Open main menu
This page needs to be proofread.
895
ITALIAN LANGUAGE


ascendancy! Typical for the whole district (except the Marches) is the reduction to 1 (and later toj) of ll and ofl initial, when followed by i or u (Velletri, Tuna, fuce; Sora, jurza, ltal. luna, jima, Ital. lima; melica. Ital. mollica, béfg, Ital. belli, bello, in vulgar Latin bellu; but bella, bella, &c.). The phonolo ical connexions between the Northern Umbrian, the Aretine, and the Gallo-Italic type have already been indicated (B. 2). In what relates to morphology, the -orno of the 3rd pers. plur. of the perfect of the first Conjugation has been pointed out as an essential peculiarity of the Umbro-Roman territory; but, even this it shares with the Aquila vernaculars, which, moreover, extend it to the other conjugations (amérno, timcirono, &c.), exactly like the -6 of the 3rd person singular. Further, this termination is found also in the Tuscan dialects. Throughout almost the whole district should be noted the distinction between the masculine and neuter substantive, expressed by means of the article, the distinction being that the neuter substantive has an abstract and indeterminate signification; e.g. at S. Ginesio, in the Marches, lu pesce, but lo pesce, of fish in general, as food, &c.; at Sora le -wélrc, the sheet of glass, but lg wélrg, glass, the material, original substafiecf As to the inflection of verbs, there is in the ancient texts of the region a notable prevalence of perfect form in the formation of the imperfect conjunctive; tblzesse, Ital. togliesse; sostenesse, Ital. sostenesse; conubbcssero, Ital. conoscessero, &c. In the northern Marches, we should note the preposition sa, Ital. con (sa lla, Ital. con lei), going back to a type similar to that of the Ital. “ con-esso." ln a large part of Umbria an m or t is prefixed to the sign of the dative: l-a lu, a lui; rn-al re, al re;3 which must be the remains of the auxiliary propositions int(us), a(m)pud, cf. Prov. amb, am (cf. Arch. ii. 444-446). By means of the series of Perugine texts this group of dialects may be traced back with confidence to the 13th century; and to this region should also belong a " Confession, " half Latin half vernacular, dating from about the IIth century, edited and annotated b ' Flechia (Arch. vii. 121 sqq.). The “chronicle ” of-Monaldeschi has been already mentioned. The MSS. of the Marches go back to the beginning of the 13th century and perhaps still further back. For Roman (see Monaci, Reudic. delllflccad. dei Lincei, xvi. 103 sqq.) there is a short inscription of the Iltll century. To the 13th century belon s the Liber hixloriarum. Romarzorum (Monaci, Archivia della Socielg rom. di sloria palria, xii.; and also, Rendzfc. dei Lincei, i. 94 s q.), and to the first half of the same century the Formole volgari off Raineri da Perugia (Monaci, fb., xiv. 268 sqq.). There are more abundant texts for all parts of this district in the 14th century, to which also belongs the Cronica Aquilana of Buccio di Ranallo, republished by De Bartholomaeis (Rome, 1907).

D. Tuscan, and the Lilerary Language of the Italians., We have now only to deal with the Tuscan territory. It is bounded on the W. by the sea. To the north it terminates with the Apennines; for Romagna Toscana., the strip of country on the Adriatic versant which belongs to it administratively, is assigned to Emilia as regards dialect. In the north-west also the Emilian presses on the Tuscan, extending as it does down the Mediterranean slope of the Apennines in Lunigiana and Garfagnana. Intrusions which may be called Emilian have also been noted to the west of the Apennines in the district where the Arno and the Tiber take their rise (Aretine dialects); and it has been seen how thence to the sea the Umbrian and Roman dialects surround the Tuscan. Such are the narrow limits of the “ promised land ” of the language which has succeeded and was Worthyto succeed Latin in the history of Italian culture and There is therefore nothing surprising in the fact that, for example, the chronicle of Monaltleschi ol? Orvieto (14th century) should indicate a form of speech of which Muratori remarks: “ Romanis tunc fainiliaris, nimirurn quae in nonnullis accedabat ad Neapolitanam seu vocibus seu pronuntiatione." The all into alt, &c. (aitro, mafia), which occur in the well-known Vila di Cola di Rienzo, examples of which can also be found in some corners of the Marches, and of which there are also a few traces in Latium, also shows Abruzzan affinity. The phenomenon occurs also, however, in Emilian and Tuscan.

2 A distinction between the masculine and the neuter article can also be noticed at Naples and elsewhere in the southern region, where it sometimes occurs that the initial consonant of the substantive is differently determined according as the substantive itself is conceived as masculine or neuter; thus at Naples, neut. lo bero, tnasc. lo Uero, “ il Vero, " 8:c.;at Cerignola (Capitanata), u mmfgghig, “ il meglio, " side by side with 1; mgzs “ il mese." The difference is evidently to be explained by the fact that the neuter article originally ended in a consonant (-d or -c?; see Merlo, Zeitschrift far roman. Philol. xxx. 449), which was then assimilated to the initial letter of the substantive, while the masculine article ended in a vowel. “This second prefix is common to the opposite valley of the Metauro, and appears farther south in the form of me, -Camerino: me lu pettu, nel petto, me lu Seppurgru, al Sepolcro. civilization, -the lahd which comprises Florence, Siena, Lucca and Pisa. The Tuscan type may be best described by the negative' method. There do not exist in it, on the one hand, any of those phenomena by which the other dialectal types of Italy mainly differ from the Latin base (such as 12=d; frequent elision of unaccented vowels; ba=gua; .s'=jl; rm=nd, &c.), nor, on the other hand, is there any series of alterations of the Latin base peculiar to the Tuscan. This twofold negative description may further serve for the Tuscan or literary Italian as contrasted with all the other Neo-Latin languages; indeed, even where the Tuscan has a tendency to alterations common to other types of the family, it shows itself more sober and self denying-as may be seen in the reduction of the l between

vowels into d or of c (le) between vowels into g, which in Italian affects only a small part of the lexical series, while in Provencal or Spanish it may be said to pervade the whole (tag. Prov. and Span. mudar, Ital. mutare; Prov. segar, Span. seguro, Ital. sicuro). It may consequently be affirmed without any partiality that, in respect to historical nobility, the Italian not only holds the first rank among N eo-Latin languages, but almost constitutes an intermediate grade between the ancient or Latin and the modern or Romance. What has just been said about the Tuscan, as compared with the other dialectal types of Italy, does not, however, preclude the fact that in the various Tuscan veins, and especially in the plebeian forms of speech, there occur particular instances of phonetic decay; but these must of necessity be ignored in so brief a sketch as the present. We shall confine ourselves to noting-what has a wide territorial diffusion-the reduction of c (le) between vowels to a mere breathing (e.g. fzhiho, fuoco, but porco), or even its complete elision; the same phenomenon occurs also between word and word (e.g. la hasa, but in casa), thus illustrating anew that syntactic class of phonetic alterations, either qualitative or quantitative, conspicuous in this region, also, which has been already discussed for insular and southern Italy (B. 2; C. 2, 3), and could be exemplified for the Roman region as well (C. 4). As regards one or two individual phenomena, it must also be confessed that the Tuscan or literary Italian is not so well preserved as some other Neo-Latin tongues. Thus, French always keeps in the beginning of words the Latin formulae cl, pl, fl (clef, plaisir, fleur, in contrast with the Italian chiave, piacere, flare); but the Italian makes up for this by the greater vigour with which it is wont to resolve the same formula within the words, and by the greater symmetry thus produced between the two series (in opposition to the French clef, clave, we have, for example, the French wil, oclo; whereas, in the Italian, chiave and occhio correspond to each other). The Italian as well as the Rumanian has lost the ancient sibilant at the end (-s of the plurals, of the nominative singular, of the 2nd persons, &c.)', which throughout the rest of the Romance area has been preserved more or less tenaciously; and consequently it stands lower than old Provencal and old French, as far as true declension or, more precisely, the functional distinction between the forms of the casus rectus and the casus obliquus is concerned. But even in this respect the superiority of French and Provencal has proved merely transitory, and in their modern condition all the Neo-Latin forms of speech are generally surpassed by Italian even as regards the pure grammatical consistency of the noun. In conjugation Tuscan has lost that tense which for the sake of brevity we shall continue to call the pluperfect indicative; though it still survives outside of Italy and in other dialectal types of Italy itself (C. 3b; cf. B. 2). It has also lost thefuturum exaclum, or perfect subjunctive, which is found in Spanish and Rumanian. But no one would on that account maintain that the Italian conjugation is less truly Latin than the Spanish, the Rumanian, or that of any other Neo-Latin language. It is, on the contrary, by far the most distinctively Latin as regards the tradition both of form and function, although many effects of the principle of analogy are to be observed, sometimes common to Italian with the other Neo-Latin languages and sometimes peculiar to itself.

Those who find it hard to believe in the ethnological explana-