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Sicilian language: first Italian language in History

Sicilian language: first Italian language in History

Sicilian language: first Italian language in History

The roots of the Italian language are in the Sicilian language from the XIIIth century. Until that period of time in the Low Middle Ages, Latin was the only and official language to be written in Italy. In 1230, #FrederickII - also known as Stupor Mundi (World Wonder) - king of the Sicilian Kingdom and emperor of the German Empire / Holy Roman Empire, established the “Sicilian School” - already existing in more informal way from 1166 and called #ScuolaPoeticaSiciliana - in #Palermo, which became one of the main epicenters of the European culture with poets and intellectuals like Giacomo da Lentini, Pier della Vigna, Cielo d’Alcamo, etc. Between 1303 and 1321, Dante Alighieri from Florence, by taking influence from the already existing and written Sicilian language, wrote, by adding his own Tuscany language, “la Divina Commedia” (the Holy Comedy), which turned to be the most important literature text in the Italian Language. Between 1303 and 1305, #Dante even admitted in “de vulgari eloquentia” that: “everything Italians produce in terms of poetry is called Sicilian”. Other important writers from Tuscany - Guittone d’Arezzo (he really introduced Sicilian language in Tuscany), Francesco Petrarca, Giovanni Boccaccio - contributed to make Tuscany language the backbone of the Italian language. However, the Italian Language is not only made by the Sicilian roots and the central trunk from Tuscany; the other important words and grammar contributions to the Italian language tree is given by the Venetian language: Venice was in fact an important independent sea republic called “La Serenissima” which existed from 697 to 1797 when Napoleon invaded and conquered its territory. Venice in the maximum expansion was not only in the today territory of the Italian Republic made by the regions Veneto, Friuli Venezia-Giulia and autonomous province of Trentino; La #Serenissima was also in charge of the coasts long the eastern side of the Adriatic republic, places today part of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia Erzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Greece and even in Cyprus and part of Turkey. Outstanding to be remarked is probably the most famous Italian word: ciao. Infact, the word ciao is coming from the Venetian language expression “s-ciào su” (I m your slave), connected to the Medieval Latin sclavus, associated to the slaves in Venice (coming from the Slavic areas in the Balkans), that’s why there is “Riva degli Schiavoni” in Venice just behind Piazza San Marco. #Ciao became popular in all Italy starting from 1866, when Venice and the Veneto region were integrated in the 5 years old Kingdom of Italy. Coming back to the Sicilian language, it is today spoken not only in Sicily with the different dialects of the island; due to the historical influencing role of Sicily in the Italian culture, the Sicilian language is also the backbone of today spoken local dialects in Southern and Central Calabria, Southern Cilento in Campania, and Salento in Southern Apulia. Furthermore, we have also to distinguish an additional Sicilian language in Sicily called Gallo-Italic of Sicily, predominantly spoken in the province of Messina (Acquedolci, Montalbano Elicona, Novara di Sicilia, Fondachelli-Fantina San Fratello, San Piero Patti) and Enna (Aidone, Nicosia, Piazza Armerina, Sperlinga). Those are the places where people from Liguria and Piedmont that moved to Sicily with the Normans, preferred to isolate and avoid interactions during and after the dark and gloomy French domination of the Angevins, which luckily lasted after only 16 years with the Vespers, the revolution for the independence of #Sicily. Here is a not definitive list of popular #Sicilian language words that have been introduced to the #Italian language even until the last century: carnezzeria: butcher's shop; curatolo: watchman in a farm, with a yearly contract; intrallazzo: illegal exchange of goods or favours, but in a wider sense also cheat, intrigue; quaquaraquà: person devoid of value, nonentity; scasare: to leave en masse; abbuffarsi: to overeat; carpetta: folder; demanio: state property; mattanza: slaughter; scuocere: to overcook; zagara: orange blossom; scippo: snatching; sfarzo: pomp; sfuso: bulk; arancia: orange; azzurro: light blue; cotone: cotton; dogana: customs; limone: lemon; magazzino: warehouse; meschino: petty; zafferano: saffron; zucchero: sugar.

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