R: O membranza, sì cara e fatal...
|Date:||Monday, August 28, 2000, 7:45|
> 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 diparlare
> 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 photographyand
> 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 auntcalled
> it, and told her that they were settled there in the 30s by Mussolini.Even
> after Italy lost its colonies in Africa Orientale, these people remained
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
> 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 scenelike
> France, Spain, and Portugal, it has its influences. My Levantine
> (particularly Palestinian) friends tell me that, although their languageis
> 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, forexample,
> 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 asubstantial
> 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, politicalparties
> in Lebanon dedicated to establishing Syriac as one of the officiallanguages
> 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 whichwas
> never spoken (such as our constructed languages). I may be wrong insaying
> 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 allof
> the other constructed auxiliary languages combined. This, however, is a
> discussion for another list, so I'll cut my thoughts short here.
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