The Mango Blog

Mango Languages' blog is your go-to language and culture resource. Subscribe and let the world surprise you.

Sicilian and Italian: What's the difference?

Sicilian fishing boats in SicilyIsn’t Sicilian just a dialect of Italian? It turns out there is actually a good deal of debate over this subject.

Some linguists believe that Sicilian may have actually been the first Romance Language, arising from a vulgar form of Latin spoken by Roman military men and everyday people. It is placed in the Italiano meridionale-estremo group of languages along with the Greek influenced Calabrian dialects of southern Italy, and actually has at least eleven regional dialects of its own.

The Sicilian language has been shaped by many years of foreign influence, occupation, and conquest. Unlike Italian, which is almost entirely Latin based, Sicilian has elements of Greek, Arabic, French, Catalan, and Spanish. This can be seen in many Sicilian words, like azzizzari [to embellish, adorn] from the Arabic aziz [beautiful], or foddi [angry], which can be traced to the Norman French fol.

Grammatically, Sicilian is also very different from Italian. For example, all the pronouns for I, he, she, you, and them are different in Sicilian. Also, take into account that Sicilian does not distinguish between plural endings for verbs, using the same conjugations for masculine and feminine nouns. In Italian, the plural form differs according to gender, and there is much more concern about agreement between nouns and adjoining adjectives.

A great deal of the actual Italian influence on Sicilian has been since 1860, when, during the Italian Unification, Sicily became a part of Italy. More and more, there is risk today that the Sicilian language will eventually die out due to the influx of the Italian language into Sicily, becoming the preferred tongue among the natives. Even Sicilian emigrants, like my own family, speak a brand of the language which is different from what actual native Sicilians speak, simply because the language has changed so much even in the last 50 years.

So what’s the verdict? Have you met anyone who speaks Sicilian? Do you think that it is a language or a dialect?

Check out the videos we've made with two native speakers of both Sicilian and Italian to learn more about the differences (and similarities) between the two.

If you'd like to try your hand at Italian (or over 70 other languages and dialects), click below to begin your language-learning adventure with Mango. You know what they say in Italy, una sola lingua non è mai abbastanza! [One language is never enough!]

 

Start Learning

Stages of Language Learning
Language or dialect: the war of similarities.
Mango Languages
Written by Mango Languages

Start the conversation.

Related Posts
Best of 2018 in Language and Culture Around the World
Best of 2018 in Language and Culture Around the World
Practice Your Pronunciation With Phonetic Pop-Ups
Practice Your Pronunciation With Phonetic Pop-Ups
Hygge: the Art of Coziness
Hygge: the Art of Coziness
The Relationship Between Language Learning and Academic Success
The Relationship Between Language Learning and Academic Success
What It’s Really Like to Move to Another Country: Brazil
What It’s Really Like to Move to Another Country: Brazil
Five Predictions for Edtech Trends in 2019
Five Predictions for Edtech Trends in 2019

Comment

Subscribe To Blog

Subscribe to Email Updates