Off topic: Italian dialects (was RE: Unicode 3.0 press statements )

Date: Fri Jan 21 2000 - 05:53:00 EST

I am sorry for polluting once again the list with non-Unicode issues (even
when I don't want to:-).

Could anyone suggest a more appropriate mailing list for chatting about
linguistic curiosities? I think that many people on the list, me included,
would love it.

>Here are the ones I left out, evidently in error:

If it is an error, I tend to agree with it, even if it means leaving out
what could be considered as my "mother tongue".

>SIL generally uses a "mutually unintelligible" definition
>of language, so some dialects have been lumped with
>Standard Italian because they are reasonably mutually intelligible
>with it.

Measuring intelligibility is difficult: Neapolitan is generally understood
only because it is commonly used in pop songs and cinema, not because it is
"easier" than other dialects.

Sicilian is as uninteligible (to standard Italian speakers) as Lombard is,
and it has as many speakers, but it is not in the list.

>> Not that it is an issue: all Italians also speak the national language,
>Is this now fully true?

I bet yes. The problem is rather the opposite: many younger people have
little or no fluency in their local dialect, especially in urban areas. In
some large cities (e.g. Milano, Torino, Palermo) the local language has
almost completely disapperared, substituted by "Italian with an accent".

>Ladin/Friulian and Sardinian are generally considered separate languages
>altogether, at least by Romance philologists.

Yes they are. But this probably happens only in linguists' "press
statements" :-)

I think real linguists don't do "language vs. dialect". A given tongue is a
"language" when considered alone and a "dialect" when considered as a member
of a language group.

_ Marco

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