Repost from the old site.
Here we will compare Friulian and Venetian with Italian. The Friulian language is spoken in northeastern Italy. Among Friulian speakers, the language is affectionately known as Marilenghe and is best known from the Udine, the main town of the Friulian zone. It has 794,000 speakers and is in pretty good shape.
There is a close relationship with Ladin and Romansch. Most speakers also speak Standard Italian. In regions of Slovenia bordering Friuli, almost everyone speaks Friulian as a second or third language. Friulian is closer to French than to Italian. Friulian language edition of Wikipedia.
Friulian was in decline from the mid-60’s until the end of the 90’s when an entire generation was not taught to children. This generation now has a receptive but not a productive competence in the language. It has lost 18% of its speakers since 1989, and since 1981, there has been a 20% decline in people speaking it to the children. Nevertheless, there has been something of a comeback since it was protected by law in the late 90’s. There is one FM station that broadcasts only in Friulian and another station that broadcasts partly. There is only 15 minutes a week on TV in Friulian. There is one monthly magazine. All of these initiatives are private.
This is in contrast to Switzerland, where minority languages are promoted. Since Mussolini, Italy has had a policy to get rid of minority languages in favor of Italian. Only 20 schools have started teaching Friulian, and Italian is used as the vernacular. In Udine, about 40% of street signs are bilingual Friulian and Italian.
This paper analyzes the legal status of Friulian and feels that it is lacking, although a landmark law was passed in Italy in 1999. This law was very controversial, and public opinion in Italy continues to be that regional languages should all give way to Italian.
Venetian is said to be a dialect of the Italian language, but it is actually a completely separate language related more to French than Italian. It is spoken mostly in northeastern Italy in Venice, Trieste and other areas by 2,280,387 people, but the number may actually be up to 3 million. Venetian Wikipedia is here. There is television, radio and magazines in Venetian.
Venetian still lacks a unified orthography, so people just write it however they pronounce their local dialect. That Venetian is closer to French, Catalan, Portuguese and Spanish than to Italian seems outrageous to many people, but apparently it is based on structural similarities. Much of the Italian similarity is probably due to borrowing.
The Venetian cause has been taken up by Northern Italian separatists and has unfortunately become associated with fascist movements. This is ironic since Mussolini tried to stamp out Venetian. Various idiotic ethnic nationalist myths have arisen – that Northern Italians are Celtic (more White) and that Venetian is some kind of Celtic language.
There was a Celtic language spoken in the area some 1,800 years ago, but it has not left much trace on the languages of today. North Italians are not Celtic and Venetian has no relation to Celtic. Venetian is close to the northern Italian languages Piedmontese, Ligurian, Western Lombard , Eastern Lombard and Emiliano-Romagnolo.
The debate over regional languages being “dialects of Italian” was cemented by Mussolini’s fascism, which tried to wipe out all regional languages. This feeling is still widespread in Italy today. However, speakers of regional languages refer to such a mindset as “that of the Roman Empire” and those who promote it as fascists.
My English translation is a free literary translation and is not literal or word for word at all. It translates the text into the best possible literary English.
Central (Udine) Friulian
Il puar biāt al ą copiāt il Siōr
par dīj: “O soi come tč”:
ma il Siōr nol ą copiāt.
Magari chel biāt j ą vuadagnāt,
ma i fīs, daspņ, cetant ąno pajāt
no savint jéssi sé?
Il lōr destin al č, savéso quāl?
Copie de brute copie origjnāl!
Eastern/Coastal (Triestino) Venetian
Il sempio il gą copią il Sior
par dir “Mi son come ti”
ma il Sior no’l gą copią.
Forsi quel sempio xč divegnudo sior,
ma i fioi, dopo, quanto i gą pagą par
non saver come xe stado?
Savč vł qual xč il loro destin?
copie dela bruta copia original!
Notes: Both Friulian and Venetian are structurally separate languages. It’s very difficult to write in Friulian, and very few people know how to do it properly. Venetian is easier to write, and more speakers are able to write it.
Friulian ā is a long a.
Venetian x is the same as English z
Venetian ł resembles the “lh” sound. This sound does not occur in English.
Il poveretto voleva copiare il Signore
per dire: “Io sono come te’,
ma il Signore non ha copiato.
Forse quel poveretto ha guadagnato
ma i figli, dopo, quanto hanno pagato
non sapendo cosa ?
Sapete qual’č il loro destino?
Essere copia dell’originale brutta copia!
Poveretto: povero di mente: simpleminded fellow.
Signore: educated, gentleman.
Guadagnato: learned something, got wiser.
Pagato: to pay in a moral, education way, to “learn your lesson.”
The simple man tried to copy the gentleman
so he could say, “I’m just like you”,
but the gentleman could not be copied.
Now, maybe that simple man learned a thing or two,
but how much would his sons, later on, have
to pay for not knowing a thing?
The sons’ destiny?
To be a copy of the original rude copy.