Thursday, July 3, 2008

Vìva Venièxia

Venetian is a Romance language spoken by about 2 million people mainly in Venice and the surrounding area, and also in Trieste, Croatia, Slovenia, Mexico and Brazil. The language is more closely related to French and Spanish than it is to Italian.

When Venice was an independent republic (between the 9th and 18th centuries), the Venetian language enjoyed considerable prestige. However literary Venetian lost out the the Tuscan dialect, which eventually became the national language of Italy.

Today Venetian has no official status.

Ciào! Which is to say, in its original Venetian meaning well before it was embraced by the whole of Italy and the world over as the chic way to say hello or goodbye, I am your slave or I am your servant.

Though I am most certainly not your slave, it is my hope that this blog serves you well in either the way of entertainment or education. Or both.

If I had no want for money, I'd spend a substantial amount of my ample free time traveling and learning the language of each country or region on my itinerary. For lesser known or "unofficial" languages however, learning on your own outside of immersion - i.e., living there and coercing the locals to engage you patiently in conversation on a regular basis - can be difficult. That seems to be the case with the Venetian or Venet dialect. At least if you're a native English speaker, with only a passing grasp of official Italiano. As there is far more written for Italian-Venetian vs. English-Venetian interests or learning.

I'm hoping to learn more (both Italian and Venetian), but for the time being these are the only helpful resources I've come across (for the Venetian dialect). If you know of something else handy or enlightening about the Venetian dialect, piàxare. Post a comment. Gràsie in advance!

Venetian Language Online Dictionaries

Venetian Language Rules of Engagement

Venetian Language Phonetics and Pronunciation

Venetian Language Resource Bibliography

Venetian Language Variations in Brazil and Mexico
In Rio Grando do Sul, Santa Catarina e Paranà (states of Brasil), about five million people speak a koinè based on ancient Vicentino-Trevigiano variant moderated by other north-italic languages (in the last century immigrants came even from Trentino, Friuli, Lombardia) and influenced by Portuguese. This Venetan koinè is the said to be newest romance language and its speakers call it "Taliàn" , i.e. Italian in opposition to Brasilian, i.e. Portuguese, that is the main language. Indeed, Talian is not Italian!

In the town of Chipilo, Mexico, people speak a
Trevigiano-Belunese variant as most of the immigrants came from the town of Segusino, in the northern part of the province of Treviso. It's influenced by Spanish.

and from another source:

When you pass through Chipilo, Mexico (about one hundred miles outside Mexico City), you might mistake it for Veneto, Italy.

For the last one hundred and fifteen years, the people of Chipilo have spoken Venet, the main language of Veneto, almost exclusively. Time seems not to have passed much there, as the Venet people in Chipilo have preserved their heritage.

On any given day in Chipilo, you can travel from the shoe store owned by Bortolotti to the supermarket run by the Minutti family to the Stefanoni-operated dairy. The last names of the original fifty or so families who traveled here in 1882 with only some rags and hopes of a new country are still pervasive in this quaint Central American town.

One of the largest companies in Chipilo is an international company called Seguisino, a word taken form the mother country of Italy. The company makes a Venet specialty: imitated antique furniture.

Their ancestors first came to the small Mexican village in 1882, searching for fertile land to farm and to run away from the poverty that was plaguing Veneto at the time.

Although the village is very reminiscent of Veneto, Chipiloís citizens do not think of themselves as Italians. While they share a language and culture with their relatives, they see themselves as members of a different race of people.

The two cultures are similar, yet distinctly different. Veneto has progressed and has changed much in the last century while Chipilo remains as a sort of isolated throwback to a different time.

Just as in Veneto, the three thousand citizens of Chipilo speak Venet, which is a language in the Romantic tradition, like Italian or French. Although the language has strong Latin roots, it also contains many words of Germanic origin, especially in the more mountainous regions.

The Venet language can be characterized by softly articulating some words, while changing from voiceless to voiced consonants at other times. At the same time, Venet speakers avoid lengthening consonants in their speech.

Examples from a Venetian Blog
ENGLISH: May you help me?
ITALIAN: Potresti aiutarmi?
Ti me dà na man?

ENGLISH: I'd like to book a hotel in Venice.
ITALIAN: Vorrei prenotare un albergo a Venezia.
Voria prenotar un albergo a Venexia.

ENGLISH: What's your name?
ITALIAN: Come ti chiami?
Come ti te ciami?
Selected Travel Phrases
Where is my room?
Dove xela la me camera?

Where is the beach?
Dove xela la spiajia?
Where is the bar?
Dove xelo el bar?

Don't touch me there!
No stà tocarme lì!
And, as Published in The Telegraph

Please can I have the bill?
Ti mi fa el conto?

I don't believe it!
No ghe credo!

Please can you pass me a fork/spoon/glass?
Pasame el piron/scuglier/bicer?

Why do I have to pay double?
Parcossa go dar pagar el dopio?

I'm bankrupt.
A sò restà in braghe de tela.

(Lit: I'm left wearing light trousers)

Do you think I am made of money?
Pensi che go le man sbùxe?

(Lit: Do you think I have holes in my hands?)

I'm never coming back to Venice!
Mi no tornarò piu a Venesia!

Questions? Ask away! Please use the comments feature to ask questions rather than contacting Marisa directly. That way everyone can learn a thing or two, too.


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