- Education and Science
Padanian language: untenable statements
Something having been said which maybe should not have instead...
This page contains some complementary sociolinguistic information about the Padanian language and its dialects (Hull, 1982, Meneghin 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011).
The Padanian language speaking area is split into eight states (which is nothing bad by itself, of course): Austria, Croatia, France, Italy, Monaco, San Marino, Slovenia, Switzerland. Most speakers are in the Italian state, in areas north of the La Spezia-Rimini line, thus not belonging to the Italian linguistic domain. In this page we will focus on Italy only.
The image on the left is a detail from: Wenceslas Hollar - Extravagantly ornamental helmet (currently located at the university of Toronto).
The following statement are indeed extravagant by a scientific point of view, in that they easily lead to absurd conclusions, which we will draw in fact.
However, they are an epiphenomenon on two mainstream facts:
1) The tendence of nation states to reduce linguistic diversity within their boundaries;
2) Language and culture suicide, which is still running for Padanian (even some evidence of reverting these tenencies could be catched by careful observers).
Phenomena 1) and 2) are obviously quite serious ones, and should not be understimated, in that they waste a lot of economic resources, not to tell that the reduction of linguistic diversity is a huge loss for humanity.
That being said, statements below have also a ludicrous component, because those who made them do not seem to realise they are inconsistent and highly inaccurate by a general scientific point of view.
These claims deliberately mix up general linguistic, socio-linguistic and political issues, in a not always bona fide way.
We confine ourselves in giving a few examples. These are mainly of (not so hidden) political character and are used as weapons to fight against Padanian or some of its dialects.
However, the goal of this site is not political, so our criticism will be on scientific grounds only (reductio ad absurdum).
Notice to readers: this page donates to charity
This page comments about some extravagant statements against the Padanian culture. However, the revenue it generates is donated to the Squidoo Charity fund, so, by visiting this lens, you are changing a bit of evil into good!
Gian Luigi Beccaria
Mr. Gian Luigi Beccaria is an historian of the Italian language (thus with in principle no competence about Padanian).
According to Mr. Beccaria, Piedmontese, Lombard and Venetan (three Padanian subgroups, ISO 639-3 codes: pms, lmo and vec) would not "exist", since "they are group of dialects" (Ansa press release, 2010).
Since languages are indeed group of dialects, the above statement would easily imply that no languages exist, which is clearly meaningless.
Also, Mr. Beccaria makes his own a trivial commonplace: "Dialects should be spoken and not taught" (Tuttolibri 2009); on scientific grounds, this would mean that languages should not be taught.
Ms. Valeria Della Valle
According to Ms. Valeria Della Valle, professor in "Italian linguistic" at Rome, "One cannot talk about Venetan or Piedmontese as if they were true languages which can be taught" (Fabiani 2010).
Here we can read that there exist "true" and "false" languages. Reduction ad absurdum is straightforward.
Absurd is as well the idea of "Italian linguistic": this can be easily drawn by envisaging calques, leading to oddities like "Portuguese mathematics" or "Swedish biology".
Mr. Raffaello Baldini
Mr. Raffaello Baldini, a poet from Romagna, states: "You can talk with God in dialect, but not about God" (Tuttolibri 2009): a disquieting theological nonsense.
Mr. Claudio Magris
Mr. Claudio Magris, quoted in (Tani 2009), states that "Friuli language is a language, with great possibilities and also a literary tradition, but to me it seems laughable to start teaching in the Friuli language either quantum mechanics or English, and it would be even more laughable to do the same in the Trieste dialect."
Rather a problematic statement: this gentleman states that: a specific language is a language (thanks for acknowledging, but was it really needed?); but telling about scientific matters in that language would be laughable.
The (not-so-)hidden content of this statement is: "Friulian people, do not use your language to dealing with scientific matters or to learn other languages": and this statement could be in preparation for a more clear-cut one: "Friulians, abandon your own language".
Needless to say, this cultural framework should be rebuffed at all, together with Mr. Magris' praise of cheating at school (Schiavazzi 2011).
Lacking the basics of sociolinguistics
According to the online newspaper Bergamo News (2010), some local politician would have stated that bilingual road signs could bring social discomfort to all those residents who come from other provinces or from other States, who could see these signs as an obstacle to their integration.
This is an odd statement, witnessing a rather strange type of struggle against one's own roots, as well as a plain ignorance in the basics of sociolinguistics.
Ansa. Press release (2010, http://www.ansa.it/web/notizie/rubriche/cronaca/2010/06/11/visualizza_new.html_1821624844.html)
Fabiani, Tullia Interview with Valeria Della Valle (2010-04-02 http://cerca.unita.it/data/PDF0115/PDF0115/text1/fork/ref/1009225v.HTM ), L'unitÃ , Italian newspaper
Hull, Geoffrey The linguistic unity of northern Italy and Rhaetia. PhD thesis, University of Sydney, 1982.
Meneghin, Claudi Rebuilding the rhaeto-cisalpine written language: guidelines and criteria, part 1: Ors-orthography. Ianua, 7, 2007.
Meneghin, Claudi Rebuilding the rhaeto-cisalpine written language: guidelines and criteria, part 2. morphology 1: noun, article and personal pronoun. Ianua, 8, 2008.
Meneghin, Claudi Rebuilding the rhaeto-cisalpine written language: guidelines and criteria, part 3. morphology, 2: adjectives, pronouns, invariables. Ianua, 9, 2009.
Meneghin, Claudi Rebuilding the rhaeto-cisalpine written language: guidelines and criteria, part 4. morphology, 3: the verb. Ianua, 10, 2010.
Meneghin, Claudi Rhaeto-cisalpine at a glance, vol. 1 (LINCOM Studies in Romance Linguistics 65), Lincom Europa, MÃ¼nchen, 2010 ISBN-13 978-3895862083
Meneghin, Claudi Rhaeto-cisalpine at a glance, vol. 2 (LINCOM Studies in Romance Linguistics 68), Lincom Europa, MÃ¼nchen, 2011 ISBN-13 978-3862880676
Schiavazzi, Vera La scuola dei copioni, due su tre "sbirciano" il vicino 2011-03-09, La Repubblica, Italian newspaper, available at the URL http://www.repubblica.it/scuola/2011/03/09/news/scuola_copioni-13364578/
Tani, Maurizio Writing with the waters. An interview with Triestine author Claudio Magris in: Nordicum-Mediterraneum, Icelandic E-Journal of Nordic and Meditteranean Studies, 2009, March
Tuttolibri. Il dialetto si parla non si insegna - 2009 (2009-10-14), La Stampa, Turin (newspaper), available at the URL: http://www.lastampa.it/_web/cmstp/tmplrubriche/Libri/grubrica.asp?ID_blog=54&ID_articolo=2262&ID_sezione=&sezione=