A virtual sardinian village

Comente si siada, ma faeddhamus! Anyway, the main thing is that we talk to each other….

Sardinian is the real language of the inhabitants of Sardinia. The minority language is threatened because it has never developed its own written form and is increasingly overlaid by Italian. The Mediterranean island was first mentioned in.century in Egyptian sources and from ca. 900 v.Chr. occupied by the Phonicians. It was followed by the Carthaginians, the Romans, the Vandals and the Byzantine Empire. Later, in its eventful history, Sardinia belonged to Pisa, Aragon and Austria, against which it rebelled together with other regions of present-day Italy in 1848. Since 1948 it has been a region with a special status in the Italian State.

Sardinian has practically never been the official language of the country: on the remote island, the peasant and pastoral people developed their own dialect from Latin, which has survived to the present day. In Sardinian, Latin is preserved in a very original form.

An early attempt to elevate Sardinian to a written and literary language was made by the writer and Nobel Prize winner Grazzia Deledda. In 1891 she wrote in a letter: "Soon I will be twenty. With threefold I want to have achieved my rough goal; to create from myself a literature that is purely and exclusively Sardinian." However, her Sardinian contemporaries did not accept the literary work of a woman and refused to help her collect traditional poems and songs. Finally Deledda went to the literary city of Rome, where she wrote novels in Italian.

In the meantime, the official Italian language is increasingly displacing the Sardinian language, to which the media also contribute significantly. Sardinian belongs to the Romance minor languages and is on the list of endangered minority languages.

The Romanist Prof. Dr. Guido Mensching from the Free University of Berlin tries to save the disappearing language by using the most modern media form. In 1994, the linguist launched Europe’s first Sardinian web pages (Limba e curtura de sa Sardigna) and the response exceeded all expectations. In the meantime, the first site has developed into a research project in which the Institute for Linguistic Information Processing at the University of Koln is also involved. The goal is to research different parts of Sardinian, e.g.B. Syntax, morphology, lexicon, phraseology, historical grammar and orthography.

"The pages on the net are a kind of virtual Sardinian village", says Mensching. A wide variety of Sardinian cultural knowledge is collected here: diverse texts, from recipes of Sardinian specialties to legal documents from the Middle Ages, tales, legends and poetry of all kinds. The texts installed in the form of a database can be accessed, used and evaluated from anywhere in the world. At the Sardinian Text Database. Database-relevant functions, such as the ability to query, filter, and view excerpts of the stored materials, are not yet possible. Rather, the text corpus at the moment consists of a collection of text files in HTML format. In a short time they will be able to be consulted, as well as the collected messages of the archive of Sa-Limba, with the help of forms based on Perl, in order to make the machine-readable Sardinian language resources also publicly exploitable.

"Many Sardinians who, for economic reasons, live abroad, can express their separation from their homeland on the Sardinian "home sites" ", believes Mensching. In the meantime there is also a unique mailing list "Sa-Limba" in Sardinian, which gives Sardinians from all over the world the opportunity to meet and network online.

At the same time, the project tries to investigate how the medium Internet, with its specific characteristics, can contribute to the study of minority languages. Sardinian, like all dialects, is very diverse and on the web the different versions meet, vocabulary and grammar become visible in all their variety. The Internet in particular, with its chat culture that is closer to spoken than written language, lends itself to collecting dialects. "It is very exciting to observe how the Sardinians write on the net. The electronically archived language data with the spontaneous orthography and word choice of the Sardinian internauts creates a new text basis that can also be studied very precisely with electronic means", explains Mensching.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.