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The Sicilian Language

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«Omeru nun scrissi pi grecu chi fu grecu, o Orazziu pi latinu chi fu latinu?  E siddu Pitrarca chi fu tuscanu nun si piritau di scrìviri pi tuscanu, pirchì ju avissi a èssiri evitatu, chi sugnu sicilianu, di scrìviri 'n sicilianu?  Haiu a fàrimi pappagaddu di la lingua d’àutri?»
(Antoniu Venezianu: Murriali, 7 Jinnaru 1543 - Palermu, 19 Austu 1593)

"Didn't Homer write in Greek because he was Greek, and Horatio write in Latin because he was Latin?  And if Petrarch who was Tuscan was not afraid to write in Tuscan, why should I, who am Sicilian, be shunned for writing in Sicilian?  Must I make myself a parrot for the language of others?"
(Antoniu Venezianu [Antonio Veneziano]: Monreale, 7 January 1543, Palermo 19 August 1593)
       Many souls, even Sicilians and those of Sicilian descent, have the same misconception held by Italians and non-Italians everywhere: that "Sicilian" is simply a different, "cruder" form of the Italian language.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  While today's Italians and sadly, today's Sicilians, are told "by those that know" that Sicilian is the language of the poor or ignorant, the Sicilian LANGUAGE was the first "Romance" language to develop from Latin, the early language of state.  As such, it includes not only words derived from Latin roots (as did the Italian dialect "Tuscan" which became the official Italian language), but it has rich inclusions from the tongues of the many occupiers of Sicily, including Carthaginian, Greek, Arabic, French and Spanish.

     Sicilian was the language of poets, taught in the Sicilian School of Roger the Great a thousand years ago, but it is no longer taught in Sicilian schools.  If you're an "Italian American", the odds are good that your immigrant ancestors, like the majority of "Italian" émigrés during the Great Migration, were from Sicily, a nation which once extended from Naples and Abruzzo to Messina and Palermo, and that they spoke, not Italian, but SICILIAN.

     This page is inspired by the facebook group "Speak Sicilian" (
http://bit.ly/LearnToSpeakSicilian), where you can read or write in the Sicilian language; ask how to say an English word or phrase in Sicilian; ask what a Sicilian word means in English; or learn (or teach) Sicilian.

Vowels in the Sicilian language have the following sounds (phonetics are in English): A is “ah”; E is “eh” (“long a”); I is “ee”; O is “oh” (“long o), and U is “oo”. “ A, E, I, O, U” in Italian is “ah, eh, ee, oh, oo”!!  The English sound of I (“long i” as in “eye”) is given by the combination “ai” in Sicilian.   Sicilian has no letter "k", "y" or "w".  It has a letter written like "j", but this "j" is a form of the letter "i", and is pronounced as we would pronounce "y" in English.

In Sicilian spellings, "c", if it is followed by "a", "o" or "u", is pronounced like the English "k"; but if it is followed by an "i" or "e", then "c" is pronounced like the English "ch" (as in "church"). Double "cc" is also pronounced as the English "K".

"ch" in Sicilian is NOT pronounced as in English, but sounds like the English "k".  So my cousins, the Miccichè family, pronounce their surname "mee-chee-KAY".

Similarly, "g" is pronounced as in the English "good" if followed by "a", "o" or "u"; but "g" is pronounced like the English "j" (as in "George") if it is followed by an "i" or "e".  In Sicilian pronunciation, the "g" sound at the start of words is often "swallowed", and sometimes also the middle of words.  The "g" is silent when followed by the consonant "l"
.

The consonant "z" at the start of a word is generally pronounced as in English, while "zz" is pronounced "tz" as in "pizza".

There is no "j", as such, in the Sicilian language.   When the letter "i" has the sound a "y" has in English, it is written with a tail and looks like a "j" but it is not pronounced like the English "j".  For example: "jiri" (English phonetics: YIH-rih); "jiurnu" (YOUR-noo); "saju" SIGH-you) etc.

Is Sicilian a 'Dialect'?

    Some (generally Northern Italians) try to imply that Sicilian is simply a dialect of the Italian language.  The Italian language itself was once a dialect, Toscano, or Tuscan, which was one of many Apennine peninsula dialects that developed from Latin.

    Many modern day languages trace their origins to the Latin spoken in ancient Rome.  These are the 'Romance' languages, which include Tuscan (Italian); Spanish; Portugese; French; and Rumanian.

    But there is strong evidence that the first Romance language to develop from Latin was the Sicilian language.

    I'm not a trained linguist, and my knowledge of Tuscan is book-learned, while I learned Sicilian at my mother's knee.  However, I'm a self-taught student of languages, and my education as an engineer has taught me to have a curiosity for how all things have developed.  When words are considered in their Latin origin and then compared in Sicilian and Italian, the words seem to me to have clearly progressed from Latin to Sicilian, to Italian. In some cases, Italian words bear no likeness to Latin and Sicilian words that are clearly related.

   In Latin, "brother" is frater (FRAH-tehr); in Sicilian, it's frati (FRAH-tih).  In Tuscan/Italian, it's fratello (fruh-TELL-oh).  I seriously doubt that the word went from frater to fratello to frati; it seems clear that the progression was from Latin to Sicilian to Tuscan.  The same can be said for the words for "sister": Latin soror, Sicilian soru, Tuscan sorella.  The Latin verb "to go" is 'ire'.  In Sicilian, it's 'jiri', in Tuscan it's 'andare'.  The Latin verb "I come" is 'venio'; Sicilian 'veniu'; Tuscan 'vengo'.  Which language came first?

   In Latin, as in Sicilian and Tuscan, many nouns have masculine or feminine endings.  Latin's endings are "us" (oos) for the masculine and "a" (ah) for the feminine.  Again, to me, it seems much more likely that the many Sicilian masculine nouns that end in "u" (oo) derive directly from Latin, and that the Tuscan masculine ending of "o" came later.  Examples are "rabbit": Latin cuniculus, Sicilian cunigliu, and Tuscan coniglio; and "son"; Latin filius, Sicilian figliu, and Tuscan figlio.  In my youth, I mistakenly thought that ny parents pronounced the 'Italian' sound of "o" as "u".  After serious reconsideration, I believe that in fact, the Tuscan and Italian pronunciation changed, devolving the original Latin (and Sicilian) "u" to sound like "o".

   Other words (presented in the order Latin, Sicilian, Tuscan) show similar evolution: "wife": mulieri, muglieri, moglie; and "how": quomodus, comu, come.

   And then there are words for which the Sicilian is clearly derived from the Latin, while the Tuscan appears to have come from a completely different source.  In Latin, the verb "to go" is ire (IHR-eh); in Sicilian, it's jiri (YIHR-ih); but in Tuscan/Italian, it's andare.  In Latin, the pronoun "he" is illus, Sicilian iddu, but in Tuscan it's lui; and "she" is illa in Latin, idda in Sicilian, but lei in Tuscan!

   The Sicilian words given below are as I learned them from parents who left Sicily a hundred years ago.  As such they reflect the language as it was spoken in Sicily around the beginning of the 1900s, which was not much modified by incursions of the Tuscan dialect that the 'Risorgimento' imposed on Sicily.  I believe its 'purity' was also enhanced by the fact that Serradifalco is and was a small interior town having limited contact with speakers of Tuscan, or the modified Sicilian dialects of other regions.  Language scholar Alissandru Caldiero, author of Grammar of the Sicilian Language, has informed me that my Sicilian (that is, my parents' Sicilian) resembles the language spoken at the court of Frederick II.

Meaning

Latin

Sicilian

Italian

above supra supra sopra
aid succursu succursu soccurso
apple pomum pumu mela
artichoke cactus caccuciulu carciofo
below subtus suttu sotto

brother

frater

frati

fratello

burdock carduum carduni cardo
cap (hat) petasus tascu capello

cheek

maxilla

masciedda

guancia

cherry cerasus cirasu ciliegia

to close, shut

claudere

chiuieri

chiudere

I come

venio

veniu

vengo

cough

tussis

tussi

tosse

empty

vacuus

vacanti

vuoto

to extinguish, turn off

extutare

astutari, stutari

spengere

father

pater

patri

padre

to fix

exserciare

azzizzari

aggiustari

from

de

di da

to go

ire

jiri

andare

good

bonus

bonu

buono

half

medius

mezzu metà

I have

habeo

haiu ho

he

illus

iddu

lui

hello salve saluti ciao

here

hac

ca

qua

horse

cavallus

cavaddu

cavallo

how

quomodo

comu

come

I know scio saju, sacciu so
leather corio curiu cuoio
long longus lungu lungo

mother

mater

matri

madre

new novus nuvu nuovo

no one

nullus

nuddu

nessuno

peach

persicum

pirsica

pesca

pear pirum piru pera

rabbit

cuniculus

cunigliu

coniglio

scissors forfex forfici forbici

she

illa

idda

lei

soft mollis muddu morbido

sister

soror

soru

sorella

son

filius

figliu

figlio

sweet

dulcis

duci

dolce

to swim natare natari nuotare
that quod chiddu quello

then

tum

tannu

poi

there (near) illac dda
there (far) illuc dducu
this hoc chistu questo

tree

arbor

arbulu

albero

where is

ubi est

unni è

dovè

what

quid est

chi

cosa

who

cuius

cu

chi

wife

mulier

muglieri

moglie

with

cum

cu

con

wood

lignum lignu legno
   Students of language report that Dante Alighieri, the medieval poet, was greatly influenced by the language that had been spoken at the court of Sicily's Frederick II, namely the Sicilian tongue that was studied and written at the famous Sicilian School.  Dante is credited with polishing the Tuscan dialect, doing so with words and ideas adapted from the Sicilian School and its language.  For example, the sonnet, a form of poetry unknown before Frederick's reign, evolved in Sicily, only to become a major form of poetry throughout not only Italy, but the world.

   Sicilian is a LANGUAGE, that is true; however, like many other languages, it has different dialects within it, that have developed in various regions of Sicily and in the south of the Apennine peninsula.  Below is a vocabulary of English words and their meanings in Sicilian, with variations for the dialects of several towns or regions.  It appears that in central Sicily, in Caltanissetta province northern Agrigento province and eastern Palermo province, the classic Sicilian language still prevails as it was spoken in the court of Frederick II.  This is characterized by words like figliu (son) and cunigliu (rabbit), which in dialects elsewhere have become figghiu and cunigghiu; and especially lu (masculine 'the'), la (feminine 'the') and li (plural 'the), which in dialects have devolved into u, a and i.

   I invite all Sicilians and all those of Sicilian descent to e-mail me, to add your own versions of these words.  Please identify them by region, and add as many English words you like, with their Sicilian equivalents. 
                                                    

Viva la lingua Siciliana!!!

Sicilian Words

       The words in serrafarchisi represent the language spoken in the central part of Sicily at the beginning of the twentieth century.
       In small interior villages, the influences of the outer world, including Italian and foreign visitors and media, were not as great as in large cities, or those on the coastlines.
       Except in cases where a different word entirely is used, the versions shown below for other towns are regional
pronunciations of the basic language.  For example, Sicilian for 'beautiful is 'bedda', which is pronounced 'beddra' in several localities. 
        I can't list all variations from every town here.  I've combined
sciacchatanu and raccamutisi, similar variations from towns of Agrigento province. Thanks to Santo Barbieri for the raccamutisi words.

                                            To use the table, remember the pronunciation guide given above.
 

In English In serrafarchisi
(Serradifalco)
In missinisi
(Messina)
In palermitanu
(Palermo)
In altavillisi
(Altavilla)
In sciacchatanu/
raccamutisi

(Sciacca, Racalmuto)
verb: I am sugnu        
adjective: annoying cammurusu       cammurusu
ant formícula        
apple pumu        
verb: they are sunnu        
ball palla       pallun
verb: to be ssiri        
beautiful (feminine) bedda bedda beddra   beddra
below suttu        
bird anciddu aceddu   aceddu  
a little bit tantícchia        
black niuru        
blue blu        
boy carusu        
boy, little picciliddu piccirriddu      
boy, teen piciottu        
brutish, ugly bruttu        
verb: to buy 'ccattari       cattari
carpet trappitu        
cheese tumazzu        
coffee cafè   cafè    
cough tussi        
cupboard stipu        
verb: to cry chiàngiri        
daughter figlia figghia      
day jurnu jurnu      
donkey sceccu   sceccu    
dresser cantaranu        
ear oricchiu        
verb: to eat mangiari mangiari      
eggplant milingiana   mulinciana    
fig cookies pucciddati pucciddati cucciddati cuccinnati  
finger jitu        
fingernail ugnu        
verb: to fold gnutticari        
folded gnutticatu        
fork furcetta        
from di        
verb: to fix azzizzari        
girl carusa        
girl, little piccilidda piccirridda      
girl, teen piciotta        
verb: to go jiri jiri      
verb: (let's) go ammunini       ammunini
goat crapa        
grape racina       ragina
green virdi        
half mizzu        
hammer martiddu        
handkerchief fazzulettu        
handsome (masculine) biddu biddu      
he iddu        
here cca        
hole pirtusu       pitusu
in, inside, into intra nta      
verb: he or she is jè (yeh)        
key chiavi   chiavi   chiavi
kidneys rini        
knee ghinucchiu        
knife cutiddu       cutteddru
verb: to knock tuppiari        
leaf foglia        
verb: to look taliari        
middle mezzu        
miscinu poor one       miscinu
mop     cannavazzu    
nail chiuvu       chiovu
napkin serbietta   mappina    
of di        
onion cipudda       cipuddra
orange aranciu        
others antri autri      
page, leaf foglia        
peach pirsica       spergia
pliers tinaglia        
polenta (Sicilian style) frascàtula        
verb: to pretend fari finta        
verb: to rain chioviri        
red russu       russu
rifle scupetta        
verb: to save sparangnari        
verb: to speak parlari parrari      
scissors furfici        
she idda        
sheep picuridda        
shoe scarpa        
shoulders spaddi        
snails babalucci       babalucci
son figliu figghiu      
spider tarantula        
spoon cucchiara        
verb: to stretch stinnichiari        
stupid, idiot babbu       bubbu
sugar zuccheru   zuccheru    
summer staggiuni        
Sunday duminica ruminica      
verb: to swim natari        
swiss chard zarchi       zarchi
table tavulinu        
tail cuda        
the (masc., fem.) lu, la u, a      
the (plural) li i      
then tannu        
there (far) dda       ddra
there (near) dducu        
today oi (OY-ih) oggi      
toe jitu di pedi        
toenail ugnu        
tomato pumudoru   pomuroru    
tree arbulu arvulu   arbulu  
ugly ladiu       ladiu
under suttu        
us nuantri nuautri      
verb: he or she was ra, fú        
verb: they were ranu, fúranu        
white biancu        
winter nmirnu        
woman fimmina       fimmina
word palora parola      
verb: to work travagliari        
wow mísca mizzica      
yellow giarnu        
           
 
 
I've translated the following from the Italian.  I must say some of it is over my head, but it's clear that reasoned research has shown that the Tuscan dialect, and the Italian language that sprang from it, were derived from the Sicilian language spoken in the court of Frederick II and studied in his Sicilian School of poetry.

If only our northern Italian brothers would recognize the Sicilian heritage of their language, and cease referring to Sicilian as the language of the poor and ignorant.  "Lu Sicilianu" should be taught in Sicily's schools and spoken by its citizens,
 

Dante loses his paternity: the Italian language was born in Sicily

A new confirmation of the origins of Italian heterodox undermines centuries of literary and cultural monopoly: the Sicilian poets widespread in Lombardy, before their presence in Tuscany

Noemi Ghetti
Friday, June 14, 2013
http://babylonpost.globalist.it/

The discovery of some poems of the Sicilian School in a Lombard library by the researcher Joseph Mascherpa brings to the fore the debate about the true origins of the Italian language. The theme is echoed by Cesare Segre in an article in the Corriere della Sera of 13 June, which underlines just how the 'change of perspective' in research is due to the sudden turn in recent times, of thirteenth-century manuscripts in places hitherto unsuspected .

One example is the discovery of at least four poems on the back of Sicilian scrolls bearing convictions of members of large Guelph families for violations of rules on tournaments. In those days, you know, notaries were often poets, and filled in the blank backs in this way, avoiding illegal notations in the margins of the records.

There are important fragments of poems, attributable among other authors such as Giacomo da Lentini, 'the Notary' founder of the Sicilian School, and even to Frederick II, the emperor-poet who was the genius patron of the arts. Occurring in the crucial decades 1270-1290, the transcript leads us to hypothesize the existence of a small songbook of poems of the Sicilian School, circulated in Lombardy in those years. It is in addition to the recent discovery of another mutilated manuscript, discovered by Luca Cadioli in the attic of a noble Milanese, which contains the only faithful translation from the French of Lancelot du lac, the classic novel about the loves of Lancelot and Guinevere, remembered by Francesca da Rimini in her caharacterization in Canto V of Dante’s Inferno.

Now as then, once again for us, "The book was condemned, and he who wrote it." These findings sound like an endorsement of the original idea that our [Italian] language was born at the beginning of the thirteenth century by the revolt of the Sicilian poets against ecclesiastical Latin, developed in 2011 in my essay ‘The Shadow of Cavalcanti and Dante’ (L’Asino d’oro editions).

The transcripts of the Sicilians are especially interesting because they let us see in them glimpses of the original lyric language, so far lost except in a single case, which predate the Tuscanized versions by which we know them. It reconstructs for us, if we care to deduce it, the view of a secular literary culture, widespread in the thirteenth century in the Italian peninsula far beyond what the traditional scheme suggests.

It affects in this way a well-established historical reconstruction that makes the Tuscans, after the fall of the Swabians and the Ghibelline party in Benevento (1266), the sole heirs of Sicilian poetry. In fact, it immediately comes to mind that northern Italy welcomed the Cathars and troubadours on the run, in the aftermath of the fierce Albigensian Crusade which dispersed the civilization of neighboring Provence. And that in Northern Italy there persisted a widespread tradition of French ballads of love and adventure, happily reprised at the fifteenth-century University of Ferrara by Boiardo’s Orlando in Love, it was later reported in the Orlando Furioso of Ariosto, and was also the standard language of the Florentine Pietro Bembo, canonized as a Cardinal in 1524.

The reaction of the Church against the magnificent flowering secular language of the thirteenth century was in fact very hard: in February 1278 in the Arena of Verona a huge fire burned the last 166 Cathars, and in 1285 the Parisian philosopher Siger of Brabant was assassinated. Excommunicated and condemned to death, waiting for forgiveness in the papal curia of Orvieto, where he had fled after 1277, Bishop Tempier of Paris had judged heretical his evolution of Latin that had animated, with De Amore by Andrea Cappellano, the origins of poetry including the stilnovisti [New Stylists] Guinizzelli and Cavalcanti. The offense certainly did not go unnoticed in the stilnovisti environment. So the last decade of the thirteenth century saw the conversion of Dante's love of woman to the love of God, which proceeds in stages from Vita Nova through the Convivio to the Divine Comedy. In 1300, in which the otherworldly journey of the Comedy is set, Dante’s exile from Florence was sealed, followed by the premature death of Cavalcanti.

In the sacred poem [the Divine Comedy] Federico II is condemned to Hell (Canto X) in a group of heretics, "that with the body make the soul mortal." He is destined to be teacher and "first friend," endowed with "loftiness of genius," but "he had a disdain for" the faith.  Pier delle Vigne, Sicilian poet and secretary to the emperor [Frederick II], is placed between the suicides, and tells Dante their drama, so convoluted, because the unforgivable sin of the Sicilians, in the eyes of Dante, is to have attempted a search for carnal love and passion, outside of religion, inventing a new language. Sordello of Goito, a troubadour who had found fortune in Provence and returned to Italy in 1269, of Mantuan origin like Virgil, is placed instead in Purgatory (CantoVI-VIII), like other poets of the thirteenth century.

The prejudice against Sicilians therefore has ancient roots, and a careful analysis of the texts of Dante and solutions that gradually imposed themselves in the secular 'language issue' show how, in spite of accepted theory, it originates from Dante himself. He was the most famous poet to establish himself as a 'father' of the modern Italian language, obscuring one hundred years of research of the love poetry from which it was born, with a systematic work of re-semanticization of the spiritual and Christian vernacular vocabulary of its origins. Even in the nineteenth century a sensitive critic, Francesco de Sanctis, demonstrates a certain deafness to the poets of the Sicilian School, and we had to wait until 2008 to have the first complete critical edition and commentary, in three volumes of Meridiani.

It is interesting as an aside to recognize, in the limited number of 'outdated' studies of the last century, like those of Bruno Nardi and Maria Corti, the original judgment of Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks about the thirteenth century and Dante. It is perhaps the most well-known essay on Canto X of the Inferno contained in the Notebooks (1931-32), with explicit distance from religion, and important messages in code intended for '"former friend" Togliatti. 

Somewhat less well-known is Gramsci’s appreciation for Guido Cavalcanti.  His words, which erect to the "highest exponent" the uprising in medieval theocratic thinking and conscious use of the vernacular instead of Latin and Virgil, were taken almost verbatim from Gianfranco Contini. For Gramsci, a fine linguist, the Comedy is "the medieval swan song," and his work as a Latinization of the vernacular marks the crisis of the rebirth of the secular and the transition to Christian humanism. Read the Comedy "with love" is the attitude of "simpleton professors who make religions of some poet or writer, and celebrate strange philological rites." Appreciate the aesthetic values​​, he writes from Iulca in a letter from prison in 1931, warning against uncritical transmission of the poem to your children; that does not mean you agree with its ideological content.

 
 

I’m a Sicilian American

Dedicated to my parents Gaetano and Rosa Alessi Coniglio and my eldest brother Guy, who came to America in 1913 and 1914 from Serradifalco, SICILY.

I’m a Sicilian American.

I’m a Sicilian American.

I’m the son of immigrants who left a land of history and beauty, of poets and dreamers, volcanoes and olive trees.  A land that taught the world what a modern nation could be, before most modern nations existed.  A land that formed the largest country, The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, from Naples and Abruzzo to Messina and Palermo, that was subsumed into the new ‘Kingdom of Italy’ after the ‘unification’.

My parents left because for all its lore and loveliness, and their fierce pride in it, Sicily was poor and demeaned, and could offer little hope for their family’s future. 

I’m a Sicilian American.

My heritage includes mythical Persephone, Vulcan, and Icarus; Greek scholars Archimedes, Empedocles and Diodorus Siculus; composers Bellini and Scarlatti, and writers Verga and Sciascia.

I’m a Sicilian American.

I’m Padre Saverio Saetta, who died in 1695 while bringing Christianity to the New World.

I’m Antonio Crisafi.  I came before there was a United States and in 1696 commanded the fort at Onondaga. 

I’m Enrico Fardella, who fought against the Bourbons in Sicily, one of the first people’s revolutions in Europe, in 1848, and then became a brigadier general in America’s Civil War.

I’m a Sicilian American.

I’m a descendant of Southern Italian immigrants who formed 80% of the ‘Italians’ who came to America in the ‘Great Migration’ of the late 1800s and early 1900s, most, from the island of Sicily.

I’m one of the nineteen Sicilians who were murdered in New Orleans in 1891, in the largest mass lynching in American history.

I’m a Sicilian American.

I’m Chaz Palminteri, Frank Capra, Armand Assante, Sonny Bono, Iron Eyes Cody, Ben Gazzara, Frankie Laine, Cydi Lauper, Chuck Mangione, Al Pacino, Louie Prima, Pete Rugolo, Frank Zappa, and thousands of others who have made the world wonder, laugh, and sing with our artistry.

I’m Joe Dimaggio.

I’m a Sicilian American.

I’m one of millions of one-, two- and three-star mothers who anguished while their sons fought for the American Dream in World War II, in the frigid trenches of France or the steaming jungles of the Pacific.

I’m one of many mothers whose son never returned.

I’m a Sicilian American.

I say “Comu sta?”, not “Come stai?”  I answer “Bunu!”, not “Bene.”

Not “Dov’è?”, but “Unni è?”; not “La.” but “Dda!”

I’m a Sicilian American. 

I've never met a mafioso, nor wanted to, nor played at being one.

I’m a Sicilian American, and proud to be one. 

~ Angelo F. Coniglio ~ 10 May 2014

 

A petition to protect the Sicilian Language

 
It may be signed at http://bit.ly/PetitionForSicilianLanguage which contains this text of a letter sent to the Italian Minister of Heritage and Cultural Activities and Tourism and to the President of the Sicilian Region.

"The Sicilian language - reads the petition - is a Romance language spoken today by about 5 million people in Italian territory. If we consider the descendants of Sicilian emigrants from the second half of the nineteenth century or so, the number rises to 22 million.

Sicilian was the language of everyday life in Sicily until at least the eleventh century, and it became a literary language in 1230 with the creation of the Poetic Sicilian School of Frederick II of Swabia.  This was followed by the influence on the Tuscan poets through whom these influences in Tuscan literature led to the birth of the Italian language.   Today, Sicilian does not enjoy any form of protection, in a world where globalization is rampant and when a language dies every two weeks, eliminating the culture of which it was an expression, as well as special views of life and the world (UNESCO classifies Sicilian among vulnerable languages).

In 1999, Law 482, "Rules for the protection of historical linguistic minorities", was passed.  Article 2 states: "... the Republic protects the language and culture of Albanian, Catalan, Germanic, Greek, Slovenian and Croatian and those speaking French, Franco-Provençal, Friulian, Ladino, Occitan and Sardinian", thus excluding, without following the linguistic criteria, all other languages spoken Italian territory and relegating them to the status of 'dialects' (although for linguists in the academic world there is no difference between dialects and languages and the 'discrimination' against those that are daily called dialects takes place, so to speak, at the political level): among them, as well as Sicilian, there is Piedmont, Veneto, Emilian, Romagna, Lombard, Neapolitan and others.

In 1981 and 2011 two regional laws were enacted on the teaching of Sicilian in the island's schools, but they have not proved to be enough to try to preserve the language, which increasingly is being lost as a result of the wide use of Italian (and also of English) by the mass media, and there are not many cases where the two laws have been put in place.

What we want to ask through this petition is an ad hoc law (such as, for example, Law 38/2001, designed especially for the Slovenian language) or an amendment of Law 482/1999, by which even the status of the Sicilian language is finally recognized as a historical linguistic minority, since history and Sicilian culture contribute to the cultural richness of Italy and the image it presents to the world.

Place the Sicilian language among the historical linguistic minorities protected by the Italian government!

(Click HERE to vote.)

 
Read the New Orleans Advocate article "Erase a language, murder a culture; North shore Sicilians trying to preserve their endangered language"
 

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If you'd like to discuss the Sicilian language, ask about specific words or phrases,
post (or watch) videos of Sicilian being sung and spoken, go to the following
facebook page:

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Sicilian is a Language
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  ~ The Lady of the Wheel (La Ruotaia), my first book, a historical novella about foundlings and sulfur mine workers in 1860s Racalmuto, a town in central Sicily.
 
 
 
SICILIAN LINKS Sicilianità Is Sicily 'Italy'? The Sicilian Languge
Cognomi ~ Sicilian Surnames Ngiurii ~ Sicilian Nicknames Place-names as surnames Sicilian Coats of Arms
Foundlings The Sicilian Naming Convention Americanized Sicilian Given Names Converting Latin given names to Sicilian
La Bedda Sicilia ~ My history of Sicily Heritage Path ~ original Sicilian records Civil Record Format ~ 1820 - 1910 I'm a Sicilian American
My Lectures on Sicilian Genealogy Sicilian Occupations in Civil Records Sicilian Records at the Buffalo FHC The Thing
 

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Serradifalco
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Robertsdale, Pennsylvania

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Serradifalco:

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The First Visit


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The Book

Last revision: 10 January 2018 ~ Angelo F. Coniglio, ConiglioFamily@aol.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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