Category Archives: Italo-Celtic-Tocharian

The Roots of the English Language

I was finally able to get a good breakdown of English language roots with the exact percentages. In a previous post I had only guessed at the figures.

According to a 1973 analysis of the shorter (but still 80,000 words) Oxford Dictionary:

28% of English words came from Latin
28% came from French (which is largely Latin)
25% came from elsewhere in the Germanic family
5% came from Greek.

Long story short, more than half of our words (56%) come from the Romance branch and one quarter of our words are more or less from German. Romance and German account for 81% of English words. If we add in the 5% Greek, fully 86% of English words (or almost all of them) come from Romance, German and Greek. Of course the Romance words are all borrowings and only the German words are truly genetically English.


Filed under Balto-Slavic-Germanic, English language, French, German, Germanic, Greek, Hellenic, Indo-European, Indo-Hittite, Indo-Irano-Armeno-Hellenic, Italic, Italo-Celtic-Tocharian, Language Families, Linguistics, Romance

One Day Languages and Two Day Languages

A colleague writes:
Mutual intelligibility is difficult to measure since speakers of two different tongues could meet each other and hardly understand each other at first but after a week of close contact, they can understand each other quite well.
As far as intelligibility goes, it is usually measured blind with only one group at a time. It is uncertain where to split dialect and language, but Ethnologue (SIL) seems to generally split at 90%. Above 90% = dialect. Below 90% = dialect.

With two separate but closely related languages such as Turkish and Azeri, after 3-4 weeks of close contact, they can communicate quite nicely. I would put 3-4 weeks at the barrier of dialect and language.

At the other end, in Africa, speakers of various lects talk of one day languages and two day languages, referring to how long it takes speakers of Lect A to understand speakers of Lect B. These 1 day languages and 2 day languages are best seen as dialects of a single tongue.

Closer to home. it takes one day of close contact for other Spanish speakers who land in San Salvador by plane to completely understand Salvadoran Spanish. It takes Argentines three days to understand Chilean Spanish. So we can call Salvadoran Spanish and Chilean Spanish dialects of the Spanish language. Salvadoran Spanish could be called a 1 day language and Chilean Spanish could be called a 3 day language.

However, with Canarian Spanish and Dominican Spanish of the Dominican Republic, it takes other Spanish speakers about three weeks to catch onto it. So Canarian Spanish and Dominican Spanish are like Azeri and Turkish. I honestly think that Canarian Spanish and Dominican Spanish are separate languages on MI grounds, but it would cause a political firestorm if you tried to split them so no one will.

In Spain, there are various lects such as Asturian, Galician and Andalucian. A Spanish speaker may take two months or so of close contact to learn to understand Asturian and Galician well, and indeed, both are listed as separate languages.

Some Spanish speakers report that Andalucian sounds absolutely insane when they first listen to it and they can hardly understand one word, however, after 2-3 hours of steady close listening, they can understand it quite well. We may call Andalucian a 3 hour language and clearly Andalucian is a dialect of Spanish called Andalucian Spanish.

Once it starts to take as long as 3-4 weeks of close contact for speakers of Lect A to understand Lect B, I think we are looking at two separate languages. Anything less than that, starts to seem a lot more iffy.

1 Comment

Filed under Africa, Americas, Applied, Argentina, Asturian, Central America, Chile, Dialectology, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Europe, Galician, Language Families, Language Learning, Latin America, Linguistics, Regional, Sociolinguistics, South America, Spain, Spanish, Turkish

Differences Between Spanish and Ladino

Judaeo Spanish or Ladino is the language of the Sephardic Jews of Europe. It is dying out now, but it still has tens of thousands of speakers. It was created when Spanish Jews left Spain around the time of the Inquisition to find refuge in various areas of the Mediterranean, particularly in Turkey.

It is 1492 Spanish mixed with 4% Hebrew, about 20% Turkish and Arabic, 60% Old Spanish and Portuguese and 7% other. Spanish has 60% intelligibility of Ladino and 95% when written. This is a language frozen in time, the Spanish spoken when they were expelled from Spain in the 1400’s.


Shalom (or Bonjur ) Komo estash vozotros? Yo esto muy bien, gracias. Esto es lo ke me paso oy: Primeiro, yo me levanto i entonses desayuno. Me visto i pongo mi chapeo i salgo de la kaza. Yo vo al trabasho i kuando regreso, dayaneo. Despues ke yo me levanto miro de la bentana i veo ke mis amigos van a Bet Knesset . Esto tarde, tyengo menester de darme prisa porke tyengo la avtaha de avlar kon el rabi. Despues ya es ora de acostarme. Shalom!


¡Hola! ¿Como estais (estan)? Estoy muy bien gracias. Esto es lo que me paso hoy: Primero, me levanto y entonces desayuno. Pongo la ropa  (Me visto , only in Spain) y pongo mi sombrero y salgo de la casa. Voy al trabajo y cuando regreso, descanso. Despues que me levanto, miro de la ventana y veo que mis amigos van a la sinagoga. Estoy tarde, necesito de darme prisa proque tengo la esperanza de hablar con el rabi. Despues, ya es hora de acostarme.


Hello! How are you (all)? I am very well thanks. This is what happened to me today: First, I get up and then I eat breakfast. I get dressed and I put on my hat and I leave the house. I go to work and when I return, I rest. After I get up I look out of the window and I see that my friends are going to the synagogue. I am late, I need to hurry because I have the hope to speak with the rabbi. Afterward, it is already time to go to bed.

List of languages from which each Ladino word is:

Shalom– Hebrew (hello, goodbye)
Bonjur – French (hello)
estash – Old Spanish (you pl. are)
chapeo – Old Portuguese
vo – old form of voy in Old Spanish (I go)
trabasho – Spanish (modern= trabajo)
dayaneo – Turkish – (I rest). It is conjugated like all Spanish verbs. It is slightly adapted from Turkish so you can conjugate it like Spanish.
Bet Knesset – Hebrew – synagogue
menester – Old Spanish and Portuguese (to need)
avtaha – Turkish (hope)


Filed under Afroasiatic, Altaic, Arabic, European, Europeans, Hebrew, History, Indo-European, Indo-Hittite, Italic, Italo-Celtic-Tocharian, Jews, Language Families, Linguistics, Oghuz, Portuguese, Race/Ethnicity, Romance, Semitic, Spanish, Turkic, Turkish

What Language Is This?

Yes, this is a Romance language of course. And you may never figure out the region where it is spoken. This language is closely related to a very famous Romance language with 10’s of millions of speakers. In fact, it is considered to be a dialect of this language in the country where it is spoken. However, according to Ethnologue, this is indeed a separate language with possibly 10 million speakers. Indeed, it is hardly intelligible with the language it is said to be a dialect of. The truth is that this language itself is no doubt a number of completely different languages.

‘A cucina è, comme tutte ‘e cucine reggionale, ammagliata ê prudotte e ô crima d”o luoco, e risente forte forte d”e riggine grieche d”a pupulazione, quanto ad ausanze, lengua ed -ovviamente- alementazione.

Nce songo tuttavota d”e differenze tra ‘e preparazione culinarie d”e singole pruvince. Ad esempio, ‘e legumme (ca pure songo canusciute ‘n tutt’ô territorio), n”a cucina ‘e so’ servite comme primme piatte ma pure comme cuntuorno e comme piatto unneco, pe ttramente ‘int’ô (zona cchiù attacata a tradizione marinare) fanno pparte ‘e ricette recenale comme chillo d”e fasule cu ‘e cozzeche.

Simbolo ‘e chesta cucina è senza dubbio ‘a margherita, preparata cu pummarola, ‘e vufera e vasenicola ‘n anore d” triculore e d”a riggina Margherita ‘n visita a. Faceva cocere ‘e ppizze ‘int’ê furne ‘e Capomonte, ‘e stessi ‘int’ê quali nascetteno ‘e cceramiche famuse, pe servirla ‘int’ê banchette suje. Molto spannuto è pure ‘o cunzumo d”e cazone fritto, na variante d”o tipico cazone, cu ‘mbuttitura ‘e zuco ‘e pummarola, pepe, cicule (zo’ ausate pe ‘a farenella).

N’ la cucin ci sta na frec di piatt. Si magn lu pesc, l’agnill, lu porc chiu di tutt, e po ci sta na frec di piatt di past e le pallott. Un di li piatt chiu famus so propr le pallott cac e ov c si fa ng l’ov e chiu tip di casc (lu pecorin, lu e tutt quell che si po rattà). Si fa l pallott e po si frije, quand li sa preparat tutt si fa lu sug semplice e s’ammisch tutt.

L’agnill di solit si fa arrost semplice semplice, invece lu chiu famos piatt di porc e la Purchett. E’ cuscì famos che lu Pap si le veniv a pijà in da le part d. In c sapess nzi fa tant li salum (anc se ci sta cac’cos) ma si fa na frec di savicicc nch lu porc.

Pi lu pesc si magn assai le cozz e le (vongole) (ha chiamat li della television proprio accuscì pecchè parev le quann sapriv e si chiudev), lu brudett, la cod di rosp, lu branzin, l’urat, l bobbe (mormore), li merluzzet e lu scorfn. Poi a Urton pi tropp ch mpurtant ci sta la sagr d l trije.

Si magn assai sempre le verdur n’tutt li varietà. Soprattutt li faciul nc lu famos piatt di Sagn e faciul. Na curiosità: In si fa la pulent. Di solit si fa l’invern quann fa fredd e si mischij nc lu sug, la savicicc, la pancett e lu casc, mic la farina giall è sol di lu Nord.

Pe bev ci sta na frec di vin. Prim’a’tutt lu Montepulcian, lu Trebbian e mo a riscit pure lu Pecorin e la Passerin (du vin che savevn scurdat) e pi li liquor ci sta lu liquor, la grapp, la centerb, la liquiriz e la genzian e natr poc di liquore nchi li erb.

‘A cucina tene auriggine storiche assaje antiche che s’allicordano ‘o tiempo d’ ‘e griece e d’ ‘e antiche, e s’è arriccuta c’ ‘e siecule cu l’influenza d’ ‘e culture differente ca songo venute una appriessa a ‘n ata cu ‘e varie dominazzione d’ ‘a città. Assaje ‘mpurtante è sempe stato chello ch’hanno purtato ‘a fantasia e ‘a criatività d’ e’.

Siccome ca era capitale d’ ‘o rregno, ‘a cucina ‘e ha pigliato da ‘e vvarie cucine tradizziunale ‘e tutt’ ‘a arrivanno a mettere ‘nzieme piatte ‘e terra (verdure, latticine) e piatte ‘e mare (pisce, frutte ‘e mare). Tanta ricette hanno pigliato d’ ‘a cucina d’ ‘e nobbile, come ‘e timballe e ‘o sartù ‘e riso, ca vonno ‘na priparazione elaborata, mentre ‘e cchù pupulare tenono ingrediente povere ma nutriente, come pasta e fasule o ati piatte cu’ pasta e legume.

Spisso non è facile a truvà jonte cu ‘a tradizzione d’ ‘a cucina d’ ‘o tiempo antico grieco. Ntra chelle poche tracce d’ ‘e sapure classiche, ce stanno paricchie piatte griece ca arrappresentano pisce, e mullusche, signo ca pisce e frutte ‘e mare se magnavano pure a chell’epoca. Paricchie aggrische a arrappresentano fescine ‘e frutta, fiche, granate, e dinto â villa ‘e Poppea, a Oplontis, ce sta pittato ‘nu dolce, ca pare ‘na cassata, ma ca non canuscimmo comme fuje fatto.

Facilmente, s’allicorda ‘o garum rumano ‘a culatura d’alice ca se fa a Cetara, e po’ essere nu remasuglio d’ ‘o gusto agro-ddoce, tipico d’ ‘a cucina ‘e Apicio e dell’antiche l’uso ‘e mettere dinto a diversi piatte salate l’uva passa, comme dinto â ‘e scarole, o dinto ‘e braciole a ragù. ‘O grano ca se ausa dinto ‘a pastiera, ddoce ‘e Pasca, putesse tenere ‘nu valore simbolico, ca vene da ‘e culte ‘e Artemide, Cibele e Cerere e da ‘e rituale pagane ‘e fertilità ca se facevano dint’ ‘o periodo de l’equinozio ‘e primmavera. Da o vucabbolario στρόγγυλος (stróngylos, ca significa “‘e forma tonna”), ‘nfine, veneo ‘o nomme d’ ‘e struffule ‘e Natale.

Da ‘e vvarie dominazione, specialmente chella francese e chella spagnola, se songo spartute ‘a cucina nobbile, cu pietta cchiù elabburate e ispirate a ‘e piatte ‘nternaziulale, sustanziuse, e appriparate cu ‘ngrdiente ricche e ‘a cucine de ‘e puverielle, che ausava chello ca crisceva dint’ ‘a terra (farina, legume, verdure). Appriesso a ‘e cagnamiente ca songo succiese dint’ ‘e siecule, e ‘a cuntaminazzione cu ‘a cultura d’a cucina nobbile, spisso pure ‘e piatte ca auriginariamente erano povere songo addivintate assaje sapurite.

Sicuramente uno de’ ‘e cchiù gruosse monzù d’ ‘e corte d’ ‘e nobbile fuje. ‘A varietà d’ ‘e è tale ca ce vulesse ‘nu capitulo a pparte. ‘A nun fuje ‘nventata a ma certamente ccà è stata purtata ê livelle ‘e perfezzione cchiù avete. P’ ‘a precisione, a Gragnano a pochi chilometre d’ ‘o capoluogo, s’ è truvata a manera d’ ‘a siccarla e cunzervarla, crianno accussì a produzione ‘ndustriale ‘e ll’alimento cchiù ca ce stà.

Siccomme ‘a materia primma è ‘o ggrano tuosto, assaje difficile ‘a ‘mpastà e faticà, ‘e tenono massima fiducia dint’ ‘e ‘ndustriale e nun penzano, comme succede dint’ ‘a ati rreggione, addò se penza ca a pasta cchiù bbona ha dda essere fatta a mmano. ‘Nverità ‘a è eccezziunale sia pe qualità che perfezione d’ ‘a cuttura, che ha dda essere al dente (comme se dice dint’ ‘o pecché dint’ ‘o non ce sta bisogno d’ ‘o ddicere manco), e pure d’ ‘e cundimente.

Mmiezo ê varietà cchiù ausate ce stanno, a parte ‘e classiche, pure’ ‘e pacchere, ‘e zite, ca s’hanno ‘a spezzà a mmano, e se cundiscene specialmente c’ ‘o rraù. Pe appriparà ‘a cu ‘e legume s’ausa spisso ‘a ammescata, ca ‘na vota se venneva a ‘nu prezzo cchiù vascio, da ‘e remasuglie spezzate ‘e ati fforme ‘e. Non s’hann’ ‘a scurdà ‘e appriparate cu farina e patane. Ce stanno pure forme ‘e pasta cchiù miderne, e mmò se portano assaje ‘e scialatielle.

‘A pummarola, ca vene all’America, fuje ‘mpurtata all’Europa d’ ‘e spagnuole dint’ ‘o XVI seculo, ma niscuno se ne ‘mpurtaje ‘e ll’ausà p’ ‘a cucina p’ ‘attuorno a doje secule. ‘A primma vota cha se trova annummenato fuje ‘o 1743 dint’ a ‘nu canto ‘e carnevale, ma sulamente tra ‘a fine d’ ‘o XVIII seculo e ‘o pprincipio d’ ‘o XIX seculo addevenette cumune dint’ ‘a parecchie icette e ‘a cultivazione se allargaje, nfino a addeventà una d’ ‘e cchiù mpurtante d’ ‘a.

Tra ‘e varietà cchiù famose a ce stanno ‘e pummarole ca scumparettero quasi â fine d’ ‘o XX seculo e sulamente ‘a poco tiempo se so’ turnate a semmenà. Assaje ‘mpurtante songo ‘e pummarulelle d’ò ca s’astipano pe’ paricchio tiempo arraunate dinto a ‘nu piennolo, ca s’appenne fore ‘o barcone. A è nata l’industria d’ ‘e cunzerve ‘e pummarole ca ha purtat dint’ ‘a tutt’ ‘o munno ‘e “pelate” e ‘o “ccuncentrato” ‘e pummarole. Ce stanno paricchie mmanere ‘e cunzervà ‘e pummarole dint’ ‘e bbuttglie, a pezzulle o passate, pe essere sempe pronte pe ll’ausà ‘e cchiù varie mmanere; ‘a famosa “cunzerva”, addo’ a pummarola vene stracotta e cuncentrata nfino a deventà ‘na crema scura e vellutata.

‘E piatte a bbase ‘e verdure ca venono d’ ‘e campagne d’ ‘a comma ‘a ‘e mulignane o ‘e puparuole ‘mbuttunate, ponno addeventà vere e proprie capo piatte ‘ncopp ‘a tavula. Tra ‘e verdure cchiù tradizionale ce stanno ‘e friarielle, ‘a scarola, riccia o liscia, diverse qualità ‘e vruoccole (vruoccole ‘e foglie, vruoccole ‘e rapa), ‘a verza e ‘e verdure p’a menesta mmaretata. S’ausano pure assaje fasule, cicere, e lenticchie.

‘E cucuzzielle so’ assaje ausate; ‘e cchiù gruosse se fanno fritte â scapece, cu l’aceto e ‘a menta. ‘E sciurille se priparano fritte c’ ‘a pastetta. ‘A fora ‘e puparuole russe e gialle, ca so’ gruosse, ce stanno e’ puparuole verde piccerille, ca non songo forte comma ‘e cerasielle, e ca se fanno fritte.

‘A ‘nzalata se mette vicino a tanta piatte, specialmente chille ‘e pesce. ‘A ‘ncappucciata s’ausa cchiù assaje d’ ‘a lattuca, e s’ammesca cu pastenche, fenucchie, ruteca, e, ‘na vota, pure c’ ‘a pucchiacchella, ca crisceva a pe’ essa dint’ ‘e campagne, e ‘e campagnuole ‘a vennevano p’ ‘a via c’ ‘a ruteca. ‘E rafanielle tradizionale songo chilli luonghe e piccante, ma oggie songo sempe cchiù rare, e se trovano sempe cchiù spisso sulamente chilli tunne, cchiù ddoce.

L’aulive nere ca s’ausano dint’ ‘a cucina songo l’aulive ‘e. ‘O tiempo ‘e ‘uerra dint’ ‘e famiglie cchiù puverelle se cucenavano pure ‘e parte ‘e scarto, comme ‘e scorze ‘e fave o ‘e pesielle. ‘Na presenza ‘mpurtante dint’ a cucina e d’ ‘a songo ‘e latticine. Partenno d’ ‘e cchiù frische, ‘e cchiù ‘mpurtante songo:

‘A ‘e fuscella, freasca assajue, ca se venneva ‘na vota dint’ ‘a cestine ‘e fuscelle. ‘A fresca, che se magna sia a ssola ca come cundimento, o pure ‘ncopp’ ‘p rraù. ‘A salata, più stagiunata, ca s’ausa ‘o tiempo ‘e Pasca. ‘A caciuttella fresca d’ ‘a penisula ca tene ‘nu sapore assaje delicato. ‘A ‘e vufera, fresca, a pasta filata, ca se fa specialmente â zona d’Aversa e â zona d’a piana d’o Sele.

‘O scior’ ‘e latte, fatto c’ ‘o llatte ‘e vacca, ‘o cchiù meglio se fa â zona d’Agerola. ‘A provola affumicata, ‘nu scior’ ‘e latte ‘nprufumato d’o fummo ‘e quercia, culurato a fore ‘nu marrò chiaro, e a dinto verso ‘o ggiallo, ca tene ‘nu sapore chino. ‘E burrielli d’ ‘ cardinare, piccerelle mise cu’ ‘o llatte o ‘a panna dint’a mmummere ‘e terraglia. ‘E scamorze, janche o affumicate. ‘E burrine ‘e piccerille ca tenono ‘o cire ‘e burro. ‘E ‘e casocavalle, ‘e varia stagiunatura.

Tutto ‘o pesce d’ ‘o s’appripara assaje spisso dint’ ‘a cucina. Assaje apprezzate songo pure e pisce poco peggiate, specialmente alice, ma pure ‘o pesce ‘e zuppa, comm’a scuorfane, tracine cuocce, e pure pisce cchiù gruosse, come spigule, aurate, ca mo’ se vennono specialmente d’allevaminto, dentice, sarache, marmule e pezzogne. Pure ‘e pisce piccerille s’ausano:

E cicenielle, pisce azzurro piccerille e trasparente, ca se fanno o scaurate c’ ‘o limone, o frijute c’ ‘a pastetta. E fravaglie luonge pochi centimetre, specialmente ‘e treglia o ‘e retunne, ca se fanno fritte. ‘A cucina ausa purpe, secce, e pure jammare, astice e ‘raoste. ‘O bbaccalà, ca vene d’ ‘e mare d’ ‘o nord Europa, se fa specialmente frijuto, o pure cu ‘e patane e ‘a pummarola.

‘E frutt’ ‘e mare (cozzeche, cannulicche, taratufe, fasulare, tunninole, scunciglie e maruzzielle) se maggano pure a oggie crure, ma cchiù raramente ‘e ‘na vota. ‘Na nota particulare s’hadda dà â vongola verace (Venerupis decussata), ca non s’hadda maje scagnà p’ ‘a vongola d’ ‘e Filippine (Venerupis philippinarum), ca ô nord ‘a chiammano verace, e d’ ‘e lupine (Dosinia exoleta), ca ‘o nord pure chiammano vongole, ma vongole non songo.

Non s’avessero maje magnà ‘e dattere ‘e mare (Lithophaga lithophaga), ca pe’ furtuna mò songo vietate pe’ legge. Pe piscarle, se ‘nguajano seriamente ‘e coste petrose, specialmente d’a custiera ‘e.

‘A carne non s’ausa spisso dint’ ‘a cucina pecché era ‘na pietanza carsa, e scarziava dint’ ‘e case d’ ‘e cciù povere. Non se trovanao dint’ ‘a tradiziona filiette, custate o tagliate ‘e carne. ‘E tipe ‘e carne ca se trovano cchiù spisso songo:

Sasicce e cervellatine, cu’ carne tagliata a ponta ‘e curtiello. Fecatielle ‘e puorco, arravugliate din’t ‘a rezza cu’ ‘na foglia ‘e lauro. ‘A carnacotta e ati frattaglie, comme a ‘o pere e ‘o musso, e ‘a zuppa ‘e suffritto. Braciole ‘e puorco, ca s’arravogliano cu a dint’ passule, pignuole e ati addore, nzerrate cu ‘e stecchine, cucuite dint’ô rraù. Crapetto e ‘o pecuriello, cucenati cu’ patane e pesielle a furno, specie ‘o tiempo ‘e Pasca. Pullo e cuniglio, specie cucenate ‘a cacciatora, arruscate c’ ‘a pummarola.

‘O ppane cchiù sapurito è ‘o ppane cafone, ‘mpastato cu ‘o crissceto, cuciuto dint’ ‘o furno a legna, c’ ‘a scorza abbruscata, cu ruossi purtuse. Se cunzumano pure ‘e sfilatine, ca parono ‘nu poco ‘e baguette francese, ma so’ cchiù curte e ‘nu poco cchiù chiatte, e ‘e rusette, panine tunne.

D’ ‘a classuca pummarola ô semprice aglio e uoglio ‘nfino a tutta ‘a sparata ‘e sarze, accumpagnata a verdure o frutte ‘e mare, e ‘a specialità d’ ‘p rraù, l’arta dà ccà ‘o mmeglio suojo. ‘A Cucina cchiù povera mette assieme spisso ‘a cu ‘e legume. Apprezzate songo: pasta e fasule, specie c’ ‘e cotiche, pasta e cicere, pasta e lenticchie’ e pesielle. Oggie è difficile ca s’ausano pure ‘e cicerchie. S’appriparano â stessa manera d’ ‘e legume pure e patane, pasta e caulisciore, pasta e cucozza.

‘A manera ‘e cocere cchù pupulare è ‘e cocere prima ‘e cundimente (ca po’ essere frijere l’agili dint’all’uoglio, po’ aunì ‘e fasule scaurate, o po’ essere frijere ‘a cepolla e alaccia, po’ nce mettere ‘e patane tagliate a pezzule), po’ s’allonga cull’acqua, ca se fa vollere, s’acconcia ‘e sale, e se votta a pasta crura a dinto. ‘A pasta se coce assieme ê cundimente, e mantene a posema, ca ‘nvece se perde si ‘a pasta se coce a parte e se scola.

‘E sta manera ‘e cocere ‘o zuco vene cchiù cremuso e azzeccato, e è ‘na manera differente d’a tradizione cchiù nobbele, ca vò appriparà ‘e stesse piatte cchiù bruruse, ammiscanno ‘a pasta sculata a parte a ‘e cundimente all’urdemo mumento.

Pe’ fà ‘nu primmo piatto puveriello, ma cchiù sustanziuso, ‘a se ammesca cu ova sbattute e furmaggio (caso e ova). ‘E cundite c’ ‘a salza ‘e pummarola, aulive ‘e e chiappere, pigliano nomme ‘e â puttanesca. Fantasiosa è pure ‘a ricetta criata p’ ‘e tavule cchiù puverelle, addò mancavano è frutte ‘e mare, assaje care: se mette ‘ncopp’ ‘e ‘na salza ‘e pummarulelle cu’ aglio, uiglio e petrusino, c’addeventeno accusì â vongole fujute.

‘A s’appripara pure cu l’avanze ‘e pasta, o ‘n bianco o c’ ‘a pummarola. S’ammesca ‘a scaurata cu l’ova sbattute e furmaggio. Se po’ fa’ cchiù sfiziosa mettennece ati cundimente. ‘A s’ha da cocere ‘a tutte e dduje ‘e late, e si è fatta bbona, se mantene tutto ‘nu piezzo, se po’ taglià a felle, e se po’ magnà pure fore casa. ‘A cucina aristucratica ausa ‘a pa priparazione cchiù ‘mpicciose, comm’ ‘e timballe, ca mo’ s’appriparano raramente dint’ ‘a cucina ‘e tutte ‘e juorne.

Mmiezo ‘e piatte ca sonogo cciù ricche d’ ‘a cu fasule o cicere, de la quale avimmo scritto cciù ‘ncopp, ce sta ‘a co diverse specie ‘e salze comme a:

‘A sumigliante ‘nu poco ô rraù ‘e appriparato cu cepolla pastenaca a pezzulle, carne macenata e pummarola. ‘A ca nun tene niente a che spartere cu e s’appripara cu ‘na salza ‘e carne chiena ‘e cepolla suffritta eti addore. C’ o rraù s’ausano specialmente ‘e zite luonghe e scavate mmiezo, ca se spezzano a mano primma d’ ‘e cocere. ‘O rraù s’ausa, assimee ‘o sciore ‘e pe cuncià ‘e ‘a surrentina, ca se fernescene ‘e cocere a furno dinto a ‘nu pignatiello.

Paccare s’abbinano assaje bbuono cu frutte ‘e mare e pesce. Accussì se priparano ‘e piatte cchiù ‘mpurtante, specialmente p’ ‘e matrimonie. ‘E cchiù ausate songo:

‘E â vongole o ê frutte (cu’ vongole, cozzeche, fasulare, taratufe)). ‘E paccare c’ ‘a zuppa ‘e pesce, cu scuorfane cuocce, tracene e ati pisce â zuppa. ‘A cu ‘e cuciute cu ‘na sprizzata ‘e vino janco. Esistono pure tanti variante, comme ‘e c’ ‘o zuco d’ ‘o merluzzo frisco janco (senza pummarola, sulo cu aglio, uoglio e petrusino). ‘E piatte d’ ‘a cucina povera cu ‘e legume se ponno abbinà c’ ‘e frutte ‘e mare; accusì se po’ appriparà e fasule c’ ‘e cozzeche, o variante cchiù muderne, comme cu cucuzzielle e vongole, ma accussì facenno se perde tutta a tradizione, e non se tratta cchiù ‘e piatte tipicamente.

‘O ‘e riso è comm’a ‘nu timballo ‘e riso ‘mbuttunato ‘e fecatielle ‘e pullo, sacicce, purpettelle ‘e carne, schiore ‘e latte o provola, pesielle, funge, e cundito c’ ‘o rraù, o pure dint’ ‘a verzione janca c’ ‘a besciamella. Dint’ ‘a cucina povera s’appriparano virze e riso, ‘nzapurute cu scurzette ‘e tagliate a pezzulle, ca se squagliano quanno se cociono.

A base ‘e pesce è ‘o â piscatora, ca se pripara cu purpetielle, secce, vongole, lupine, jammere e e cu ‘nu broro fatto vullenno ‘e scorze ‘e tutt’ ‘e frutte ‘e mare. A s’ausono pure ‘e palle ‘e riso, ‘mbuttunate e fritte.

‘A è forse ‘a criazione cchiù famosa ‘e tutta ‘a cucina. Ll’origgene soje songo assaje antiche, sicuramente ‘o periodo, quanno ce stevano fucacce ‘e rano, pure citata dint’ ‘e. Ma ‘a verace, c’ ‘a pummarona ‘ncoppa, ha poco ‘e cchià ‘e duicient’anne. Addivintaje ampressa famosa mmiezo o popolo, ma pure add’ ‘e barune e principe, e nce steva pure a bizzeffe add’ ‘e festine d’ ‘e rre Burbone, ca ce piaceva assaje.

Ma pure ‘e rrè piemuntise se lasciajene cunquistà a chisto mmangià: fuje p’ ‘a riggina Margherita ‘e Savoja ca dint’ ‘o 1889 ‘o ‘nventaje ‘a tricuolre, addò ‘o janco, ‘o rrusso e ‘o vverde erano fatte d’ ‘a ‘a pummarola e a vasenicola; e chesta se chiammaje d’allora “Margherita”. ‘A cuttura d’ ‘a vera have bisogno d’ ‘o furno a llegna cha riesce a tenere ‘na temperatura ‘e 450 – 485°C. Per chesta raggione, sia ‘a fatta â casa ca chella appriparata dint’ ‘t lucale cha ausano ‘e furne eliettriece non arrivano a apparà l’unico sapore d’ ‘a vera.

‘E purpe â luciana songo nfra ‘e cchiù ‘mpurtante piatte ‘e pesce. Se chiammano accussì add’ ‘o rione ‘e Santa Lucia, addo’ nascetterro. ‘O purpo se mette senz’acqua c’ ‘a pummarola e ‘o cerasiello. ‘O purpo se coce pure scaurato, a ‘nzalata, cu uoglio, zuco ‘e limone, petrosino e aulive verde. Pe ‘na ‘nzalata ‘e mare cchiù ricca ce vonno pure secce, e jammere.

‘O pesce ‘e media grandezza se cucina bbuone all’acqua pazza, ca fosse c’ ‘a pummarulella e ‘o petrosino; ‘e pisce cchiù grusse ‘a morte lloro ‘e arrustute ‘ncoppa a brace, accumpagnate, p’ ‘e pranze cchiù ‘mpurtante, ‘a jammarune e mazzauncuoglie. ‘E cozzeche se cocene ‘e varie mmanere: ‘a cchiù semprice è â mpepata, cotte ampressa dint’ ‘a ‘na caccavella c’ ‘o cummuoglio, c’ ‘o pepe acoppa e ‘na goccia ‘e limone; o se fanno pure a grattè. Vongole e ati frutte ‘e mare se cocene a soté, suffritte dint’a ‘na tiana cu uoglio, aglio, e spase dint’ ‘o piatto ‘ncppp ‘e crustine.

Pure ‘o pesce meno priggiato vene sapurito si cucenato bbuono:

L’alice ‘ndurate e fritte, spinate e passate primm dint’ ‘a farina, appriesso dint’all’ova, e po’ fritte. L’alicw marinate, o c’o zuco ‘e limone, o dint’all’acito. L’alice arreganate, spinate e passate ampressa dint’a ‘na turriera cu’ aglio, uoglio, arecheta e zuco ‘e limone o acito. ‘E cicenielle, ca songo pisce piccerille, se appriparano scaurate o frijute din’t a na leggera pastetta, accussì comme se fa cull’alghe ‘e mare.

‘A frittura ‘e paranza è spisso fatta cu’ merluzzielle, treglie, fricassuare, ma ‘nce ponno sta pure ati specie ‘e pisce piccerille, comme a alice o mazzune. S’hadda magnà assaje cavera, o, comme se dice, frijenno magnanno. ‘E jammere piccerille ‘e nassa, ca se venneno ancora vive, e ca sumpetteano, se frijono ampressa ampressa, senza ‘e passà dint’ ‘a farina, comme ‘nvece se fa c’ ‘a paranza.


Filed under Language Families, Linguistics, Romance, Spot the Language

Romance Languages and Latin

A linguist named Mario Pei undertook a study of Romance languages to determine how far they had deviated from Latin. This is what he came up with. Lower scores means closer to Latin and higher scores means further from Latin:

Sardinian  8% 
Italian    12% 
Spanish    20% 
Romanian   23.5% 
Occitan    25% 
Portuguese 31% 
French     44%

I had always heard that Sardo was like Latin frozen in time. Italian is also said to be quite close to Latin still. In fact, it is from this land that Latin emerged in the first place. Spanish has deviated quite a bit, but I am not certain why that is. For one thing, quite a bit of Arabic has gone into Spanish. As far as other influences, I am not sure. There are influences from pre-Latin languages, but I am not sure how significant they are. The impact of Basque (which would be included under pre-Latin influences, is also not known, but it has effected Aragonese and Aranese.

Romanian has obviously been flooded with Slavic words.

Occitan is also different, but this is probably due to the French influence as Occitan is sort of a Spanish-French hybrid language like Catalan.

Portuguese is also very different, but I am not sure why that is. Clearly the Portuguese vowels have gone crazy, but why is that? Brazilian Portuguese had influence from Indian languages, but that did not affect European Portuguese.

French is the most different of all. The odd vowels appear to originate from a Celtic base (Gaulish). In addition, quite a bit of Germanic has gone in via the Franks and there was a strong Norse influence in the far north. Basque and Breton influences are not known. It is due to this strong differentiation that other Romance language speakers say that no one can understand the French.


Filed under Arabic, Aragonese, Basque, Catalan, French, Indo-European, Indo-Hittite, Isolates, Italian, Italic, Italo-Celtic, Italo-Celtic-Tocharian, Language Families, Linguistics, Occitan, Portuguese, Romance, Slavic, Spanish

Intelligibility Figures for Romance Languages

Here is some new work I did on mutual intelligibility in the Romance family. If you speak any of these languages, feel free to chime in. The one figure I am worried about is 0% of Italian understanding of Romanian. One informant said that, but I have a feeling it is higher than that.

Intelligibility Figures for Romance Languages

Intelligibility for Spanish speakers, oral: 80% of Asturian, Aragonese and and Extremaduran, 78% of Galician, 62% of Catalan, 50% of Portuguese, 25% of Italian, 6% of Romanian, 1% of French, and 0% of Sicilian.

Spanish has 95% written intelligibility of Ladino, 93% of Galician, 87% of Catalan, 78% of Portuguese, 50% of Italian and Romanian, and 16% of French.

Catalan has 94% oral intelligibility of Valencian, 63% intelligibility of Belearic, 27% of Italian, 5% of French.

Catalan has 27% written intelligibility of Italian.

Asturian has 82% oral intelligibility of Mirandese and 71% of Portuguese.

Mirandese has 82% oral intelligibility of Asturian and 71% of Portuguese.

Portuguese has 95% oral intelligibility of Almedilha dialect, 86% of Galician, 71% of Mirandese and Asturian, 58% of Spanish, 40% of Hermisende dialect, 55% of Catalan, 25% of Leonese and Italian, 17% of French, and 5% of Romanian.

Portuguese has 90% written intelligibility of Italian.

Galician has 58% intelligibility of Catalan, and 0% of Extremaduran and Andalucian Spanish.

French has 30% oral intelligibility of Catalan, 27% of Portuguese, 16% of Italian, 13% of Spanish, 7% intelligibility of Romanian, and 0% of Sicilian.

French has 90% written intelligibility of Catalan and 70% of Portuguese.

Romanian has 70% oral intelligibility of Istroromanian, 40% of Italian, 25% of Spanish, and 15% of French and Portuguese.

Romanian has 60% written intelligibility of French, 45% of Galician and Piedmontese and 33% of Italian.

Italian has 40% oral intelligibility of Catalan, 16% of Portuguese, 11% of French, and 0% of Romanian, Arpitan and Sicilian.

Italian has 75% written intelligibility of French and Spanish, 25% of Portuguese, and 20% of Catalan.

Piedmontese has 0% intelligibility of Arpitan.


Filed under Andalucian, Applied, Aragonese, Asturian, Catalan, French, Galician, Indo-European, Indo-Hittite, Italian, Italic, Italo-Celtic, Italo-Celtic-Tocharian, Language Families, Leonese, Linguistics, Multilingualism, Portuguese, Romance, Spanish

Germanic Influence on French

I knew that French had some Germanic influence, but I did not know where it was from. I thought maybe it was from the Gauls. But it turns out it was from a Germanic group called the Franks who apparently ruled France for many years. There are a number of German languages called variations of the word Franconian in Germany, mostly right over the border from France – Moselle Franconian, Rhine Franconian, etc.

The piece is correct that northern France is more Germanic. Southern France or the Occitan region is more like Spanish or Catalan.

As a result of over 500 years of Germano-Latin bilingualism, many Germanic words became ingrafted into the Gallo-Romance speech by the time it emerged as Old French in AD 900. And after the Franks abandoned Frankish, the Old French they spoke tended to be heavily Frankish influenced, with a distinctively Frankish accent, which introduced new phonemes, stress-timing, Germanic grammatical and syntactical elements, and contained many more Germanic loans not found in the Old French spoken by the native Gallo-Romans.

Even though the Franks were largely outnumbered by the Gallo-Roman population, the position of the Franks as leaders and landholders lent their version of Old French a greater power of influence over that of the Gallo-Romans; it thereby became the basis of later versions of the French language, including Modern French (see Francien language).

It is for this reason that Modern French pronunciation has a rather distinct and undeniably “Germanic” sound when compared to other Romance languages, such as Italian and Spanish, and is a major contributing factor in why there exists a distinction between Northern French varieties spoken in regions where Frankish settlement was heavy (langue d’oïl) vs. those where Frankish settlement was relatively slight (langue d’oc).


Filed under Balto-Slavic-Germanic, Europe, European, France, French, German, Germanic, Germany, History, Indo-European, Indo-Hittite, Italic, Italo-Celtic, Italo-Celtic-Tocharian, Language Families, Linguistics, Middle Ages, Moselle Franconian, Regional, Romance

What Romance Languages Do You Know?

If you are interested, tell us in the comments what Romance languages you have knowledge of. As you can see, I am into Romance languages.

Spanish: I had four years in school and then another 1 1/2 years at university, so I can speak it fairly well. I often use it with Spanish speakers around town. However, I am not fluent like a native speaker by any means. I can also read it fairly well to the point where I can actually do research in it. But I certainly do not know every word, and it is not like doing research in English. I can write Spanish fairly well. When I meet South Americans on the Net, they ask me if I was born in Latin America. However, some of them catch on that I am not a native speaker. I can understand it pretty well when spoken but I have a lot of problems with radio, TV and any video or audio in Spanish. I can understand it better if I read it.

I was talking to this Guatemalan woman, and after a while, she said, “You know…You don’t really speak Spanish, do you? But boy do you try!”

This is the only Romance language I can write.

Portuguese: Well I studied it a bit because I was dating a Brazilian woman. I started to learn the language within 24 hours after meeting her. I spoke to her in English and Spanish and she spoke to me in Portuguese, English and Spanish. She spoke some English and Spanish. This arrangement actually worked out pretty well!

I used to get emails a lot from another Brazilian woman I know. I tried to read them, but it was pretty slow going. I still study Portuguese and I try to read it sometimes. I even try to do research in Portuguese, but research in Portuguese is so much harder than doing it in Spanish. To tell the truth, reading Portuguese is a pain. I do know some words of Portuguese but not a lot. I can’t really speak it at all at the moment. When it is spoken, I can understand some of it, but that is mostly due to Spanish resemblance. All in all, I consider Portuguese to be a pain in the ass.

Galician: Cannot speak it but can understand it pretty well when spoken in the standard dialect. I understand it a lot better than I understand Portuguese because it sounds a lot more like Spanish. I have quite a hard time reading Galician. It really isn’t fun at all. Galician is a pain to read. I know a few words, hardly any really.

Asturian/Leonese: Cannot speak it. Cannot understand a word of it when spoken. I have tried to read it and even do research in it, but that is just awful. One of the worst languages in Iberia to read. I do know a few words here and there.

Mirandese: Cannot speak it. Haven’t listened to it in a while. Surprisingly, I find this language fairly easy to read. It looks a lot like Spanish. It is much easier to read than Portuguese or Galician. Don’t really know any words though.

Aragonese: Can understand some of it when spoken. It is very hard to read and I cannot speak it. Do not know any words.

Extremaduran: Reading this language is a complete pain, more or less like reading Asturian-Leonese if not worse. Do not know any words.

Fala: I have heard Fala spoken on videos and I can understand some of it, but honestly, this language is quite a mess, and Galician is a lot easier to understand. I don’t know any words. I have never seen it written down, and I am not even sure if it is a written language.

Catalan: I cannot understand a word of it when spoken, and I cannot speak it. Reading Catalan is quite difficult and very slow-going. It is not pleasant at all. This language is very different from the rest of the Iberian languages. I do not think I know any Catalan words.

Occitan: Cannot speak it. Can understand Aranese fairly well when spoken. I have tried to read Occitan many times but it is a complete nightmare to read. I do not know one word of Occitan.

French: I did take a semester of French at university. I also had a French girlfriend for a while. Not that it did me any good. I cannot understand one word of spoken French. I have tried to speak it a bit, but French speakers kept laughing at me (including the girlfriend) so that inhibited me. I have tried to write French to French speakers on the Net but I can hardly write it at all. French is very hard to read, much worse than Spanish. I have even tried to do research in French, but it was extremely slow-going. French is very different from Iberian languages. I continue to study French off and on. I do know quite a few French words.

Arpitan: Never seen it written, cannot speak it. When listening to it, I can only get occasional words. Very hard to understand. I do not know any words.

Italian: I have studied Italian somewhat but it is very different from Spanish or French and many words do not have obvious connections to Spanish or French. I can read a bit of Italian, but it is very slow-going. I do know some words. I cannot speak Italian at all, and I have never even tried to write it. Italian varies when listening to it on video. With some slow TV-type announcers, I can get some of it. With regular speech, I often will not get one word in a 5 minute broadcast. Italian is extremely hard to understand.

Romansch: I can hardly understand this at all when spoken on TV broadcasts. Interviews with native speakers are easier to understand if they speak slowly. Intelligibility is about like Italian. I do not know any words.

Romanian: Simply awful. I have listened to 8 minute broadcasts of this language and I could not understand one word. Romanian is very hard to read. It is much worse than Italian when it comes to not having obvious connections to other Romance languages I know. This is one of the worst ones of all in terms of reading. I do not know any words. Cannot speak it.

I do not think I have ever heard any of these languages spoken or even seen them written down: Arumanian, Barranquian, Cajun French, Campidanese, Corsican, Emilian, Romagnol, Friulian, Gallurese, Istriot, Istro-Rumanian, Italkian, Ladin, Ladino, Ligurian, Logudorian, Lombard, Megleno-Rumanian, Neapolitan, Picard, Piedmontese,  Sardinian, Sassarese, Sicilian, Venetian, or Walloon.


Filed under Applied, Aragonese, Asturian, Catalan, French, Galician, Indo-European, Indo-Hittite, Italian, Italic, Italo-Celtic, Italo-Celtic-Tocharian, Language Families, Language Learning, Leonese, Linguistics, Occitan, Portuguese, Romance, Romansch, Spanish

Spanish-Italian Mutual Intelligibility

See this video here.

This is an interview with the director of a documentary called Rio De Onor which I would really like to see, except that it is in Italian. Rio de Onor is a town on the border of Spain and Portugal where an odd Senabrian Leonese with Galician influences lect full of Portuguese words is spoken. It is probably similar to Mirandese, but I think it is in a different branch of Leonese than Mirandese is. Rihonores-Mirandese mutual intelligibility (MI) is not known. The town is split. Half of the town is in Portugal, and the other half is in Spain! The residents typically spoke Rihonores, but they also all spoke both Portuguese and Spanish. They spoke Spanish and Portuguese indifferently, mixing them together along with Rihonores.

It is said that Rihonores is extinct or nearly extinct, but that does not seem to be the case. The writeup for this movie says that all of the town’s residents spoke “Mirandese” often during the filming, which took place in 1996. Rio de Onor does not speak Mirandese, but it does speak Rihonores, so the writeup must be referring to Rihonores.

I doubt if Rihonores has gone extinct since then. In addition, a recent paper was written on the grammar of Rihonores. The paper was authored in the mid-1990’s and was written in Portuguese, but I was able to read it in part anyway, especially with the help of a translator. The paper stated that residents of the town now spoke Spanish and Portuguese most of the time. They all knew Rihonores, but its use seemed to be more reserved for special occasions as if it were some sort of ceremonial language.

The town is located in a binational national park and it has a Medieval appearance about it. Rio de Onor has been losing population for some time now and there are not many people left in the town.

At any rate, I continue to see comments that Spanish and Italian are mutually intelligible. Well, I just watched 5 1/2 minutes of an interview with this Italian director, and I can tell you right now that I did not understand one single word he said. That’s a Spanish-Italian MI rate of 0%.

If you don’t know Italian but have knowledge of another Romance language, watch this video and tell me how much Italian you can understand.

I think the MI of Spanish and Italian is much exaggerated.

Leave a comment

Filed under Applied, Cinema, Europe, Indo-European, Indo-Hittite, Italian, Italic, Italo-Celtic, Italo-Celtic-Tocharian, Language Families, Leonese, Linguistics, Multilingualism, Portugal, Portuguese, Regional, Romance, Spain, Spanish

Check Out Furniello Berciano

This is an extremely interesting lect being spoken here. It looks more like Furniello spoken in the Fornela Valley region around where Asturias, Leon and Galicia all come together. The language itself looks something like Berciano, Western Asturian or Eastern Galician.

Here are some of my notes on this language:

Forniellu is spoken in the Fornela Valley in and around the towns of Guimara, Peranzanes, and Transcastro. It is a mixture of Leonese, Asturian, Galician and Castillian. It is probably not intelligible with Galician. It is difficult to place this lect. Formally it is considered to be transitional between Leonese and Galician, but it is more likely to be Leonese transitional to Galician. This is sometimes said to be part of Berciano. Best characterized as Leonese. Intelligibility with Fabieru Berciano speakers from nearby Fabero nine miles to the south is excellent.

The people in this area say that they speak Galician, but the truth is they are really speaking Leonese or Berciano. When Berciano speakers go to Galicia, they are not understood, so Berciano is not a type of Galician.

I was utterly lost with this old lady’s story. I could hear a few words now and then, but it wasn’t enough to figure out what she was talking about. After seven minutes, I did not have the slightest idea of what she was talking about. You are listening to it and thinking, “You know, this really does sound like Spanish…” but then you still can’t seem to make out of a word of it. To my untrained ear, it also seems to sound like some sort of a Portuguese-Spanish mix.

If you can speak Spanish or Portuguese, see how much Furniellu you can understand.

1 Comment

Filed under Asturian, Galician, Indo-European, Indo-Hittite, Italic, Italo-Celtic, Italo-Celtic-Tocharian, Language Families, Language Samples, Leonese, Linguistics, Romance, Spanish