Sardinian language


Sardinian language is one of the oldest roman languages, it starts to have its own evolution already from the III century A.D., and among the roman languages it makes group on its own, well distinguished from the all others.

The first written witnesses in Sardinian vulgar dates back to the XI century, and are represented by the stamped papers of the chancelleries of the four medieval kingdoms.

Sardinian is the first vulgar language to be used for juridical purposes. While in the rest of Europe the language of the juridical acts kept to be Latin, and the vulgar was used only for literary compositions, on Sardinia the language used by the royal chancelleries was already the local vulgar language. On the contrary, the first written witnesses of literary composition in Sardinian came a lot later.

With the fall of the medieval kingdoms, medieval Sardinian stopped to be an official language and underwent to a progressive diversification in many dialectical varieties.

The varieties

Sardinian has two main macro varieties: the southern Sardinian or campidanese, and northern Sardinian or Logudorese / Nuorese.

Southern Sardinian is the one that has had more evolution, while the northern one shows a rather conservative phonetic compared with Latin.

Today’s Sardinian is characterized by a great presence in the vocabulary of many Iberic words, most from Catalan in southern Sardinian, while in the northern variety are more present word taken from Castilian (Spanish).

The languages spoken in the regions of Gallura, in Sassari, Alghero and Carloforte are not part of the Sardinian linguistic system. They belong in stead respectfully to the systems of Corsican, Sassarian, that come from medieval Pisan, Catalan and Ligurian.

Morpho-syntactic characteristics

Sardinian syntax and morphology are peculiar to be highly analytic. It is especially at this level that can be found the major peculiarities of Sardinian and that distinguish it from all the other roman idioms: first of all the article comes from the Latin demonstrative ipsum, opposite to all the other roman languages that took the article from the Latin demonstrative illum. In Sardinian than, the result is that the articles are: su, sa, sos, sas, is. This result can be found only in some dialects of Catalan.

The verbal conjugation is almost the Latin one. Here is an example of how a verb is conjugated:

deu papu
tui papas
issu papat

nos papaus

bosatrus papais

issus pàpant

The analytic peculiarity can be seen also in the way Sardinian makes the future of the verbs: while all the roman languages have developed a synthetic future ( es io andrò, jo iré ( I will go )from andare + habeo), in Sardinian, ‘cause also of the position of the words in the phrase, the future is like this: deu apu a andare / ap’‘a andai ( habeo + andare)

Phonetic Characteristics

In the evolution from Latin to roman languages, the result of the vowel phonetic divided the roman area in four groups of languages: the system of common roman, the most spread, the rumen system, the Sicilian system and the Sardinian system.

The Sardinian result is that from the ten Latin vowels, five longs and five shorts, you have only five vowel, one for every one.

The phonetic characteristic that has mostly interested the linguists in the ‘800, full of ideals of linguistic purity, is the so called occlusive velar, that is anyway kept only in northern Sardinian. The fact that in northern Sardinian to say sky you say kelu in stead of celu, cielo, ciel, celo, etc, and to say voice you say boke in stead of boxi, voce, voz, etc, should make this language closer to Latin than any other. But actually there are a lot of other characteristics that in stead put this language rather far from Latin, making it a proper roman language as all the other with its own peculiar and original characteristics.

The vocabulary

Sardinian as roman language takes the majority of its words directly from Latin. Moreover it didn’t even had the influence of the Germanic languages, as all the other roman languages of the rest of Europe. The Sardinian word for white is arbu, from the Latin albus, in stead of biancu, blanc, blanco, that comes from the old Germanic blink.

The lexical Sardinian super layer is constituted by words coming from other roman languages, particularly from Catalan and from Castilian (Spanish). Sardinian counts more than six thousand iberisms in its lexica.

The dialects of Sardinian
1: Campidanian of the Caralitanus
2: Campidanian of the Sulcis
3: Common Campidanian
4: Central Campidanian
5: Campidanian of the Sarrabus
6: Campidanian of the Ogliastra
7: Campidanian of southern Barbagia
8: Arborean
9: Southern Nuoresian
10: Central Nuoresian
11: Nuoresian of the Baronias
12: Southern Logudoresian
13: Central or common Logudoresian
14: Northern Logudoresian
NON Sardinian dialects or languages
15: Cathalan
16: Sassarian
17: Gallurian (Corse)
18: Tabarkan (Ligurian)
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