1902 Encyclopedia > Italy > The Italian Language - Franco-Provençal Dialects; Ladin Dialects

(Part 41)


The Italian Language

A. Dialects which depend in a greater or less degree on Neo-Latin systems not peculiar to Italy.

1. Franco-Provençal Dialects (see Archivio Glottologico, iii. 61-120). —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 Oreo, 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-Provençal is the phonetic pheno-menon by which the Latin a, whether as an accented or as an unac-cented 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 versant of these Alps : —AOSTA : travalji, Fr. travailler ; zarii, Fr. chercher ; enteruii, Fr. interroger; zevra, Fr. chèvre; zir, Fr. cher; gljdçç, Fr. glace; vdzze, Fr. vache f alongside of sa, Fr. sel; mail, Fr. main ; epôusa, Fr. épouse ; erba, Fr. herbe. VAL SOANA : taljér, Fr. tailler ; coci-sse, Fr. se coucher ; cin, Fr. chien ; civra, Fr. chèvre; voici, Fr. vache ; mângi, Fr. manche ; alongside of alar, Fr. aller ; porta, Fr. porté ; amdra, Fr. amère ; néva, Fr. neuve. CHIAMORIO (Val di Lanzo) : la spranssi dla vendeta, sperantia de ilia vindicta. Vrc : pansci, pancia. USSEGLIO: la miiragli, muraille. —A morphological characteristic is the preservation of that para-digm which is legitimately traced back to the Latin pluperfect indi-cative, although possibly it may arise from a fusion of this pluperfect with the imperfect subjunctive (amaram, amarem, alongside of habueram, haberem), having in Franco-Provençal as well as in Provençal 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 con-ditional. VAL SOANA: portdro, portdre, portdret; portârgnt; AOSTA: dvre = Prov. agra, haberet (see Arch., iii. 31 «). The final t in 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 par-ticular characteristic in this section of the Franco-Provençal. VAL SOANA : éret, Lat. erat ; sejt, sit; pôrtet, portdvet;portgnt, portdvgnt; CHIAMORIO: jéret, erat; ant dit, habent dictum; èjssount fit, 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-Provençal may be sub-joined:—Civreri (the name of a mountain between the Stura and the Dora Riparia), which, according to the regular course of evolution, presupposes a Latin Oapraria (cf. maneri, maniera, even in the Chiamorio dialect) ; carasti (ciarastï), carestia, in the Viu dialect; and cintd, cantare, in that of Usseglio. From CHIAMORIO, U tens, i tempi, and chejehes birbes, alcune (qualche) birbe, are worthy of mention on account of the final s.

Further 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-Provençal to the Provençal proper, precisely as the same transition takes place beyond the Cottian Alps iu Dauphiné almost in the same latitude. On the Italian side of the Cottian and the Maritime Alps the Franco-Provençal and the Provençal are connected with each other by the continuity of the phenomenon c (a pure explosive) from the Latin c before a. At Ouxx (sources of the Dora Riparia), which seems, however, to have a rather mixed dialect, there also occurs the important Franco-Provençal phenomenon of the surd interdental (English th in thief) instead of the surd sibilant (for example i£M=Fr. ici). At the same time a<7iJ = avuto, takes us to the Provençal. At FENES-rRELLA (upper basin of the Clusone): agil, vengil, venuto; at ONCINO sources of the Po) : carestio, I'ero an campagno, with the Provençal o for the final unaccented a; at SAMPEYRE (basin of the Varáita): agü, vengü, volgü, voluto; una viestio la plus pressioso ; and finally at VINADIO (basin of the southern Stura): tuóccio, tocca; losbuónos, le buone, where even the diphthong is Provencal.

2. Ladin Dialects.—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 Miinster (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 the Gadera, in which occurs the purest Ladin now extant in the central section. The valleys of Miinster, the Gardena, and the Gadera may thus be regarded as inter-Alpine, and the ques-tion 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 Corde-vole, 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 Friu-lian 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 Li venza; while on the east it stretches into the eastern versant of the basin of the Isonzo. —The Ladin element is further found in greater or less degree throughout an altogether Cis-Alpine " amphizone," and more par-ticularly in the head valley of the Ticino and the head valley of the Mera on the Lombardy versant, and in the Val Fiorentina and central Cadore on the Venetian versant. The valleys of Bormio present a special and conspicuous phase of Ladino-Lombard connexions, and the Ladin element is clearly observable in the most ancient ex-amples 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 :—(1) the guttural of the formula? c + a and g + a passes into a palatal; (2) the I of the formulae pi, 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 He, 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 truo and genuine Italian. Ódrn, carne; spelunca, spelunca; clefs, claves; fuormas, formse ; infiem, inferno ; brdi, hordeo ; mod, modo ; plain, pleno ; pail, pilo ; qusel, quale; pür, puro—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: cavil, capillo ; pescador, piscatore; pluévia, pluvia (plovia); pluma (dial, of Val de Rumo : pluvia, plumo); vécla, ve- tula ; cantes, cantas. The dialects of this basin are disappearing.—
BASIN OF THE AVISIO : examples of the dialect of the Val di Fassa: cam, carne; céier, cadere (cad-jere) ; vaca, vacca ; fórca, furca ; glézia ({j&ia), ecclesia; dglje (osje), oculi; cans, canes; rdmes, rami; teila, tela ; néif nive ; ceessa, coxa. The dialects of this basin
which are further 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 : carié, Ital. caricare ; canté, cantatus ; ogle, oculo; cans, canes; cavéis, capilli; viérm, verme; füóc, foco; avéi, habere ; néi, 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; candirá, candela; forces, furese, pl.; séntes, sentís. It is a decadent form.— UPPER BASIN OF THE PIAVE: dialect of the Comelico: cesa, casa ;
cen (éan), cane; caljé, caligario ; bos, boves; nasvo, novo ; Icego, loco.

b. Eastern Section or Friulian Megion. —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 d and of the ii (and consequently of the 6). Examples of the Udine variety: carr, carro; cavdl, caballo ; castiél, castello ; force, furca ; ciar, claro ; glac, glacie; plan, piano; colors, colores ; lungs, longi, pl.; dévis, debes; vidiél, vitello ; fiéste, festa ; puéss, possum ; cuétt, cocto ; udrdi, hordeo. —The most ancient specimens of the Friulian dialect belong to the 14th century (see Arch., iv. 188 sqq.).

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