Monday, 20 July 2009

Language education

I live in the north-east of Italy, in Veneto, the Italian region were the local dialect is used the most, as I learnt from my latest exam. My family is a mix of different cities inside this very same region, my father’s family is from Rovigo (the city where I live), but my mother’s family is partly from a village near Venice and partly from a village near Treviso (I’ve already talked about where they live). Anyway part of my family live in Verona, and others live between Mantova and Ferrara… And they are only those with whom I am in contact.

At home wespeak Italian, and that was the language that we, children, were supposed to learn, but of course when we get in contact with our granpas and granmas we hear other languages. In my father’s family a chair is a ‘carega’, but in my aunt’s house (near Ferrara) there were other objects, ‘scarana’ (chair-sedia), ‘granadel’ (broom-scopa), ‘bagaj’ (thing-coso/a). And different ways to say things, another language…

I learned Dialect when I was grown-up, I used to spent much time with my granparents and the only language used at home was dialect; my sister didn’t like it, she insisted to speak Italian, and sometime reproached me for my talk. At school, no doubt, Italian was the only language allowed, and also with unknown adults. My granma worked as a tailor, there were many people at any time of day at home, and I could appreciate moments in which (and clients to whom) she spoke a fine Italian, and others when dialect was possible.

Until high-school I’ve always used Italian at school, but then in my class I was the only one coming from the city (if we can talk about city…) and all my mates came from villages around Rovigo and Padua the language used among us was definitely dialect. I still remember a group of girls from another class saying “How rough, they speak dialect!”. That’s how it was considered.

Venetian dialect is the language of great writers and artists through different centuries, and part of this language became Italian in the long process called “questione della lingua” that started with Dante, went on with Manzoni, until the language that is now called Standard Italian. So, it is clear that it is not rough or anything, they were (and probably still are) a group of posh girls!

Now, I speak Italian the most, with some of my friends I speak dialect, at home I know that there are different dialects to use with different people, and there are still words that are unknown to me in some of my family languages. But dialect is a kind of code for me, I cannot recognize the code-switching moment, but when I use it I feel at home. I consider it much more expressive, because is the language in which I usually express feelings, bad feelings most of all. When I’m too nervous to control what I’m saying I don’t use a proper Italian….

If you ask me, I speak a very good Italian, I can speak a good English (or i hope so!), and I get angry in Dialect.


qualcosa di bello said...

certo, parli molto bene inglese!!!

Claudia said...

E il tuo italiano migliora di giorno in giorno!bacio