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Dialectologia et Geolinguistica

Journal of the International Society for Dialectology and Geolinguistics

Ed. by Nahl, Astrid


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1867-0903
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Sammarinese, the Endangered Language of the Republic of San Marino: A Preliminary Study of Documentation and Description

Simona Montanari
Published Online: 2018-11-15 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/dialect-2018-0004

Abstract

This paper presents the results of a preliminary study of documentation and description of Sammarinese, a peripheral variety of Romagnol spoken in the Republic of San Marino. Despite having been the country’s primary oral language for almost 1,000 years, Sammarinese is on the verge of extinction today as universal education and economic development have caused language shift to Italian beginning from the 1960s. A corpus of primary oral language data was collected from 17 informants in the form of semi-structured interviews with the goal of creating an archive of oral language histories in Sammarinese. These data, together with a corpus of vernacular and folkloric literature, served as the database for a descriptive analysis of some of the major phonological and morphosyntactic traits of the language. The results confirm Sammarinese’s status as a borderline Romagnol variety. However, the findings also reveal a language that stands apart from neighboring varieties due to complex historical and geographical factors, including a Celtic substratum from the pre-Roman and Roman times, a Byzantine Greek heritage and Lombard/ Germanic influence from the second half of the first millennium, and a geographic position that resulted in linguistic isolation from the vernaculars spoken in the Central Romagnol plain.

Keywords: Sammarinese; Romagnol; Italian dialectology; endangered languages; language documentation and description

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About the article

Published Online: 2018-11-15

Published in Print: 2018-11-27


Citation Information: Dialectologia et Geolinguistica, Volume 26, Issue 1, Pages 57–95, ISSN (Online) 1867-0903, ISSN (Print) 0942-4040, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/dialect-2018-0004.

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