Language

Help Save Italy’s Dialects!
Language

Help Save Italy’s Dialects!

Deep in the Apennine mountains of southern Italy, in a region that you’ve probably never heard of, at a university you’ve probably never heard of, there’s small research institute that’s tasked with the enormous mission of documenting and preserving the dozens of local languages spoken in the region of Basilicata. The region of Basilicata. There were once hundreds of local languages—called “dialects”—throughout the Italian peninsula and its surrounding islands. Every isolated mountaintop village, every countryside hamlet had their own language that reflect their unique history of political influence, contact with foreign invaders, and culture. But ever since the Unification of Italy in 1861, the Italian state has promoted literacy rates in standard Italy to the great expense of Ita...
Living Remnants: Arpitan in Southern Italy
Language

Living Remnants: Arpitan in Southern Italy

A view of Faeto's center (Photo: Stephen J. Cerulli) by Stephen J. Cerulli August 1, 2020 (This is a modified and updated version on an article first published in: 1 University Place: Volume 1 / Issue 2 / Spring 2015) Nestled in the rolling hills of the Daunian Mountains, in northern Apulia, lies the village of Faeto. The Faítare, the village’s residents, affectionately call it “Faít”. Though this may seem like a cute moniker, or a southern Italian dialect place-name, neither is the case. In fact, the name is not Italian at all, it is a dialect of Arpitan, a romance language spoken in the Swiss, Italian, and French Alps (The neighboring village of Celle San Vito also speaks a dialect of Arpitan). So what exactly is Arpitan?[1] And why is an Alpine language spoken in southern Ital...
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