 448-473). The main characteristics by which the Ladin type is determined may be summarized as follows: (I) the guttural of the formulae c+a and g+a passes into a palatal; (2) the 1 of the formulae pl, cl, &c., is preserved; (3) the s of the ancient terminations is preserved; (4) the accented e in position breaks into a diphthong; (5) the accented o in position breaks into a diphthong; (6) the form of the diphthong which comes from short accented o or from the o of position is ue (whence iie, o) ; (7) long accented e and short accented i break into a diphthong, the purest form of which is sounded ei; (8) the accented a tends, within certain limits, to change into e, especially if preceded by a palatal sound; (9) the long accented u is represented by ii. These characteristics are all foreign to true and genuine Italian. earn, carne; spelunca, spelunca; clefs, claves; fuormas, formae; infiern, infernu; ordi, hordeu; mod, modu; plain, plenu; pail, pilu; quael, quale; pur, guru—may be taken as examples from the Upper Engadine (western section of the zone). The following are examples from the central and eastern sections on the Italian versant : a. Central Section.—BAsIN OF THE NocE: examples of the dialect of Fondo: Cavel, capillu; peseador, piscatore; pluvvia, pluvia (plovia); pluma (dial. of Val de Rumo: plovia, plumo); vicla, vetula; Edntes, cantas. The dialects of this basin are disappearing.—BASIN OF THE Avlslo: examples of the dialect of the Val di Fassa: earn, carne; ttiier, cadere (cad-jere); vcita, vacca; fired, furca; gleaia. (gala), ecclesia; oeglje (oeje), oculi; fans, canes; rdmes, rami; teila, tela; neif, nive; coessa, coxa. The dialects of this basin which are farther west than Fassa are gradually being merged in the Veneto-Tridentine dialects.—BASIN OF THE CORDEVOLE: here the district of Livinal-Lungo (Buchenstein) is Austrian politically, and that of Rocca d'Agordo and Laste is Italian. Examples of the dialect of Livinal-Lungo: twit, Ital. caricare; Conte, cantatus; ogle, oculu; Cans, canes; eaveis, capilli; vierm, verme; fiiOc, focu; avei, habere; nei, nive.—BAsIN OF THE BoITE: here the district of Ampezzo (Heiden) is politically' Austrian, that of Oltrechiusa Italian. Examples of the dialect of Ampezzo are Casa, casa; tandera, candela; forces, furcae, pl.; sentes, sentis. It is a decadent form.—UPPER BASIN OF THE PIAVE: dialect of the Comelico: Cesa, casa; ten (can), cane; Calje, caligariu; bos, boves; noevo, novu; loego, locu. b. Eastern Section or Friulian Region.—Here there still exists a flourishing " Ladinity," but at the same time it tends towards Italian, particularly in the want both of the e from a and of the u (and consequently of the d). Examples of the Udine variety: earr, carro; Caval, caballu; eastiel, castellu; forte, furca; clan, claru; glac, glacie; plan, planu; colors, colores; lungs, longi, pl.; devis, debes; vidiel, vitello; fieste, festa; puess, possum; cuett, coctu; udrdi, hordeu.—The most. ancient specimens of the Friulian dialect belong to the 14th century (see Arch. iv. 188 sqq.). B. Dialects which are detached from the true and proper Italian system, but form no integral part of any foreign Neo-Latin system. Provencal colonies of Transalpine origin, Faeto and Celle, in Apulia (v. Morosi, Archivio glottologico, xii. 33-75), the linguistic relations of which are clearly shown by such examples as talij, Ital. tagliare; ban`ij, Ital. bagnare; side by side with Canth, Ital. cantare; lud, Ital. levare.] (b) Provencal (see La Lettura i. 716-717, Romanische Forschungen xxiii. 525-539).Farther south, but still in the same western extremity of Piedmont, phenomena continuous with those of the Maritime Alps supply the means of passing from the Franco-Provencal to the Provencal proper, precisely as the same transition takes place beyond the Cottian Alps in Dauphine almost in the same latitude. On the Italian side of the Cottian and the Maritime Alps the Franco-Provencal and the Provencal are connected with each other by the continuity of the phenomenon C (a pure explosive) from the Latin c before a. At OuLx (sources of the Dora Riparia), which seems, however, to have a rather mixed dialect, there also occurs the important Franco-Provencal phenomenon of the surd interdental (English th in thief) instead of the surd sibilant (for example ithi=Fr. ici). At the same time agii=avuto, takes us to the Provencal. [If, in addition to the Provencal characteristic of which agii is an ex-ample, we consider those characteristics also Provencal, such as the o for a final unaccented, the preservation of the Latin diphthong au, p between vowels preserved as b, we shat' find that they occur, together or separately, in all the Alpine varieties of Piedmont, from the upper valleys of the Dora Riparia and Clusone to the Colle di Tenda. Thus at FENESTRELLE (upper valley of the Clusone) : agu, vengu, Ital. venuto; pauc, Lat. paucu, Ital. poco; aribd (Lat. ripa), Ital. arrivare; truba, Ital. trovare; ciabrin, Ital. capretto: at OuLx (source of the Dora Riparia): agu, vengu; lino gran famino e venuo, Ital. una gran fame e venuta; at GIAGLIONE: auvou, Ital. odo (Lat. audio) ; arribd, resebii, Ital. ricevuto (Lat. recipere) ; at ONCINO (source of the Po): agu, vengu; ero en campagno, Ital. " era in campagna "; donavo, Ital. dava; paure, Lat. pauper, Ital. povero; trubd, ciabri; at SANPEYRE (valley of the Varaita): agu, volgii, Ital. voluto; pressioso, Ital. preziosa; fasio, Ital. faceva; trobar; at ACCEGLIO (valley of the Macra): venghess, Ital. venisse; virro, Ital. ghiera; chesto allegrio, Ital. questa allegria; ero, Ital. era; trobd; at CASTELMAGNO (valley of the Grana): gii, vengu; rabbio, Ital. rabbia; trubar; at VINADIO (valley of the southern Stura); agu, beigii, Ital. bevuto; cadeno, Ital. catena; mango, Ital. manica; Canto, Ital. canta; pau, auvi, Ital. udito; Iabe, Ital. sapete; trobar; at VALDIERI and ROASCHIA (valley„Of the Gesso): purgil, Ital. potuto; pjagii, Ital. piaciuto; corrogu, Ital. corso; pau; arribd, ciabri; at LIMONE (Colle di Tenda): agu, vengu; saber, Ital. sapere; ariibd, trubava. Provenccal also, though of a character rather Transalpine (like that of Dauphine) than native, are the dialects of the Vaudois population above Pinerolo (v. Morosi, Arch. glott. xi. 309-416), and their colonies of Guardia in Calabria (ib. xi. 381-393) and of Neu-Hengstett and Pinache-Serres in Wurttemberg (ib. xi. 393-398). The Vaudois literary language, in which is written the Nobla Leyczon, has, however, no direct connexion with any of the spoken dialects; it is a literary language, and is connected with literary Provencal, the language of the troubadours; see W. Foerster, Gottingische gelehrte Anzeigen (1888) Nos. 20-21.] 2. Ladin Dialects (Ascoli, Arch. glott. i., iv. 342 sqq., vii. 406 sqq.; Gartner, Ratoromanische Grammatik (Heilbronn, 1883), and In Grundriss der romanischen Philologie, 2nd ed., i. 6o8 sqq.; Salvioni, Arch. glott. xvi. 219 sqq.).—The purest of the Ladin dialects occur on the northern versant of the Alps in the Grisons (Switzerland), and they form the western section of the system. To this section also belongs both politically and in the matter of dialect the valley of Munster (Monastero) ; it sends its waters to the Adige, and might indeed consequently be geographically considered Italian, but it slopes towards the north. In the central section of the Ladin zone there are two other valleys which likewise drain into tributaries of the Adige, but are also turned towards the north,—the valleys of the Gardena and Gadera, in which occurs the purest Ladin now extant in the central section. The valleys of Munster, the Gardena and the Gadera may thus be regarded as inter-Alpine, and the question may be left open whether or not they should be included even geographically in Italy. There remain, however, within what are strictly Italian limits, the valleys of the Noce, the Avisio, the Cordevole, and the Boite, and the upper basin of the Piave (Comelico), in which are preserved Ladin dialects, more or less pure, belonging to the central section of the Ladin zone or belt. To Italy belongs, further, the whole eastern section of the zone composed of the Friulian territories. It is by far the most populous, containing about 500,000 inhabitants. The Friulian region is bounded on the north by the Carnic Alps, south by the Adriatic, and west by the eastern rim of the upper basin of the Piave and the Livenza; while on the east it stretches into the eastern versant of the basin of the Isonzo, and, further the ancient dialect of Trieste was itself Ladin (Arch. glott. X. 447 et seq.). The Ladin element is further found in greater or less degree throughout an altogether Cis-Alpine " amphizone," which begins at the western slopes of Monte Rosa, and is to be noticed more particularly in the upper valley of the Ticino and the upper valley of the Liro and of the Mera on the Lombardy versant, and in the Val Fiorentina and central Cadore on the Venetian versant. 1. Here first of all is the extensive system of the dialects usually called Gallo-Italian, although that designation cannot be considered sufficiently distinctive, since it would be equally applicable to the Franco-Provencal (A. I) and the Ladin (A. 2). The system is sub-divided into four great groups—(a) the Ligurian, (b) the Piedmontese, (c) the Lombard and (d) the Emilian—the name furnishing on the whole sufficient indication of the localization and limits.—These groups, considered more particularly in their more pronounced varieties, differ greatly from each other; and, in regard to the Ligurian, it was even denied that it belongs to this system at all (see Arch. ii. 111 sqq.).—Characteristic of the Piedmontese, the Lombard and the Emilian is the continual elision of the unaccented final vowels except a (e.g. Turinese oj, oculu; Milanese vgg, voce; Bolognese vid, Ital. vite), but the Ligurian does not keep them company (e.g. Genoese oggu, oculu ; vote, voce). In the Piedmontese and Emilian there is further a tendency to eliminate the protonic vowels—a tendency much more pronounced in the second of these groups than in the first (e.g. Pied. dne, danaro; vi in, vicino; fnof, finocchio; Bolognese Ord, disperato). This phenomenon involves in large measure that of the prothesis of a; as, e.g. in Piedmontese and Emilian armor, rumore; Emilian alveir, levare, &c. U for the long accented Latin u and o for the short accented Latin o (and even within certain limits the short Latin o of position) are common to the Piedmontese, the Ligurian, the Lombard and the northernmost section of the Emilian: e.g., Turinese, Milanese and Piacentine diir, and Genoese duu, duro; Turinese and Genoese move, Parmigiane mover, and Milanese mof, muovere; Piedmontese dorm, dorme; Milanese volta, volta. Ei for the long accented Latin e and for the short accented Latin i is common to the Piedmontese and the Ligurian, and even extends over a large part of Emilia: e.g.Turinese and Genoese zvei, habere, Bolognese aveir; Turinese and Genoese beive, bibere Bolognese neiv, neve. In Emilia and part of Piedmont ei occurs also in the formulae en, ent, emp; e.g. Bolognese and Modenese beiiz, solameint. In connexion with these examples, there is also the Bolognese feih, Ital. fine, representing the series in which e is derived from an i followed by n, a phenomenon which occurs, to a greater or less extent throughout the Emilian dialects; in them

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