Tutorial Transcript

Hello everyone and welcome back to my channel! In today's video I would like to answer the most frequently asked questions you asked me in the past about the regional languages ​​and dialects of Italy. Let's start with the first question, which is the following: what is the difference between language and dialect? In the linguistic field, as regards the Italian situation, a difference is made between language and dialect, where "lingua" stands for Italian language, while "dialetto" is a slightly broader word that encompasses all regional languages ​​and dialects that are spoken. Basically, from the linguistic point of view, there is no difference between a language and a dialect, because both have a lexicon and a grammar and can be used for literary purposes. If we think of the works by Basile, Goldoni, Belli, they are all literary works in dialect or in the regional language, not in Italian. If we want to look for differences between language and dialect, these are of a historical and socio-cultural nature, dialects are languages ​​that have not spread nationally, but that have remained linked to limited areas of the territory. The statement of the linguist Haugen is absolutely true with regard to Italian: the Italian language is a dialect that has made a career. Basically, because it is the Florentine dialect that made a career and then became the national language, the Italian language we speak today. Let's move on to the second question: what is the dialect that comes closest to the standard language? I would say there are two, the Florentine dialect, as we have just seen for historical reasons, and the Roman dialect, obviously in their cultured variants. And these two dialects are the ones that come closest to the Italian language in terms of grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation. For example, as far as pronunciation is concerned, in Rome and Florence the distinction is naturally made between the seven vowels of the Italian language, so for example one distinguishes between the open 'E' and the closed 'E', let's make a distinction in the pronunciation between pésca and pèsca, because obviously the open or closed vowel changes the meaning of the word. And maybe in other parts of Italy this doesn't happen naturally, you have to study the diction to be aware of this difference. Another interesting point that I would like to include in the answer to this question is that in Rome, as well as in Florence, there is not such a clear distinction between Italian and dialect - as is the case, for example, in Milan, Naples, Palermo, Venice, etc. Thus the language and the dialect, in Rome and Florence, are arranged on a continuum where it is difficult to say where exactly the language ends and where exactly the dialect begins. So it is possible, for example, to create sentences that are a mixture of dialect and Italian, that are not really completely in Italian and that are not completely in dialect. So this is a very interesting peculiarity that the linguist D'Achille talks about a lot. I will put you some links in the description below, if you want to deepen the topic, because obviously this of regional dialects and languages ​​is a very complex and broad topic, so I will put some resources in the description of the video below, in case you want to deepen the topic, because obviously this video is not a very detailed video, I am - let's say - just a little scratching the surface of the topic, so it is a video to give an idea of ​​the complex Italian linguistic situation. Let's move on to the third question: how many dialects and how many regional languages ​​exist in Italy? I found a very interesting map that I put on the screen here and whose link I will always leave you in the description below, so you can calmly go and look at this map. This map is the map of the languages ​​and dialectal groups of Italy, so you can see the whole subdivision in colors of the Italian peninsula. Generally, but very generically, we could speak of a regional subdivision, therefore each region has its own dialect, but even there would remain a somewhat superficial subdivision, because in any case within each region the dialect or regional language changes in based on city, based on province, based on fraction. So it is basically the same dialect or the same regional language, but then depending on the city or the point of the region where you are located the dialect or language changes. I absolutely recommend that you look at this map to get a clearer idea of the linguistic complexity of the Italian peninsula. Let's move on to the next question. When are dialects used? So, dialects and regional languages ​​are usually used in informal contexts, in family contexts, when one is with family, with friends. Then, the next question is: are there regions where people use the dialect more than Italian? Yes, there are regions where the use of the dialect is very strong - of the dialect or the regional language. I found this map in an Istat survey on the subject and you see that the regions highlighted in blue on this map, i.e. Trentino Alto Adige, Veneto, Marche, Abruzzo, Molise, Campania, Puglia, Calabria, Basilicata and Sicily are the regions in which people use the dialect more exclusively or alternately with Italian in the family, always. While the regions that you see clearer and more tending towards white are those in which the use of Italian is predominant in the family context - and consequently also in an unfamiliar context. I leave you the link of this Istat survey in the description below. Let's move on to the next question, which is the following: are there regional dialects and languages ​​on TV? Yes definitely. Regional dialects and languages ​​are featured on television mainly for two purposes, I would say. A comic and a dramatic purpose. If we refer to television programs, usually the dialects and regional languages ​​are used for comic purposes, if instead we refer to films or TV series, for example, lately the dramatic purpose in the use of dialects and regional languages. If we think of TV series like "Gomorra", "Suburra". I would like to say that on television, therefore in TV programs, as well as in films and TV series, the strongest regional dialects or languages, most present are the Roman dialect and the Neapolitan language, I would say thinking precisely of the series tv and the most popular movies right now. But the regional dialects and languages ​​are not only present on television or in the cinema, they are also present in contemporary literature, if we think of the novels of Andrea Camilleri, if we think of the novels of Elena Ferrante, if we think of the novels of Giancarlo De Cataldo, etc. . So we find the regional dialects and languages ​​on TV, in literature, but also on the internet. If we think of YouTube, there are many YouTube channels that are in dialect or regional language, if we think of Casa Surace, the jackal, The Pills, the Minimads, Le Coliche, etc. They are all YouTube channels with a strong dialect or regional language component. Let's move on to the next question: Do you think dialects are becoming less important to know? No, I don't think so, precisely because there is a resurgence of dialects and regional languages ​​among the youngest. I just gave you the example of YouTube and YouTube is a medium consumed mainly by young people. I believe that since today the competence of Italian is much greater than in the past and accounts for 80% of speakers, today knowing one's own dialect or regional language is an added value, in my opinion. Knowledge of the dialect or regional language represents an added value when one has a competence in the national language, which is precisely Italian. So when there is a situation of bilingualism - because in my opinion one can very well consider the knowledge of the Italian language and one's own dialect or regional language as an example of bilingualism (because they are actually two different languages) - then the knowledge of dialect and regional language represents an element of linguistic and identity richness. Because knowing only a dialect or a regional language represents an obstacle to the economic and social advancement of the person himself. So to get back to the question, I don't think dialects are considered less important now, indeed, there is just a - how to say - a rediscovery of regional dialects and languages ​​in this historical moment, which, I have to be honest, I really appreciate. Let's move on to the next question: How are regional dialects and languages ​​taught? So, in reality I would say that they are acquired by living, it is life that teaches regional dialects and languages, they are not learned at school, as is the case with Italian. Follow-up question: what percentage of young people can speak dialect or regional language compared to 50 years ago? Well, I don't know exactly what the percentage is, but I can confidently say it has dropped significantly. Precisely because over time greater importance has been given, a boost has been given to the Italian language. Being the national language, it was decided to base all education precisely on the Italian language, to make the country homogeneous from a linguistic point of view. The interesting thing is perhaps also that regional dialects and languages ​​today are noticeably more Italianized than they were 50 years ago, so for example young people, many young people now speak some sort of hybrid actually when they speak dialect or regional language, because they are highly influenced by the Italian language. I found a very interesting research by Prof. Alfonzetti (University of Catania), which specifies that young people use the dialect in particular for two main functions: expressive, therefore to insult, for foul language, to express affection - such as it is often found on the internet - or the playful one, to joke and have fun with idioms or clichés. And this is interesting, I find this also in my situation and in the situation of people I know. Then, we come to the next question: are there still people who only know the dialect or regional language and not Italian? Yes I'm here. The exclusive use of dialect or regional language grows with age, so basically these people who speak exclusively regional dialect / language belong to an advanced age group, for the most part. But it is obvious that there are also cases of younger people who speak only dialect or their own regional language and that perhaps they belong to a group of people who have a low level of education. This concerns the exclusive use of the dialect or regional language, that is, a person who can speak only the dialect or regional language of where he was born. We come to the last question: is it worth it for a foreign student of Italian to learn a dialect? In my opinion no. In my opinion it would not make much sense, because dialects and regional languages ​​are identity languages, they represent the regional and local identity of a person. Also dialects, as I said before, and regional languages ​​are languages ​​that are acquired, not learned from books, so unless you live in Italy, in a very specific place, it would be a bit difficult to learn a dialect or a regional language living on the other side of the ocean or in any case not in Italy. And then which dialect or regional language would you choose? Because we say it would limit you a lot in communicating with people, because you could just talk to other people who speak that dialect or that regional language. I don't know, in my opinion it doesn't make much sense to choose to speak a dialect or a regional language (for a foreigner). Another question I often get asked is whether I also speak other dialects or other regional languages ​​and the answer is obviously no, because every Italian has his own dialect or regional language, he doesn't learn the regional dialects / languages ​​of all the other Italian regions. It's a bit of a weird thing to do. To speak, guess what, let's use Italian to talk to other Italians who come from other regions, the Italian language is the language of communication in Italy! So yes, concentrate well on Italian. It is also obvious that if you move to Italy, you live in Italy, you will perhaps acquire idioms, expressions, words that belong to that city or that region, but this is a somewhat different speech. Most of you do not live in Italy, so I take this point of view into account to answer the question, the point of view of an Italian language student who does not live in Italy but lives abroad. That's it for today's video. I hope my answers have helped you a little to better understand the linguistic situation in Italy. I leave you in the description of the video below some useful links to learn more about this topic. I thank you, as always, for watching this video. And we'll see you in the next one! See you soon, bye!