1902 Encyclopedia > Italy > The Italian Language - The Italian Language - Gallo-Italian Dialects; Sardinian Dialects

(Part 42)


The Italian Language

B. Dialects which are detached from the true and proper Italian system, but form no integral part of any foreign Neo-Latin system.

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-Provençal (A. 1) and the Ladin (A. 2). The system is subdivided into four great groups,—(a) the Ligurian, (b) the Piedmon-tese, (c) the Lombard, and (d) the Emilian,—the names 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 until very recently that it belongs to this system at all (see Arch., ii. Ill sqq.).—Characteristic of the Piedmontese, the Lombard, and the Emilian is the continual elision of the unaccented final vowels except a [e.g., Turinese bj, oculo ; Milanese vgç, voce; Faenzan red, rete), but the Ligurian does not keep them company (e.g., Genovese bfg'u, oculo; vgze, 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, dné, danaro ; vein, vicino ; Faenzan fnocc, finocchio ; dsprazion). This phenomenon involves in large measure that of the prothesis of a; as, e.g., in Turinese and Faenzan armor, rumore; Faenzan alvé, levare ; &c. V for the long accented Latin u and 6 for the short accented Latin o (and even within certain limits the Latin ô of position) are common to the Piedmontese, the Ligurian, and the Lombard: e.g., Turinese and Milanese, dur, and Genovese dim, duro; Turinese and Genovese, move, and Milanese mbv, môvere ; Piedmontese dorm, dorme ; Milanese, vblta, 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 Genovese, avéi, habere, Bolognese, avéir; Turinese and Genovese, beive, bibere, Bolognese, beir. In Emilia ei occurs also in the formulae in, ent, emp; e.g., Bolognese and Modenese bein, sgla-méint. The system shows a repugnance throughout to ie for the short accented Latin e (as it occurs in Italian piede, &c); in other words, this diphthong has died out, but in various fashions : Piedmontese and Lombard dec, dieci; Genovese dele; Faenzan die. The greater part of the phenomena indicated above have ' ' Gallic " counterparts too evident to require to be specially pointed out. One of the most important traces of Gallic or Celtic reaction is the reduction of the Latin accented a into e (a, &c. ), of which pheno-menon, however, no certain indications have as yet been found in the Ligurian group. On the other hand it remains, in the case of very many of the Piedmontese dialects, in the é of the infinitives of the first conjugation : porté, portare, &c. ; and numerous ves-tiges of it are still found in Lombardy (e.g., in Bassa Brianza: andé, andato; guardé, guardato; se, sale; see Arch. i. 296-298, 536). Emilia also preserves it in very extensive use: Modenese andér, andare ; arivéda, arrivata ; pec, pace ; Faenzan parlé, parlare and pa.rla.to;parléda, parlata; ches, caso; &c. The phenomenon, in company with other Gallo-Italian and more specially Emilian characteristics, extends to the valley of the Metauro, and even passes to the opposite side of the Apennines, spreading on both banks of the head stream of the Tiber and through the valley of the Chiane : hence the types artrovér, ritrovare, portéto, portato, &c, of the Perugian and Aretine dialects (see infra C. 3, b). In the phenomenon of d passing into e (as indeed, the Gallo-Italic evolution of other Latin vowels) special distinctions would require to be drawn between bases in which a (not standing in position) precedes a non-nasal consonant (e.g., amdto), and those which have a before a nasal : and in the latter case there would be a non-positional subdivision (e.g., fame, peine) and a positional one (e.g., qudnto, arndndo, cdmpo) ; see Arch. i. 293 sqq. This leads us to the nasals, a category of sounds comprising other Gallo-Italic characteristics. There occurs more or less widely, throughout all the sections of the system, and in different gradations, that " velar" nasal in the end of a syllable (pan, man; cdnta, moiit) which may be weakened into a simple nasalizing of a vowel (pd, &c. ) or even grow completely inaudible (Bergamese pa, pane; padrû, padrone; tep, tempo; met, mente; mut, monte ; pût, ponte; pûca, punta, i.e., "puncta"), where Celtic and especially Irish analogies and even the frequent use of t for nt, &c., in ancient Um-brian orthography occur to the mind. Then we have the faucal n by which the Ligurian and the Piedmontese (lana, lûiia, &e. ) are con-nected with the group which we call Franco-Provençal (A. 1).— "We pass on to the " Gallic " resolution of the nexus ct (e.g., facto, fajto, fajtjo, fait, fac ; tecto, tejto, tejtjo, teit, tee) which invari-ably occurs in the Piedmontese, the Ligurian, and the Lombard: Pied, fait, Lig. fajtu, fsetu, Lombard fac ; Pied, téit, Lig. téitu, Lorn, tec; &c. Here it is to be observed that besides the Celtic analogy the Umbrian also helps us (adveitu = ad-vecto ; &c.) ; and it is further most noteworthy that the Celtic and Umbrian analogies lead us to that fusion of the ct series with the pt series (Irish secht, Welsh seilh, septem; Umbrian, screhto, screihtor, scriptum, scripti) by which is explained the scric, scripto, of the ancient Milanese, scricura, scriptura, of the modern; just as also Provençal has escrich (i.e., escric).—The Piedmontese and Ligurian come close to each other, more especially by the regular dropping of the d both primary and secondary, a phenomenon common in French (as Piedmontese and Ligurian rie, ridere ; Piedmontese pue, potare ; Genoese Ka^Ae^naighe, natiche, &c). The Lombard type, or more correctly the type which has become the dominant one in Lombardy (Arch., i. 305-6, 310-11), is more sparing in this re-spect; and still more so is the Emilian. In the Piedmontese is also found that other purely Gallic resolution of the guttural between two vowels by which we have the types brdja, mania, over against the Ligurian brdga, mdnega, braca, manica.—Among the phonetic phenomena peculiar to the Ligurian is a continual re-duction of I into r and the subsequent dropping of this r between vowels and at the end of words in the modern Genoese ; just as happens also with the primary r: thus rfil=durur = dolore, &c. Characteristic of the Ligurian, but not without analogies in Upper Italy even (Arch., ii. 157-8), is the resolution oipj, bj, fjintoc, g', S: cii, piu, plus; rdg§a, rabhia, rabies; M, fiore. Finally, the sounds $ and £ have a very wide range in Ligurian (Arch., ii. 158-59). The reduction of s into A occurs in the Bergamo dialects: hira, sera; groh, grosso; cahtel,castello (seealso B. 2).—Ageneral phenomenon in Gallo-Italic phonetics which also comes to have an inflexional importance is that by which the unaccented final i has an influence on the accented vowel. This enters into a series of phenomena which even extends into southern Italy; but in the Gallo-Italic there are particular resolutions which agree well with the general connexions of this system. The following plural forms may be quoted : Genoese bdin, from bon-i; train from tron-i, tuoni; Milanese quist, from quist-i (sing, quest), questi; mis from mes-i, mesi (sing, mes); Bolognese riri, from ren-i, regni (sing, ren); cf. Arch., i. 540-41.—Among morphological peculiarities the first place may be given to the Bolognese sipa (seppa), because, thanks to Dante and others, it has acquired great literary celebrity. It really signifies " sia " (sim, sit), and is an analogical form fashioned onaepa, a legitimate continuation of the corresponding forms of the other auxiliary (habeam, habeat), which is still heard in ch'me sepa purtA, ch'lu sepa purtd, ch'io abbia portato, ch'egli abbia portato. Next may be noted the third person singular in -p of the perfect of esse and of the first conjugation in the Forli dialect (fop, fu ; man-dep, mando; &c). This also must be analogical, and due to a legitimate ep, ebbe (see Arch., ii. 401, and compare fobbe, fu, in the dialect of Camerino, in the province of Macerata, as well as the Spanish analogy of tuve estuve formed after hube). Lastly, in the domain of syntax, may be added the tendency to repeat the pronoun (e.g., ti te cdntet of the Milanese, which really is tu lu cdntas-tu, equivalent merely to " cantas"), a tendency at work in the Emilian and Lombard, but more particularly pronounced in the Piedmontese. With this the corresponding tendency of the Celtic languages has been more than once and with justice compared; here it may be added that the Milanese nun, apparently a simple form for " noi," is really a compound or reduplication in the manner of the ni-ni, its exact counterpart in the Celtic tongues.—The literary documents of this system go back as far as the end of the 13th century in the Milanese poems of Fra Bonvicino da Ri va and the Rime Genovesi (Arch., ii. 161-312).

2. Sardinian Dialects.—These are three—the Logudoreseor central, the Campidanese or southern, and the Gallurese or northern. The third certainly indicates a Sardinian basis, but is strangely disturbed by the intrusion of other elements, among which the Southern Corsican (Sartene) is by far the most copious. The other two are homogeneous, and have great affinity with each other ; the Logudorese comes more particularly under consideration here. —The pure Sardinian vocalism has this peculiarity that each accented vowel of the Latin appears to be retained without alteration. Consequently there are no diphthongs representing simple Latin vowels; nor does the rule hold good which is true for so great a pro-portion of the Romance languages that the representatives of the i and the i on the one hand and those of the i and the & on the other are normally coincident. Hence plenu (e); deglxe, decern (J); binu, vino (i);pilu (i);flore (b); roda, rota (o); duru (u); nughe, nuce (&). The unaccented vowels keep their ground well, as has already been seen in the case of the finals by the examples adduced. —The s and t of the ancient termination are preserved, though not constantly: tres, onus, passados annos, plantas, faghes, facis, tenemus; mulghet, mul-ghent. —The formula} ce, ci, ge, gi may be represented by che (ke), &c.; but this appearance of special antiquity is really illusory (see Arch., ii. 143-4). The nexus cl, &c, maybe maintained in the beginning of words (claru, plus); but if they are in the body of the word they usually undergo resolutions which, closely related though they be to those of Italian, sometimes bring about very singular results (e.g. uSare, which by the intermediate forms uscare, usjare leads back to usclare = ustlare = ustulare). Ni is the representative of nj (testimbniu &c); and Ij is reduced to i alone (e.g., miius, melius; Campidanese 'melius). For 11 a frequent substitute is old: massidda, maxilla, &c. Quite characteristic is the continual labialization of the formulae qua, gua, cu, gu, he; e.g., ebba, equa; sambene, san-guine (see Arch., ii. 143). The dropping of the primary d (roere, rodere, &c.) but not of the secondary (finidu, sanidade, maduru) is frequent. Characteristic also is the Logudorese prothesis of i before the initial s followed by a consonant (iscamnu, istella, ispada), like the prothesis of e in Spain and in France (see Arch., iii. 447 sqq.). —In the order of the present discussion it is in connexion with this territory that we are for the first time led to consider those phonetic changes in words of which the cause is merely syntactical or transitory, and chiefly those passing accidents which occur to the initial consonant through the historically legitimate or the merely analogical action of the final sound that precedes it. The general explanation of such phenomena reduces itself to this that, given the intimate syntactic relation of two words, the initial consonant of the second retains or modifies its character as it would retain or modify it if the two words were one. The Celtic languages are especially distinguished by this peculiarity; and among the dialects of Upper Italy the Bergamasc offers a clear example. This dialect is accus-tomed to drop the v, whether primary or secondary, between vowels iu the individual vocables (cad, cavare; fda, fava, &c), but to pre-serve it if it is preceded by a consonant (serva, he.).—And simi-larly in syntactic combination we have, for example, de i, di vino; but dl vi, il vino. Insular, southern, and central Italy furnish a large number of such phenomena; for Sardinia we shall simply cite a single class, which is at once obvious and easily explained, viz., that represented by su oc, il bove, alongside of sos boes, i buoi (cf. Mere, bibere ; crba).—The article is derived from ipse instead of from Me : su sos, sa sas,—again a geographical anticipa-tion of Spain, which in the Catalan of the Balearic islands still pre-serves the article from ipse. —A special connexion with Spain exists besides in the nomine type of inflexion, which is constant among the Sardinians (Spanish nomne, &c., whence nombre, &c.), nomen, no-mene, rdmine, aeramine, legumene, &c. (see A?-ch., ii. 429 sqq.).— Especially noteworthy in the conjugation of the verb is the para-digm eantere, canteres, &c, timere, timeres, he., precisely in the sense of the imperfect subjunctive (cf. A. 1; cf. C. 3 b). Next comes the analogical and almost corrupt diffusion of the -si of the ancient strong perfects (such asposi, rosi), by which cantesi, timcsi (cantavi, timui), dolfesi, dolui, are reached. Proof of the use and even the abuse of the strong perfects is afforded, however, by the participles and the infinitives of the category to which belong the following examples: tennidu, tenuto; pdrfidu, parso; bdlfidu, valso; tennere, bdlere, &c. (Arch., ii. 432-33). The future, finally, shows the unagglutinated periphrasis: hapo a mandigare (ho a mangiare = manger-6); as indeed the unagglutinated forms of the future and the conditional occur in ancient vernacular texts of other Italian districts.—There are documents of the Sardinian dialect going back as far as the middle of the 12th century.

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