Minoritized Italian languages

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Itikar
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Re: Minoritized Italian languages

Postby Itikar » 2014-08-02, 22:35

I have decided to recapitulate in one single post the main points of the discussion. In this way I think Saim or others can continue the discussion without having to read several pages of posts minced in microquotes.

So, Saim, let's see where we had gotten to.

I am an Italian hobby language learner worried for the fate of all the languages spoken in Italy; a concern shared with several other fellow countrymen of mine.

This preamble is necessary in order to make clear that I have no solution myself. If I had one I would not be discussing it here, I would instead be pushing it into practice within my possibilities.

Therefore I have not "to discuss some sort of objective facts" or to find "one example of one society anywhere" in order to convince someone on the viability of a particular solution of mine.

On the contrary, Saim, I see that you have tried to convince me and others of the viability of yours. Although I don't remember having ever asked you an opinion about the endangered languages of Italy I do appreciate that you seem somewhat to care.

Several pages ago in fact I pointed out to you some issues I found problematic in your proposals related to their applicability to the majority of the vernaculars of Italy in general, and to the most critically endangered ones in particular. These points were:

a)At present the most endangered vernaculars are paradoxically those closer to literary Italian. Precisely Central Italian vernaculars, of which some are virtually extinct while other have been so deeply Italianised that they are all but the shadow of what they were. This point is particular important also for all the other Romance vernaculars spoken here, because while Milanese or Sicilian are much more different from literary mediatic Italian than Romanesque their social dynamics are almost identical. Therefore if you find a viable way to save Romanesque, Perugino or Leghornese, that same method could be used to save Mantuan, Lucanian, Barese or Bergamasque. Any idea how?

b)Literary Italian is perceived by many of the peoples living in the geographical region called Italy as a language which is to some degree part of their identity, regardless whether or how they speak it. When the Piedmontese annexed the rest of the Italian states in this regard they found the job already done three or four centuries before. They needed only to create an Italian ethnicity by wiping out the various vernaculars. They had to force themselves to use Italian instead of French, but it seems that thirst of power is a great motivator. These reflections however are of little consolation; their only purpouse is to highlight that a complete removal of literary Italian from most places is hardly feasible, although its presence can certainly be reduced. Neither it is not realistic to think that literary Italian can be "reethnicised", since Tuscans themselves perceive it as only relatively distantly related to their vernaculars, which, as explained in point a, are themselves definitely endangered. Therefore a "reethnicisation" could likely be detrimental from the perspective of preserving the language diversity. Despite your strange ideas about exceptionalism I don't think that similar situations are particularly special or unheard of. In fact in Italy itself many, including myself, have the same feeling toward Latin, which has had great importance as a language until few decades ago among educated Italians. If asked who is the greatest Mantuan literary figure many educated Mantuans would probably answer Vergil. Beyond Italy I believe that it is unlikely to think that a removal and reethnicisation of High German and Arabic would be a feasible way to prevent the extinction of Low German and Mehri respectively. Have you got a way to save our "minoritised" languages without eliminating Italian completely?

c)The third and last point, though connected with the other two, is of exquisitely political nature: I find that identifiying a single people with a single language with a single political entity can, although not always and inevitably, lead to very dangerous consequences, in particular in countries, like Italy, where the issue of identity is an extremely delicate matter. What I've witnessed happening in these years makes particularly worried. I refer in particular to the conflicts in former Jugoslavija, former Soviet Union, Palestine, Kurdistan and, fresh from the news of today, China. On top of this add that I know from first-hand sources, the members of my family, that my country has already paid in the past a very high price in blood for the horrors unleashed by nationalism and irredentism. I think that you should make pretty clear how and why you proposals do not present the risk of degenerating in this sort of unpleasant consequences.

As an addendum to these three point I would like to analyse the point of prescriptivism vs. descriptivism that seems to bother you so much. Italy hasn't a real tradition of descriptivism, there have been some guys, even important figures, who argued about the opportunity of expressing freely without the constraints of grammarians, but they remained, and continue to remain, isolated. I don't want to go too deep into this because, as you rightly pointed out, it would really deserve another discussion to be examined thoroughly, so I will limit myself only to the points related with minority languages. In short here the majority of people fits in different kind prescriptivist attitudes, which range from senseless and intransigent to classicist and relatively tolerant. Apart from arguing with other prescriptivists that it isn't bad Italian to say "c'è delle persone" and other similar stuff, what matters, for the kind of prescriptivism I identify myself with, is the respect and the continuation of the tradition. This aspect is instrinsecally interconnected with my desire to see the language diversity of Italy preserved. If I let it go on it I would probably stop to care also for the vernaculars of Italy or Italian itself, focusing on more cosmopolitan languages such as English, Russian, Mandarin, Esperanto, etc. This attitude of mine isn't going to change because of a foreigner's opinion, but I thought I had to explain it better.

I can sum it up saying that I won't change the way I speak from childhood because some morons in the media think that their way of expressing represents the one and only evolution of the language while every other variant, or especially the employ of the vernaculars, is backward and provincial. I beg to differ.

Now, going back to my points, I have to sadly note that so far you haven't answered them yet.

Not only you didn't do that, but you mingled in your answers a pretty good deal of insults and culture bashing, avoiding to address the flaws I pointed you out and even denying the reality and branding it as "a ridiculous exaggeration".

On top of this you have never been able to discuss the vernaculars of Italy, neither in this discussion nor in others, without mentioning gross inaccuracies which haven't done any good to your arguments apart from decreasing your own credibility. The most memorable ones:
-Over the La Spezia-Rimini line plurals of nouns are formed by adding an -s.
-Florence has not a dialect.
-Badiot Ladin sounds like an average Gallo-Italic language.

I fear that I have been feeding these tendencies of yours with my occasional hyperbolic style; therefore as you can see if you have read till here I have tried to abstain from hyperboles and sharp comments as much as possible. This also means that I won't tolerate any further insult or culture bashing. Write another one of them and this discussion is over.

On the contrary if you have proposals and ideas about the three points above they'll be welcome.

At present I think that unless I see something more interesting or promising I will consider a possible way to save several vernaculars of Italy the adoption of a language policy similar to those of the Ladin valleys of the Italian autonomous region Trentino-Alto Adige, and of Malta.

Both the statistics and my direct experience suggest me that they are more suited to my area.
Fletto i muscoli e sono nel vuoto!
All corrections are welcome and appreciated.

IpseDixit

Re: Minoritized Italian languages

Postby IpseDixit » 2014-08-04, 23:14

Non penso che mi ri-immetterò in questa discussione anche perché ne ho perso il filo molto tempo fa (ti ringrazio comunque per il riassunto), volevo però dire che il fatto che il badiotto gli sembrasse una lingua gallo-italica alla fine è un'opinione personale, non ci vedo nulla di male. A molte persone il portoghese sembra una lingua slava...

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Itikar
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Re: Minoritized Italian languages

Postby Itikar » 2014-08-05, 14:28

Naturalmente è un'opinione personale.

Considera però che le lingue gallo-italiche hanno:
a)vocali arrotondate (tranne il romagnolo e alcuni dialetti emiliani)
b)assenza di plurali in -s
c)/(t)si/ e /(t)se/ al posto delle palatali come in ladino e in italiano.

Dunque se mi dici che il badiotto ti suona come un "run-of-the-mill Gallo-Italic language", per me vuol dire che il suono del gallo-italico nell'orecchio proprio non ce l'hai.
Fletto i muscoli e sono nel vuoto!
All corrections are welcome and appreciated.

IpseDixit

Re: Minoritized Italian languages

Postby IpseDixit » 2014-08-05, 23:49

Capisco il tuo punto di vista... io non ho per niente presente le lingue gallo-italiche, quindi quello che disse non mi fece nessuno scalpore...


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