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R: O membranza, sì cara e fatal...

From:Mangiat <mangiat@...>
Date:Monday, August 28, 2000, 7:45
Leo wrote:

> Mike Adams wrote: > "But, Italian would probably remain distinct for some time. I see no > likelihood of Italian dying out any time soon, in a few centuries, who > knows? But not any time soon." > > to which Raymond Brown replied: > "Indeed, why should it? It is IMHO a very beautiful language; as a > Latinist, I can understand it, when spoken, far more readily than I can > understand Spanish." > As a young man, I was often told by the older members of the > Italian-American Association (aka "the clubhouse"): "non smettere di
> italiano!" Italians generally maintain their language abroad and, in most > major cities in the US and South America, there are enough Italians to > constitute a community. Indeed, as I understand it, Italian is widely > spoken through all of Latin America (for the recent Mandaean conference, I > had to interpret for a Mexican scholar, despite the fact that he spoke no > English and I no Spanish - so we used Italian as our lingua franca).
New York, AFAIK, was the place with the highest number of L1 Italian speakers (about 1 million)! Now Rome (2,5 millions) and Milan (1.5) beat it. About half of the Argentinian population is told to be of Italian origin. A great number of Venetians dwell in Brasil. A huge of Italians and Italian speaking Swiss is scattered in the U.S.A., and, as Leo says, a tradition of the Italian communities is to retain the language, today almost always as an L2, but still alive.
> Several members of my family live in East Africa, doing photography
> missionary work. My aunt and uncle were travelling through Ethiopia when > they passed through a small, isolated village which was different from the > other villages in Ethiopia. The architecture was European, and the people > who lived there were all Sicilians! They spoke "dialect," as my aunt
> it, and told her that they were settled there in the 30s by Mussolini.
> after Italy lost its colonies in Africa Orientale, these people remained > behind.
Italian is still barely spoken in Libia and Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia (the old A.O.I.), but it is widely spoken in the European colonies: about 25% of Western Croatian has a knowledge of it (mainly old men) and I think 75% of Albanian speak it (mainly because they always watch Italian TV - this means a lot of young people speaking it). And then it is obviously spoken in Switzerland! Luca
> I often practice my Italian with one woman who runs a sandwich shop in > Cambridge - she was born and raised in Tripolitania, and, interestingly > enough, has never been to Italy proper. Also, when working in a local > cafeteria, I almost always used a mixture of Italian and English to > communicate with my co-workers (Cape Verdeans, many of whom had lived in > Italy before coming to the States). > In my experience, it is relatively easy for Spaniard and Portuguese > students to pick up Italian - but, strangely enough, the reverse is not > true. Finally, even though Italy has never been big on the world scene
> France, Spain, and Portugal, it has its influences. My Levantine > (particularly Palestinian) friends tell me that, although their language
> fairly resistant to modern loans from English and French, there is an > earlier stratum of Italian imports that have been incorportated into the > Arabic of that area - I suspect that these words were borrowed into > Colloquial Levantine Arabic through the old Lingua Franca (see, for
> Kahane, Henry & Renee, and Andreas Tietze (1958) _Lingua Franca in the > Levant_, which is kind of like the IED for Medieval Levantine Pirates). > So, while Italian is by no means an international auxiliary language, > it has its uses and has left its imprint. Even if we were not to judge > Italian on its many aesthetic and cultural qualities, there would be no > shortage of reasons for which Italian will continue to thrive (despite the > goals of Sr. Bossi and his cohort of thugs). > > "Languages do not die easily." > And, even if they do die, what's to stop some nutcase from reviving > them and giving them a second life? Even as we speak there is a
> revival of Syriac occuring in the Middle East. Near Eastern Christians, > nearly all of whom speak Arabic as their first language, are using Syriac > more and more for elevated purposes. There are, in fact, political
> in Lebanon dedicated to establishing Syriac as one of the official
> of that country (alongside Arabic, French, and English). > I have been approached by some Lebanese-Americans, who wanted me to > teach them Phoenician, which they consider their "native tongue" (by some > strange definition of the term). > Kenji Schwarz once told me that Manchu is being revived in China, and > the interlinguist Adrian Pilgrim is one of the leading lights of the Manx > revival, which is not without some success. > My personal thought is that a movement to revive a language has a > better chance to succeed than a movement which promotes a language which
> never spoken (such as our constructed languages). I may be wrong in
> this; but I'm willing to bet that there are more speakers of Mr. Eliezer > ben-Yehuda's Hebrew than Mr. Zamenhof's Esperanto, Mr. von Wahl's > Occidental, the Ido of the Comite', the Interlingua of the IALA, and all
> the other constructed auxiliary languages combined. This, however, is a > discussion for another list, so I'll cut my thoughts short here. > > -Chollie > _________________________________________________________________________ > Get Your Private, Free E-mail from MSN Hotmail at > > Share information about yourself, create your own public profile at >