Category Archives: Indo-Hittite

“Jihad Sheilas”

Interesting video originally appeared on Australian TV under the name Jihad Sheilas. It profiles two female Australian converts to Wahhabi Islam who got deep into the Al Qaeda like Islamist scene. Both women appear to have links to radical Islam and probably Al Qaeda and related groups.

The movie is also interesting for the accents. The announcer speaks something called General Australian which is something like Received Pronunciation or RP in the UK. The two women both speak a much broader accent that is more common among the general population, especially in the rural areas. I understood everything of what the narrator said, but I sometimes struggled to understand both of the women. The broad Australian English accent is pretty hard to understand!

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Filed under Australia, English language, Islam, Linguistics, Radical Islam, Regional, Religion, Women

Iranians and Mediterraneans – A Close Relationship?

Here.

A man, apparently a Southern European, had his DNA tested at an online site. He noticed that several Iranians matched his DNA profile. He then noted that three of his Iranian friends had DNA that tested closest to Southern Europeans (Mediterraneans, or Meds), closer to them than even South Asians or Middle Easterners.

This is what I have always thought about Iranians. In addition, when I meet Iranians, I often say, “You folks are White, right?” They always very enthusiastically nod their heads. “Yes! We are White!” One even told me that Iranians were “a European people.” It’s true that all of these folks were ethnic Persians and not members of other ethnic groups in Iran.

But there is something so White about Persians and Iranians. To me they have always seemed like “Europeans outside of Europe.” Looking at their Indo-European language, there is something to that. The same wave that brought Persian to Iran also brought the IE languages and genes to Europe.

So in this view, Iranians will be closer to Greeks, Turks, Italians, Spaniards and Portuguese than to anyone else. If you look at Persians closely, you can’t help but see the resemblance.

It is time we welcome the Iranians and Persians into our great White family. They will be right at home with us.

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Filed under Europeans, Genetics, Indo-European, Iranians, Language Families, Linguistics, Near Easterners, Race/Ethnicity, Sane Pro-White, Whites

The Reality of Dialects in Italy

It’s often said that the dialects of Italy will be dead in 30 years. There is no way on Earth that that is true. On the other hand, the hard or pure dialects are dying, as they are all over Europe, in Sweden, France, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

The hard dialects are often spoken only by the old now, and many old words have fallen out of use. The hard dialects often had a limited vocabulary restricted to whatever economic activity was typical of the area. A lot of the old dialects are now being written down in local dictionaries to preserve their heritage.

The dialects were of course killed by universal education, and this was a positive thing. All Italians should learn to speak some form of Standard Italian. In the old days when everyone spoke dialect, people had a hard time communicating with each other unless there was some form of regional koine that they could speak and all understand. It doesn’t make sense if you can only talk to people in a 20 mile or less radius.

A diglossia where hard dialects would exist alongside Standard Italian was never going to work. People are pretty much going to speak one or the other. As people learn Standard Italian, their local dialect will tend to become more Italianized. In other cases, the hard local dialect will tend to resemble more the local regional dialect.

For instance, in southern Campania, the region of Naples, in a part called Southern Cilento, there are still some Sicilianized dialects spoken, remnants from Sicilian immigrants who came in the 1500’s. These dialects are now dying, and the speech of the young tends to resemble more the Neapolitan Cilento speech of the surrounding area more.

In other cases, koines have developed.

There is a regional koine in Piedmont that everyone understands. There is a similar koine in West and East Lombard, the Western one based on the speech of Ticino. There is a Standard Sicilian, spoken by everyone and understood by all, and then there are regional dialects, which, if spoken in hard form, may not be intelligible with surrounding regions. A koine has also developed in Abruzze around Pesaro. There is “TV Venetian,” the Venetian used in regional TV, a homogenized form that has speakers of local dialects worried it is going to take them out.

Even where hard dialects still exist, the younger people continue to speak the local dialect, except that it is now a lot more Italianized and regionalized. A lot of the old words are gone, but quite a few are still left. So the dialects are not necessarily dead or dying, instead they are just changing.

In the places where the dialects are the farthest gone such as Lazio and Tuscany, the regional dialects are turning into “accents” which can be understood by any Standard Italian speaker.

The situation in Tuscany is complicated. Although the hard dialects are definitely going out, even the hard dialects may be intelligible to Standard Italian speakers since Standard Italian itself was based on the dialect of Florence, a city in Tuscany.

Florence was chosen as the national dialect around 1800 when Italian leaders decided on a language for all of Italy. But the truth is that the language of Dante had always been an Italian koine extending far beyond its borders, just as the language of Paris had long been the de facto Standard French (and it still is as Parisien).

This is not to say that there are not dialects in Tuscany. Neapolitan speakers say they hear old men from the Florence region on TV and the dialect is so hard that they want subtitles. And there is the issue of which Florentine was chosen as Standard Italian. A commenter said that the language that was chosen was the language of Dante, sort of a dialect frozen in time in the 1400’s. In that case, regional Tuscan could well have moved far beyond that.

Even in areas where dialects are said to be badly gone such as Liguria, local accents still exist. It is said that everyone in Genoa speaks with a pretty hard Ligurian accent. That is, it is Standard Italian spoken with a Genoese accent.

Many younger Italians are capable of speaking in what is called “close,” “strict” or “tight” dialect. This means the hard form of the dialect. Speaking in this hard dialect, they often say that outsiders have a hard time understanding them. They can also speak in a looser form that is more readily intelligible. People adjust their speech to interlocutors.

We seem to be seeing a resurgence of interest in dialects among young people. Even if they can’t  speak them, many understand them. Most young people grew up with mothers, fathers or certainly grandparents who spoke in this or that dialect, and they learned at least to understand it from them. In addition, in many parts of Italy, dialects are still going strong, and many young people at least understand the local dialect even if they do not speak it.

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Filed under Dialectology, Europe, Indo-European, Indo-Hittite, Italian, Italic, Italo-Celtic, Italo-Celtic-Tocharian, Italy, Language Families, Linguistics, Regional, Romance, Sociolinguistics

Check Out Massese

This is a news broadcast in the dialect of Massa, part of the dual city of Carrara Massa in the far north of Tuscany. This is actually an Emilian dialect related to Modenese in the province of Modena in Emilia. Carrara Massa was part of a political and religious unit with Modena for a very long time, and it influenced their dialects.

All of the dialects in this part of the far north of Tuscany near the border of Liguria have undergone such influence. As such, the dialects of Carrara Massa have seen little influence from the Tuscan dialects in the region although Massa has undergone a lot more influence from Versiliese, spoken in the historical area of Versilia along the coast just to the south.The dialect of Carrara is much more pure and has almost zero Tuscan influence, but the dialects of Massa and Carrara are similar.

There are about four different dialects spoken in each Massa and Carrara. It is said in Carrara that the dialects change every 100 yards! This may be an exaggeration, but you get the picture. The old dialect of Carrara is now spoken only by the elderly and the new dialect spoken by younger people is heavily Italiainized.

There are beautiful beaches in both Massa and Carrara and the women are said to be very beautiful.

The region to the north of the border with Emilia and just into Liguria around Sarzana just across the border in Liguria are similar. The dialects to the north are referred to as Lunigiana and Gargafuna in the mountains. The Lunigiana dialect is probably understandable throughout this region and is spoken by about 300,000 people. Outside the region in the rest of Tuscany and Liguria and in Emilia, intelligibility is probably marginal, although intelligibility tests with Modenese have not yet been done.

This is a Gallo-Italic dialect spoken in Tuscany.

This broadcast in the pure dialect of Massese is probably hard to understand for speakers of Standard Italian who do not speak a Gallo-Italic language. To me, it’s sounds very strange and sounds nothing like Standard Italian. It almost sounds French to my ears.

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Filed under Dialectology, Europe, Italic, Italo-Celtic, Italo-Celtic-Tocharian, Italy, Language Families, Linguistics, Regional, Sociolinguistics

Check Out Torrese

Torrese is the Neapolitan dialect spoken on the Italian coast 10 miles southeast of Naples. This is a port city with a very unique dialect. The hardcore Torrese does not even appear to be completely intelligible in Torre del Greco 5 miles to the north or in Castellamare di Stabia 5 miles to the south.

The video above, apparently from Naples TV, is making the rounds with Italians on Youtube, mostly because no one seems to be able to understand what these women are saying. For sure, this is one wild, over the top dialect all right.

There are also a lot of comments about people who can’t even speak proper Italian, about low-class, slummy, scummy, uneducated people, and about the slums of Naples. It’s true that the Naples region has a lot of run-down housing, especially in suburbs. There is also a tremendous amount of corruption, and the Camorra, or the local Mafia, is simply everywhere. They have even heavily infiltrated the police. For a while there, trash was piling up all over Naples because no one wanted to collect the garbage.There is not a lot of random violent crime, but there is a lot of property crime. Be careful even parking your car on the streets.

The women in the video are apparently complaining about cockroaches in their building. They appear to be saying that they are as big as rats, which is dubious.

The “Southern Question” has long been a problem of Italian politics. It’s a question that is heavily tinged with the racism that Northern Italians feel towards Southern Italians. A frequent comment, along the lines of “Africa begins at the Pyrenees,” is, “Africa begins in Naples.” Northern Italians often say that Naples is part of Africa. Southerners are said to be criminal, rude, belligerent, hot-tempered, violent, corrupt, stupid, uneducated and poor. In addition, they can’t even speak proper Italian.

Drawing a line at where the South begins is difficult, but an argument can even be made that Abruzze is southern in culture. Where Rome fits is anyone’s guess. Perhaps a more proper division is North, Center and South Italy.

The Southern Question shows no sign of resolution in my lifetime.

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Filed under Corruption, Crime, Culture, Dialectology, Europe, Indo-European, Indo-Hittite, Italian, Italic, Italo-Celtic, Italo-Celtic-Tocharian, Italy, Language Families, Linguistics, Organized Crime, Racism, Regional, Romance, Sociolinguistics

Check Out Romanesco

Romanesco is the Italian dialect or language of Rome and the surrounding area. This Youtube video took Italy by storm. It is called “Girls of Ostia Beach – Interview in Dialect.” The announcer interviews two teenage girls on the beach in Rome for about 1 1/2 minutes.

Their dialect was so strong that those who made the video had to put subtitles on it because many Italians couldn’t understand any of the dialogue otherwise. So you see, even the dialect of Rome is unintelligible in much of Italy.

This is interesting because Rome and its province of Latium and Tuscany are the two parts of Italy where the old dialects are the most far gone. Here they are heavily diluted and Italianized, reduced in many cases from full languages to mere dialects of Italian. But as you can see in this video, the hard dialect of Rome is still alive and well.

The video caused a storm all over Italy but especially in Rome. Many people, especially Romans, were outraged at the girls’ dialect, which they felt was coarse, rude, vulgar and low class. They compared it to the speech of the ghetto or to uneducated idiots. The truth is that this is just hardcore Romanesco dialect from the center of Rome, not from the suburbs or surrounding villages.

Many older Romans were outraged at what the video said about their beautiful Roman dialect. They longed for the “pure and elegant” Romanesco of 50 years ago, now kept alive by the elderly.

Many said that this was not Romanesco at all but instead was Romanaccio, a so-called rude street form of the “true and glorious” Romanesco. The truth is that what you hear in the video is the language of quite a few Roman youth today. And indeed it is quite a bit different from the hardcore Romanesco now spoken by the older folks.

Even if you can’t understand Italian, if you listen to the dialect and try to compare it to the subtitles, you can see that the speech bears little resemblance to the subtitled words.

I don’t speak Italian, but I kind of liked the sound of this dialect. Has kind of a wild sound to it. And the girls are pretty nice to look at.

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Filed under Dialectology, Europe, Indo-European, Indo-Hittite, Italian, Italic, Italo-Celtic, Italo-Celtic-Tocharian, Italy, Language Families, Linguistics, Regional, Romance, Sociolinguistics

Check Out Siculo Gallo-Italic

These are fascinating Romance dialects spoken in Sicily. The are called the Gallo-Italic dialects of Sicily. Some of them are also found in other parts of Italy, mostly in the far south in Basilicata.

Gallo-Italic languages are spoken in far north of Italy and are so called because there is heavy French influence on these Italian varieties. They include Venetian, East and West Lombard, Piedmontese, Ligurian, Emilian and Romagnolo.

In the 1100’s and 1200’s, Sicily was ruled by Norman rulers from the north of France. They had conquered much of Italy, and were in control of parts of the north also. In order perhaps to consolidate their rule in Sicily, which they had just conquered, they sent some Norman soldiers to Sicily to help populate the region and set up Norman outposts there.

These were mostly soldiers from the southern Piedmont (Monferrate)  and Ligurian (Oltregiogo) regions of Italy and from the Provencal area in the south of France. There were also a few from the Lombard region and other parts of northern Italy. They went down there with their families and formed a number of settlements in Sicily and a few other places in Italy.

Over the next 800 years, their Gallo-Italic language came under heavy influence of varieties of Sicilian in Sicily, Basilicatan in Basilicata and other languages in other parts of Italy. Yet the heavy Gallo-Italic nature of their lects remains to this day and Sicilian speakers of surrounding villages find Gallo-Italic speakers impossible to understand.

The dialects have tended to die out somewhat in the past 100 years. Villagers were tired of speaking a language that could not be understood outside the village and increasingly shifted to the Sicilian language. A situation of bilingualism in Gallo-Italic and Sicilian developed. Over time, this became trilingualism as children learned Standard Italian in school. Gallo-Italic was used inside the village itself, and Sicilian was used for communication with outsiders.

Whether or not Gallo-Italic lects in different parts of Sicily can understand each other is not known, but they have all undergone independent paths of development over 800 years or so. The same is also an up in the air question about Basilicatan Gallo-Italic and Gallo-Italic settlements in other parts of the country. This is an interesting question in need of linguistic research.

In this 1 1/2 minute video, I am not sure if I understood a single word he said. The language he is speaking sounds like a mixture of Provencal Piedmontese with a heavy dose of Sicilian. Sicilian itself is so odd that a Sicilian speaker can barely be understood at all outside of Sicily. It has at least 250,000 words, 25% of which have no equivalent in Standard Italian. It underwent heavy French, Spanish and especially Greek and Arabic influences.

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Filed under Afroasiatic, Arabic, Dialectology, Europe, European, French, Greek, Hellenic, History, Indo-European, Indo-Hittite, Indo-Irano-Armeno-Hellenic, Italian, Italic, Italo-Celtic, Italo-Celtic-Tocharian, Italy, Language Families, Linguistics, Regional, Romance, Semitic, Sociolinguistics, Spanish, Venetian

Mutual Intelligiblility in the Romance Family (Reading)

Just a personal anecdote. I have been reading a lot of Italian lately (with the help of Google Translate). I already read Spanish fairly well. I have studied French, Portuguese and Italian, and I can read Portuguese and French to some extent, Portuguese better than French.

But I confess that I am quite lost with Italian. This is worse than French and worse than Portuguese. A couple weeks of wading through this stuff hasn’t made me understand it any better.

Portuguese and Galician are said to be so close that they are a single language. I don’t agree with that at all, but they are very close, much closer to Spanish and Portuguese. Intelligibility may be on the order of 80-90%.

Nevertheless, the other day I tried to read a journal article on Galician. It looked like it was written in Portuguese, and who would write in Galician anyway? I copied the whole thing into Google Translate and let it ride. I waded through the whole article, and I must say it was a disaster. I had a very hard time understanding many of the main points of the article.

Then I remembered that Translate works on Galician now, so I decided on an off chance that the guy may have written the piece in Galician for some nutty reason. I ran it through Translate using Galician as target. The article went through perfectly. You could understand the whole thing. It was then that I realized how far apart Portuguese and Galician really are.

You can try some other experiments.

Occitan is said to be nearly intelligible with Spanish or maybe even French, better if you know both. There’s no Google Translate for Occitan yet, but I had to deal with a lot of Occitan texts recently. I couldn’t make heads or tails of them despite by Romance reading background. So I tried using Translate to turn them into Spanish or French. French was a total wreck, and there was no point even bothering with that. Spanish was much better, but even that was a serious mess.

Now we come to the crux. Catalan and Occitan are said to be so close that they are nearly one language. Translate now works in Catalan. So I ran the Occitan texts through Translate using Catalan. The result was a serious mess, but you could at least understand some of what the Occitan texts were about. But no way on Earth were those the same languages.

People keep saying that if you can read Spanish, you can read Portuguese. It’s not true, but you can see why people say it. Try this. Take a Spanish text and run it through Translate using the Portuguese filter. Now take a Portuguese text and run it through Translate using the Spanish filter. See what a mess you end up with!

Despite the fact that I can read Spanish pretty well, I have tried to read texts in Aragonese, Asturian, Extremaduran, Leonese and Mirandese. These are so close that some even say that they are dialects of Spanish. But even if you read Spanish, you can’t really read any of those languages, and they are all separate languages, I assure you. Sure, you get some of it, but not enough, and it’s a very frustrating experience.

There are texts on the Net in something called Churro or Xurro. It’s a Valencian-Aragonese transitional dialect spoken around Teruel in Aragon in Spain. It also has a lot of Old Castillian and a ton of regular Castillian in it. Wikipedia will tell you it’s a Spanish dialect. Running it through both the Spanish and Catalan filters didn’t work and ended up with train wrecks. I doubt if Xurro is a dialect of either Catalan or Spanish. It’s probably a separate language.

There is another odd lect spoken in the same region called Chappurriau. It is spoken in Aguaviva in Teruel in the Franca Strip. The Catalans say these people speak Catalan, but the speakers say that their language is not Catalan. Intelligibility with Catalan is said to be good. So effectively this is a Catalan dialect.

I found some Chappurriau texts on the Net and ran them through Translate using Catalan as the output. The result was an unreadable disaster, and I couldn’t really figure out what they were saying. Then I tried the Spanish filter, and that was even worse. I am starting to think that maybe Chappurriau is a separate language as its speakers say and not a Catalan dialect after all.

I conclude that the ability to cross read across the Romance languages is much exaggerated.

Not only that, but many Romance microlanguages, transitional dialects and lects that are supposedly dialects of larger languages may actually be separate languages.

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

Check Out Ormeasco

Ormeasco is a very strange dialect of spoken in the far northwest of Italy in Piedmont Province near the border with Liguria Province near the French border in the Ligurian Alps.

It is a dialect of the Ligurian language. It is basically a Brigasco Ligurian dialect with heavy South Cuneo Piedmontese influences. There are also strong French influences via Piedmontese and Occitan borrowings via Brigasco. It is so strange that even residents of nearby villages have a hard time understanding it. Ormeasco has been studied by linguists for over 150 years since it is so unusual.

In the video, apparently made for a Piedmontese TV station, the announcer is apparently speaking Italian, though she may be speaking with a Piedmontese accent, which is a pretty wack accent of Italian. The persons interviewed are speaking Ormeasco. If you listen to the Ormeasco, you can see that it almost sounds more French than Italian.

I really get tired of hearing people say that Spanish and Italian are intelligible with each other. Italian speakers who travel to Colombia say they had a very hard time being understood. Colombians understand no more than 30-40% of what they were saying.

Now, as far as the Italian speaker in this video, let me tell you how much of her language I can understand: 0%! If you have any knowledge of French, Italian, Spanish or Portuguese, you might find this video interesting. See if you can understand any of it.

I must say though, that sure is a beautiful little Italian village!

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Filed under Dialectology, Europe, French, Indo-European, Indo-Hittite, Italian, Italic, Italo-Celtic, Italo-Celtic-Tocharian, Italy, Language Families, Linguistics, Occitan, Regional, Romance, Sociolinguistics, Spanish

Fala, A Galician-Portuguese Language of Spain

Three videos showcase Fala, a Galician-Portuguese language spoken in the Xalima Valley in Spain in Caceres near the Portuguese border. All evidence indicates that this is a dialect of Galician from a movement of Galicians to the area in the 1300’s.

Subsequently, the group became isolated from the rest of the Galician population and the lect underwent independent development, especially strong influence from Asturian-Leonese in the form of the Extremaduran language. So we have an archaic Galician dialect with strong Extremaduran influence. Presently, Castillian speakers say they are completely lost listening to this language.

Portuguese speakers fare better, but intelligibility is not full even for them. However, there is full intelligibility with the Galician language spoken in the northwest of Spain.

Oddly enough, about 95% of the residents of this rustic valley continue to speak this language, from elders all the way down to young children. Everyone is bilingual in Castillian, which is learned in school. Castillian is used with outsiders; Fala is used with residents among themselves.

Recent attempts were made to adopt the Galician standard for writing Fala but these were rejected by Fala speakers as the Galician standard is not close to what they speak. As far as what protection Fala has, this is uncertain. Certainly it is not an official language of Spain as Galician is, and it is probably not included in the Galician as official standard.

The first video is a very well done documentary on the language. If you cover up the subtitles, it’s almost impossible to make sense of what they are speaking.

In the second video, there are no subtitles, and the language is quite incomprehensible. The narrator appears to be speaking Fala, but he may be speaking a more watered down version of it. I could understand some of what he was saying but certainly not all of it. The Castillian man he interviews is much more intelligible.

The last video is apparently of two Fala-speaking women who are being interviewed. They are apparently responding in Fala. The first time I watched this video I was lost. I have since watched it a few more times, and I can now pick up some of what she is saying. Notice that the language has a strong Portuguese flavor. I am not sure what language the narrator is speaking to them in. Possibly Castillian?

The narrator somehow seems to understand them although he is not a Fala speaker. He says he is a speaker of Bierzo Leonese spoken in the Bierzo region of Leon near the Galician border. This Leonese lect borders on a Galician dialect (Berciano) spoken to the west in the same province.

Bierzo Leonese has strong Galician influence, and Berciano Galician has heavy Leonese influence. Berciano Galician is doing quite well, but Bierzo Leonese is not doing so well, as is the case with the Leonese language across the board.

If you speak Spanish, Portuguese or both, see how well you can understand Fala.

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