In 1997, Sardinian was recognized by a regional law, along with other languages spoken on the island; since 1999, Sardinian is also one of the twelve "historical language minorities" of Italy, being granted recognition by the national Law no. 482/1999. However, the vitality of the Sardinian-speaking community is threatened and UNESCO classifies the language as "definitely endangered", although an estimated 68.4 percent of the islanders report to have a good oral command of Sardinian. While the level of language competence is in fact relatively high among the older generation beyond retirement age, it has been estimated to have dropped to around 13 percent among children, with Sardinian being kept as a heritage language.
Now the question arises as to whether Sardinian is to be considered a dialect or a language in its own right. Politically speaking,[note 1] it is clearly one of the many dialects[note 1] of Italy, just like the Serbo-Croatian and the Albanian spoken in various villages of Calabria and Sicily. However, from a linguistic point of view, that is a different question. It can be said that Sardinian has no relationship whatsoever with any dialect of mainland Italy; it is an archaic Romance speech with its own distinctive characteristics, showing a very original vocabulary in addition to morphology and syntax rather different from the Italian dialects.[note 2]
Chart of Romance languages based on structural and comparative criteria (not on socio-functional ones). Koryakov (2001) ascribes Sardinian to the separated Island Romance branch of the Romance languages, along with old Corsican (modern Corsican is in fact part of the broad Italo-Romance family).
Compared to the mainland Italian dialects, Sardinian is virtually incomprehensible for Italians, being actually considered a linguistic group of its own among the Romance languages.
Sardinia's relative isolation from mainland Europe encouraged the development of a Romance language preserving traces of its indigenous, pre-Roman language(s). The language is posited to have substratal influences from Paleo-Sardinian language, which some scholars have linked to Basque and Etruscan.Adstratal influences include Catalan, Spanish, and Italian. The situation of Sardinian language with regard to the politically dominant ones did not change until the 1950s.
The origins of the Paleo-Sardinian language are currently not known. Research has attempted to discover obscure, indigenous, pre-Romance roots; the root s(a)rd, present in many place names and denoting the island's people, is reportedly from the Sherden (one of the Sea Peoples), although this assertion is hotly debated. Other sources trace instead the root s(a)rd from Σαρδώ, a legendary woman from the AnatolianKingdom of Lydia, or from the Libyan mythological figure Sardus Pater Babai ("Sardinian Father").
In 1984, Massimo Pittau claimed that he found in the Etruscan language the etymology of many Latin words after comparing it with the Nuragic language(s). Etruscan elements, formerly thought to have originated in Latin, would indicate a connection between the ancient Sardinian culture and the Etruscans. According to Pittau, the Etruscan and Nuragic language(s) are descended from Lydian (and therefore Indo-European) as a consequence of contact with Etruscans and other Tyrrhenians from Sardis as described by Herodotus. Although Pittau suggests that the Tirrenii landed in Sardinia and the Etruscans landed in modern Tuscany, his views are not shared by most Etruscologists.
According to Alberto Areddu the Sherden were of Illyrian origin, on the basis of some lexical elements, unanimously acknowledged as belonging to the indigenous substrate. Areddu asserts that ancient Sardinians, especially those from the most interior areas (Barbagia and Ogliastra), supposedly spoke a particular branch of Indo-European. There are in fact some correspondences, both formal and semantic, with the few testimonies of Illyrian (or Thracian) languages, and above all with their claimed linguistical continuer, Albanian. He finds such correlations: Sard. eni, enis, eniu "yew" = Alb. enjë "yew"; Sard. urtzula "clematis" = Alb. urth "ivy"; Sard. rethi "tendril" = Alb. rrypthi "tendril". He also discovered some correlations with the Balkan bird world.
According to Bertoldi and Terracini, Paleo-Sardinian has similarities with the Iberic languages and Siculian; for example, the suffix -ara in proparoxytones indicated the plural. Terracini proposed the same for suffixes in -/àna/, -/ànna/, -/énna/, -/ònna/ + /r/ + a paragogic vowel (such as the toponymBunnànnaru). Rohlfs, Butler and Craddock add the suffix -/ini/ (such as the toponym Barùmini) as a unique element of Paleo-Sardinian. Suffixes in /a, e, o, u/ + -rr- found a correspondence in north Africa (Terracini), in the Iberia (Blasco Ferrer) and in southern Italy and Gascony (Rohlfs), with a closer relationship to Basque (Wagner and Hubschmid). However, these early links to a Basque precursor have been questioned by some Basque linguists. According to Terracini, suffixes in -/ài/, -/éi/, -/òi/, and -/ùi/ are common to Paleo-Sardinian and northern African languages. Pittau emphasized that this concerns terms originally ending in an accented vowel, with an attached paragogic vowel; the suffix resisted Latinization in some place names, which show a Latin body and a Nuragic suffix. According to Bertoldi, some toponyms ending in -/ài/ and -/asài/ indicated an Anatolian influence. The suffix -/aiko/, widely used in Iberia and possibly of Celtic origin, and the ethnic suffix in -/itanos/ and -/etanos/ (for example, the Sardinian Sulcitanos) have also been noted as Paleo-Sardinian elements (Terracini, Ribezzo, Wagner, Hubschmid and Faust).
Linguists Blasco Ferrer (2009, 2010), Morvan (2009) and Arregi (2017) have attempted to revive a theoretical connection with Basque by linking words such as Sardinian ospile "fresh grazing for cattle" and Basque ozpil; Sardinian arrotzeri "vagabond" and Basque arrotz "stranger"; Sardinian galostiu and Basque gorostoi; Gallurese (Corso-Sardinian) zerru "pig" and Basque zerri. Genetic data have found the Basques to be close to the Sardinians.
Since the Neolithic period, some degree of variance across the island's regions is also attested. The Arzachena culture, for instance, suggests a link between the northernmost Sardinian region (Gallura) and southern Corsica that finds further confirmation in the Naturalis Historia by Pliny the Elder. There are also some stylistic differences across Northern and Southern Nuragic Sardinia, which may indicate the existence of two other tribal groups (Balares and Ilienses) mentioned by the same Roman author. According to the archeologist Giovanni Ugas, these tribes may have in fact played a role in shaping the current regional linguistic differences of the island.
Although Roman domination, which began in 238 b.c., brought Latin to Sardinia, it was unable to completely supplant the pre-Latin Sardinian languages, including Punic, which continued to be spoken in the a.d. 4th century as attested by votive inscriptions. Some obscure Nuragic roots remained unchanged, and in many cases the Latin accepted local roots (like nur, which makes its appearance in nuraghe, Nurra, Nurri and many other toponyms). Barbagia, the mountainous central region of the island, derives its name from the Latin Barbaria (a term meaning "Land of the Barbarians", similar in origin to the Barbary word), because its people refused cultural and linguistic assimilation for a long time: 50% of toponyms of central Sardinia, particularly in the territory of Olzai, are actually not related to any known language. Besides the place names, on the island there are still a few names of plants, animals and geological formations directly traceable to the ancient Nuragic era.Cicero called the Sardinian rebels latrones mastrucati ("thieves with rough wool cloaks") to emphasize Roman superiority.
During the long Roman domination Latin gradually become however the speech of the majority of the island's inhabitants. As a result of this process of romanization the Sardinian language is today classified as Romance or neo-Latin, with some phonetic features resembling Old Latin. Some linguists assert that modern Sardinian, being part of the Island Romance group, was the first language to split off from Latin, all others evolving from Latin as Continental Romance.
At that time, the only literature being produced in Sardinia was mostly in Latin: the native (Paleo-Sardinian) and non-native (Punic) pre-Roman languages were then already extinct (the last Punic inscription in Bithia, southern Sardinia, is from the second or third century A.D.). Some engraved poems in ancient Greek and Latin (the two most prestigious languages in the Roman Empire) are to be seen in Viper Cave, Cagliari, ( Grutta 'e sa Pibera in Sardinian, Grotta della Vipera in Italian, Cripta Serpentum in Latin), a burial monument built by Lucius Cassius Philippus (a Roman who had been exiled to Sardinia) in remembrance of his dead spouse Atilia Pomptilla. We also have some religious works by Saint Lucifer and Eusebius, both from Caralis (Cagliari).
Although Sardinia was culturally influenced and politically ruled by the Byzantine Empire for almost five centuries, Greek did not enter the language except for some ritual or formal expressions in Sardinian using Greek structure and, sometimes, the Greek alphabet. Evidence for this is found in the condaghes, the first written documents in Sardinian. From the long Byzantine era there are only a few entries but they already provide a glimpse of the sociolinguistical situation on the island in which, in addition to the community's everyday Neo-Latin language, Greek was also spoken by the ruling classes. Some toponyms, such as Jerzu (thought to derive from the Greek khérsos, "untilled"), together with the personal names Mikhaleis, Konstantine and Basilis, demonstrate Greek influence.
The condaghe of Saint Peter of Silki (1065-1180), written in Sardinian.
Sardinian was the first Romance language of all to gain official status, being used by the four Judicates, former quarrelling Byzantine districts that became independent political entities after the Arab expansion in the Mediterranean cut off any ties left between the island and Byzantium. One of the oldest documents left in Sardinian (the so-called Carta Volgare) comes from the Judicate of Cagliari and was issued by Torchitorio I de Lacon-Gunale in around 1070, employing the Greek alphabet. Old Sardinian had a greater number of archaisms and Latinisms than the present language does. While the earlier documents show the existence of an early Sardinian Koine, the language used by the various Judicates already displayed a certain range of dialectal variation. A special position was occupied by the Judicate of Arborea, the last Sardinian kingdom to fall to foreign powers, in which a transitional dialect was spoken, that of Middle Sardinian. The Carta de Logu of the Kingdom of Arborea, one of the first constitutions in history drawn up in 1355–1376 by Marianus IV and the Queen, the "Lady Judge" (judikessa in Sardinian, jutgessa in Catalan, giudicessa in Italian) Eleanor, was written in this transitional variety of Sardinian, and remained in force until 1827. It is presumed the Arborean judges attempted to unify the Sardinian dialects in order to be legitimate rulers of the entire island under a single state (republica sardisca "Sardinian Republic").
Extract from the Logudorese Privilege (1080)
« In nomine Domini amen. Ego iudice Mariano de Lacon fazo ista carta ad onore de omnes homines de Pisas pro xu toloneu ci mi pecterunt: e ego donolislu pro ca lis so ego amicu caru e itsos a mimi; ci nullu imperatore ci lu aet potestare istu locu de non (n)apat comiatu de leuarelis toloneu in placitu: de non occidere pisanu ingratis: e ccausa ipsoro ci lis aem leuare ingratis, de facerlis iustitia inperatore ci nce aet exere intu locu [...] »
Dante Alighieri wrote in his 1302–05 essay De vulgari eloquentia that Sardinians, not being Italians (Latii) and having no lingua vulgaris of their own, resorted to aping Latin instead. Dante's view has been dismissed, because Sardinian had evolved enough to be unintelligible to non-islanders. A popular 12th-century verse from the poem Domna, tant vos ai preiada quotes the provençaltroubadourRaimbaut de Vaqueiras, saying No t'entend plui d'un Todesco / Sardesco o Barbarì ("I don't understand you any more than I understand a German / or a Sardinian or a Berber"); the Tuscan poet Fazio degli Uberti refers to the Sardinians in his poem Dittamondo as una gente che niuno non la intende / né essi sanno quel ch'altri pispiglia ("a people that no one is able to understand / nor do they come to a knowledge of what other peoples say"). The Muslim geographerMuhammad al-Idrisi, who lived in Palermo, Sicily at the court of King Roger II, wrote in his work Kitab Nuzhat al-mushtāq fi'khtirāq al-āfāq ("The book of pleasant journeys into faraway lands" or, simply, "The book of Roger") that "Sardinia is large, mountainous, poorly provided with water, two hundred and eighty miles long and one hundred and eighty long from west to east. [...] Sardinians are ethnically Rūm Afāriqah (Latins of Africa), like the Berbers; they shun contacts with all the other Rūm nations and are people of purpose and valiant that never leave the arms" (Wa ahl Ğazīrat Sardāniya fī aṣl Rūm Afāriqa mutabarbirūn mutawaḥḥišūn min ağnās ar-Rūm wa hum ahl nağida wa hazm lā yufariqūn as-silāḥ).
Sardinian-language statutes of Sassari from the 13th–14th centuries
The literature of this period primarily consists of legal documents, besides the aforementioned Carta de Logu. The first document containing Sardinian elements is a 1063 donation to the abbey of Montecassino signed by Barisone I of Torres. Other documents are the Carta Volgare (1070–1080) in Campidanese, the 1080 Logudorese Privilege,[note 3] the 1089 Donation of Torchitorio (in the Marseille archives),[note 4] the 1190–1206 Marsellaise Chart (in Campidanese)[note 5] and an 1173 communication between the Bishop Bernardo of Civita and Benedetto, who oversaw the Opera del Duomo in Pisa.[note 6] The Statutes of Sassari (1316) and Castelgenovese (c. 1334) are written in Logudorese.[note 7]
The 1297 feoffment of Sardinia by Pope Boniface VIII led to the creation of the AragoneseKingdom of Sardinia and a long period of war between the Aragonese and Sardinians, ending with a Aragonese victory at Sanluri in 1409 and the renunciation of any succession right signed by William III of Narbonne in 1420. During this period the clergy adopted Catalan as their primary language, relegating Sardinian to a secondary status. According to attorney Sigismondo Arquer (Cagliari, 1530 – Toledo, 4 giugno 1571), author of Sardiniae brevis historia et descriptio in Sebastian Münster's Cosmographia Universalis, Sardinian prevailed in rural areas and Catalan was spoken in the cities, where the ruling class eventually became bilingual in both languages;Alghero is still a Catalan-speaking enclave on Sardinia to this day.
The long-lasting war and the so-called Black Death had a devastating effect on the island, depopulating large parts of it. People from the neighbouring island of Corsica began to settle in the northern Sardinian coast, leading to the birth of the Tuscan-sounding Sassarese and Gallurese.
Despite Catalan being widely spoken and written on the island at this time (leaving a lasting influence in Sardinian), there are some written records of Sardinian. One is the 15th-century Sa Vitta et sa Morte, et Passione de sanctu Gavinu, Brothu et Ianuariu, written by Antòni Canu (1400–1476) and published in 1557: Tando su rey Barbaru, su cane renegadu / de custa resposta multu restayt iradu / et issu martiriu fetit apparigiare / Itu su quale fetit fortemente ligare / sos sanctos martires cum bonas catenas / qui li segaant sos ossos cum sas veinas / et totu sas carnes cum petenes de linu... .
The 16th century is instead marked by a new Sardinian literary revival: Rimas Spirituales, by Hieronimu Araolla, was aimed at "glorifying and enriching Sardinian, our language" (magnificare et arrichire sa limba nostra sarda) as Spanish, French and Italian poets had already done for their languages (la Deffense et illustration de la langue françoyse and il Dialogo delle lingue). Antonio Lo Frasso, a poet born in Alghero (a city he remembered fondly)[note 8] who spent his life in Barcelona, wrote lyric poetry in Sardinian:
... Non podende sufrire su tormentu / de su fogu ardente innamorosu. / Videndemi foras de sentimentu / et sensa una hora de riposu, / pensende istare liberu e contentu / m'agato pius aflitu e congoixosu, / in essermi de te senora apartadu, / mudende ateru quelu, ateru istadu ....
Through the marriage of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon in 1469 and, later in 1624, the reorganization of the monarchy led by the Count-Duke of Olivares, Sardinia would progressively join a broad Spanish cultural sphere and leave the exclusive Aragonese one. Spanish was perceived as an elitist language, gaining solid ground among the ruling Sardinian class; Spanish had thus a profound influence on Sardinian, especially in those words, styles and cultural models owing to the prestigious international role of the Habsburg Monarchy as well as the Court.[note 9] Most Sardinian authors would write in both Spanish and Sardinian until the 19th century and were well-versed in the former, like Vicente Bacallar y Sanna that was one of the founders of the Real Academia Española. A notable exception was Pedro Delitala (1550–1590), who decided to write in Italian instead. Nonetheless, the Sardinian language retained much of its importance, being the only one the people from rural areas kept speaking.[note 10] In "Legendariu de Santas Virgines, et Martires de Iesu Christu", the Orgolese priest Ioan Matheu Garipa called Sardinian the closest living relative of classical Latin: Las apo voltadas in sardu menjus qui non in atera limba pro amore de su vulgu [...] qui non tenjan bisonju de interprete pro bi-las decrarare, et tambene pro esser sa limba sarda tantu bona, quanta participat de sa latina, qui nexuna de quantas limbas si plàtican est tantu parente assa latina formale quantu sa sarda.
The War of the Spanish Succession gave Sardinia to Austria, whose sovereignty was confirmed by the 1713–14 treaties of Utrecht and Rastatt. In 1717 a Spanish fleet reoccupiedCagliari, and the following year Sardinia was ceded to Victor Amadeus II of Savoy in exchange for Sicily. This transfer would not initially entail any social nor linguistic changes, though: Sardinia would still retain for a long time its Iberian character, so much so that only in 1767 were the Aragonese and Spanish dynastic symbols replaced by the Savoyard cross.
During the Savoyard period, a number of essays written by philologist Matteo Madau and professor (and senator) Giovanni Spano attempted to establish a unified orthography based on Logudorese, just like Florentine would become the basis for Italian. In 1811, Vincenzo Raimondo Porru published the first essay on the Southern Sardinian grammar and in 1832 the first Sardinian-Italian dictionary as well.
However, the Savoyard government imposed Italian on Sardinia in July 1760, in all likelihood for reasons related to the Savoyard need of drawing the island away from the Spanish influence rather than for Italian nationalism, which would be later pursued by the King Charles Albert. In 1764, the order was extended to all sectors of public life. Spanish was thus replaced as the official language and Sardinian was again marginalized, making way for the Italianization of the island. For the first time, in fact, even the wealthy and most powerful families of rural Sardinia, the printzipales, started to perceive Sardinian as a handicap.
Nonetheless, the relationship between the newly imposed tongue and the native one had been perceived from the start by the locals, educated and uneducated alike, as a relationship (albeit unequal in terms of political power and prestige) between two very different languages, and not between a language and one of its dialects like in the Mainland regions, where the Tuscan-based Italian had long been adopted as the official language to replace Latin. The plurisecular Iberian period also contributed in making the Sardinians feel relatively detached from the Italian language and its cultural sphere, and the Spanish themselves, comprising both the Aragonese and Castilian ruling class, had already considered Sardinian a distinct language with respect to their own tongues and Italian as well.
The jurist Carlo Baudi di Vesme claimed that the suppression of Sardinian and the imposition of Italian was desirable in order to make the islanders "civilized Italians". A basic primary education was thus offered exclusively through Italian, importing solely Italian-speaking teachers from the mainland, and Piedmontese cartographers replaced many Sardinian place names with Italian ones. The Italian education, being imparted in a language the Sardinians were not familiar with,[note 12] spread Italian for the first time in history to Sardinian villages, marking the troubled transition to the new dominant language; the school environment, which employed Italian as the sole means of communication, grew to become a microchosmo around the then-monolingual Sardinian villages.[note 13] Eventually, Sardinian came to be perceived as sa limba de su famine / sa lingua de su famini, literally translating into English as "the language of hunger" (i.e. the language of the poor), and Sardinian parents strongly supported the teaching of the new tongue to their children, since they saw it as the portal to escaping from a poverty-stricken, rural, isolated and underprivileged life.
During the mobilization for World War I, the Italian Army compelled all Sardinians to enlist as Italian subjects and established the Sassari Infantry Brigade on 1 March 1915 at Tempio Pausania and Sinnai. Unlike the other infantry brigades of Italy, Sassari's conscripts were only Sardinians (including many officers). It is currently the only unit in Italy with an anthem in a language other than Italian: Dimonios ("Devils"), written in 1994 by Luciano Sechi. Its title derives from Rote Teufel (German for "red devils"). However, compulsory military service played a role in language shift.
Under Fascism, all languages other than Italian were banned, including Sardinia's improvised poetry competitions in Sardinian, and a large number of Sardinian surnames were changed to sound more Italian (e.g. Lussu becoming Lusso, Pilu changing to Pilo and so on). This period saw the most aggressive cultural assimilation effort by the central government, which led to an even further sociolinguistic degradation of Sardinian. However, the Sardinian Hymn of the Piedmontese Kingdom was a chance to use a regional language without penalty; as a royal tradition, it could not be forbidden.
After World War II, awareness around the Sardinian language and the danger of its slipping away did not seem to concern the Sardinian elites and entered the political spaces much later than in other European peripheries marked by the long-standing presence of ethno-linguistic minorities; Sardinian was in fact dismissed by the already Italianized middle class, as both the Sardinian language and culture were still being held accountable for the island's underdevelopment. At the time of drafting of the statute in 1948, the legislator eventually decided to specify the "Sardinian specialty" as a single criterion for political autonomy just on the grounds of a couple of socio-economic issues devoid of considerations of a distinct cultural, historical and geographical identity, that were on the contrary looked down upon as a potential prelude to more autonomist or separatist claims. Eventually, the special statute of 1948 did not recognize any special geographical conditions about the region nor made any mention of a distinct cultural and linguistic element, preferring instead to concentrate on state-funded plans (baptised with the Italian name of piani di rinascita) for the heavy industrial development of the island. In the meantime, the emphasis on Italian-only assimilation policies continued, with historical sites and ordinary objects renamed in Italian. The Ministry of Public Education reportedly requested that the Sardinian teachers be put under surveillance. The rejection of the indigenous language, along with a rigid model of Italian-language education, corporal punishment and shaming, led to poor schooling for Sardinians. As of 2015, Sardinia had the highest rate of school and university drop-out in Italy.
There have been many campaigns, often expressed in the form of political demands from the late '60s onwards, to give Sardinian equal status with Italian as a means to promote cultural identity. One of the first demands was formulated in a resolution adopted by the University of Cagliari in 1971, calling upon the national and regional authorities to recognize the Sardinians as an ethno-linguistic minority and Sardinian as the island's co-official language.[note 14] Critical acclaim in Sardinian cultural circles followed the patriotic poem No sias isciau ("Don't be a slave") by Raimondo (Remundu) Piras some months before his death in 1977, urging bilingual education to reverse the trend of deSardization. Following tensions and claims of the Sardinian nationalist movement for concrete cultural and political autonomy, including the recognition of the Sardinians as an ethnic and linguistic minority, three separate bills were presented to the Regional Council in the '80s. A survey conducted in 1984 (cited in Pinna Catte's work, 1992) showed that many Sardinians had a relatively positive attitude towards bilingual education (22% wanted Sardinian to be compulsory in Sardinian schools, while 54.7% would prefer to see teaching in Sardinian as optional). Such consensus remains relatively stable to this day; a further survey in 2008 reported that more than half of the interviewees, 57.3%, are in favour of the introduction of Sardinian into schools alongside Italian.
In the 1990s, there has been a resurgence of Sardinian-language music, ranging from the more traditional genres (cantu a tenore, cantu a chiterra, gosos etc.) to rock (Kenze Neke, Askra, Tzoku, Tazenda etc.) and even hip hop and rap (Dr. Drer e CRC Posse, Quilo, Sa Razza, Malam, Menhir, Stranos Elementos, Malos Cantores, Randagiu Sardu, Futta etc.), and with artists who used the language as a means to promote the island and address its long-standing issues and the new challenges. A few films (like Su Re, Bellas Mariposas, Treulababbu, Sonetaula etc.) have also been dubbed in Sardinian, and some others (like Metropolis) were provided with subtitles in the language.
In 1997, Sardinian was recognized by regional law n. 26 of 15 October 1997 "Promotion and enhancement of the culture and language of Sardinia" as the language of the Autonomous Region of Sardinia after Italian. Eventually, sustained activism made possible the formal recognition of twelve minority languages (Sardinian, Albanian, Catalan, German, Greek, Slovenian, Croatian, French, Franco-Provençal, Friulian, Ladin and Occitan) in the late 1990s by the framework law no. 482/1999, following Art. 6 of the Italian Constitution. While the first section of said law states that Italian is the official language of the Republic, a number of provisions are included in order to normalize the use of such languages and let them become part of the national fabric. However, Italy (along with France and Malta) has signed but not ratified the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages).
Furthermore, many people in Italy outside of Sardinia continue to regard Sardinian as an "Italian dialect", likewise many school and university books in Italy did not stop to group the language under Linguistica italiana (Italian linguistics), Dialetti italiani (Italian dialects) or Dialettologia italiana (Italian dialectology). Sardinian is yet to be taught at school, with the exception of a few experimental occasions; furthermore, its use has not ceased to be disincentivized as antiquated or even indicative of a lack of education, leading many locals to associate it with negative feelings of shame, backwardness, and provincialism.
A number of other factors like a considerable immigration flow from mainland Italy, the interior rural exodus to urban areas, where Sardinian is spoken by a much lower percentage of the population, and the use of Italian as a prerequisite for jobs and social advancement actually hinder any policy set up to promote the language. Therefore, UNESCO classifies Sardinian as "definitely endangered", since "children no longer learn the language as mother tongue in the home".
Language use is far from stable: reports showed that, while an estimated 68 percent of the islanders had a good oral command of Sardinian, language ability among the children dropped to around 13 percent, if not even less; some linguists, like Mauro Maxia, cite the low number of Sardinian-speaking children as indicative of language decline, calling Sardinia "a case of linguistic suicide". According to the data published by ISTAT in 2006, 52.5% of the population in Sardinia speaks just Italian in the family environment, while 29.3% alternates Italian and Sardinian and only 16.6% uses Sardinian or other non-Italian languages; outside the social circle of family and friends, the numbers define Italian as the prevalent language (77,1%), while the usage of Sardinian and other languages drops to 5,2%. Today, most people who use Sardinian as part of day-to-day life reside mainly in the sparsely populated areas in the countryside, like the mountainous region of Barbagia.
A bill proposed by former prime minister Mario Monti's cabinet would have lowered further Sardinian's protection level, distinguishing between languages protected by international agreements (German, Slovenian, French and Ladin) and the recognized indigenous languages which are not spoken in any state other than Italy (all the other eight ethno-linguistic groups, including Sardinian). This bill, which was eventually implemented but later deemed unconstitutional by the Court, triggered a reaction on the island. Students expressed an interest in taking all (or part) of their exit examinations in Sardinian. In response to a 2013 Italian initiative to remove bilingual signs on the island, a group of Sardinians began a virtual campaign on Google Maps to replace Italian place names with the original Sardinian names. After about one month, Google changed the place names back to Italian.
After a signature campaign, it has been made possible to change the language setting on Facebook from any language to Sardinian. It is also possible to switch to Sardinian even in Telegram and a couple of other apps, like Vivaldi, F-Droid, Diaspora, OsmAnd, Notepad++, Swiftkey, Stellarium,Skype,VLC media player for Android, Linux Mint Debina Edition 2 "Betsy", etc. In 2016, the first automatic translation software from Italian to Sardinian was developed.
In 2015, all the political parties in the Sardinian regional council have reached an agreement involving a series of amendments to the old 1997 law in order to introduce the optional teaching of the language in Sardinia's schools. The Unified Text on the Discipline of the Regional linguistic policy has been eventually approved in June 27, 2018, with the aim of setting in motion a path towards bilingual administration, contributions to bilingual mass media, publishing, IT schools and websites; it also allows for the foundation of a Sardinian board (Consulta de su Sardu) with thirty experts that will propose a linguistic standard based on the main historical macrovarieties, and shall also have advisory duties towards the Regional body. Although there is still not an option to teach Sardinian on the island itself, let alone in Italy, some language courses are instead sometimes available in Germany (Universities of Stuttgart, Munich, Tübingen, Mannheim etc.), Spain (University of Girona),Iceland and Czech Republic (Brno university). Shigeaki Sugeta also taught Sardinian to his students of Romance languages at the Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan.
The Sardinian-speaking community among the other minority language groups officially recognized by Italy.
At present, the Sardinian-speaking community is the least protected one in Italy, despite being the largest minority language group officially recognized by the state. In fact the language, which is receding in all domains of use, is still not given access to any field of public life, such as education (Italian–Sardinian bilingualism is still frowned upon, while the local universities do not play pretty much any role whatsoever in supporting the language), politics (with the exception of some nationalist groups), justice, administrative authorities and public services, media, and cultural, ecclesiastical, economic and social activities, as well as facilities. According to a 2017 report on the digital language diversity in Europe, Sardinian appears to be particularly vital on social media as part of many people's everyday life for private use, but such vitality does not still translate into a strong and wide availability of Internet media for the language. In 2017, a 60-hour Sardinian language course has been introduced for the first time in Sardinia and Italy at the University of Cagliari, although such a course was already available in other universities abroad.
In 2015, the Council of Europe commented on the status of national minorities in Italy, noting the à la carte approach of the Italian state towards them with the exception of the German, French and Slovenian languages, where Italy has applied full bilingualism due to international agreements. Despite the formal recognition from the Italian state, Italy does not in fact collect any information on the ethnic and linguistic composition of the population, apart from South Tyrol. There is also virtually no print and broadcasting media exposure in politically or numerically weaker minorites like Sardinian. Moreover, the resources allocated to cultural projects like bilingual education, which lacks a consistent approach and offers no guarantee of continuity throughout the years, are largely insufficient to meet "even the most basic expectations".
With cultural assimilation having already occurred, Sardinian is now considered by many people on the island, both natives and from the Mainland, a low means of communication relegated to little more than highly localised levels of interaction. With a solution to the Sardinian question being unlikely to be found anytime soon, the language has become highly endangered: the late recognition as a minority language, as well as the gradual Italianization promoted by the education system, the administration system and the media, followed by the intergenerational language replacement, made it so that Sardinian's vitality has been heavily compromised. Most of the younger generation, although they do understand some Sardinian, is now in fact Italian monolingual and monocultural, speaking a Sardinian-influenced dialect of Italian that is often nicknamed italiànu porcheddìnu ("pig Italian", meaning more or less "broken Italian") by many native Sardinian speakers.
Whatever the fate of the declining Sardinian language might be, it shall form the substratum of the one prevailing now, Italian, in a number of linguistic components specific to the island.
All dialects of Sardinian have phonetic features that are relatively archaic compared to other Romance languages. The degree of archaism varies, with the dialect spoken in the Province of Nuoro being considered the most conservative. Medieval evidence indicates that the language spoken in Sardinia and Corsica at the time was similar to modern Nuorese Sardinian. The other dialects are thought to have evolved through Catalan, Spanish and later Italian influences.
Latin vowels lost lengthcontrast, but have all preserved their original sound; in particular, short /i/ and /u/, which did not change in Sardinian, became instead /e/ and /o/, respectively, in Italian, Spanish and Portuguese, where Latin contrastive length resulted in contrastive quality (for example, siccus > sicu "dry"; Italian secco, Spanish and Portuguese seco).
Preservation of the plosive sounds /k/ and /ɡ/ before front vowels /e/ and /i/ in many words; for example, centum > kentu "hundred"; decem > dèke "ten" and gener > ghèneru "son-in-law" (Italian cento, dieci, genero with /tʃ/ and /dʒ/).
Absence of diphthongizations found in other Romance languages; for example, potest > podest "(s)he can" (Italian può, Spanish puede, Romanianpoate); bonus > bónu "good" (Italian buono, Spanish bueno).
Sardinian contains the following phonetic innovations:
Change of the Latin -ll- into a retroflex[ɖɖ], shared with Sicilian and Southern Corsican; for example, corallus > coraddu "coral" and villa > bidda "village, town".
Similar changes in the consonant clusters -ld- and -nd-: solidus > [ˈsoɖɖu] "money", abundantia > [abbuɳˈɖantsi.a] "abundance".
Evolution of -pl-, -fl- and -cl- into -pr-, -fr-, as in Portuguese and Galician, and -cr-; for example, platea > pratza "public square" (Portuguese praça, Galician praza; but Italian piazza), fluxus > frúsciu "flabby" (Portuguese and Galician frouxo) and ecclesia > cresia "church" (Portuguese igreja, Galician igrexa; but Italian chiesa).
Metathesis such as abbratzare > abbaltzare "to hug, to embrace".
Vowel prothesis before an initial r in Campidanese, similar to Basque and Gascon: rēx > (g)urrèi/re "king"; rota > arroda "wheel" (Gascon arròda); rīvus > Sardinian and Gascon arríu "river".
Vowel prothesis in Logudorese before an initial s followed by consonant, as in the Western Romance languages: scrīptum > iscrítu "written" (Spanish escrito, Frenchécri), stēlla > isteddu "star" (Spanish estrella, French étoile)
Except for the Nuorese dialect, intervocalic Latin single voiceless plosives /p/, /t/, /k/ became voiced approximant consonants. Single voiced plosives /b/, /d/, /ɡ/ were lost: caritātem (acc.) > caridàde[kaɾiˈðaðe]/[kaɾiˈdade] (Italian carità), locus > lógu[ˈloɣu]/[ˈloɡu] (Italian luogo). This also applies across word boundaries: porcu "pig", but su borcu "the pig"; tempus[ˈtempuzu] "time", but su tempus[su ˈðempuzu] "the time"; domu "house", but sa ’omu "the house". Such sound changes have become grammaticalised, making Sardinian an initial mutating language with similarities in this to the Insular Celtic languages.
Although the latter two features were acquired during Spanish rule, the others indicate a deeper relationship between ancient Sardinia and the Iberian world; the retroflex d, l and r are found in southern Italy, Tuscany and Asturias, and were probably involved in the palatalization process of the Latin clusters -ll-, -pl-, -cl- (-ll-- > Spanish and Catalan -ll- /ʎ/, Gascon -th-/c/; -cl- > Galician-Portuguese-ch-/tʃ/, Italian -chi-/kj/), which as seen above had a different development in Sardinian.
Vowels are /a/, /e/, /i/, /o/ and /u/, without length differentiation. Metaphony occurs with /e/ and /o/, which in particular tend to be open-mid [ɛ] and [ɔ] when they are stressed and the following syllable does not contain /i/ or u or a palatal.
There are also nasal vowels[ã], [ẽ], [ĩ], [õ], [ũ] in some varieties, and even nasal diphthongs when an intervocalic n is deleted like in beni[bẽj̃~bẽĩ].
There are three series of plosives or corresponding approximants:
Voiceless stops derive from their Latin counterparts in composition after another stop. They are reinforced (double) in initial position, but this reinforcement is not written because it does not produce a different phoneme.
Double voiced stops (after another consonant) derive from their Latin equivalents in composition after another stop.
Weak voiced "stops" (actually approximants), sometimes transcribed ⟨βδğ⟩ (/β ð ɣ/ after vowels, as in Spanish), derive from single Latin stops (voiced or voiceless).
In Cagliari and neighboring dialects, the soft /d/ has become [ɾ] due to rhotacism: digitus > didu/diru "finger".
Some permutations of l and r are seen: in most dialects a preconsonantal l (for example, -lt- or -lc-) becomes r: Latin altum > artu "high/tall", marralzu/marrarzu "rock".
In palatal context, Latin l changed into [dz], [ts], [ldz], [ll] or [dʒ], rather than the /ʎ/ of Italian: achizare (Italian accigliare), *volia > bòlla/bòlza/bòza "wish, longing" (Italian voglia), folia > fogia/folla/foza "leaf" (Italian foglia), fīlia > filla/fidza/fiza "daughter" (Italian figlia).
Some distinctive features typical of Sardinian are:
The plural marker is -s (from the Latin accusative plural), as in the Western Romance languages French, Occitan, Catalan, Spanish, Portuguese and Galician): sardu, sardus, "Sardinian"; pudda, puddas, "hen"; margiane, margianes, "fox". In Italo-Dalmatian languages (such as Italian) or Eastern Romance languages (such as Romanian), the plural ends with -i, -e or -a--.
The definite article derived from the Latin ipse: su, sa, plural sos, sas (Logudorese) and is (Campidanese). Such articles are common in Balearic Catalan, and were common in Gascon.
A periphrastic construction of "have to" (late Latin habere ad) is used for the future: ap'a istàre < apo a istàre "I will stay", Vulgar Latin 'habeo ad stare' (as in the Portuguese hei de estar, but here as periphrasis for estarei). The other Romance languages have realisations of the alternative Vulgar Latin 'stare habeo', Italian "starò", Portuguese "estarei".
For prohibitions, a negative form of the subjunctive is used: no bengias!, "don't come!" (compare Spanish no vengas and Portuguese não venhas, classified as part of the affirmative imperative mood). Italian uses the infinitive (non venire) instead.
A common occurrence of a left-dislocated construction: cussa cantone apo cantadu ("That song I have sung": that is, "I've sung that song").
In yes/no questions, fronting of a constituent (especially a predicative element) is required, though it is not specifically a question-formation process: Cumprendiu m'as? ("Understood me you have", that is, "Have you understood me?"), Mandicatu at? ("Eaten he/she has", that is "Has he/she eaten?"), Fattu l'at ("Done he/she has", that is "He/She's done it"), etc.
Interrogative phrases might be constructed like echo questions, with the interrogative marker remaining in underlying position: Sunt lòmpios cando? ("They arrived when?", that is, "when did they arrive?"), Juanne at pigadu olìas cun chie? ("John has picked olives with whom?"), etc.
Impersonal sentence constructions are commonly used to replace the passive voice, which is limited to the formal register: A Juanni ddu ant mortu rather than Juanni est istadu mortu.
The use of non de + noun: non de abba, abbardente est ("not of water brandy it+is": that is, "It is not water, but brandy."); non de frades, parent inimigos ("Not of brothers, they seem enemies": that is, "Far from being brothers, they are like enemies").
The use of ca (from quia) or ki as subordinate conjunctions: Ja nau ti l'apo ca est issa sa mere ("Already told I have you that is she the boss", that is "I've already told you that it's her the boss").
Existential uses of àer / ài ("to have") and èsser / èssi ("to be"): B'at prus de chentu persones inoghe! ("There is over a hundred people in here!"), Nci funt is pratus in mesa ("There are the plates on the table").
Ite ("What") + adjective + chi: Ite bellu chi ses! ("You are so beautiful!").
Nominal syntagmas without having a head: Cussu ditzionariu de gregu est prus mannu de su de Efis ("That Greek dictionary is bigger than Efisio's"), Cudda machina est prus manna de sa de Juanne ("That car is bigger than John's").
Extraposition of the lexycal head: Imprestami su tou de ditzionariu ("Please lend me your dictionary").
Ancu + subjunctive as a way to express a (malevolent) wish on someone: Ancu ti falet unu lampu! ("May you be struck by lightning!").
Prepositional accusative: Apo bidu a Maria ("I've seen Mary").
Insertion of the affermative particle ja / giai: Ja m'apo corcau ("I did go to bed").
Use of the same particle to express antiphrastic formulas: Jai ses totu istudiatu, tue! ("You're so well educated!", that is, "You are so ignorant and full of yourself!").
Reflexive use of intransitive verbs: Tziu Pascale si nch'est mortu eris sero ("Uncle Pascal passed away yesterday"), Mi nch'apo dormiu pro una parica de oras ("I've slept for a couple of hours").
Use of àer in reflexive sentences: Si at fertu a s'anca traballende ("He/She injured himself/herself while working").
Combination of the perfective and progressive verb aspect: Est istadu traballende totu sa die" ("He/She has been working all day").
Progressive aspect of the verb, which is meant to indicate an effective situation rather than typical or habitual: Non ti so cumprendende ("I don't understand you").
Relative lack of adverbs: with the exception of some localized words like the Nuorese mescamente ("especially"), as well as recent Italian loanwords, all the Sardinian dialects have a number of ways with which to express the meaning conferred to the adverbs by the other Romance languages (e.g. Luchía currit prus a lestru / acoitendi de María, "Lucy runs faster than Mary").
Corso-Sardinian (orange and yellow) with respect to Sardinian proper (green).
Historically, the Sardinians have always been quite a small population scattered across isolated cantons, sharing similar demographic patterns with Corsica. Starting from Francesco Cetti's description in the 18th century, the Sardinian language has been traditionally subdivided into two macro-varieties, each spoken by roughly half of the entire community: the dialects spoken in North-Central Sardinia, centered on the ortographic model known as Logudorese (su sardu logudoresu), and the dialects spoken in Central Southern Sardinia, centered on another ortographic model called Campidanese (su sardu campidanesu). All the Sardinian dialects differ primarily in phonetics, which does not hamper intelligibility; the view of there being a dialectal boundary separating the Campidanese and Logudorese varieties has been in fact subjected to more recent research, that shows a fluid linguistic continuum from the Northern to the Southern ends of the island. The dual perception of the Sardinian dialects, rather than pointing to an actual isogloss, is in fact the result of a psychological adherence to the way Sardinia was administratively subvidided into a Caput Logudori (Cabu de Susu) and a Caput Calaris (Cabu de Jossu) by the Spanish.
On the other hand, the Logudorese and Campidanese dialects have been estimated by other researches to have 88% of matches in 110-item wordlist, similarly to the 85-88% number of matches between ProvençalOccitan and the Catalan dialects, which by some standards is usually (even though arbitrarily) considered characteristic for two different, although closely related languages.ISO 639 standard even considers Sardinian a macrolanguage consisting of four languages (Campidanese, Gallurese, Logudorese and Sassarese) with separate codes.
The dialects centered on the Logudorese model are generally considered more conservative, with the Nuorese subdialect (su sardu nugoresu) being the most conservative of all. They have all retained the classical Latin pronunciation of the stop velars (kena versus cena, "supper"), the front middle vowels (compare Campidanese iotacism, probably from Byzantine Greek) and assimilation of close-mid vowels (cane versus cani, "dog" and gattos versus gattus, "cats"). Labio-velars become plain labials (limba versus lingua, "language" and abba versus acua, "water").I is prosthesized before consonant clusters beginning in s (iscala versus Campidanese scala, "stairway" and iscola versus scola, "school"). An east-west strip of villages in central Sardinia speaks a transitional group of dialects (su sardu de mesania). Examples include is limbas (the languages) and is abbas (the waters). The dialects centered on the Campidanese model, spreading from Cagliari (once the metropolis of the Roman province), show relatively more influences by Carthage, Rome, Constantinople and Late Latin. Examples include is fruminis (the rivers) and is domus (the houses).
Sardinian is the indigenous and historical language of most Sardinian communities. However, Sardinian is not spoken as the native and primary language in a significant number of other ones, amounting to 20% of the Sardinian population. The afore-mentioned Gallurese and Sassarese, despite being often colloquially considered part of Sardinian, are two Corso-Sardinian transitional languages; they are spoken in the northernmost part of Sardinia, although some Sardinian is also understood by the majority of people living there (73,6% in Gallura and 67,8% in the Sassarese-speaking subregion). Sassari, the second-largest city on Sardinia and the main center of the northern half of the island (cabu de susu in Sardinian, capo di sopra in Italian), is located there. There are also two language islands, the CatalanAlgherese-speaking community from the inner city of Alghero (northwest Sardinia) and the Ligurian-speaking towns of Carloforte, in San Pietro Island, and Calasetta in Sant'Antioco island (south-west Sardinia).
Sardinian has already been a standardized language since the Middle Ages, even if the process led to the emergence of the above-mentioned models of Logudorese and Campidanese. However, some attempts have been made to introduce a single writing system for administrative purposes over the recent decades, but they have not been generally acknowledged by native speakers.
The Regional Council Deliberations no. 52/105 of 28 December 1999 and n. 59/117 of 29 December 1998 appointed the Committee members with the goal of investigating a single orthographic form and devise a project of linguistic unification. The people appointed for the task were Eduardo Blasco Ferrer, Roberto Bolognesi, Diego Salvatore Corraine, Ignazio Delogu, Antonietta Dettori, Giulio Paulis, Massimo Pittau, Tonino Rubattu, Leonardo Sole, Heinz Jürgen Wolf, and Matteo Porru acting as the Committee's secretary. The output of the Committee was the "Limba Sarda Unificada" (LSU, "Unified Sardinian Language"). Its rules were published in 2001 by the Autonomous Region of Sardinia, but were met with some criticism about their overall focus on the more conservative varieties, and was eventually not adopted by the regional Council.
The Regional Council Deliberation no. 20/15 of 9 May 2005 thus appointed a new Committee composed of Giulio Angioni, Roberto Bolognesi, Manlio Brigaglia, Michel Contini, Diego Corraine, Giovanni Lupinu, Anna Oppo, Giulio Paulis, Maria Teresa Pinna Catte and Mario Puddu. Their job involved a program of measures for the protection and promotion of the Sardinian language, by means of a guide to be used by the regional administration. The Committee's output, called "Limba Sarda Comuna" (LSC, "Common Sardinian Language"), was experimentally adopted by the Sardinian regional authority with the Regional Council Deliberation no. 16/14 of 18 April 2006. The resolution does not aim to impose the guide and further notes that it is "open to integrations" and that "all solutions are of equal linguistic value". This work does not refer to morphology and syntax, which is already fairly homogeneous, and concerns itself primarily with spelling.
Sample of text
Transitional Mesanìa dialect
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
Babbu nostru chi ses in chelu,
Santificadu siat su nomine tou.
Benzat a nois su rennu tou,
Siat fatta sa boluntade tua,
comente in chelu gai in terra.
Dona nos oe su pane nostru de donzi die,
E perdona nos sos peccados nostros,
Comente nois perdonamus a sos depidores nostros.
E no nos lesses ruer in tentatzione,
E libera nos dae male.
Babbu nostu chi ses in celu,
Santificau siat su nomini tuu.
Bengiat a nosus su regnu tuu,
Siat fatta sa boluntadi tua,
comenti in celu aici in terra.
Donasi oi su pani nostu de dogna dii,
E perdonasi is peccaus nostus,
Comenti nosus perdonaus a is depidoris nostus.
E no si lessis arrui in tentatzioni,
E liberasi de mali.
Babbu nostru chi ses in celu,
Santificau siat su nomine tuu.
Bengiat a nos su regnu tuu,
Siat fatta sa boluntade tua,
comente in celu gasi in terra.
Dona nos oe su pane nostru de dogna die,
E perdona nos is peccados nostros,
Comente nois perdonamus a is depidores nostros.
E no nos lesses arruer in tentatzione,
E libera nos de male.
Pater noster qui es in cælis,
sanctificetur nomen tuum.
adveniat regnum tuum,
fiat voluntas tua,
sicut in cælo et in terra.
Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie,
et dimitte nobis debita nostra,
sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris.
et ne nos inducas in tentationem
sed libera nos a malo.
Padre Nostro, che sei nei cieli,
Sia santificato il tuo nome.
Venga il tuo regno,
Sia fatta la tua volontà,
Come in cielo, così in terra.
Dacci oggi il nostro pane quotidiano,
E rimetti a noi i nostri debiti
Come noi li rimettiamo ai nostri debitori.
E non ci indurre in tentazione,
Ma liberaci dal male.
^ abIt is to be noted on that matter that Wagner conducted academic research in 1951; it took in fact another forty years for Sardinian to be politically recognized, at least formally, as one of Italy's twelve minority languages by the Law no.482/99.
^Original version (in Italian): Sorge ora la questione se il sardo si deve considerare come un dialetto o come una lingua. È evidente che esso è, politicamente, uno dei tanti dialetti dell’Italia, come lo è anche, p. es., il serbo-croato o l’albanese parlato in vari paesi della Calabria e della Sicilia. Ma dal punto di vista linguistico la questione assume un altro aspetto. Non si può dire che il sardo abbia una stretta parentela con alcun dialetto dell’italiano continentale; è un parlare romanzo arcaico e con proprie spiccate caratteristiche, che si rivelano in un vocabolario molto originale e in una morfologia e sintassi assai differenti da quelle dei dialetti italiani.
^In nomine Domini amen. Ego iudice Mariano de Lacon fazo ista carta ad onore de omnes homines de Pisas pro xu toloneu ci mi pecterunt: e ego donolislu pro ca lis so ego amicu caru e itsos a mimi; ci nullu imperatore ci lu aet potestare istu locu de non (n)apat comiatu de leuarelis toloneu in placitu: de non occidere pisanu ingratis: e ccausa ipsoro ci lis aem leuare ingratis, de facerlis iustitia inperatore ci nce aet exere intu locu ...
^E inper(a)tor(e) ki l ati kastikari ista delegantzia e fagere kantu narat ista carta siat benedittu ...
^In nomine de Pater et Filiu et Sanctu Ispiritu. Ego iudigi Salusi de Lacunu cun muiere mea donna (Ad)elasia, uoluntate de Donnu Deu potestando parte de KKaralis, assolbu llu Arresmundu, priori de sanctu Saturru, a fagiri si carta in co bolit. Et ego Arresmundu, l(eba)nd(u) ass(o)ltura daba (su) donnu miu iudegi Salusi de Lacunu, ki mi illu castigit Donnu Deu balaus (a)nnus rt bonus et a issi et a (muiere) sua, fazzu mi carta pro kertu ki fegi cun isus de Maara pro su saltu ubi si ( ... )ari zizimi ( ... ) Maara, ki est de sanctu Saturru. Intrei in kertu cun isus de Maara ca mi machelaa(nt) in issu saltu miu (et canpa)niarunt si megu, c'auea cun istimonius bonus ki furunt armadus a iurari, pro cantu kertàà cun, ca fuit totu de sanctu Sat(ur)ru su saltu. Et derunt mi in issu canpaniu daa petra de mama et filia derectu a ssu runcu terra de Gosantini de Baniu et derectu a bruncu d'argillas e derectu a piskina d'arenas e leuat cabizali derectu a sa bia de carru de su mudeglu et clonpit a su cabizali de uentu dextru de ssa doméstia de donnigellu Cumitayet leuet tuduy su cabizali et essit a ssas zinnigas de moori de silba, lassandu a manca serriu et clonpit deretu a ssu pizariu de sellas, ubi posirus sa dìì su tremini et leuat sa bia maiori de genna (de sa) terra al(ba et) lebat su moori ( ... ) a sa terra de sanctu Saturru, lassandu lla issa a manca et lebat su moori lassandu a (manca) sas cortis d'oriinas de ( ... ) si. Et apirus cummentu in su campaniu, ki fegir(us), d'arari issus sas terras ipsoru ki sunt in su saltu miu et (ll)u castiari s(u) saltu et issus hominis mius de Sinnay arari sas terras mias et issas terras issoru ki sunt in saltu de ssus et issus castiari su saltu(u i)ssoru. Custu fegirus plagendu mi a mimi et a issus homi(nis) mius de Sinnay et de totu billa de Maara. Istimonius ki furunt a ssegari su saltu de pari (et) a poniri sus treminis, donnu Cumita de Lacun, ki fut curatori de Canpitanu, Cumita d'Orrù ( ... ) du, A. Sufreri et Iohanni de Serra, filiu de su curatori, Petru Soriga et Gosantini Toccu Mullina, M( ... ) gi Calcaniu de Pirri, C. de Solanas, C. Pullu de Dergei, Iorgi Cabra de Kerarius, Iorgi Sartoris, Laurenz( ... ) ius, G. Toccu de Kerarius et P. Marzu de Quartu iossu et prebiteru Albuki de Kibullas et P. de Zippari et M. Gregu, M. de Sogus de Palma et G. Corsu de sancta Ilia et A. Carena, G. Artea de Palma et Oliueri de Kkarda ( ... ) pisanu et issu gonpanioni. Et sunt istimonius de logu Arzzoccu de Maroniu et Gonnari de Laco(n) mancosu et Trogotori Dezzori de Dolia. Et est facta custa carta abendu si lla iudegi a manu sua sa curatoria de Canpitanu pro logu salbadori (et) ki ll'(aet) deuertere, apat anathema (daba) Pater et Filiu et Sanctu Ispiritu, daba XII Appostolos et IIII Euangelistas, XVI Prophetas, XXIV Seniores, CCC(XVIII) Sanctus Patris et sorti apat cun Iuda in ifernum inferiori. Siat et F. I. A. T.
^Ego Benedictus operaius de Santa Maria de Pisas Ki la fatho custa carta cum voluntate di Domino e de Santa Maria e de Santa Simplichi e de indice Barusone de Gallul e de sa muliere donna Elene de Laccu Reina appit kertu piscupu Bernardu de Kivita, cum Iovanne operariu e mecum e cum Previtero Monte Magno Kercate nocus pro Santa Maria de vignolas ... et pro sa doma de VillaAlba e de Gisalle cum omnia pertinentia is soro .... essende facta custa campania cun sii Piscupu a boluntate de pare torraremus su Piscupu sa domo de Gisalle pro omnia sua e de sos clericos suos, e issa domo de Villa Alba, pro precu Kindoli mandarun sos consolos, e nois demus illi duas ankillas, ki farmi cojuvatas, suna cun servo suo in loco de rnola, e sattera in templo cun servii de malu sennu: a suna naran Maria Trivillo, a sattera jorgia Furchille, suna fuit de sa domo de Villa Alba, e sattera fuit de Santu Petru de Surake ... Testes Judike Barusone, Episcopu Jovanni de Galtellì, e Prite Petru I upu e Gosantine Troppis e prite Marchu e prite Natale e prite Gosantino Gulpio e prite Gomita Gatta e prite Comita Prias e Gerardu de Conettu ... e atteros rneta testes. Anno dom.milles.centes.septuag.tertio
^Vois messer N. electu potestate assu regimentu dessa terra de Sassari daue su altu Cumone de Janna azes jurare a sancta dei evangelia, qui fina assu termen a bois ordinatu bene et lejalmente azes facher su offitiu potestaria in sa dicta terra de Sassari ...
^ ... L'Alguer castillo fuerte bien murado / con frutales por tierra muy divinos / y por la mar coral fino eltremado / es ciudad de mas de mil vezinos...
^Jacinto Arnal de Bolea (1636), El Forastero, Antonio Galcerin editor, Cagliari - "....ofreciéndonos a la vista la insigne ciudad de Càller, corte que me dixeron era de aquel reino. ....La hermosura de las damas, el buen gusto de su alino, lo prendido y bien saconado de lo curioso-dandole vida con mil donaires-, la grandeza en los titulos, el lucimientos en los cavalleros, el concurso grande de la nobleza y el agasajo para un forastero no os los podrà zifrar mi conocimiento. Basta para su alavanza el deciros que alcuna vez, con olvido en mi peregrinaciò y con descuido en mis disdichas, discurria por los templos no estrano y por las calles no atajado, me hallava con evidencias grandes que era aquel sitio el alma de Madrid, que con tanta urbanidad y cortesìa se exercitavan en sus nobles correspondencias"
^Juan Francisco Carmona Cagliari, 1610–1670, Alabança de San George obispu suelense: Citizen (in Spanish): “You, shepherd! What frightens you? Have you never seen some people gathering?”; Shepherd (in Sardinian): “Are you asking me if I'm married?”; Citizen (in Spanish): “You're not getting a grasp of what I say, do you? Oh, what an idiot shepherd!”; Shepherd (in Sardinian): “I'm actually thirsty and tired”; Citizen (in Spanish): “I'd better speak in Sardinian so that we understand each other better. (in Sardinian) Tell me, shepherd, where are you from?”; Shepherd: “I'm from Suelli, my lord, I’ve been ordered to bring my lord a present”; Citizen: “Ah, now you understand what I said, don't you!””. (“Ciudadano: Que tiens pastor, de que te espantas? que nunca has visto pueblo congregado?; Pastor: E ite mi nais, si seu coiadu?; Ciudadano: Que no me entiendes? o, que pastor bozal aqui me vino; Pastor: A fidi tengu sidi e istau fadiau; Ciudadano: Mejor sera que en sardo tambien able pues algo dello se y nos oigamos. Nada mi su pastori de undi seis?; Pastor: De Suedi mi Sennori e m’anti cumandadu portari unu presenti a monsignori; Ciudadano: Jmoi jà mi jntendeis su que apu nadu”).
^Jn Dei nomine Amen, noverint comente sende personalmente constituidos in presensia mia notariu et de sos testimongios infrascrittos sa viuda Caterina Casada et Coco mugere fuit de su Nigola Casada jàganu, Franziscu Casada et Joanne Casada Frades, filios de su dittu Nigola et Caterina Casada de sa presente cittade faguinde custas cosas gratis e de certa sciensia insoro, non per forza fraudu, malìssia nen ingannu nen pro nexuna attera sinistra macchinassione cun tottu su megius modu chi de derettu poden et deven, attesu et cunsideradu chi su dittu Nigola Casada esseret siguida dae algunos corpos chi li dein de notte, pro sa quale morte fettin querella et reclamo contra sa persona de Pedru Najtana, pro paura de sa justissia, si ausentait, in sa quale aussensia est dae unu annu pattinde multos dannos, dispesas, traballos e disusios.
^Andrea Manca dell'Arca, an agronomist from Sassari (a city which, like most of Northern Sardinia, had been historically more exposed via Corsica to the Italian culture than the rest of the island) had so illustrated how Italian was still perceived by the locals: "Italian is as familiar to me as Latin, French or other foreign languages which one only partially learns through grammar study and the books, without fully getting the hang of them"[...] (Original text: [...]È tanto nativa per me la lingua italiana, come la latina, francese o altre forestiere che solo s’imparano in parte colla grammatica, uso e frequente lezione de’ libri, ma non si possiede appieno[...]). Ricordi di Santu Lussurgiu di Francesco Maria Porcu In Santu Lussurgiu dalle Origini alla "Grande Guerra" – Grafiche editoriali Solinas – Nuoro, 2005
^The introduction of Italian as a foreign language to the Sardinian villages is exemplified in a passage from the contemporary Francesco (Frantziscu) Masala's "Sa limba est s'istoria de su mundu", Condaghes, pg.4: <<When I was a little kid growing up in the village, we all used to speak in the Sardinian language. We did not speak any other language in our homes. And I began to know all the things of the world in the native language. At the age of six, I went to first grade and the school teacher forbade me as well as my peers to speak in the only language we knew: from that moment on, we had to speak in Italian, "the language of the Fatherland", he told us seriously. Thus, the children of our village would come to school bright and happy, and walk out of school empty-headed and with a gloomy look on our faces.>> (Original text: "A sos tempos de sa pitzinnìa, in bidda, totus chistionaiamus in limba sarda. In domos nostras no si faeddaiat atera limba. E deo, in sa limba nadìa, comintzei a connoscher totu sas cosas de su mundu. A sos ses annos, intrei in prima elementare e su mastru de iscola proibeit, a mie e a sos fedales mios, de faeddare in s'unica limba chi connoschiamus: depiamus chistionare in limba italiana, «la lingua della Patria», nos nareit, seriu seriu, su mastru de iscola. Gai, totus sos pitzinnos de 'idda, intraian in iscola abbistos e allirgos e nde bessian tontos e cari-tristos.")
^Istanza del Prof. A. Sanna sulla pronuncia della Facoltà di Lettere in relazione alla difesa del patrimonio etnico-linguistico sardo. Il prof.Antonio Sanna fa a questo proposito una dichiarazione: <<Gli indifferenti problemi della scuola, sempre affrontati in Sardegna in torma empirica, appaiono oggi assai particolari e non risolvibili in un generico quadro nazionale; il tatto stesso che la scuola sia diventata scuola di massa comporta il rifiuto di una didattica inadeguata, in quanto basata sull'apprendimento concettuale attraverso una lingua, per molti aspetti estranea al tessuto culturale sardo. Poiché esiste un popolo sardo con una propria lingua dai caratteri diversi e distinti dall'italiano, ne discende che la lingua ufficiale dello Stato, risulta in effetti una lingua straniera, per di più insegnata con metodi didatticamente errati, che non tengono in alcun conto la lingua materna dei Sardi: e ciò con grave pregiudizio per un'efficace trasmissione della cultura sarda, considerata come sub-cultura. Va dunque respinto il tentativo di considerare come unica soluzione valida per questi problemi una forzata e artificiale forma di acculturazione dall'esterno, la quale ha dimostrato (e continua a dimostrare tutti) suoi gravi limiti, in quanto incapace di risolvere i problemi dell'isola. È perciò necessario promuovere dall'interno i valori autentici della cultura isolana, primo fra tutti quello dell'autonomia, e "provocare un salto di qualità senza un'acculturazione di tipo colonialistico, e il superamento cosciente del dislivello di cultura" (Lilliu). La Facoltà di Lettere e Filosofia dell'Università di Cagliari, coerentemente con queste premesse con l'istituzione di una Scuola Superiore di Studi Sardi, è pertanto invitata ad assumere l'iniziativa di proporre alle autorità politiche della Regione Autonoma e dello Stato il riconoscimento della condizione di minoranza etnico-linguistica per la Sardegna e della lingua sarda come lingua <<nazionale>> della minoranza. È di conseguenza opportuno che si predispongano tutti i provvedimenti a livello scolastico per la difesa e conservazione dei valori tradizionali della lingua e della cultura sarda e, in questo contesto, di tutti i dialetti e le tradizioni culturali presenti in Sardegna (ci si intende riferire al Gallurese, al Sassarese, all'Algherese e al Ligure-Carlofortino). In ogni caso tali provvedimenti dovranno comprendere necessariamente, ai livelli minimi dell'istruzione, la partenza dell'insegnamento del sardo e dei vari dialetti parlati in Sardegna, l'insegnamento nella scuola dell'obbligo riservato ai Sardi o coloro che dimostrino un'adeguata conoscenza del sardo, o tutti quegli altri provvedimenti atti a garantire la conservazione dei valori tradizionali della cultura sarda. È bene osservare come, nel quadro della diffusa tendenza a livello internazionale per la difesa delle lingue delle minoranze minacciate, provvedimenti simili a quelli proposti sono presi in Svizzera per la minoranza ladina fin dal 1938 (48000 persone), in Inghilterra per il Galles, in Italia per le minoranze valdostana, slovena e ultimamente ladina (15000 persone), oltre che per quella tedesca; a proposito di queste ultime e specificamente in relazione al nuovo ordinamento scolastico alto-atesino. Il presidente del Consiglio on. Colombo, nel raccomandare ala Camera le modifiche da apportare allo Statuto della Regione Trentino-Alto Adige (il cosiddetto "pacchetto"), <<modifiche che non escono dal concetto di autonomia indicato dalla Costituzione>>, ha ritenuto di dover sottolineare l'opportunità "che i giovani siano istruiti nella propria lingua materna da insegnanti appartenenti allo stesso gruppo linguistico"; egli inoltre aggiungeva che "solo eliminando ogni motivo di rivendicazione si crea il necessario presupposto per consentire alla scuola di svolgere la sua funzione fondamentale in un clima propizio per la migliore formazione degli allievi". Queste chiare parole del presidente del Consiglio ci consentono di credere che non si voglia compiere una discriminazione nei confronti della minoranza sarda, ma anche per essa valga il principio enunciato dall'opportunità dell'insegnamento della lingua materna ad opera di insegnanti appartenenti allo stesso gruppo linguistico, onde consentire alla scuola di svolgere anche in Sardegna la sua funzione fondamentale in un clima propizio alla migliore formazione per gli allievi. Si chiarisce che tutto ciò non è sciovinismo né rinuncia a una cultura irrinunciabile, ma una civile e motivata iniziativa per realizzare in Sardegna una vera scuola, una vera rinascita, "in un rapporto di competizione culturale con lo stato (...) che arricchisce la Nazione" (Lilliu)>>. Il Consiglio unanime approva le istanze proposte dal prof. Sanna e invita le competenti autorità politiche a promuovere tutte le iniziative necessarie, sul piano sia scolastico che politico-economico, a sviluppare coerentemente tali principi, nel contempo acquisendo dati atti a mettere in luce il suesposto stato. Cagliari, 19 Febbraio 1971. [Farris, Priamo (2016). Problemas e aficàntzias de sa pianificatzioni linguistica in Sardigna. Limba, Istòria, Sotziedadi / Problemi e prospettive della pianificazione linguistica in Sardegna. Lingua, Storia, Società, Youcanprint]
^AA. VV. Calendario Atlante De Agostini 2017, Novara, Istituto Geografico De Agostini, 2016, p. 230
^Arnaiz-Villena A, Rodriguez de Córdoba S, Vela F, Pascual JC, Cerveró J, Bootello A. – HLA antigens in a sample of the Spanish population: common features among Spaniards, Basques, and Sardinians. – Hum Genet. 1981;58(3):344-8.
^Ignazio Putzu, “La posizione linguistica del sardo nel contesto mediterraneo”, in Neues aus der Bremer Linguistikwerkstatt: aktuelle Themen und Projekte, ed. Cornelia Stroh (Bochum: Universitätsverlag Dr. N. Brockmeyer, 2012), 183.
^Wolf H. J., 1998, Toponomastica barbaricina, p.20 Papiros publisher, Nuoro
^ abGiulio Paulis, Lingua e cultura nella Sardegna Bizantina, Sassari, 1983
^«Moreover, the Sardinians are the first Romance-speaking people of all who made the language of the common folk the official language of the State, the Government...» Puddu, Mario (2002). Istoria de sa limba sarda, Ed. Domus de Janas, Selargius, pg.14
^Gian Giacomo Ortu, La Sardegna dei Giudici p.264, Il Maestrale 2005
^Ferrer, Eduardo Blasco (1984). Storia Linguistica Della Sardegna, pg.65, De Gruyter
^Salvi, Sergio. Le lingue tagliate: storia delle minoranze linguistiche in Italia, Rizzoli, 1975, pp.176-177
^Barisone II of Arborea, G. Seche, L'incoronazione di Barisone "Re di Sardegna" in due fonti contemporanee: gli Annales genovesi e gli Annales pisani, Rivista dell'Istituto di storia dell'Europa mediterranea, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, n°4, 2010
^Mastino, Attilio (2005). Storia della Sardegna antica, Edizioni Il Maestrale, pp.83
^"Archivio Cassinense Perg. Caps. XI, n. 11 " e "TOLA P., Codice Diplomatico della Sardegna, I, Sassari, 1984, p. 153"
^Francesco Cesare Casula, La storia di Sardegna, 1994
^Sigismondo Arquer (edited by Maria Teresa Laneri, 2008). Sardiniae brevis historia et descriptio, CUEC, pg.30, De Sardorum Lingua. <<Certainly, the Sardinians had once their own language, however since many peoples immigrated to the island and it fell under the rule of many foreign powers (namely Latins, Pisans, Genoese, Spanish and Africans), the language of the Sardinians became extremely corrupted; nonetheless, a number of words which have no equivalent in any other language have been preserved. [...] Because of this, the Sardinians speak in a very different way depending on where they live, since they have been under many diverse dominations; however, they manage to understand each other perfectly. On the island are two main languages, the first in the cities and the latter out of their reach. People from the cities commonly speak Spanish, Tarragonese or Catalan, which they learnt from the Spaniards, who also occupy much of the official positions; the others, on the other hand, retain the genuine language of the Sardinians.>> Original text: <<Habuerunt quidem Sardi linguam propriam, sed quum diversi populi immigraverint in eam atque ab exteris principibus eius imperium usurpatum fuerit, nempe Latinis, Pisanis, Genuensibus, Hispanis et Afris, corrupta fuit multum lingua eorum, relictis tamen plurimis vocabulis, quae in nullo inveniuntur idiomate. [...] Hinc est quod Sardi in diversis locis tam diverse loquuntur, iuxta quod tam varium habuerunt imperium, etiamsi ipsi mutuo sese recte intelligant. Sunt autem duae praecipuae in ea insula linguae, una qua utuntur in civitatibus, et altera qua extra civitates. Oppidani loquuntur fere lingua Hispanica, Tarraconensi seu Catalana, quam didicerunt ab Hispanis, qui plerumque magistratum in eisdem gerunt civitatibus: alii vero genuinam retinent Sardorum Linguam.>> Sigismondo, Arquer (1549). Sardiniae brevis historia et descriptio, De Sardorum Lingua
^Incipit to "Lettera al Maestro" in "La Sardegna e la Corsica", Ines Loi Corvetto, Torino, UTET Libreria, 1993: Semper happisi desiggiu, Illustrissimu Segnore, de magnificare, & arrichire sa limba nostra Sarda; dessa matessi manera qui sa naturale insoro tottu sas naciones dessu mundu hant magnificadu & arrichidu; comente est de vider per isos curiosos de cuddas.
^<<[...] Nonetheless, the two works by Spano are of extraordinary importance, as they put on the table in Sardinia the "question of the Sardinian language", the language that should have been the unified and unifying one, to be enforced on the island over its singular dialects; the language of the Sardinian nation, through which the island was keen to project itself onto the other European nations, that already reached or were about to reach their political and cultural actualization in the 1800s, including the Italian nation. And just along the lines of what had been theorized and put into effect in favour of the Italian nation, that was successfully completing the process of linguistic unification by elevating the Florentine dialect to the role of "national language", so in Sardinia the long-desired "Sardinian national language" was given the name of "illustrious Sardinian".>> Original: <<[...] Ciononostante le due opere dello Spano sono di straordinaria importanza, in quanto aprirono in Sardegna la discussione sul problema della lingua sarda, quella che sarebbe dovuta essere la lingua unificata ed unificante, che si sarebbe dovuta imporre in tutta l'isola sulle particolarità dei singoli dialetti e suddialetti, la lingua della nazione sarda, con la quale la Sardegna intendeva inserirsi tra le altre nazioni europee, quelle che nell'Ottocento avevano già raggiunto o stavano per raggiungere la loro attuazione politica e culturale, compresa la nazione italiana. E proprio sulla falsariga di quanto era stato teorizzato ed anche attuato a favore della nazione italiana, che nell'Ottocento stava per portare a termine il processo di unificazione linguistica, elevando il dialetto fiorentino e toscano al ruolo di "lingua nazionale", chiamandolo italiano illustre, anche in Sardegna l'auspicata lingua nazionale sarda fu denominata sardo illustre">>. Massimo Pittau, Grammatica del sardo illustre, Nuoro, pp. 11–12, Introduction
^Saggio di grammatica sul dialetto sardo meridionale dedicato a sua altezza reale Maria Cristina di Bourbon infanta delle Sicilie duchessa del genevese, Cagliari, Reale stamperia, 1811
^King Charles Emmanuel III of Sardinia, Royal Note, 23 July 1760: "Since we must use for such teachings (lower schools), among the most cultured languages, the one that is the less distant from the native dialect and the most appropriate to public administration at the same time, we have decided to use Italian in the aforementioned schools, as it is in fact no more different from the Sardinian language than the Spanish one, and indeed the most educated Sardinians have already a grasp of it; it is also the most viable option to facilitate and increase trade; the Piedmontese in the Kingdom won't have to learn another language to be employed in the public sector, and the Sardinians could also find work on the continent." Original: "Dovendosi per tali insegnamenti (scuole inferiori) adoperare fra le lingue più colte quella che è meno lontana dal materno dialetto ed a un tempo la più corrispondente alle pubbliche convenienze, si è determinato di usare nelle scuole predette l'italiana, siccome quella appunto che non essendo più diversa dalla sarda di quello fosse la castigliana, poiché anzi la maggior parte dei sardi più colti già la possiede; resta altresì la più opportuna per maggiormente agevolare il commercio ed aumentare gli scambievoli comodi; ed i Piemontesi che verranno nel Regno, non avranno a studiare una nuova lingua per meglio abituarsi al servizio pubblico e dei sardi, i quali in tal modo potranno essere impiegati anche nel continente.
^Girolamo Sotgiu (1984), Storia della Sardegna Sabauda, Editori Laterza
^"It would be a great innovation, with regard to both the civilizing process in Sardinia and the public education, to ban the Sardinian dialects in every social and ecclesiastical activity, mandating the use of the Italian language... It is also necessary to eradicate the Sardinian dialect [sic] and introduce Italian even for other good reasons; that is, to civilize that nation [referring to Sardinia], in order for it to comprehend the instructions and commands from the Government... (Carlo Baudi di Vesme, Political and economical considerations on Sardinia, 1848)" Original: "Una innovazione in materia di incivilimento della Sardegna e d’istruzione pubblica, che sotto vari aspetti sarebbe importantissima, si è quella di proibire severamente in ogni atto pubblico civile non meno che nelle funzioni ecclesiastiche, tranne le prediche, l’uso dei dialetti sardi, prescrivendo l’esclusivo impiego della lingua italiana… È necessario inoltre scemare l’uso del dialetto sardo ed introdurre quello della lingua italiana anche per altri non men forti motivi; ossia per incivilire alquanto quella nazione, sì affinché vi siano più universalmente comprese le istruzioni e gli ordini del Governo ... " (Carlo Baudi di Vesme, Considerazioni politiche ed economiche sulla Sardegna, 1848)
^Massimo Pittau, Grammatica del sardo illustre, Nuoro, Premessa
^De Gruyter Mouton, ed. by Lubello, Sergio (2016). Manuale di linguistica italiana, Manuals of Romance Linguistics 13, Lingue di minoranza, comunità alloglotte (Paul Videsott), Le singole lingue di minoranza e comunità alloglotte, 3.11: Sardo
^De Gruyter Mouton, ed. by Lubello, Sergio (2016). Manuale di linguistica italiana, Manuals of Romance Linguistics 13, Lingue di minoranza, comunità alloglotte (Paul Videsott), 2: Rilevanza numerica e territoriale
^Se i ragazzi non parlano la lingua degli anziani, Piera Serusi. L'Unione Sarda, 8 dicembre 2017
^et ipso quoque sermo Sardorum adhuc retinetnon pauca verba sermonis graeci atque ipse loquentium sonum graecisanum quendam prae se fert – Roderigo Hunno Baeza, Caralis Panegyricus, about 1516, manuscript preserved in the University Library of Cagliari
Antoninu Rubattu's site. In addition to vocabularies of each Sardinian variety of the language and non-Sardinian languages, the site provides the reader also with some basic grammar guides and etymology dictionaries as well.