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The Friulian Language: Identity, Migration, Culture
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The Friulian Language

The Friulian Language: Identity, Migration, Culture

Edited by

Rosa Mucignat

The Friulian Language: Identity, Migration, Culture Edited by Rosa Mucignat This book first published 2014 Cambridge Scholars Publishing 12 Back Chapman Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE6 2XX, UK British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Copyright © 2014 by Rosa Mucignat and contributors All rights for this book reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner. ISBN (10): 1-4438-5817-X, ISBN (13): 978-1-4438-5817-5

TABLE OF CONTENTS List of Illustrations ................................................................................... vii Acknowledgments ................................................................................... viii Introduction ............................................................................................... ix Rosa Mucignat Part I: History and Status Chapter One ................................................................................................ 2 History, Language and Society in Friuli (Thirty Years Later) Fulvio Salimbeni Chapter Two ............................................................................................. 15 Laws for the Protection of the Friulian Language William Cisilino Part II: Language and Culture Chapter Three ........................................................................................... 30 Friulian Linguistics Paola Benincà Chapter Four ............................................................................................. 53 The Friulian Lexicon Carla Marcato Chapter Five ............................................................................................. 65 The Feminine Gender in Friulian: Visibility and Commonplaces Fabiana Fusco Part III: Migration Chapter Six ............................................................................................... 90 Friulian Migration to Latin America: Linguistic Reflexes Franco Finco


Table of Contents

Chapter Seven......................................................................................... 103 “In the Hands of the Italians”: Friulian Mosaic and Terrazzo Workers in London Javier P. Grossutti Chapter Eight .......................................................................................... 122 The Contribution of Friulians to Mosaic Work in Canada Olga Zorzi Pugliese Part IV: Literature Chapter Nine........................................................................................... 150 Language and Time in Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Il sogno di una cosa Rosa Mucignat Chapter Ten ............................................................................................ 171 Recent Friulian Poetry: Some Observations Rienzo Pellegrini List of Contributors ................................................................................ 190 Index ....................................................................................................... 195

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS Figure 1. “Mother Insurance”, Metropolitan Insurance Company, Ottawa ON, detail (Photo by Olga Zorzi Pugliese) ........................... 124 Figure 2. Floor mosaic of moose, Museum of Nature, Ottawa (Photo by Pugliese) ........................................................................... 125 Figure 3. Mosaic workers and friends at the licóf, Foster Memorial, Uxbridge, ON (Photo from a private collection)............................... 128 Figure 4. Connolly Company mosaic workers, Toronto ON (Photo from a private collection) ...................................................... 130 Figure 5. Villa Colombo Home for the Aged, Toronto ON (Photo by Pugliese) ........................................................................... 132 Figure 6. ROMI Foods Company (now Industrial Commercial Plastics Corporation), Toronto, ON–left-hand side (Photo by Pugliese)........ 134 Figure 7. ROMI Foods Company (now Industrial Commercial Plastics Corporation), Toronto, ON–right-hand side (Photo by Pugliese) ..... 134 Figure 8. Church of St John Bosco, Toronto ON–detail (Photo by Giuseppe Ferrari).............................................................. 135 Figure 9. Centennial Fountain, Prince George BC–detail (Photo from the Lenarduzzi collection) ............................................ 136 Figure 10. Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, Edmonton AB–detail (Photo by Mario Pietramala) .......................... 137 Figure 11. Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Calgary, AB (Photo by Cindy Mark) ..................................................................... 139 Figure 12 Basilica, Ste. Anne de Beaupré, QC–floor detail (Photo by Pugliese) ........................................................................... 140 Figure 13. Sherbrooke metro subway station, Montreal, QC (Photo by Pugliese) ........................................................................... 140 Figure 14. Giovanni Gerometta, standing in front of Les forces de la vie, Centre financier Le Mesnil, Quebec City, QC (Photo by Pugliese) ........................................................................... 142 Figure 15. Hymne aux saisons, Baie de Beauport, QC (Photo by Giovanni Gerometta) ........................................................ 143

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The contents of this book have their origin in a conference held on Friday 16th November 2012 at the then Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies of the University of London (now the Institute of Modern Languages Research). The conference was jointly organized by Anna Laura and Giulio Lepschy, Adam Ledgeway, and myself, with help from Carla Marcato and William Cisilino. I want to thank all those who took part in the conference, especially Bruno Quendolo and Lorenzo Anzilutti, who shared with us their experiences as Friulians in the UK. I should like to express my gratitude to Anna Laura and Giulio Lepschy: their mentoring and intellectual support in the course of compiling this collective book has been invaluable. I would also like to thank UBI-Banco di Brescia, and in particular Stefano Capasa, for their generous support. Grateful acknowledgement is made to Kate Willman and Maria Giovanna Brauzzi, who have shared in the task of translating the chapters from the original Italian, making many valuable suggestions in the process. All translations from Friulian into English are mine, and any mistakes are my sole responsibility.

INTRODUCTION FRIULI: A SMALL HOMELAND IN THE AGE OF TRANSNATIONALISM ROSA MUCIGNAT Ora, in un paese tra il mare e la montagna, dove scoppiano grandi temporali, d’inverno piove molto, in Febbraio si vedono le montagne chiare come il vetro, appena al di là dei rami umidi, e poi nascono le primule sui fossi inodore... (Pasolini, “Poeta delle Ceneri”)

Are dialects the lifeblood of cherished local identities or just passports with restricted validity, serving no purpose in today’s transnational, global world? In Italy, where there are twelve officially recognized minority languages (the highest number in Western Europe) and where dialects are still extraordinarily vital, the question is not a trivial one.1 The northeastern region of Friuli is a case in point: in this area, a Romance language of the Rhaeto-Romance family is spoken, variously referred to as furlan, lenghe furlane or marilenghe (It. friulano, Eng. Friulian), which is attested to in written texts since 1150, and has been in literary use since the


The twelve officially recognized languages are: Albanian (100,000 speakers), Catalan (18,000 speakers), Croatian (1,700 speakers), Franco-Provençal (70,000 speakers), French (120,000 speakers), Friulian (526,000 speakers), German (295,000 speakers), Greek (3,900 speakers), Ladin (28,000 speakers), Occitan (50,000 speakers), Sardinian (175,000 speakers), Slovene (85,000 speakers). All languages are identified and protected by national Law 482/1999 “Norme in materia di tutela delle minoranze linguistiche storiche” (Laws governing the protection of historical linguistic minorities), adopted on 15 December 1999 and published in the Gazzetta Ufficiale della Repubblica italiana n. 297 on 20 December 1999.



fourteenth century.2 Figures for Friulian speakers vary between 430,000 and 625,000, depending on whether occasional speakers and Friulanophones residing outside Friuli are included in the estimate or not.3 Tucked away in the far eastern corner of the Italian peninsula, for long periods of its history Friuli has remained cut off from the rest of Northern Italy, as a semi-independent state surrounded by the stronger powers of Venice and both the German and, later, Austro-Hungarian Empires. The particular history and geographical position of the region have shielded Friulian from the influence of the neighbouring Italian, Germanic and Slavic varieties, thus preserving it substantially intact. This phenomenon has helped to form a strong awareness in Friulian speakers that the language they use is quite distinct from both standard Italian and other dialects such as Venetian.4 Being geographically remote from the centre of the nation in Rome, the population of Friuli has historically tended to see Italy as far more distant than the neighbouring countries in the Alps, and since 1963 has obtained a relatively high degree of administrative and political autonomy from the central state. The idea of Friuli as a “piccola patria” (small homeland), as it is often affectionately called, largely owes its resilience to this deeply-felt sense of linguistic identity which, in recent years, has sustained a successful campaign for the protection of Friulian as a minority language, culminating with the introduction of Friulian language teaching in the school curriculum in 2007. The region is bounded to the south by the Adriatic coastline. A fertile plain extends north and east towards the Carnic and Julian Alps, and is cut in two by the river Tagliamento, which runs north to south dividing the province of Pordenone to the west from that of Udine to the east. The Alpine range encloses the plain, forming a dramatic backdrop to the undulating landscape of the wine country and, further south, to the intensively cultivated and industrial lowlands rolling down to the sea. It should be noted that Friuli today consists of the two provinces of Pordenone and Udine. In 1948, it was united to the provinces of Gorizia and Trieste to form the administrative region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia. The two geographical components of the region are linguistically heterogeneous (even though a Friulian variety is spoken in a few areas in 2 See John Haiman and Paola Benincà, The Rhaeto-Romance Languages (London: Routledge, 1992), 14. 3 The results of the most recent estimate were published by Linda Picco in Ricerca sulla condizione sociolinguistica del friulano (Udine: Forum, 2001). 4 That is, veneziano or the dialect of the city of Venice. To avoid confusion, contributors have adopted the term ‘Venetan’ (veneto) to indicate the dialects spoken in the Veneto region and some parts of Friuli.

Friuli: A Small Homeland in the Age of Transnationalism


the province of Gorizia) and have had a very different history: on the one hand, Friuli joined the new-born Italian state in 1866, experiencing intense out-migration towards Northern Europe and the Americas until the late 1950s, when the “economic boom,” propelled by remittance flows, drove the rapid development of the region’s industrial sector. On the other hand, the sub-region of Venezia Giulia had been a prosperous part of the Habsburg Empire since the sixteenth century, and only joined Italy after the Austrian defeat in 1918; later, the territorial changes after the Second World War and the general slowdown of the international port activities in Trieste caused vast depopulation. While the cultural and historical significance of Venezia Giulia is not in question, this volume will concentrate exclusively on Friuli and on the development of its particular social, linguistic, and literary experience.5 I have referred to Friulian as a “minority language,” a “language,” and also as a “dialect.” As the fluctuation in the terminology will continue throughout the book, the meaning of these designations and their applicability to Friulian deserve at least a brief explanation here. A minority language is the language spoken by a group that is numerically smaller than the rest of the population of the state in which it is part, and is different from the official language of that state. This designation has to do with the type of legal recognition that minority groups demand or receive for their language from the state. The distinction between dialect and language, on the other hand, is not based on linguistic facts but on the level of social prestige attached to a given linguistic variety.6 As an idiom, Friulian has long lead a double, and even a triple life: it is both a dialect, the marlienghe (mother tongue) used in daily exchanges in the home and with friends and colleagues, mostly in rural areas; and a language, the lenghe furlane (Friulian language) protected by law as a minority language and self-consciously adopted as an artistic medium, especially in poetry. The most well-known examples of literary Friulian are the Baroque verses by Ermes di Colloredo (Colloredo di Monte Albano 1622–Gorizzo, near Codroipo, 1692), who also wrote mock-philosophical dialogues in prose; the sentimental poems of Pietro Zorutti (Lonzano del Collio 1792–Udine 1867), written in the Friulian spoken in the area around Udine, which subsequently acquired the status of literary koinè; the stories of country 5

For a general account of the region’s history from 1800 to the present day see Storia d’Italia: Le regioni dall’Unità a oggi: Il Friuli-Venezia Giulia, ed. Roberto Finzi, Claudio Magris and Giovanni Miccoli, 2 vols (Turin: Einaudi, 2002). On Trieste in particular see Katia Pizzi, A City in Search of an Author: The Literary Identity of Trieste (Sheffield: Sheffield UP, 2001). 6 See R. A. Hudson, Sociolinguistics (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2001), 30-32.



life by Caterina Percoto (San Lorenzo di Soleschiano, Udine 1812–1887); and, in more modern times, Pier Paolo Pasolini’s poems and his prose drama in the dialect of Casarsa, which are no doubt the most widely read and translated works in the Friulian language.7 This double function of Friulian is by no means an isolated case in Italy, where dialects often have a written tradition that is connected to, but does not depend entirely on, their status as mother tongues or “languages of the heart.” In fact, for the most part Italy operates in a diglossic situation where, as Giulio Lepschy has noted, the remits of everyday communication and literary expression are not neatly divided between standard Italian and dialects, with authors who are native speakers of Italian, such as Pasolini, often choosing to write in a dialect that is not technically their mother tongue.8 There has also been a long tradition of academic study of Friulian and its expressions in literature and folklore. The great linguist Graziadio Isaia Ascoli, who is considered by many to be the father of Italian dialectology, conducted one of the earliest examinations of Friulian as part of his study of the Romance languages spoken in the Alps, which was published in 1873.9 Two years earlier, Jacopo Pirona had published his Vocabolario friulano, which is still a fundamental point of reference for the study of Friulian.10 The Società Filologica Friulana (Friulian Philological Society) was established in 1919 to promote the use and knowledge of Friulian, as well as “la conoscenza delle lingue e delle culture minoritarie, considerate anche quale strumento per l’affermazione della pace nel mondo e della fratellanza tra i popoli” (the study of minority language and cultures, viewed also as an instrument for the achievement of world peace and brotherhood among peoples).11 The society publishes two periodicals, Ce fastu? (on topics of philology and linguistics) and Sot la nape (on regional history and traditions), as well as a broad range of literary criticism, art, 7

For an overview of Friulian literature see two monographs by Rienzo Pellegrini: Tra lingua e letteratura: Per una storia degli usi scritti del friulano (Udine: Casamassima, 1987) and Ancora tra lingua e letteratura: Saggi sparsi sulla storia degli usi scritti del friulano (Cercivento, Udine: Associazione culturale CjargneCulture, 2003). 8 Giulio Lepschy, “Mother Tongues and Literary Languages,” in Mother Tongues and Other Reflections on the Italian Language (Toronto: U of Toronto P, 2002), 27. 9 Graziadio Isaia Ascoli, “Saggi ladini,” Archivio glottologico italiano 1 (1873): 1556. 10 Jacopo Pirona, Vocabolario friulano (Venice: Antonelli, 1871). 11 Art. 1 of the Statuto della Società Filologica Friulana, accessed January 8, 2014, http://www =TRUE.

Friuli: A Small Homeland in the Age of Transnationalism


history, folklore, and works of literature in Friulian. The same fields are also covered by the Udine university press, Forum. Among the news media the journal Patrie del Friûl, published monthly since 1978 with an explicit autonomist agenda, reports in Friulian on local politics and culture; Radio Onde Furlane has been broadcasting a full schedule of programmes in Friulian since 1980; and since 1996, Friulian has dedicated air-time on state television and local commercial channels. Bilingual (Italian and Friulian) street signs are now the norm in towns and villages across Friuli, and the six-volume Grant Dizionari Bilengâl Talian–Furlan (GDB TF) has been published in 2011, which, in a rare reversal of power between minor and major languages uses Friulian, and not Italian, as the lexicographic metalanguage. Despite these efforts, however, Friulian is ranked by UNESCO as a “definitely endangered” language, indicating that “children no longer learn the language as mother tongue in the home.”12 Simultaneously secluded and integrated, peripheral and central, Friuli has a distinctive culture and character. Friulians are stereotypically represented as simple, hard-working country and mountain people with a stern, reserved temperament, which can eventually ease off into warmhearted sociability and conviviality.13 Thus, the combination of polar opposites seems to be a characteristically Friulian way of being. In a poem published posthumously in 1980, Pasolini describes Friuli as “un paese tra il mare e la montagna, / dove scoppiano grandi temporali...e poi nascono le primule sui fossi / inodore” (a land between sea and mountain, / where big storms breaks out...and then primroses bloom on the ditches / that have no odour).14 Pasolini’s image characterizes Friuli as a place of contrasts, where the sudden rage of rainstorms coexists with the gentle grace of primroses. Behind contrast, however, there is connection: as can often be observed in rural Friuli, which is notoriously the wettest place in Italy, wild primroses spring up in thick blankets on the moist ditch banks after 12 UNESCO, Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger, s.v. “Friulian”, accessed January 8, 2014, page=atlasmap. 13 See the report on a survey on Friulian self-perception carried out among university students by Linda Picco, “The ‘Sportis’ Project: Promotion of the Friulian Language and Investigations on the Mental Images Held by Students of the Udine University,” Friulian Journal of Science 10 (2008): 107-121. 14 Pier Paolo Pasolini, “Un poeta delle Ceneri” (1966, also known by the earlier title, in English in the original draft, of “Who is me”), reprinted in Bestemmia: Tutte le poesie, ed. Walter Siti (Milan: Garzanti, 1994), 2:2056. These verses also give the title to a collection of Pasolini’s essays edited by Nico Naldini, Un paese di temporali e di primule (Parma: Guanda, 1993).



the rain. With this image in mind, this volume sets out to explore the way in which the dialectical movements of geopolitics and culture combined to shape the Friulian language in its different contexts of use. Why this book? For almost 150 years since Ascoli inaugurated the scientific study of Italian dialects, Friulian has been studied by linguists, historians, and literary scholars. Yet just a small part of their scholarship is a) available in English and b) brought together in a dialogue between different disciplines. The purpose of this book is thus twofold: to provide English-speaking readers with an in-depth and up-to-date account of the language and culture of Friuli from antiquity to the present; and to bring the perspective of different disciplines to bear on the common questions of why Friulian has developed the way it has, what its significance as a cultural expression is, and how it can negotiate its relationship to other languages on a global scale. To this end, the volume gathers together the work of ten contributors who are specialists in the fields of history (Fulvio Salimbeni), law (William Cisilino), linguistics (Paola Benincà, Franco Finco, Fabiana Fusco, and Carla Marcato) literary studies (Rosa Mucignat and Rienzo Pellegrini), and geography (Javier P. Grossutti). Olga Zorzi Pugliese is well known in the world of Italian studies as a Renaissance scholar, but her work for this volume is connected to her collateral research interest in the history of Friulian migration to Canada. The ten chapters are organized in four parts, each devoted to a broad thematic area: History and Status, Language and Culture, Migration, and Literature. The book opens with a study by Fulvio Salimbeni, which offers an overview of the history of Friuli, painting a picture with broad brushstrokes of the major transformations in social and economic life, from pre-Roman Celtic cultures to the golden age of the Patriarchs of Aquileia in early Christendom, to the annexation to the Holy Roman Empire in the middle of the tenth century and later the century-long Venetian rule, until the Risorgimento. Salimbeni shows how the decades between 1860 and 1900 saw a rapid increase in labour migration towards Germany, France, and the Americas, all of which were common destinations for migrants from all parts of Italy, but also along less frequented routes towards Eastern Europe (Russia and BosniaHerzegovina especially). The events of the twentieth century are those which Salimbeni observes in most detail: the First World War, during which Friuli became a tragic battlefield for the German, Italian, and Austro-Hungarian armies; the Second World War, which saw Friuli being de facto annexed by the Third Reich, while a cruel civil war erupted between Fascists and two opposed partisan factions, the Catholic liberals and the communists, further complicated by the pressure of Yugoslav

Friuli: A Small Homeland in the Age of Transnationalism


troops on Italian territory;15 and the catastrophic earthquake of 1976, which killed more than nine hundred people and left many towns and villages destroyed or significantly damaged, prompting a meticulous and relatively rapid reconstruction work, which also had the unpredicted effect of boosting regional identity and cohesion. Against this historical background, Salimbeni traces the evolution of the Friulian language, reconstructing key moments of linguistic and cultural history, with a special eye to the exchanges with the German and Slavic worlds. The essay is also a revisitation of Salimbeni’s earlier book Storia, lingua e società in Friuli (History, Language and Society in Friuli) co-authored with Giuseppe Francescato in 1976, whose socio-linguistic approach is recognized as a turning point in the scholarship on Friuli and a model for the methodology of regional studies. William Cisilino, in his chapter on language policies, provides an account of the major legislative milestones that guarantee the protection of the Friulian language, and describes the political and legal process that led to their promulgation. Cisilino gives a clear picture of the legal status of minority languages in Italy and of the European guidelines for their protection; he then presents the unique linguistic situation of FriuliVenezia Giulia as a whole, providing data about the three minority languages present in the region’s territory (Friulian, German, and Slovene). Having described earlier regulations implemented by the Autonomous Region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, later reinforced at state level by the official recognition in 1999 of the Friulian linguistic community, Cisilino’s focus moves to the most recent law for protection promulgated by the Region in 2007, which spurred heated controversy in Friuli and initiated a legal battle between the regional government and the central state. As the director of the regional body for the protection and promotion of Friulian (the Agjenzie regjonâl pe lenghe furlane or ARLeF), which was instituted by force of the 2007 law, Cisilino is uniquely positioned to clarify the legal issues around the measures proposed by the Region, and rejected by the Italian Parliament, in particular those concerning language education in schools and the use of Friulian in the public administration. Besides being an accurate and objective presentation of Friulian language policies, Cisilino’s piece also shows how the case of Friuli can raise interesting points for comparison with minority


On partisan warfare on the Eastern frontier, and on Stalin’s plans for the annexation of Friuli and Trieste to Yugoslavia see, among others, Elena Agarossi and Victor Zaslavsky, Stalin and Togliatti: Italy and the Origins of the Cold War (Stanford, CA: Stanford UP, 2011), 131-56.



language policy in other European countries, including Spain and the United Kingdom. Paola Benincà’s chapter “Friulian Linguistics” opens the section of the book dedicated to linguistics, and offers a masterful interpretation of the linguistic peculiarities of Friulian and its significance for the understanding of the development of the Romance system as a whole. Benincà looks at phonology, morphology, and morphosyntax, both at the level of synchronic and diachronic variation, demonstrating how the linguistic area of Friulian has proven to be an exceptional source of information for linguists. Even when similar processes are active in other Romance languages, Friulian offers a broader and theoretically more interesting framework of understanding. This is due to the specific historical and social situation of the region, which has remained separated from the surrounding areas, so that the various local dialects of Friuli have developed in relative autonomy. An analysis of Friulian can therefore shed light on other Romance varieties where the same phenomena have left but disconnected and insufficient traces, swept away by wider and more pervasive levelling processes than those that affected Friuli. Benincà illustrates her discussion of linguistic phenomena with examples from everyday speech as well as from ancient documents, including two among the earliest known literary texts in Friulian, the fourteenth-century ballads Piruç myó doç inculurit (Sweet Blush Pear of Mine), and Biello dumnlo di valor (Fair Lady of Worth). In her survey of the Friulian lexicon, Carla Marcato sets out to identify the most distinctive words of the Friulian repertoire: words such as mandi (“goodbye”) and frut (“child”) which are habitually used and understood throughout Friuli, and also by those who have only a limited competence in Friulian. Marcato’s chapter, which also contains a review of the existing lexicographic works for Friulian, from Jacopo Pirona’s dictionary to her own studies of food and farming vocabulary, aims at writing a history of Friulian through words and word formation. It focuses especially on the two aspects of diatopic variation and lexical stratification. The territorial organization of Friuli in different districts, which started in Roman times and continued with the institution of the dioceses of Aquileia and Concordia, is reflected in the lexical differences between on the one hand western Friulian, and on the other east-central Friulian and the Friulian spoken in Carnia. Marcato also makes note of the origin and times of entry of loanwords and calques from other languages, which testify to cultural contacts and exchanges in different periods of history, going as far back as the presence of Roman troops from other parts of Italy who spoke a different regional Latin. An intense relationship to the German-speaking

Friuli: A Small Homeland in the Age of Transnationalism


world both in the Middle Ages and during the Habsburg domination brought many ‘Germanisms’ into Friulian. Furthermore, the Slovene farmers who settled in Friuli in the tenth century also made linguistic contributions, especially to the vocabulary of agriculture. Finally, the influence of cosmopolitan Venice makes itself felt in the numerous Venetisms, Frenchisms and other foreign loanwords that entered Friulian through Venetian. Chapter five is Fabiana Fusco’s study on the feminine gender in Friulian, investigating the gender bias inherent in language and the antiquated stereotypes of gender roles that can still be found in what we assume to be the most objective descriptions of any language: dictionaries. The idea that language is gendered harks back to Dante’s language tract De vulgari eloquentia, where he argues that “vocabulorum quedam puerilia, quedam muliebria, quedam virilia” (some words can be seen as infantile, some as womanish, some as virile, VII, 2). Fusco starts by scrutinizing the debate among modern linguists around the existence of a “female language” distinct from the language of men, and on whether women are more or less conservative than men in their use of language, exposing how little of the discussion is based on actual empirical evidence. She then proceeds to analyse entries in the most important Italian and Friulian dictionaries in order to show how they present a distorted image of women, not just in the definitions, but also indirectly through the choice of idiomatic expressions, proverbs, and illustrative quotations with a sexist content. Fusco’s investigation forces us to reconsider our attitude towards dictionaries and recognize how the negative stereotyping of women still permeates current linguistic usage in both Italian and Friulian. Part three of the book focuses on the history of Friulian out-migration in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Franco Finco’s chapter “Friulian Migration to Latin America: Linguistic Reflexes” acts as a link to the previous section on linguistics, as it analyses how migrants’ experience has sedimented in the language in the form of linguistic mixing, hybridisation, and assimilation. As it was for most migrants from Northern Italy, Latin America and Argentina in particular were the most popular destinations for Friulians in search of a better life. Large-scale migration of Friulians to Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay began in 1877 and continued until after Second World War. Most migrants spoke only Friulian and had little knowledge of Italian, but once they settled in their new home they came into contact with migrants from other parts of Italy, especially Veneto, as well as with the local population. Friulian and Venetan varieties spoken in migrant communities intermingled between themselves and were influenced by the language of their respective host



country, either Spanish or Portuguese. Still to this day, inhabitants of a few rural settlements in Argentina and Brazil speak a type of Friulian that resulted from this merging of languages, and was facilitated by their common Romance origin. Through a detailed observation of the phenomena of linguistic transfer, Finco offers an illuminating insight into the life and work of thousands of Friulians who carried their language with them in distant lands, adapting and modifying it in the process, and passing it on to the next generation. Chapter seven is entitled “‘In the Hands of the Italians’: Friulian Mosaic and Terrazzo Workers in London.” There, Javier P. Grossutti reveals the little-known history of the first Friulian migrant entrepreneurs in London, working in a trade that has been for centuries, and still is, the domain of Friulian craftsmen: terrazzo flooring and mosaic. This craft is traditionally practiced in the foothill area of Western Friuli around Spilimbergo, where a specialist school has been training internationally renowned mosaic workers since 1922. Through archival research and oral testimonies, Grossutti has been able to reconstruct the story of the first Friulian mosaic workers who arrived in London via Paris in the 1870s. One of them was Pietro Mazzioli, whose team of mosaic workers from the small town of Sequals executed the mosaics in important public buildings such as the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Science Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the London Coliseum (now the home of the English National Opera), and Westminister Cathedral. Grossutti brings to light an interesting aspect of this category of highly skilled migrant workers: despite being a relatively small and largely apolitical group, they were extremely active in the creation of workers’ association and unions. The work of Friulian- and British-owned terrazzo companies in the UK continued into the twentieth century, interrupted only by the internment and deportation of Italian men as “enemy aliens” during World War II, until it was hit by the economic crisis of the Seventies. Olga Zorzi Pugliese extends the line of enquiry of Grossutti’s paper to North America and the second half of the twentieth century. Her study considers the contribution of Friulian mosaic workers to Canadian art, focusing on mosaic decoration of particular artistic merit. Using newspaper articles from the time and the oral testimonies of members of the Friulian communities in Canada, Zorzi Pugliese tells of how, since the 1920s, a large number of Friulians (mostly graduates of the Spilimbergo mosaic school from the towns of Sequals, Arba and Bertiolo), established their own terrazzo and marble companies in Canada, contributing to the creation of such exceptional artwork as the mosaics on the vaulted ceiling of the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto and the decoration of the

Friuli: A Small Homeland in the Age of Transnationalism


Thomas Foster Memorial in Uxbridge. With the aid of numerous photographs, Zorzi Pugliese describes in detail the beautiful mosaics she has been able to locate in churches, schools, government buildings, business establishments and private homes across Canada. The artworks were almost always materially executed by Friulian craftsmen and designed by Italian or local artists, with some exceptions: the mosaics of the Basilica of Ste-Anne-De Beaupré, designed and executed by the Friulian Walter Del Mistro; and the work of another Friulian mosaic artist, Giovanni Gerometta, who still continues to create wall mosaics that have been positively received by art critics. The fourth and final section of the volume looks at aspects of Friulian literature. Chapter nine, by Rosa Mucignat, offers a reassessment of one of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s least known works, the novel Il sogno di una cosa (The Dream of Something), written in various stages between 1949 and 1962 and set in Friuli in the immediate post-war period. The novel is a coming-of-age story concerning three young men and their families in the context of a rapidly changing peasant society. Eligio, Nini, and Milio become friends in the long summer nights of dancing and drinking at the village fêtes on the low Friuli plain. Their youth, however, is short-lived: striving for a better future, they are faced with the alternative of migration or political activism at home. The novel shows how their aspirations clash with the realities of a post-war Europe that is rapidly coalescing into a new order, no less oppressive than Fascism. The title is taken from one of Marx’s letters, and evokes the state of mind in which someone yearns for something of which they are only half aware. The dreamers, scarcely awakened from their centuries-long slumber, are the Friulian peasantry whom Pasolini admired and loved, and their half-formed dream is emancipation and material wellbeing. Despite being written in standard Italian, Il sogno is arguably the work in which Pasolini engaged most closely with the geographical, anthropological and historical realities in which the Friulian language existed. Through its complex and sympathetic representation of the social world of the Friulian peasantry, the novel testifies to the profound continuity that exists for Pasolini between linguistic concerns and political action, in his Friulian years as well as later on, when his interest shifted to other peripheries in Italy and beyond. The book ends with Rienzo Pellegrini’s survey of recent poetry in Friulian. In this fascinating examination of Friulian poetry of the last sixty years, Pellegrini locates the beginning of a new Friulian poetics in the year 1942, which was both 150 years since Pietro Zorutti’s birth and the year of publication of Pasolini’s Poesie a Casarsa, when the baton symbolically passed from the older to the younger poet. Pasolini’s Friulian works are a



direct challenge to the conventional sentimentality and moralism of previous regional poetry. His vision of Friulian is of an exclusively poetic language, on a par with ancient Provençal, uncontaminated by the selfconsciousness and alienation of modernity. Pasolini’s ideal clashes with the growing ambition on the part of other Friulian intellectuals to make Friulian into a modern language that could be used in all spheres of communication, and even substitute Italian in official use. Pellegrini follows the development of contemporary Friulian poetry along this faultline, presenting a close reading of three poems about the river Tagliamento: L’âga dal Tajamènt (The Water of the Tagliamento, 1969) by Siro Angeli; Tiliment (Tagliamento, 1987) by Amedeo Giacomini; and La Grava (The River Bed, 2004) by Novella Cantarutti. Despite the evident thematic correspondence, Pellegrini’s reading reveals how the poems, each written in a different Friulian variety, conjure up different images of the same river landscape and construct different metaphorical associations. Displacement in time and/or space, and the relationship with a more powerful majority discourse are often the defining factors of minority cultures. For many, the “piccola patria” of Friuli is a horizon that recedes from view, and its landscape is one of memory and loss. The challenges that face Friulian today are the same that confront other minority languages and groups around the world: going beyond survival and preservation to engage actively with new practices and contexts of use; carving up a place for themselves in the capacious but dispersive space of the global media; and avoiding what Françoise Lionnet and Shu-mei Shih have called “a reactive notion of authenticity,” which transforms the action of reclaiming a suppressed cultural identity into a mechanism that fetishizes purity and excludes difference and change.16 Writing on Edoardo Firpo, a poet who wrote in the Genoese dialect, Pier Paolo Pasolini argued that Firpo produced his best work, free from the commonplace picturesque elements of his earlier poetry, near the end of his life. Only then, after he had realized that “la sua Genova era un sogno” (his Genoa was a dream), could he freely express “la realtà di quel sogno” 16

Françoise Lionnet and Shu-mei Shih, “Thinking Through the Minor, Transnationally,” Introduction to Minor Transnationalism (Durham and London: Duke UP, 2005), 9. For the Italian context, see for instance Stefano Cavazza’s study of the use of regional traditions in Fascist propaganda, Piccole patrie: Feste popolari tra regione e nazione durante il fascismo (Bologna: Il Mulino, 1997); and also Paolo Coluzzi, Minority Language Planning and Micronationalism in Italy: An Analysis of the Situation of Friulian, Cimbrian and Western Lombard with Reference to Spanish Minority Languages (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2007).

Friuli: A Small Homeland in the Age of Transnationalism


(the reality of that dream).17 Minor languages and dialects such as Friulian, Genoese, and those of diasporic peoples around the globe, carry within themselves cultural markers that speak of a world which is constantly under threat yet, in some form or other, still lives on—be it the vanishing ways of life of a city or a region, or the migrants’ memories of their homeland. Thus, if a minority culture is to play upon its strengths, it needs to be aware of the ambiguous space it occupies: between past and present, centre and margins, or, as Pasolini has expressed, between dream and reality.

References Agarossi, Elena and Victor Zaslavsky. Stalin and Togliatti: Italy and the Origins of the Cold War. Stanford, CA: Stanford UP, 2011. Ascoli, Graziadio Isaia. “Saggi ladini.” Archivio glottologico italiano 1 (1873): 1-556. Cavazza, Stefano. Piccole patrie: Feste popolari tra regione e nazione durante il fascismo. Bologna: Il Mulino, 1997. Coluzzi, Paolo. Minority Language Planning and Micronationalism in Italy: An Analysis of the Situation of Friulian. Cimbrian and Western Lombard with Reference to Spanish Minority Languages. Oxford: Peter Lang, 2007. Finzi, Roberto, Claudio Magris and Giovanni Miccoli. Eds. Storia d’Italia: Le regioni dall’Unità a oggi: Il Friuli-Venezia Giulia. 2 vols. Turin: Einaudi, 2002. Haiman, John and Paola Benincà. The Rhaeto-Romance Languages. London: Routledge, 1992. Hudson, R. A. Sociolinguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2001. Lepschy, Giulio. “Mother Tongues and Literary Languages.” In Mother Tongues and Other Reflections on the Italian Language, 3-34. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 2002. Lionnet, Françoise and Shu-mei Shih. “Thinking Through the Minor, Transnationally.” Introduction to Minor Transnationalism, 1-23. Durham and London: Duke UP, 2005. Pasolini, Pier Paolo. “Poeta delle ceneri,” in Bestemmia: Tutte le poesie. Edited by Walter Siti. 2056-83, Milan: Garzanti, 1994. —. Un paese di temporali e di primule. Edited by Nico Naldini. Parma: Guanda, 1993. 17 Pasolini, “Un poeta in genovese” (1956), now in Passione e Ideologia (Milan: Garzanti, 1960), 302.



—. “Un poeta in genovese.” In Passione e Ideologia, 299-302. Milan: Garzanti, 1960. Pellegrini, Rienzo. Ancora tra lingua e letteratura: Saggi sparsi sulla storia degli usi scritti del friulano. Cercivento, Udine: Associazione culturale Cjargne-Culture, 2003. —. Tra lingua e letteratura: Per una storia degli usi scritti del friulano. Udine: Casamassima, 1987. Picco, Linda. “The ‘Sportis’ Project: Promotion of the Friulian Language and Investigations on the Mental Images Held by Students of the Udine University.” Friulian Journal of Science 10 (2008): 107-121. —. Ricerca sulla condizione sociolinguistica del friulano. Udine: Forum, 2001. Pirona, Jacopo, Vocabolario friulano. Venice: Antonelli, 1871. Pizzi, Katia. A City in Search of an Author: The Literary Identity of Trieste. Sheffield: Sheffield UP, 2001.


CHAPTER ONE HISTORY, LANGUAGE AND SOCIETY IN FRIULI (THIRTY YEARS LATER) FULVIO SALIMBENI 1. Introduction In 1976, the volume Storia, lingua e società in Friuli (History, Language and Society in Friuli) was published in Udine by Casamassima.1 Strictly speaking, it had been written jointly; every line of the text had been collectively discussed by Giuseppe Francescato, one of the major Italian linguists and an accomplished scholar of Friulian, and myself, at that time embarking on my career as a scholar of regional history. The book, as one of its first reviews recognised, introduced a new perspective to the study of linguistic history: language was no longer seen in isolation but analysed within a precise and defined historical and cultural context, to clarify which various methodological and historiographical factors came into play. On the one hand, our work was indebted to Giacomo Devoto’s Profilo di storia linguistica italiana (Profile of Italian Linguistic History) of 1953. Another important influence was the innovative Storia linguistica dell’Italia unita (Linguistic History of United Italy) by Tullio De Mauro, who linked political and linguistic national events in a fertile dialectic relationship, marking a significant turning point in the centuries-old “questione della lingua” (language question).2 We also drew on Manlio Cortelazzo’s dialectological studies and on Giovan Battista Pellegrini’s


The volume was subsequently re-published in 2004 in its original form, on the initiative of Vincenzo Orioles by Il Calamo, Rome, after the premature death of Giuseppe Francescato in 2001. 2 Giacomo Devoto, Profilo di storia linguistica italiana (Florence: La Nuova Italia, 1953); Tullio De Mauro, Storia linguistica dell’Italia unita (Bari: Laterza, 1970).

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Saggi di linguistica italiana (Essays on Italian Linguistics).3 On the other hand, equally relevant was the way in which our work recalled the recent and similarly fundamental contribution by Carlo Dionisotti in his Geografia e storia della letteratura italiana (Geography and History of Italian Literature).4 Dionisotti had taken the lead from Carlo Cattaneo’s concept of a multifaceted Italy, made up of city-states and communes that had existed since the Middle Ages, and should not be ironed out by a uniform and homogenous centralising model, such as the Florentine one proposed later on by Alessandro Manzoni. This thesis had found a timely methodological and theoretical formulation in a 1914 study by Giovanni Crocioni, entitled Le regioni e la cultura nazionale (Regions and National Culture).5 Crocioni, who not coincidentally was a long-time Federalist and a Republican, gave back to national culture its regional dimension. This fundamental shift in perspective from national to local was observed also by well-regarded historian Cinzio Violante, in more specific historiographical terms, in a series of articles on Italian history, which he revised and synthesised in a volume he edited in 1982.6 As far as I am concerned, another important influence was my collaboration with the Istituto per le ricerche di storia sociale e religiosa (Institute for Research in Social and Religious History), founded in Vicenza in 1975 by Gabriele De Rosa, a true master of historical studies, where the microhistorical and regional dimension of investigation and a multidisciplinary approach were strongly valued. With the aid of these historiographical references, and bearing in mind the lesson of Graziadio Isaia Ascoli’s “Saggi ladini” (Ladin Essays) with which he inaugurated the Archivio Glottologico Italiano (Italian Glottological Archive) in 1873, we sifted through all available sources both on linguistic and historical aspects, with special attention to the main existing reference works on regional history by Leicht, Paschini, and Mor.7 We discussed the framework of the study with friends and 3

Manlio Cortelazzo, Avviamento critico allo studio della dialettologia italiana (Pisa: Pacini, 1969–72); Giovan Battista Pellegrini, Saggi di linguistica italiana: Storia, struttura, società (Turin: Bollati Boringhieri, 1975). 4 Carlo Dionisotti, Geografia e storia della letteratura italiana (Turin: Einaudi, 1967). 5 Giovanni Crocioni, Le regioni e la cultura nazionale (Catania: Battiato, 1914). 6 Cinzio Violante, ed., La storia locale: Temi, fonti e metodi della ricerca (Bologna: Il Mulino, 1982). 7 Graziadio Isaia Ascoli, “Saggi ladini,” Archivio glottologico italiano 1 (1873): 1556; Pier Silverio Leicht, Breve storia del Friuli (Udine: Aquileia, 1931); Pio Paschini, Storia del Friuli (Udine: 1953–54); Carlo Guido Mor and Gianfranco


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colleagues, two of whom deserve special mention: Franco Crevatin, who had introduced us to one another, and Paola Càssola Guida, who checked the sections on pre- and proto-history, which we were less knowledgeable about. Eventually, we sat down to write the book in the summer of 1975, bearing in mind Gaetano Perusini’s methodological guidelines. In a conference paper entitled “Friuli, quadrivio d’Europa” (Friuli, Quadrivium of Europe), Perusini underlined how Friuli, which is peripheral and marginal in relation to Rome, is indeed central if seen in a European perspective.8 In fact, the region is the point of confluence and meeting of the three main continental cultures, Latin-Romance, Germanic and Slavic, as it is situated at the intersection of thousand-year-old paths of communication from the Baltic to the Adriatic Sea and from the Po Valley to that of the Danube. This is why the regional historical and linguistic matters relating to Friuli need to be viewed in a wider European perspective. This was a principle that the historian Gioacchino Volpe (Paganica 1876–Santarcangelo di Romangna 1971) had already strongly advocated when teaching the Risorgimento at the School of Modern History in Rome in the Thirties. One of his students was the Istrian Ernesto Sestan, who would remember this when he wrote the classic and still unsurpassed Venezia Giulia: Lineamenti di una storia etnica e culturale (Venezia Giulia: Features of an Ethnic and Cultural History) in 1947, which was another of the models that the two co-authors looked up to.9 As a book, Storia, lingua e società in Friuli aimed at tracing a broad outline of the socio-linguistic history of Friuli from antiquity to today, taking due account of the different factors and elements at play. The periodization was based, as is customary, on political history, given that various shifts in power have always coincided with substantial changes that are also cultural in the broadest sense, revealing a sort of pendulum motion typical of a frontier region like Friuli between the East and West, Mitteleuropa and the Mediterranean.

Ellero, Conversazioni sulla storia del Friuli, d’Italia e d’Europa (Udine: Arti Grafiche Friulane, 1988). 8 Gaetano Perusini, “Friuli, quadrivio d’Europa,” in Valori e Funzioni della Cultura Tradizionale: III Convegno dell’Istituto per gli Incontri culturali mitteleuropei, 21-25 settembre 1968 (Gorizia: IICM, 1969), 255-259. 9 Ernesto Sestan, Venezia Giulia: Lineamenti di una storia etnica e culturale (Rome: Edizioni Italiane, 1947).

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2. Friuli in Ancient History Even before the arrival of Illiric peoples from the Balkan area, there were traces of the Castellieri culture, spread as it was throughout the Mediterranean area and being comparable to the Nuragic civilisation of Sardinia. Moreover, myths and legends linked to the Trojan cycle, as well as archaeological evidence, indicate relationships with the AegeanAnatolian area through the Adriatic since around 1000 B.C. In the fifth and sixth centuries, the Gaulish tribe of the Carni (whence toponyms such as Carnia, Karst, Carniola derive), belonging to the Celtic group, settled in the area alongside the pre-existing Venetic peoples. Yet, it was only in 181 B.C that Friuli truly entered history, when the Romans founded the city of Aquileia. Aquileia was designed to be a stronghold against invasions from the East but soon became the base for Roman expansion towards Istria and the areas of the Danube and the Balkans. In the imperial era, Aquileia was one of the ten main Mediterranean trading centres, and in the Tetrarchan era it was also one of the temporary seats of the imperial court. As the capital of the Regio X Venetiae et Histria, Aquileia became the privileged location for commercial exchanges between Alexandria in Egypt, Antioch, and the northern provinces of the Empire. Travelling with these goods were also men and ideas, including new Eastern religions like the Mithraic Mysteries and Christianity itself, which after the Edict of Toleration in 313 A.D. had rapidly become established. Aquileian bishops soon took on significant roles in the episcopacy and their seat became the starting point for the Christianisation of the surrounding areas. Thus, the Aquileian metropolitan area eventually had jurisdiction over sixteen dioceses stretching from Como to Salzburg and Ljubljana. At the height of its grandeur, Aquileia could boast around one hundred thousand inhabitants, but with the waning of the Western Empire, its commercial fortunes began to decline too. However, its ecclesiastical function as the nerve centre for the whole of north-east Italy, the northern Adriatic area and the current territories of lower Austria, Slovenia and Croatia increased even further. Sacked and devastated by Attila’s Huns in 453, Aquileia’s economic function was taken over by a growing Venice, who would inherit its mediating, mercantile and cultural role between East and West, Baltic and Adriatic. In the same way, when Venice declined in the eighteenth century, Trieste took on this legacy, propelled onto the international scene by the intelligent and enlightened reform policies of the Habsburgs. For a long time Trieste would be called “new Venice,” just as Venice had been thought of as the “new Aquileia,” in a sort of ideal handover that reaffirmed the centrality of the Adriatic area in Europe and


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its continuing role as mediator between different worlds and realities, whichever the dominating urban centre—Aquileia Venice, or Trieste, which in any case are all enclosed in an area of land and sea making up little more than a hundred kilometres. In 568, after a brief Gothic and Byzantine interlude, the Lombards came to Friuli to settle there permanently and made Forum Juli (Cividale), whence the name Friuli, the capital of their first dukedom. Forum Juli always retained a sort of primacy in the Lombard kingdom, which had Pavia as its capital. It was precisely between the sixth and seventh centuries that the region took on the multi-ethnic and plurilingual nature that has characterized it ever since. The Germanic Lombards were spread throughout the regional territory, apart from the coastline and the Grado lagoon, which were controlled by the Byzantines and later by the Venetians, who took over in the eighth century—hence the local dialectal variety, completely distinct from Friulian. Alongside these two, there was also the Slavic element, as a result of a migration provoked by the pressure of Avar tribes, which were driven back by the Lombard dukes only with great difficulty. Slavic populations settled on the eastern borders of the region, in the so-called Venetian Slav-land, on the hills behind Cividale and in the Karst of the Isonzo and Trieste areas. This gave rise to the coexistence of Latin, Germanic and Slavic dialects, which would remain a peculiarity of this territory. In terms of religion, in the seventh century the bishops of Aquileia had just overcome a temporary crisis (the so-called Schism of the Three Chapters), and although their seat officially remained in the ancient Roman city, they moved their residence first to Cormons, then to Cividale, and finally to Udine, gaining the title of Patriarchs and, as time went by, a growing temporary power. After the invasion of Charlemagne’s Franks and the fall of the Lombard reign, the Duchy of Friuli was incorporated into the new Regnum Italiae and later into the Holy Roman Empire, becoming the eastern stronghold of the Carolingian dynasty against the looming threat of Slavic populations on its borders.

3. From the Middle Ages to the Risorgimento It was, however, in the middle of the tenth century, when the Saxon dynasty had established itself on the imperial throne, that a drastic regional re-orientation took place. Friuli, as well as the area of today’s TrentinoAlto Adige, was detached from the Italian kingdom by Otto I and directly incorporated into the Empire, in order to guarantee the constant control of the two main paths of communication between Germany and Italy. For

History, Language and Society in Friuli


centuries afterwards, the patriarchs of Aquileia were of German origin and many aristocratic families from across the Alps settled in Friuli, leaving important traces on the toponymy and on the territory, such as their fortified residences and castles. In this way, Friuli became a sort of Germanic outpost in northern Italy. Later, German populations migrated to Friuli to work in the mines of the Dolomites and Carnia, giving rise to the Germanophone islands of Sauris and Timau that still exist today and continue to be protected by law as linguistic minorities.10 The situation changed again towards the middle of the thirteenth century—following the struggle between Papacy and Empire—with the transfer of the patriarchy from Ghibelline to Guelph prelates from Lombardy (the Torriani or Della Torre), who realigned these territories towards Italy. Merchants, entrepreneurs, notaries and craftsmen arrived in greater and greater numbers, particularly from Tuscany—as shown by one of the stories in Boccaccio’s Decameron—and, as the years passed, from Venice and Veneto too. This transformation, which was both political and cultural, culminated in the fifteenth century after a long series of wars, when La Serenissima definitively took possession of what had become the “Magnifica Patria del Friuli” (Magnificent Fatherland of Friuli) and also brought to an end, in 1445, the political power of the patriarchs, whose function became solely spiritual. When the dynasty of the Counts of Gorizia died out in 1500, the countship was inherited by the Habsburg, who held the title until 1918. Therefore, Friuli found itself politically divided between Venice and the House of Habsburg, even if this was never an obstacle to commercial and cultural exchanges. Being under Venetian rule was not at all a disadvantage—unlike what was maintained for a long time by a short-sighted localistic historiography, which considered the disappearance of patriarchal rule to have brought regional history to an end. On the contrary, it was exceedingly beneficial, since it placed the region in an international context and in a world-class artistic and cultural environment. This was because, even after losing its political primacy after the wars of the sixteenth century, Venice remained, using Fernand Braudel’s terminology, one of the “world-cities” in economic and intellectual European life, which found its ideal centres in Venice and in the university of Padua. For the peripheral region of Friuli, being part of Venetian cultural life, which was enriched by the activity of the “prince” of publishers Aldo Manuzio, by the art of Titian, Tintoretto, Palladio, Tiepolo, by literary figures such as Pietro Bembo and then Carlo 10 On language protection laws for Friulian see William Cisilino’s account in chapter 2 below.


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Goldoni and the brothers Carlo and Gasparo Gozzi, by musicians and philosophers like Antonio Vivaldi and Antonio Schinella Conti (known as Abbé Conti)—could not but have positive consequences.11 Moreover, Carlo Ginzburg’s celebrated book on Menocchio Scandella, entitled Il formaggio e i vermi (The Cheese and the Worms), clearly documents the circulation, even in a supposedly depressed and marginal Friuli, of heterodox ideas and heretical ferment which arrived and spread in the region through contact with Venetian radical circles.12 Eighteenth-century Friuli gave a noteworthy contribution to national scholarship with the works of the poet Daniele Florio (Udine 1710–1789) and the antiquarian Gian Giuseppe Liruti (Villafredda nel Friuli 1689–1780), in which the influence of Muratori can clearly be seen. All this is also reflected in the linguistic customs and in the progressive enrichment of the local language.13 The end of the centuries-long Venetian rule in 1797, following the Treaty of Campo Formio between Napoleon and Austria, did not particularly change this situation; after two decades of French rule, Friuli was incorporated into the Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia, whose administrative capital was still Venice, even if economically it leaned towards Trieste, which was quickly and turbulently growing and attracting many Friulians in want of better material living conditions. The nineteenth century saw Friulians in the front line of various episodes of the Risorgimento: the heroic resistance at the fortress of Osoppo in 1848; Pier Fortunato Calvi’s uprisings in Cadore and their regional offshoots in 1853; and the 1864 insurrection of Navarons, supported by Mazzini. Friuli was finally annexed to the Kingdom of Italy in 1866. During these years, a number of notable political and cultural personalities established themselves and increasingly consolidated intellectual relations with Italy. Among them there are: the journalist Pacifico Valussi (Talmassons 1813–Udine 1893); the historian Prospero Antonini (Udine 1809–Florence 1884); the painter and patriot 11 Recent studies on women’s writing between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries by Fabiana Savorgnan di Brazzà of the University of Udine, are incontrovertibly bringing this fact to light: see her Scrittura al femminile nel Friuli dal Cinquecento al Settecento (Udine: Gaspari, 2011). 12 Carlo Ginzburg, Il formaggio e i vermi: Il cosmo di un mugnaio del Cinquecento (Turin: Einaudi 1976). English translation by John and Anne Tedeschi, The Cheese and the Worms: The Cosmos of a Sixteenth-Century Miller (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins UP, 1980). 13 See Carla Marcato’s analysis of foreign loanwords that entered Friulian through Venetian in chapter 4 below.

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Michelangelo Grigoletti (Rorai Grande di Pordenone 1801–Venice 1870);14 Caterina Percoto (Manzano 1812–Udine 1887), a writer renowned well beyond the regional borders;15 the vernacular poet Pietro Zorutti (Lonzano del Collio 1792–Udine 1867); the art historian Fabio di Maniago (Maniago 1774–Udine 1842); the historian Francesco di Manzano (Giassico, Cormons 1801–1895); the distinguished dialectologist Sebastiano Scaramuzza (Grado 1829–Vicenza 1913). Friuli’s unique mediating role is further confirmed by the contribution of some of the aforementioned figures to the Trieste journal “La Favilla,” published between 1836 and1846, which was created with the main aim of furthering awareness of German and Slavic culture among Italians, and conversely, of making Germans and Slavs participate in the national Italian culture. Such was the period and the atmosphere that shaped the linguist Graziadio Isaia Ascoli (Gorizia 1829–Milano 1907), a Jewish scholar from Gorizia and the founder of modern Italian linguistics, held in high regard even by German Kultur. With the publication of the aforementioned “Saggi ladini” in 1873, he promoted the scientific study of Friulian, giving it full linguistic dignity and inaugurating a branch of research that from that moment would no longer be neglected. As proof of that, the Società Filologica Friulana (Friulian Philological Society) founded in 1919 in Gorizia, is dedicated to “G. I. Ascoli.”

4. The Twentieth Century Although politically belonging to Italy, after 1866 Friuli by no means interrupted its relations with the world beyond the Alps, particularly because after the economic crisis of 1873 a massive migration began towards Germany, now unified under the so-called Second Reich, which was a great power also in economic terms, and needed a workforce for its own fast-growing industry. The new migratory flux trod on the same path as the seasonal migration of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries to “Alemagna.” This led to the flow not only of financial remittances back to Friuli, but also of new “subversive” socialist ideas, which, just like Lutheranism centuries before, had been acquired in Germany and furthered the social and political modernisation of the population, with clear repercussions on language too. Many other Friulians instead 14 On Grigoletti see the monograph by Gilberto Ganzer and Vania Gransinigh, Michelangelo Grigoletti (Milan: Alfieri, 2007). 15 A major conference on Caterina Percoto has recently been organized by the University of Udine, and the proceedings are due to appear in a forthcoming publication.


Chapter One

migrated to Bosnia-Herzegovina, which was annexed to the Habsburg Empire in 1878 and benefitted from a vast programme of public works; others still went to Russia, where the government was engaged in the titanic task of constructing the Trans-Siberian railway.16 A large number of people migrated to France—and even more did in the years between the world wars—among them the Friulian aristocrat Pietro Savorgnan of Brazzà (Castel Gandolfo 1852–Dakar 1905) whose explorations in Central Africa eventually led to the foundation of a French colony in what is still today known as Congo-Brazzaville. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Pordenone became one of the industrial epicentres of Friuli’s economic development, attracting many farm workers who were otherwise destined for emigration, which had at that point become transoceanic. This process, however, was interrupted by the Great War. Fighting took place to a great extent on Friuli’s territory and brought the population into contact with Italians from all the other regions and dialects, a process which was accentuated after the Battle of Caporetto, when tens of thousands of Friulian refugees were scattered across camps in every corner of the Italian peninsula. The end of the conflict, which had profoundly scarred the territory, came after the end of the liberal period, in which, as mentioned above, the Società Filologica Friulana was born, with the main task of valorising the local language in a patriotic and national sense, and which acted alongside the pre-war Società Storica Friulana (Friulian Historical Society) (1911), now known as the Deputazione di storia patria per il Friuli (National History Delegation for Friuli), and the centuries-old Accademia udinese (Udinese Academy), two institutions that have always been attentive to linguistic questions and regional literature. During the fascist period, a ferociously centralising and homologising policy was imposed on language too, accompanied by an idiotic and ultimately counter-productive attempt at de-nationalisation aimed at the so-called “alloglot” minorities, that is to say Slovenes and Germans, who were banned from using their native languages. The Second World War affected Friuli only marginally until 8th September 1943, but, after the armistice, it was hit with devastating force: the region became part of the so-called Operationszone Adriatisches Küstenland or OZAK (Operational Zone of the Adriatic Littoral) and it was de facto annexed to the Third Reich. From the autumn of 1944 it also came under the occupation of the collaborationist Cossack army, used by 16 Luciana Castellina memorialized these events in her recently published travelogue Siberiana (Rome: Nottetempo, 2012).

History, Language and Society in Friuli


the Germans to liquidate the partisans of the short-lived Repubblica libera della Carnia (Free Republic of Carnia), which had been created in the summer of the same year. These little-known events were later to be the subject of an excellent historical-literary reconstruction in Carlo Sgorlon’s novel L’armata dei fiumi perduti (Army of the Lost Rivers).17 With the war over, the hard task began of reconstructing the region both materially and morally. Friuli could count on the efforts of politicians such as Tiziano Tessitori (Sedegliano 1895–Udine 1973), who, as a member of the Constituent Assembly for the Christian Democratic Party, fought with tenacity and determination for state recognition of regional autonomy to be inserted into the constitutional charter. Nevertheless, since the newly formed Friuli-Venezia Giulia region had become the extreme outpost of Western Europe on the iron curtain, regional autonomy was only concretely realised in 1963, when Cold War tensions eased out. Relations with Yugoslavia also improved, after the question of the eastern border was resolved and Trieste, if nothing else, was returned to Italy by the London Memorandum of 1954. In 1968, Pordenone became a province in its own right, as a way to recognize its economic and industrial importance not only on a national, but also an international level. What is more, these were the years of the first Friulian poetic experiences for a young Pier Paolo Pasolini, his Academiuta of Casarsa, and Gianfranco D’Aronco (Udine 1920). In the meantime, Chino Ermacora’s (Tarcento 1894–Udine 1857) was fighting a battle for Friulian to be recognized as a real language and not simply a dialect.18 It was also in the wake of these initiatives that, in the Seventies, Giovan Battista Pellegrini began work on the monumental task of the Atlante storico– linguistico–etnografico friulano (Historical, Linguistic and Ethnographic Atlas of Friuli), which drew on ideas and plans begun in the Twenties by Ugo Pellis (San Valentino di Fiumicello 1882–Gorizia 1943), one of the promoters of the Società Filologica Friulana.19 But it was the catastrophic earthquake that struck Friuli in 1976, bringing the region under the spotlight of national and international media, 17

Carlo Sgorlon, L’armata dei fiumi perduti (Milan: Mondadori, 1985). English translation by Jessie Bright, Army of the Lost Rivers (New York: Italica Press, 1998). 18 Pasolini’s early engagement with Friuli and its language is discussed in chapters 9 and 10 below. 19 Giovan Battista Pellegrini, ed., Atlante storico–linguistico–etnografico friulano (Padua and Udine: Istituto di Glottologia e Fonetica dell’Università di Padova; Istituto di Filologia Romanza della Facoltà di Lingue e Letterature Straniere di Trieste, 1972-1986).


Chapter One

which smoothed the way for the creation of another institution that a coalition of forces across the political spectrum had long been campaigning for: the University of Udine. The University was officially born in 1978, transforming what had until now been a branch of the University of Trieste’s Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literature into the founding core of a new University in the capital of Friuli. The University of Udine has always paid particular attention to regional languages, as was further confirmed by the creation of the Centro interdipartimentale di ricerca sul friulano (Inter-Departmental Centre for Research on Friulian) and the Centro internazionale sul plurilinguismo (International Centre on Plurilingualism). When the Cold War ended and the political rift across Europe disappeared, the new University was able to configure a forward-looking policy of cultural relationships and collaborations with the universities in the Alpe-Adria area, promoting the discussion of historical specificities and the problems of local ethnic and linguistic minorities. In this task, it receives the support of the Club Limes of Pordenone, Udine, and Venice, convened by the jurist Guglielmo Cevolin, himself a professor at the University of Udine, who organises annual conferences on the subject in Barcelona in association with the university of the Catalan city, which is always sensitive to issues of regional autonomy. The recuperation and revaluation of regional culture, in which the linguistic factor has always found due acknowledgement, was revived also in the compilation of the Nuovo Liruti: Dizionario biografico dei friulani (New Liruti: Biographical Dictionary of Friulians), coordinated by Ugo Rozzo and Cesare Scalon.20 The shared desire to promote the study and knowledge of Friuli in all its multiple components, without excluding any, was reaffirmed also by the foundation in 1970 of the Istituto friulano per la storia del movimento di liberazione (Friulian Institute for the History of the Liberation Movement). Its publications include the monumental reference work in several volumes and still in progress Il Friuli: Storia e società (Friuli: History and Society), covering the period from 1797 to today, in which cultural and linguistic dimensions are consistently given due space and significance. A similar argument can be made for the volume devoted to Friuli Venezia-Giulia edited by Roberto Finzi and others as part of the Einaudi series on Italian regional history.21 Also noteworthy is the ground20

Nuovo Liruti: Dizionario biografico dei friulani, ed. Ugo Rozzo and Cesare Scalon, 3 vols (Udine: Forum, 2006-11). 21 Storia d’Italia: Le regioni dall’Unità a oggi: Il Friuli-Venezia Giulia, ed. Roberto Finzi, Claudio Magris and Giovanni Miccoli, 2 vols (Turin: Einaudi, 2002).

History, Language and Society in Friuli


breaking Enciclopedia monografica del Friuli Venezia Giulia (Monographic Encyclopedia of Friuli Venezia Giulia), published in Udine in the Eighties.22 Friuli today is no longer a region of out-migration but one that attracts migrants, which is an unequivocal sign of its economic and social transformations in a world that is increasingly interconnected and globalised. However, one of its strongest markers of identity is still its language, which is the result of contaminations, borrowings and exchanges between people over the centuries, and the product of Friuli’s complex and fascinating thousand-year-old history and of its position at the geopolitical epicentre of Europe. Translated by Kate Willman

References Ascoli, Graziadio Isaia. “Saggi ladini.” Archivio glottologico italiano 1 (1873): 1-556. Braudel, Fernand. The Perspective of the World. Vol. 3 of Civilization and Capitalism, 15th-18th Century. Berkeley and Los Angeles: U of California P, 1992. Castellina, Luciana. Siberiana. Rome: Nottetempo, 2012. Cortelazzo, Manlio. Avviamento critico allo studio della dialettologia italiana. 3 vols. Pisa: Pacini, 1969-72. Crocioni, Giovanni. Le regioni e la cultura nazionale. Catania: Battiato, 1914. De Mauro, Tullio. Storia linguistica dell’Italia unita. Bari: Laterza, 1970. Devoto, Giacomo. Profilo di storia linguistica italiana. Florence: La Nuova Italia, 1953. Dionisotti, Carlo. Geografia e storia della letteratura italiana. Turin: Einaudi, 1967. Enciclopedia monografica del Friuli Venezia Giulia. 4 vols. Udine: Istituto per l’Enciclopedia del Friuli-Venezia Giulia, 1971-83. Finzi, Roberto, Claudio Magris and Giovanni Miccoli. Eds. Storia d’Italia: Le regioni dall’Unità a oggi: Il Friuli-Venezia Giulia. 2 vols. Turin: Einaudi, 2002. Francescato, Giuseppe and Fulvio Salimbeni. Storia, lingua e società in Friuli. Udine: Casamassima, 1976. 22 Enciclopedia monografica del Friuli Venezia Giulia, 4 vols (Udine: Istituto per l’Enciclopedia del Friuli-Venezia Giulia, 1971-83).


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Il Friuli: Storia e società. 5 vols. Udine: Istituto friulano per la storia del movimento di liberazione, 1988-2012. Ginzburg, Carlo. Il formaggio e i vermi: Il cosmo di un mugnaio del Cinquecento. Turin: Einaudi, 1976. —. The Cheese and the Worms: The Cosmos of a Sixteenth-Century Miller. Translated by John and Anne Tedeschi. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins UP, 1980. Ganzer, Gilberto and Vania Gransinigh. Michelangelo Grigoletti. Milan: Alfieri, 2007. Leicht, Pier Silverio. Breve storia del Friuli. Udine: Aquileia, 1931. Liruti, Giuseppe. Notizie delle cose del Friuli scritte secondo i tempi. Udine: Gallici, 1776-77. Mor, Carlo Guido and Gianfranco Ellero. Conversazioni sulla storia del Friuli, d’Italia e d’Europa. Udine: Arti Grafiche Friulane, 1988. Nuovo Liruti: Dizionario biografico dei friulani. Edited by Ugo Rozzo and Cesare Scalon. 3 vols. Udine: Forum, 2006-11. Paschini, Pio. Storia del Friuli. 2 vols. Udine: 1953-54. Pellegrini, Giovan Battista. Ed. Atlante storico–linguistico–etnografico friulano. Padua and Udine: Istituto di Glottologia e Fonetica dell’Università di Padova; Istituto di Filologia Romanza della Facoltà di Lingue e Letterature Straniere di Trieste, 1972-1986. —. Saggi di linguistica italiana: Storia, struttura, società. Turin: Bollati Boringhieri, 1975. Perusini, Gaetano. “Friuli, quadrivio d’Europa.” In Valori e Funzioni della Cultura Tradizionale. III Convegno dell’Istituto per gli Incontri culturali mitteleuropei, 21-25 settembre 1968, 255-259. Gorizia: IICM, 1969. Savorgnan di Brazzà, Fabiana. Scrittura al femminile nel Friuli dal Cinquecento al Settecento. Udine: Gaspari, 2011. Sestan, Ernesto. Venezia Giulia: Lineamenti di una storia etnica e culturale. Rome: Edizioni Italiane, 1947. Sgorlon, Carlo. L’armata dei fiumi perduti. Milan: Mondadori, 1985. —. Army of the Lost Rivers. Translated by Jessie Bright. New York: Italica Press, 1998. Violante, Cinzio. Ed. La storia locale: Temi, fonti e metodi della ricerca. Bologna: Il Mulino, 1982.

CHAPTER TWO LAWS FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE FRIULIAN LANGUAGE WILLIAM CISILINO 1. A Multilingual Region In today’s Europe, linguistic diversity and multilingualism have become strategic objectives, as demonstrated by the institution in January 2007 of a “European Commissioner for Multilingualism.” In this context, the region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia can play a fundamental role thanks to its unique linguistic situation. Friuli is the only region in Europe which can boast a centuries-long coexistence, still on-going, of the three main language branches of the European continent: Italic (Friulian and Italian), Germanic (German and Germanophone communities), and Slavic (Slovene and local Slovene dialects). This phenomenon involves parts of the Venezia Giulia too, where for many centuries Italic and Slavic indigenous communities have coexisted, and for historical reasons have been strongly influenced by German culture, as in the Middle Ages the Princely County of Gorizia and Gradisca became a Crown land of the Habsburg dynasty and Trieste placed itself under the protection of the Duke of Austria. In the last few years, several legal and administrative policies have been introduced to preserve this linguistic and cultural heritage, which is complex and diverse because of its history, the number of speakers, and the policies that have been adopted to protect it. The most numerous of communities is that of Friulian speakers, which are present in 178 municipalities in the provinces of Udine, Gorizia and Pordenone and will be discussed in more detail below. Along the border between Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Slovenia, there are 32 municipalities where Slovene is spoken. This minority has been protected since 1954 by the London Memorandum, a treaty on the handover of power on the Free Territory of Trieste from the Allies to the


Chapter Two

Italian and Yugoslav governments. In the last ten years, Slovene has gained greater legal recognition from regional and state institutions, starting from Law n. 482/1999 “Norme in materia di tutela delle minoranze linguistiche storiche” (Law governing the protection of historical linguistic minorities”). Soon after, the Parliament passed a specific bill for the Slovene minority (Law n. 38/2001 “Norme per la tutela della minoranza linguistica slovena della regione Friuli-Venezia Giulia” [“Law governing the protection of the Slovene linguistic minority in the region Friuli-Venezia Giulia”]), which contains comprehensive measures designed for this particular group. In particular, the law establishes the right to give or restore names in the Slovene language; expands the right to use Slovene in communications with the public administration, in toponymy, and in schools; creates a “Comitato istituzionale partitetico per i problemi della minoranza slovena” (Joint institutional commiteee for the problems of the Slovene minority); and promotes the collaboration between populations of the border area and the minority group with its cultural institutions, in a climate of mutual cooperation established in order to implement coherent policies across adjoining territories. More recently, Regional Law n. 26/2007 (“Norme regionali per la tutela della minoranza linguistica slovena” [Regional law governing the protection of the Slovene linguistic minority]) has been designed to complement state legislation, defining the fundamental lines of action of the Region in support of the minority. Lastly, the German communities of Friuli-Venezia Giulia are present in five municipalities of the province of Udine: Sauris, Paluzza, Pontebba, Malborghetto-Valbruna and Tarvisio. The regional government has promoted specific actions for the protection and valorisation of Germanspeaking communities through Regional Law n. 4/1999 (“Legge finanziaria 1999” [1999 Budget Law]), which provides funding for cultural and, especially, linguistic activities carried out by societies and cultural associations as well as by the local councils of the municipalities where German-speaking citizens are present. The process for the recognition of native Germanic communities living in the territory of Friuli-Venezia Giulia was completed in 2009, when the first organic law for protection was approved—the Regional Law 20/2009 “Norme di tutela e promozione delle minoranze di lingua tedesca del Friuli-Venezia Giulia” (Law for the protection and promotion of the German-speaking minority in Friuli-Venezia Giulia).

Laws for the Protection of the Friulian Language


2. The New Regional Law for the Protection of the Friulian Language The official recognition of the Friulian linguistic minority happened very recently and is based on three laws: Regional Law n. 15 of 1996; State Law n. 482 of 1999; and Regional Law n. 29 of 2007. Prior to this, the only references to the Friulian language to be found in state or regional laws were merely incidental or else included linguistic protection in a larger plan of cultural promotion (such as in the pioneering Regional Law n. 68 of 1981). These earlier regulations were based on Article n. 9 of the Italian Constitution (on the protection of cultural heritage) more than on the specific principle of protection of minorities, established by Article n. 6, which states that “la Repubblica tutela con apposite norme le minoranze linguistiche” (the Republic protects linguistic minorities with specific norms). Regional Law 15/1996 was the first legislative norm to officially recognize Friulian as a language, and to explicitly provide the possibility for local authorities to use it in their meetings, in toponymy, and in general for their communication with citizens. The regional law also put a specific body in charge of language policies—the Osservatori pe lenghe e pe culture furlanis (Observatory for Friulian language and culture), which was replaced in 2005 by an independent agency: the Agjenzie regjonâl pe lenghe furlane or ARLeF (Regional Agency for the Friulian Language). The law also outlined the first schemes for state education and the media sector. Law n. 482/1999—even though it came very late—made it possible to complete and enlarge the areas of protection that regional legislation had already defined. State laws, in fact, include specific norms about the teaching of minority languages at school and give everyone the right to use them in public offices within a defined territory. Regulations regarding broadcasting in the minority languages on state-owned radio and television are very important, but they have not yet been applied. Eleven years after passing Regional Law n. 15/1996, and eight years since state legislation was approved, the regional government felt it was time to reorganize legislation on the Friulian language. This choice was primarily motivated by the need to overcome the evident limitations of the existing laws, given also that the regional government had taken on new areas of jurisdiction after the constitutional reform of Title V of the Italian Constitution (on regions, provinces and municipalities), as well as the Legislative Decree 223/2002 (which implemented the Statute of Autonomy with regard to minorities).


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Thus, in December 2007, the regional government passed a new regional law for such protection, Regional Law 29/2007, entitled “Norme per la tutela e la valorizzazione e promozione della lingua friulana” (Laws for the protection, valorisation and promotion of the Friulian language). It drew on four different proposals presented in the course of the ninth regional Legislature, which included the draft law n. 257, put forward by the Giunta regionale (Executive Board of Regional Councillors) on 18 June 2007 (entitled “Norme per la tutela, valorizzazione e promozione della lingua friulana” [Law for the protection, valorisation and promotion of the Friulian language]), which then formed the basis of the text approved by the Commissione consiliare (Committee of Regional Councillors). According to the draft presented by the Giunta regionale, the new law should have been founded on five principles: 1) the autonomy of local authorities (local authorities and other public bodies are required to adopt a plan for linguistic policy, but each of them decides autonomously on the points they wish to include); 2) free choice for citizens (public bodies will offer their services in the Friulian language, but it will always be an option and not an obligation for citizens to take this up); 3) the institution of the Agjenzie Regjonâl pe Lenghe Furlane as the authority responsible for advising, programming, and coordinating the enforcement of the law; 4) flexibility (the law is structurally and organically complete, but does not impose strict parameters); and 5) assessment (the law provides not only for administrative checks and audits, but also for an evaluation of the efficacy of the actions taken). In substance, the text approved by the Consiglio regionale (Regional Council) has abided by the five principles listed above, even though in some cases it diverges from the Council’s draft, either to limit its sphere of action or to extend it, or else to introduce completely new norms. In the following paragraphs I shall illustrate its content in detail, and in the third section of the paper will discuss the parts that have been declared to be incompatible with the Constitution. The law is divided into eight chapters and 34 articles. Chapter 1 (articles 1-5), is devoted to general provisions. Article 1 defines the aims of the law, that is, above all, the protection, valorisation and promotion of the Friulian language in its different expressions. Moreover, the Region commits to actively pursuing the conservation and development of the Friulian community’s culture and traditions. For the first time in a piece of legislation Friulian is defined as Friuli’s “distinctive language.” Article 2 makes reference to the main legal frameworks to the regulations: at international level, the Universal Declaration of Human

Laws for the Protection of the Friulian Language


Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights, the Centre-European Instrument for the Protection of Minority Rights, the documents of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, which Italy subscribed to, the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages, the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe; at national level, Law n. 482/1999; at regional level, Law n. 15 of 22 March 1996. Surprisingly, the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minority of the European Council is not referred to, even though it has been ratified by the Italian state. Article 3 defines the boundaries of the territory within which the law applies, that is, the area identified by Regional Law 15/1996 (a possible modification of the territorial limits is afforded in the “Final Norms” by Article 32, according to which, within two years of the implementation of the law, these can be modified by a Decree of the President of the Region, based on well-founded and satisfactory deliberations by each of the local councils). Article 3 also provides for initiatives for linguistic instruction in the rest of the region as well as for Friulians abroad and, through agreements, for Friulanophones residing in the Veneto region. Article 4 considers the possibility of collaborating with the institutions belonging to the various Ladin communities of Veneto, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol and the Italian Graubünden (Switzerland), as well as among the internal linguistic minorities (Slovene, Friulian, German). Article 5 formalizes the official writing system of the Friulian language (art. 13 of Regional Law 15/1996), and sets the terms for its modification by a Decree of the Region’s President, upon the recommendation of ARLeF and with the agreement of the Universities of Udine and Trieste. Acts and documents in the Friulian language produced by the Region, local authorities and their contractors and all providers of public services are to be compiled using the official writing system. Chapter II (articles 6-11) concerns the public uses of the Friulian language. Article 6 regulates the public uses of Friulian by applying systematically what had already been stated by Law n. 482/1999 and by laws promulgated by the Constitutional Court, extending their remit. These regulations are applicable to all local authorities, offices and bodies of the regional Administration, as well as to contractors providing public services in the municipalities of the demarcated area. However, the impact of the bill is limited by the final section, which was introduced at the last moment to prevent a split inside the majority coalition, according to which “gli enti interessati provvedono all’applicazione progressiva delle disposizioni secondo i progetti obiettivo annuali, nell’ambito dei piani di politica linguistica” (the relevant bodies are responsible for phasing in the


Chapter Two

regulations gradually, in accordance with their yearly planning exercise, as part of their language policy plans). Article 7 states that knowledge of the Friulian language has to be documented by a “language certificate.” This is necessary both to establish a single method to evaluate knowledge of Friulian in compliance with European guidelines, and to allow the implementation of norms that are already in force. Article 8 prescribes that official communications with the public, as well as general information such as institutional communication and publicity, are to be made in Friulian as well as Italian. In this case, as for Art. 6, the application of the norm will be gradual. Article 9 restates what had already been determined by Law n. 482/1999 Article 7 and reiterates the right to use the Friulian language in the municipal Councils and in the other collegial organs of the municipalities that fall within the designated area, devolving to each body the decision of how to provide adequate Italian translations for those who do not understand Friulian. Article 10 introduces within the designated area the use of Friulian and Italian in road signs and in every other public sign (even though the ambiguous indication returns that this rule should have a “gradual application”). The section ends with a specific norm (Article 11) about toponymy in the Friulian language. In order to assure uniformity in the use of toponyms, especially on road signs that are used throughout the territory, their official Friulian denomination is to be established by the ARLeF, in agreement with the relevant municipalities. In any case, the Legislative Decree 267/2000 already allowed municipalities to officialise bilingual toponyms. Chapter III (articles 12-18) defines the fields of action in education. Article 12 includes the learning and teaching of Friulian within a multilingual education programme in kindergartens, primary schools, and grade one secondary schools within the designated area. In an earlier draft, the norm should also have included the principle of informed dissent, by which, each school’s autonomy notwithstanding, parents should receive written information and an agreement form, which they return to the school if they do not wish for their child to attend Friulian classes. This effectively introduced an opt-out system that could have increased rates of consent, compared to the current system in which parents have to opt in for Friulian courses. This comparative advantage was later rejected by the Constitutional Court. Article 13 defines the framework for the collaboration between the Region, the Ufficio scolastico regionale (Regional School Office), and school authorities in general with the aim of implementing the law. Articles 14 and 15 identify the domains of applicability and the budgetary

Laws for the Protection of the Friulian Language


limits within which the Region will have to build (through specific regulations) the regional system of Friulian language teaching. To sum up, the Region is responsible for defining the structure for the implementation of the law and respecting the autonomy of schools, but also for moving beyond the fragmentary logic of case-by-case project funding. A “Piano applicativo di sistema” (Systemic Implementation Plan) should be put in place to gradually implement the presence of Friulian in schools. In addition, the law requires the Region to provide funding for the production of teaching resources (Art. 16). The Commissione permanente per l’insegnamento della lingua friulana (Permanent Committee for Friulian Language Teaching) plays an important role in this process as the technical-scientific body in charge of supporting activities of assistance to schools and of defining a framework of criteria for the assessment of teachers’ skills. Article 17 deals with the issue of how to guarantee a sufficient number of teaching staff with knowledge of Friulian; to this end, specific school curricula will be created, as well as an official list of accredited teachers of Friulian. Through Article 18, the Region commits to launching training schemes and information campaigns for families in order to publicize the plan for the introduction of Friulian into the education system. Moreover, the Region supports and promotes Friulian language teaching for adults, migrants, and schools beyond the territorial limits. The Chapter ends with Article 19, which describes the activities of “language volunteers,” drawing on the programme “Voluntaris per la llengua,” promoted by the Generalitat de Catalunya. The Decree of the Region’s President (D. P. Reg.) n. 0204 of 23 August 2011 states that the Region adopts the norms outlined in article 14 section 2, article 17 section 5 and article 18 comma 6 of the law. It contains the indications for implementing what is prescribed by Chapter III, in particular in articles 12 and 14 sections 1 and 4, articles 15 and 17 sections 1 to 4, and article 18 sections 1 to 4 regarding the systemic action plan for Friulian language teaching, access to the region-wide list of teachers and their employment for Friulian language teaching, along with initiatives for the promotion of Friulian language use in the region. Chapter IV (Articles 20 to 23) deals with actions in the media sector. It did not introduce anything substantially new, apart from a specific set of norms about funding. The same is true of Chapter V, Article 24 on the activity of cultural associations. By contrast, Chapter VI (Articles 25-27) about programming is very significant and innovative. Article 25 establishes that ARLeF should present a “Piano generale di politica linguistica” or PGPL (Comprehensive Language Policy Plan) every five


Chapter Two

years, which should be approved by a Decree of the Region’s President, after having consulted the relevant Commissione consiliare (Committee of Regional Councillors). Based on the PGPL and within budget limitations, the Consiglio regionale adopts a yearly “Priority Action Plan” put forward by the ARLeF (Article 26), which lists the objectives to be reached in the course of the year. Article 27 indicates that local authorities and the contractors of public services should approve a “Special Plan for Linguistic Policy” (PSPL) every five years, with the aim of deciding on yearly plans for each area of intervention. Local authorities and public services contractors receive the funds designated to them by law on the condition that they approve and duly implement the “Special Plans for Linguistic Policy.” Chapter VII (articles 28 to 30) is about implementation and its assessment. Article 28 defines the role of ARLeF, which is the body responsible for the definition of language policies for Friulian, and determines its tasks. Article 29 introduces an evaluative clause and assigns to the Giunta regionale the duty to report to the Consiglio every year on the level of implementation of the law. Moreover, every five years, and before the presentation of the next five-year PGPL, the Giunta will have to report to the Consiglio on the results achieved in increasing the use of Friulian. Article 30 assigns to the President of the Consiglio regionale the task of convening a formal meeting to evaluate and discuss the state of implementation of the law every five years. The law ends with Chapter VIII which is dedicated to transitory and final norms.

3. Ruling no. 159/2009 of the Constitutional Court As is well known, the Italian Government decided to challenge the regional law described above and presented the appeal n. 16 of 18 February 2008, published in the Gazzetta ufficiale of 2 April 2008. The appeal took issue with seven points (article 6, section 2; article 8, sections 1 and 3; article 9 section 3; article 11 section 5; article 12, section 3; article 14 sections 2 and 3; article 18 section 4). Firstly, the Government observed that the general obligation for offices throughout the entire region, even those outside the officially recognized Friulian-speaking area, to produce all of their public documents, institutional communications and publicity in Friulian as well as Italian, contrasted with Law 482/1999, which limits the use of minority languages to the municipalities where the minority resides. Secondly, by establishing that “per garantire la traduzione a coloro che non comprendono la lingua friulana può essere prevista la ripetizione degli

Laws for the Protection of the Friulian Language


interventi in lingua italiana ovvero il deposito contestuale dei testi tradotti in forma scritta” (in order to provide translations for those who do not understand Friulian, speeches can be repeated in Italian or, alternatively, an Italian translation can be provided in writing), the regional law does not guarantee the fair treatment of those who do not speak Friulian. On this point, the regional law would also clash with “il valore esclusivo degli atti nel testo redatto in lingua italiana” (the sole validity of documents composed in the Italian language), as prescribed by Law n. 482/1999. A further reason for disagreement was the article allowing for the use of toponyms indicated “nella sola lingua friulana” (only in the Friulian language), which, according to the Government, would be incompatible with Law n. 482/1999 and even with the constitutional principle of equality between all citizens. Article 12 on the teaching of the minority language at school, by establishing so-called “informed dissent,” would substantially impose— according to the government—the teaching of Friulian on schools, going against the principle of school autonomy and, once more, against the constitutional principle of equality. This very principle would be violated also by Article 117 on the allocation of competences between State and Region and by Article 14, which determined that Friulian language teaching should be guaranteed for a minimum of one hour per week. Finally, the promotion of Friulian in schools outside the designated area, according to the Government “può determinare pesanti rischi di discriminazione a carico dei docenti e degli studenti della scuola pubblica, nonché analoghi rischi per i cittadini nel loro rapporto con le pubbliche amministrazioni locali, e conseguentemente e inevitabilmente anche per i dipendenti delle stesse amministrazioni” (might lead to serious risks of discrimination against teachers and schoolchildren in state schools, and against citizens in their relations with the local public administration, and consequently also against public administration employees). Through ruling n. 159/2009, published in the Gazzetta ufficiale of 27 May 2009, the Constitutional Court essentially sided with the Government and declared that all disputed articles but one, Art. 18, were unconstitutional. Such a setback for the Region was due to the fact that the Court considered Law n. 482/1999 as the sole parameter of constitutionality for regional regulations, as if this were a constitutional law or in any case a superior authority to regional legislation, even though Law n. 482/1999 explicitly leaves plenty of room for Regions to approve what they consider to be the most suitable directives. What is more, Law n. 482/1999 establishes the superior ruling power of laws passed by Autonomous Regions with a Special Statute such as Friuli-Venezia Giulia


Chapter Two

and falling within their remit. For that reason, regulations contained in Law n. 482/1999 are applicable only if the Region has not legislated on the matter (see Article 18 of Law n. 482/1999). Previously, however, the Constitutional Court had repeatedly stated (from 1983 onwards) that the protection of linguistic minorities is not a self-contained issue but a principle that all public institutions must respect while fulfilling their responsibilities. Hence, it should follow that while Law n. 482/1999 sets the guidelines for analogous norms, it cannot impose any constraint in matters that compete exclusively to each Region, such as the governance of local authorities and of the Region itself. As we shall presently see, the issue of education is a more complex matter. Yet it would be wrong to focus only on the negative elements of the ruling. There are also several positive ones, both general and specific. First of all, the Consulta reinstated that Friulian is a language in its own right and, consequently, that Friulians are recognized as a linguistic minority. Moreover, it is made clear for the first time that Article n. 3 of the Statute of Autonomy—which deals with the region’s languages—is applicable not only to Slovene- and German-speaking minorities but also to Friulian. Finally, as we shall see, the Court clearly indicated in its pronouncement the avenues by which the legislator can reach the results that the censured norms aimed at. The Consulta, as I have mentioned above, annulled the sections of the law that set the timetable for the teaching of the marilenghe (mother tongue) at one hour per week (optional) and the so-called system of “informed dissent” for collecting the optional language choices expressed by parents. According to the Court, such norms would have excessively limited the principle of school autonomy as established by the Constitution. I will not go into much detail about the content of the ruling, which has already been subject to criticism on the part of some constitutionalists. Still, it is difficult to understand what is meant by “quota regionale del curricolo” (the Region’s share of the curriculum) in the Reform of Title V of the Constitution, if a Region cannot even decide on one hour’s worth of classes per week on a subject of regional interest, offered as an option. It must be emphasized, however, that the ruling has endorsed all the principles stated in Regional Law n. 29/2007 about the right to learn Friulian at school. What the Court did not accept was the way in which such principles were applied. In fact, the pronouncement goes as far as describing the legislative itinerary that the Region and the State must go through in order to legitimately adopt the very same norms—that is, through legislative decrees authorized by the Statute of Autonomy.

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In conclusion, the existing regulations require full implementation of the norms contained in Regional Law n. 29/2007 that regulate the curricular teaching of the Friulian language, the training of teachers and the creation of a list of teachers of marilenghe, which has already been initiated by the Region through the norms included in the Decree of the Region’s President of 23 August 2011, n. 0204/Pres. Regulations that are currently being discussed include the process of adoption of specific norms for the implementation of the special Statute with the aim of reformulating the contents of the Legislative Decree n. 223/2002 in accordance with the recommendations given by the Consulta. This process has already started with the creation of a joint State-Region committee, following a proposal from the Comitato per l’autonomia e il rilancio del Friuli (Group for the Autonomy and Revitalization of Friuli), which is shared by large sections of the regional Council, across the political spectrum. This is the only way for the Region to overcome the inevitable pitfalls of a field that the Constitution places between competing jurisdictions but which remains de facto under the exclusive control of the central State. Translated by Rosa Mucignat

References Antonini, Luca. “Minoranza slovena e uso della lingua nel processo: Una tutela riconosciuta (soltanto a Trieste?).” Le Regioni 24, fasc. 4 (1996): 706-25. Bartole, Sergio. “La tutela della minoranza slovena fra giurisprudenza costituzionale e legislazione ordinaria.” Giur. cost. 62 (1992), 342-47. —. “Le norme per la tutela delle minoranze linguistiche storiche.” Le Regioni 6 (1999), 1063-66. —. Ed. Le regioni alla ricerca della loro identità culturale e storica. Milano: Giuffrè, 1999. Bin, Roberto. “Regioni e minoranze etnico-linguistiche (alla luce del disegno di legge quadro).” Le Regioni 4 (1989). Buttiglione, Elena. “Le minoranze linguistiche e la ‘rivolta delle regioni’ (in margine al Disegno di legge approvato dalle Camere).” Quad. reg. 3 (1991): 643-59. Carrozza, Paolo. “Lingue (uso delle).” App. Nss. dig. it. Vol. 4. Turin: Utet, 1980.


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Cisilino, William. “Le attività di promozione della lingua friulana svolte dalla Provincia di Udine.” In Les poscibeltés dl ladin: Ac dl convegn 26/03/2004. Bozen: Consulta per i problems ladins, 2004. —. “Der Rechtsschutz der friaulischen Sprache.” Europa ethnica 63 (2006): 21-24. —. “Fondis pe redazion di une leç di politiche lenghistiche de Regjon Autonome Friûl Vignesie Julie a pro dal furlan.” Sot la Nape 4 (2001): 57-65. —. Ed. Friulano lingua viva: La comunità linguistica friulana. Udine: Forum, 2006. —. “Insegnamento della lingua friulana: quadro giuridico e storico.” Autonomie 21-22 (2010): page range. —. The juridical defence of rhaeto-romansh languages, with particular reference to the friulian case. Barcelona: Ciemen, 2001. —. “L’evoluzione della legislazione linguistica nella Repubblica italiana: Analisi del caso friulano.” Revista de Llengua I Dret 42 (2004): 173202. —. “La legge linguistica della Regione Friuli-Venezia Giulia.” In Les nouvelles législations linguistiques dans l’Unione européenne/Le nuove legislazioni linguistiche nell’Unione europea: Atti del IV simposio internazionale “Lingue europee e legislazioni,” 93-104. Barcelona: Mediterrània, 2001. —. “La legislazione.” In Lezioni di lingua e cultura friulana. Edited by Federico Vicario. Pasian di Prato, Udine: Società Filologica Friulana, 2005. —. Lingue in bilico: Buone pratiche nella tutela delle minoranze linguistiche in Europa. Rome: Carocci, 2009. —. Lingue minoritarie e identità locali come risorse economiche e fattori di sviluppo: Atti del Convegno internazionale, Udine 8-9 novembre 2002. Udine: Forum, 2004. —. “The New Regional Law on the Defence of the Friulian Language.” Revista de Llengua I Dret 50 (2008): 273-84. —. “Le norme di tutela della lingua in Friuli.” In Tutela e promozione delle minoranze linguistiche in Trentino. Edited by Paola Gualrieri and Marco Viola. Lavis, Trento: Provincia autonoma di Trento, 2008. —. “La tutela delle lingue minoritarie nell’Alto Adriatico: I casi del friulano e dello sloveno nella Regione Autonoma Friuli-Venezia Giulia.” Autonomie 14-15 (2008): 67-72. —. La tutela delle minoranze linguistiche–La tutele des minorancis lenghistichis–Zascita jezikovnih manjsin–Der Schutz der Sprachminderheiten. Udine: Consorzio universitario del Friuli, 2004.

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Vademecum sull’uso della lingua friulana nella pubblica amministrazione. Udine: Regione Autonoma Friuli-Venezia Giulia, 2000. Colautti, Sabrina. “Población y comportamiento lingüístico en dos naciones europeas sin Estado: El Friul y Cataluña.” Llengua I Dret 22 (1994): 145-67. Ministero dell’Interno. Europa: Cultura e tutela delle minoranze. Rome: 1996. Pajero, Diego. “Minoranze linguistiche e governo locale nel FriuliVenezia Giulia.” In La tutela giuridica delle minoranze. Edited by Sergio Bartole, Nino Olivetti Rason, and Lucio Pegoraro, 225-36. Padua: Cedam, 1998. Palici di Suni, Elisabetta. “Corte costituzionale e minoranze linguistiche: La sentenza n. 28 del 1982 fra tradizione e innovazione.” Giur. cost. 4 (1982): 808-25. —. Intorno alle minoranze. Turin: Giappichelli, 1999. —. “Minoranze linguistiche riconosciute ed operatività diretta dell’art. 6 cost.” Giur. It. 1, no. 1 (1992): 1213-28. Piergigli, Valeria. Lingue minoritarie e identità culturali. Milan: Giuffrè, 2001.


CHAPTER THREE FRIULIAN LINGUISTICS PAOLA BENINCÀ 1. Introduction1 Friulian linguistics is a topic that has a bearing on the history of linguistics itself. In the second half of the nineteenth century, both the comparative grammar of the Romance languages and Italian dialectology acquired a valuable model for scientific analysis in the fundamental first volume of the Archivio Glottologico Italiano (1873), which was devoted to Graziadio Ascoli’s “Saggi Ladini” (Ladin Essays). There, Ascoli compared Friulian to the Romance varieties of the Dolomites and of Switzerland, and to the ancient dialect of Lio Mazor in the Venetian lagoon. By illustrating regularities in phonologic development, Ascoli showed the particular links connecting these languages within the Romance system. Thus, Friulian has been one of the key themes of general and Romance linguistics since the very beginning. This is why Giovan Battista Pellegrini, who was an expert in the languages of pre-Roman Italy, Arabic, Italian and Romance linguistics, etymology and toponomy, devoted most of his scientific activity to Friulian. He did so purely for scientific reasons (Friulian was not his native dialect), because in this linguistic area he had found concentrated many fundamental themes of phonology and morphology, based on the reconstruction of lexicon. Due to a series of external circumstances, the Friulian linguistic area is the ideal situation on which to develop very clear hypotheses on grammatical systems and patterns of linguistic development. The varieties of Friulian, that is, the group of dialects spoken in the historicalgeographical area of Friuli, represent the harmonious variation of a 1

I am grateful to Laura Vanelli, who read an earlier version of this chapter and provided crucial feedback. I would also like to thank Rosa Mucignat, who translated it into English, and Mair Parry, who helped me to prepare the final version.

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grammatical type that appears as essentially unitary, as far as phonology, morphology, and syntax are concerned. The different linguistic varieties of Friulian are the result of possible evolutions from Latin, which were grafted onto a remarkably homogeneous substrate. Thus, the consistent variants of words, morphemes, or structures attest possible rules which apply in a specific order, intrinsically motivated. Friuli is located on the eastern border of the Cispadane area and has been characterized by a series of historical events (described in Giuseppe Francescato and Fulvio Salimbeni’s authoritative work) which have contributed to shield it from external influences.2 Friuli remained long under the rule of the Prince-Bishops of Germany; it neither took part in the age of the Italian city-states, nor did it experience the rise of a strong centre that could provide a unifying linguistic model. No regional macrodiglossic koinè developed (in the meaning illustrated by Trumper 1977), in contrast to other dialect areas where the dialect of each centre, even if small, is sustained by an unified regional variety, as happened for instance to Milanese and Neapolitan in their respective regions. For many centuries the Friulian ruling classes spoke German, while the small centres exercised their influence only over limited areas. Thus, the unity of Friulian is intrinsic, and not the result of standardization processes. The lexical areas, studied in particular by Pellegrini and Alberto Zamboni— still recognizable in typological oppositions within the most conservative stratum of the lexicon—formed in the High Middle Ages, following for the most part the limits of the ancient dioceses (Aquileia, Concordia, Julium-Zuglio Carnico).3 These issues, however, will be discussed in a more competent manner by Carla Marcato in chapter 4 below. Despite the lack of centres that could unify language “a posteriori,” Friuli has always been closely linked internally by an extensive network of local relations, resulting in a cultural unity that is still alive today. Because of this, even though it found itself at the intersection between the three great European linguistic families (Romance, Germanic, and Slavic), Friuli was able to preserve its physiognomy and resist linguistic influences 2

Giuseppe Francescato and Fulvio Salimbeni, Storia, lingua e società in Friuli (Udine: Casamassima, 1976); the genesis and intellectual framework of their pathbreaking study are described by Fulvio Salimbeni in chapter 1 above. 3 See Pellegrini’s articles, collected in the volume Saggi sul ladino dolomitico e sul friulano, (Bari: Adriatica, 1972); see also Alberto Zamboni, Alle origini dell’italiano: Dinamiche e tipologie della transizione dal latino (Rome: Carocci, 2000) and Zamboni, “Sul neolatino delle aree marginali friulane,” in Raetia antiqua et moderna, eds. Günter Holtus and Kurt Ringger (Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1986), 617-646.


Chapter Three

from outside, whether from Romance (from Veneto or Tuscany), Germanic, or Slavic. It has thus remained internally united without being isolated. The small dialectal areas within Friulian all proceeded along the same line of phonological and morphological development; starting from a NeoLatin grammar that in all likelihood was substantially uniform, they stopped at different stages of evolution. This is the ideal situation for the study of diachronic dialectology: synchronic variation provides evidence of diachronic processes, showing as if frozen in time the stages of phonologic and morphologic development, as well as the evolution of syntax. In this chapter, I would like to provide a few examples of the phenomena that best show aspects of variation among the Friulian dialects.4 These phenomena are typically Romance and they are shared by many other Romance varieties, in particular by those forming the so-called Romània continua, the linguistic area extending without discontinuity from France through northern Italy to the Adriatic sea (henceforth, “northern Romance continuum”). The typical Friulian variation, however, enables us to identify and understand these phenomena with greater clarity than anywhere else.

2. Phonology and Morphology Friulian phonology constitutes a “unique intersection” of different types of phenomena, almost all of which are shared by many, and sometimes all northern Italian dialects. In other dialects, however, they appear only as feeble traces and in many cases they can only be interpreted correctly in the light of the Friulian system. The particularity of this system is that phenomena are preserved in a detailed and organic way, and can provide an explicit documentation of coherent variants that shed light on the various aspects of a given process. Perhaps the most interesting phonological rule concerns the lengthening of tonic vowels, and is connected to the diphthongization of tonic vowels in open syllables. Ascoli did not understand this system, which was later explained in a synchronic structuralist perspective by Giuseppe Francescato.5 It was then reformulated by John Trumper in an 4

Since I will be discussing both diachronic and synchronic phenomena, for the sake of clarity I will use one asterisk (*) to indicate a reconstructed, not attested form, and two asterisks (**) to indicate a syntactically impossible construction. 5 Giuseppe Francescato, Dialettologia friulana (Udine: Società Filologica Friulana, 1966).

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unpublished work, and by Piera Rizzolatti within the framework of generative phonology.6 Laura Vanelli widened the scope of the analysis and, together with Maurizio Bais, tested the representation of forms in the mental grammar of speakers through psycholinguistic experiments.7 The beauty of this rule is that it is made of a multitude of local variants but, as Francescato has shown, once the rule has been clarified it becomes evident that each variant confirms the more general or abstract rule. It concerns tonic vowels in a specific consonantal context. The steps of its evolution can be synthesized as follows: 1) a. b. c. d.

obstruent intervocalic consonants,8 as in many Romance varieties, become voiced: LAVATO > lavàdo “washed”, )ǁ&2 > fògo “fire”, VOCE > voze “voice”, etc. the final vowel, if it is other than –A–, is dropped (as in the whole Gallo-Romance area): lavàdo > lavàd, fògo > fòg, voze > voz, NEVE > nev “snow”, RIDE > rid “he/she laughs”; the voiced consonant in final position becomes voiceless; at the same time, the immediately preceding tonic vowel lengthens (as we shall see, it can also change quality or diphthongize): lavât, fûk, vôs, nêf, rît.

In derived forms, where a suffix is added, the consonant is no longer in final position and regains its “deep” aspect, becoming voiced again: 2)


lavàde “wash,” fugùt “small fire,” neveà “to snow,” vosone /vozóne/ “loud, big voice,” ridi “to laugh.”

John Trumper, Analisi morfofonologica di tre dialetti conservatori friulani (MA diss., Università di Padova, 1976); Rizzolatti, Piera, Del dialetto di Clauzetto: Alcuni problemi di fonologia, semantica e lessico (MA diss., Università di Padova, 1976-77). 7 See Laura Vanelli, “L’allungamento delle vocali in friulano,” Ce fastu? 45 (1979): 66-76; id., I dialetti italiani settentrionali nel panorama romanzo: Studi di sintassi e morfologia (Rome: Bulzoni, 1998); id., “Le vocali lunghe in friulano,” Quaderni della grammatica friulana di riferimento 1 (1998) 69-108; and Maurizio Bais, “La lunghezza vocalica nella lettura di parole friulane e di non parole,” Ce fastu? 73 (1997): 7-29. 8 I will limit myself to obstruent consonants, excluding sonorant consonants r, l, m, n, that are equally affected by the rule, but because they lack the voiced/voiceless opposition, they would require a more complex explanation. It should be highlighted however that the context after a sonorant facilitates the dropping of final vowels, as will be briefly illustrated with regard to Venetian below.

Chapter Three


Francescato has shown that the complex vowel developments of Friulian represent a variation on the same theme: the treatment of consonants and vowels in a “strong” position, that is, in a syllable that in Latin was open, tonic, and not final and that, when the final vowel was dropped, became a close, final syllable in Friulian. From a diachronic and generative perspective, the process can be reconstructed as follows: in a strong position, the consonant following a tonic vowel finds itself between vowels, because it is in an open syllable, and therefore it becomes (or stays) voiced; hence it follows that, when final vowels disappear, each voiced consonant, which now occupies the final position, becomes voiceless and is accompanied by the lengthening (as well as other connected phenomena) of the preceding tonic vowel. Indeed, lengthening itself is an extremely complex phenomenon, which happens in different ways according to the quality of the original vowel. If the tonic vowel is a cardinal vowel /a, i, u/ in all the Friulian varieties it results only in lengthening—thus making of the phonologically distinctive vowel length a clearly discernible feature of Friulian. There are interesting systematic oppositions, for example, in morphemes such the diminutive suffix –ùt < UTTO vs. the morpheme of masculine past participle –ût < – UTO. Mid vowels instead diphthongize, and in turn diphthongs give rise to new long, high vowels. In central Friulian, mid-high vowels (é, ó) lengthen in strong position; in other varieties they diphthongize, as is shown by the examples under (3a) below, in contrast to the forms under (3b), where the same mid-high vowels are in weak position, and give different results: 3) a. b.

strong position: SITI > sêt, sejt “thirst,” ACETU> azêt, azejt “vinegar” (deriv. azedìn); VOCE > vôs, vows “voice”; /Ǎ38 > lôf, lowf “wolf” (deriv. lovàt “wolf cub”); weak position: CRESCIT > crés “he/she/it grows” (deriv. cressùt “grown” /kre'sut/), 6ư&&8 sec “dry,” 7Ǎ66( > tós “cough” (deriv. tossàte /to'sate/ “bad cough”).

Mid-low vowels never just lengthen: in some varieties they form a diphthong, in others they raise and lengthen: 4) a.


> dejs, dîs “ten”; 3ċ'( > pejt, pît “foot”; &ċ/8 > t³ejl, t³îl

“sky”; b.

35ǁ3( > prowf, prûf (as in a prûf “alongside”); )ǁ&8 > fowk, fûk “fire” (dim. fogút).

Friulian Linguistics


In east-central Carnia and in the area of Tramonti, mid-low vowels è, ò in strong position become, respectively, î, û, as in (5a), whereas mid-high vowels (é, ó) diphthongize, as in (5b) below. 5) a.

'ċ&(0 > dîs, 3ċ'( > pît, &ċ/8 > cîl 1ǁ98 > nûf (f. nove), 35ǁ3( > prûf, )ǁ&8 >


6Ӿ7( > *sete > séjt, 1Ӿ9( > *neve néif, $&Ɯ78 > 9ƿ&( > vóws, &5Ǎ&(> króws, /Ǎ38 > lówf

fûk (dim. fogút) a]éjt

Some dialects, in particular in the Isonzo area, do not distinguish vocalic length, and therefore cardinal vowels all have the same reflex in strong positions; mid vowels, conversely, change quality: 6) a. b.

'ċ&(0 > dis, 3ċ'( > pit, &ċ/8 > sil; 1ǁ98 > nuf, )ǁ&8 > fûk (dim. fogút); 6Ӿ7( > sèt, 1Ӿ9( > nèf, 9ƿ&( > vòs, &5Ǎ&(> kròs, /Ǎ38 > lòf.

Such results are explained by presupposing an intermediate phase with vowel lengthening and diphthongization, which then causes, moving into a system that lacks long vowels, the reduction of two vowels into one, which acquires a different quality. The rule on vowel lengthening in strong position is connected to other rules of phonology: to give just one example, let us consider the system of Canal di Gorto and the Val Pesarina, where all mid vowels in strong position result in diphthongs, which in the case of mid-high vowels are falling diphthongs: 7) a. mid-high vowels: 1Ӿ9( > níaf, ACETU > azíat; é > ìa /Ǎ38 > lúaf, &5Ǎ&( > krúas; ó > ùa b. mid-low vowels: 'ƞ&(0 > déjs, CAELU > céjl; è > éj )ǁ&8 >fówk, 1ǁ98 > nówf. ò> ów In (7a), the descending part of the diphthongs resulting from é, ó has been indicated with a, but it is actually a vowel that has the same results as the atonic final –a in each area: in the area where ROSA > ròzo we will find nìof, lùof; where ROSA > ròza, we will have nìaf, lùaf; and finally in the area where ROSA > ròze, there will be nìef, lùef. The atonic vowel of a

Chapter Three


falling diphthong is therefore presented in the abstract form of an a, which is treated just like a in word-final position. As I mentioned at the beginning, part of this complex phenomenon is due to phonological rules shared by many Romance languages and dialects; the voicing of intervocalic obstruents is shared by the whole of northern Italy, including parts of Tuscany, as well as by French and the Iberian varieties; the dropping of final vowels other than–A is more limited and affects Veneto only in a few contexts. Zamboni identified traces of the fundamental difference between Latin open and closed tonic syllables across northern Italy, in relation to the dropping of final vowels, which is detectable also in varieties where no influence can be seen on vocalic length, and where the dropping of final vowels is systematically limited. A faint trace, which would be impossible to understand without the Friulian phenomenon, can be found in Venetian, where the dropping of final vowels is very limited and is allowed only if the consonant that remains in the final position is a sonorant (–l, –n, –r but not –m). Within these limits, the final vowel is dropped only if the sonorant preceding the final vowel was a simple one in Latin; this is the same context that we identified for vowel lengthening in Friulian as “strong position.” 8) a. b.

MALE > mal “evil,” SALE sal “salt,” CORE> cuòr “heart,” PLENU > pién “full”; CALLE ! NDáH “street,” CURRE > kore “he/she/it runs”, SÒMNO > sono “sleep.”

In the first series of Venetian forms, final vowels –e, –o after a consonant in “strong” context are dropped, while the second series provides examples of cases in which dropping is impossible: the consonant that should remain in final position was (and still is, in some sort of abstract form) long. This simplified illustration should enable us to view Friulian as part of the diachronic and synchronic phonological system that characterizes the northern Romance continuum; at the same time it appears as being strongly characterized by a particular interpretation of these phenomena, which have developed here in a unique manner, interacting visibly and systematically with other phonological phenomena.

Friulian Linguistics


3. Verb Morphology 3.1. The First-Person Singular of the Present Indicative The dropping of final vowels has multiple consequences, some of which affect morphology. I said above that in the Friulian vernacular, all final vowels are dropped apart from –A. This rule, however, appears to be immediately contradicted by data observation: indeed, one finds words in which final vowels have apparently been preserved, in particular the vowel –i. Careful consideration allows us to conclude that such vowels have not been preserved, but they were added after the general rule was applied. The rule is blind: it erases the final vowel even when this leaves in final position a consonant cluster that violates general or specific phonological restrictions; the insertion of a vowel repairs the unwanted result. For instance we find: 9)

mari “mother” < *MADR-, pari “father” < *PADR-, voli “eye” vol–i and the plural suffix –i palatalizes the preceding consonant, resulting in –j. The same happens, for example, with the word dint “tooth” < DENT, which becomes /dinc/ < dint+i in the plural.

Chapter Three


On this basis, we can conclude that the suffix of the first person singular for the present indicative of the first conjugation is also an added vowel:9 11)

CANTO > canti “I sing” CANTAS > cantis “you sing” CANTAT > cante “he/she/it sings”

If this were an original vowel that had been preserved, it should result in the palatalization of the coronal consonant t– */canc/. This, however, does not happen. On the other hand, the final vowel in Latin was –O, which no known rule could have transformed into –i. Most probably therefore, what happened is that it was dropped, according to the rule that deletes final vowels. In the second and third person –is and –e are the result expected from, respectively, –AS and –A, corresponding to what generally happens in analogous conditions. By reflecting on the structure of this verb paradigm we can find an explanation of the hypothesis that the vowel –i of the first person singular is an added vowel: the cancellation of final vowels other than –A is applied on the suffix of the first person singular but not in the second and third, which in the first conjugation are represented by the vowel –A, which is not included in the deletion rule. The second and third person singular develop later, according to other general rules, but keep the vowel, hence they have one more syllable than the first person: this creates a syllabic asymmetry between the first three persons of the paradigm. A vowel is added to replace the one that has been cancelled by the rule, in order to restore the symmetry of the first three persons of the verb in the first conjugation: in other words, phonology had created a paradigmatic asymmetry that morphology has to redress. The vowel –i in the first person singular characterizes the first conjugation, but in many dialects of Friuli is found in the other conjugations as well. My explanation holds true for the first conjugation, whose thematic vowel –A, which produces the suffix for the present singular, is preserved, but not so for the other conjugations, whose thematic vowels –E, –I, which produce the suffix for the singular, are dropped together with the –O of the first person. In the second and third conjugation the cancellation of vowels happens uniformly in all three persons of the singular, giving rise to a symmetric paradigm. 9

See Paola Benincà and Laura Vanelli, “Morfologia del verbo friulano: Il presente indicativo,” Lingua e contesto 1 (1976): 1-62. [Reprinted in a revised form in Linguistica friulana (Padua: Unipress, 2005), 237-71.]

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If my hypothesis is correct, it predicts that in dialects where a vowel appears to have been added to the first person of a verb belonging to the second or third conjugation, there we will find an –i also in the first person of verbs of the first conjugation. Conversely, there will be dialects where the –i characterizing the first person singular appears in the first conjugation, but not in verbs of the second and third conjugation. The controlled variation of Friulian varieties makes it possible to verify this hypothesis—and in fact confirms it. This tells us clearly that the –i starts in the first conjugation, probably due to the reason put forward above, and is later extended to verbs of other conjugations through a well-understood analogical process. Moreover, Friulian is attested in ancient texts since the fourteenth century. These texts provide diachronic evidence of the process I have hypothesized: in texts up to the fifteenth century the final vowel of the first person singular is indeed missing, therefore the suffix –O had been cancelled by the general rule on final vowels, and –i was added later. One more interesting aspect can be drawn from early texts: when the first person singular of the present tense still ended with a consonant, the language had already resorted to a supporting –i to repair impossible consonantal clusters, as documented in the earliest texts. There we find, for instance, favri (today fari, “blacksmith”) < *favr < FABRU, vogli10 (today vôli, “eye”) < *wogl < 2&Ǎ/8. The early attestation displays a still preserved consonant cluster, which is the context that had created the need for a supporting vowel, and today appears reduced. This phenomenon, so clear and well documented in Friulian, finds very interesting counterparts in the languages of the northern Romance continuum. Early texts clearly show that the vowel –o had been cancelled, whereas in the modern phase a vowel appears in the final position in first conjugation verbs. In old French we find, for instance, chant “I sing,” and chante in modern French; cant, can in old Provençal and cante or canti in modern Provençal; cant in old Catalan and canto, canti, cante in modern Catalan (while the dialect of the Balearic Islands and the Catalan of Alghero preserve the form cant); cant in old Lombard and canti in modern Lombard; cant in early Piedmontese and cantu in modern Piedmontese, and so on. As the examples above show, the vowel that has been added after another was dropped is not necessarily –i, but necessarily corresponds to 10 Note that the pronunciDWLRQ PXVW KDYH EHHQ YRJOL DQG QRW YRȜL DV FRXOG EH interpreted according to modern Italian spelling rules. This can be proven by philological analysis: see Paola Benincà and Laura Vanelli, “Il plurale palatale in friulano: Saggio di analisi autosegmentale,” in Scritti di linguistica e dialettologia in onore di Giuseppe Francescato (Trieste: Edizioni Ricerche, 1995), 25-46.

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the vowel used as support. The analysis shows that in the different varieties from which the examples have been taken, the vowel added in the first person singular of the first conjugation, and possibly later extended to other conjugations, is the same vowel that is added also in other cases in which, for phonological reasons, it is necessary to create a vocalic nucleus. The data collected from languages that drop final vowels had never been the object of attention before Friulian, with its dense group of early and modern systematic variants, made it possible to clearly observe the phenomenon and to compare it to what happens in the other Romance varieties.

3.2. Double-Compound Forms Lastly, I will touch upon a particularity of the verb conjugation that is present in non-standard Romance varieties, but not only there:11 these are double (or “surcomposite,” surcomposés) past tenses, formed by two auxiliaries and two past participles, of which the first is a—usually grammaticalized—avuto “had.” Let me explain with a literal, direct English translation of the Friulian forms:12 12) a. b. c. 11

“When I have had sung, everybody have risen to their feet” (meaning: when I finished singing, everybody rose to their feet); “When I was young, I have had gone to China” (when I was young, I even went to China / I happened to go to China); “I have had been persecuted” (I was even persecuted);

See for instance Brigitte Schlieben-Lange’s study of colloquial French and other Romance varieties, Okzitanische und katalanische Verbprobleme (Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1971). On Neapolitan see Adam Ledgeway “I tempi sovraccomposti in napoletano antico,” L’Italia Dialettale 60 (1997-9): 105-124. On German see Christine Porath, Die Herausbildung doppelter Perfektbildungen im Deutschen in diachronischer Perspektive (MA diss., Universität Potsdam, 2012). On Friulian see Paola Benincà, “Il friulano dalle origini al Rinascimento,” in Lexikon der Romanistischen Linguistik, ed. Günter Holtus et al. (Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1995), 2: 42-61. On some Venetian varieties see Carla Marcato, “Forme bicomposte («surcomposées») nelle parlate del Veneto,” in Guida ai dialetti veneti, ed. Manlio Cortelazzo (Padua: CLEUP, 1986), 8: 45-60. 12 In varieties where this is allowed, the double (surcomposite) passive has three auxiliaries and three past participles, of which the first one is still formed by the verb “to have” and the last by the lexical verb, as in (in a literal English translation) “I have had been received by the provost.”

Friulian Linguistics



“When I will have had finished, I will go out” (when I will have completed my work, I will go out).

The meaning of the constructions above is that of a past perfect relative to a specified point in time, or, in main clauses, of a one-off, extraordinary, or sudden occurrence. It is very clear that this is the representation of a semantic value of aspect, which can remain unexpressed, and in these constructions is made explicit by the past participle:13 13) a. b. c. d.

kwan k o aj bût fevelât, o laj víe, “after I have (had) spoken, I left”; kwan ku tu varas bût finît di zujà, o larin a caze, “after you will have (had) finished playing, we will go home”; o aj bût vjodût il pape, “once I have even (had) seen the Pope” (i.e. once I saw the Pope); o aj bût capît dut, “(all of a sudden/surprisingly) I have (had) understood it all” (i.e. “I understood it all).

Friulian allows us to rule out the functionalist explanation that was put forward for instance for colloquial French, which argued that the doublecompound past tense replaced the remote past tense. The semantic difference between the two forms would be enough to prove it wrong, not to mention that the phenomenon involves not only past but also future tenses, and so on. Nevertheless, some varieties of Friulian from Carnia provide a straightforward counterexample. These varieties still retain the remote past tense, as seen in (13a), alongside the double-compound past. In addition to that, the Friulian variations also prove that there cannot be a double-compound past with a verb in the remote past tense as the first auxiliary, presumably because of a semantic (aspectual) conflict with the intrinsically deictic value of that tense. Due perhaps to the incorrect belief that it is a case of past tense forms replacing the remote past, descriptions of this phenomenon rarely specify whether double-compound forms exist for future or subjunctive forms. 13 On the aspect of these double participles see also Cecilia Poletto, “The Aspect Projection: An Analysis of the Passé Surcomposé,” in Proceedings of the XVIII Meeting of Generative Grammar, ed. Elisabetta Fava (Turin: Rosenberg e Sellier, 1992), 289-312. The aspect value as “one-off, extraordinary event” is similar to the semel-iterative aspect expressed, for instance, in Navajo through a verbal prefix, as explained by Guglielmo Cinque in Adverbs and Functional Heads: A CrossLinguistic Perspective (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1999), 69.


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4. Syntax The morphosyntax of Friulian is integrated in a rather different way within the grammatical system of the northern Romance continuum. The phenomena observed in Friulian are wholly coherent with those found in the rest of northern Italy and France, but they are part of systems that have carried basic patterns to the furthest possible point, obfuscating some aspects of variation which, as a consequence, appear less clearly in Friulian. In all the varieties of northern Italy, as well as in French, the subject of an inflected non-impersonal verb must be expressed, at least with a clitic pronoun, at all events in some verbal persons. The syntactic contexts in which the clitic subject pronoun can or must be inserted vary, but not in a random manner, since we can observe interesting implicational scales.14 Southern Venetan is today the most selective system as it only admits subject clitics for some verbal persons, and the use of clitics is necessary only in specific contexts, whereas in others it is impossible. Even by observing the diachrony of the northern Italian systems as a whole, we can say that the southern Venetan is relatively the most archaic, as it represents a stage that other northern Italian dialects, Friulian included, have moved beyond centuries ago, by introducing extensions both in the paradigm of pronouns and in the contexts that require or admit subject clitics. Let us observe some schematic examples. Since the system is active— at different stages of evolution—in the whole of northern Italy, I will give the sentences in Italian, using egli “he” to indicate a subject clitic in the third person singular and asterisks to indicate an ungrammatical sentence. In all the varieties, the clitic for the second person singular is always compulsory; this generalization, which is valid for the entire linguistic area of Northern Italy, was identified by Lorenzo Renzi and Laura Vanelli.15 14

For instance, a dialect might have a subject clitic for a weather verb, but not for an impersonal one, and never the reverse: thus, the impersonal verb is placed on the lowest level of this implicational scale. Friulian reaches the most comprehensive level of the scale and has subject clitics for any verb category, whereas Venetian has subject clitics only for fully personal verbs, hence it is placed at the extreme opposite on the implicational scale. As far as the syntactic contexts are concerned, it has been observed, for instance, that if a dialect has a subject clitic accompanying an operator subject such as nobody, it will also have a subject clitic when a lexical subject is present: see below for examples of the different cases; for a more detailed account see Poletto, The Higher Functional Field (New York: Oxford UP), 2000. 15 Lorenzo Renzi and Laura Vanelli, “I pronomi soggetto in alcune varietà romanze,” in Scritti linguistici in onore di Giovan Battista Pellegrini (Pacini: Pisa,

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Instead, the clitic for the third person singular and plural is compulsory only if the sentence has no lexical subject (14a); if there is a lexical subject, the clitic is optional (14b), but must be left out if the lexical subject is an operator (14c); if it is an interrogative (14d) or a relative pronoun (14e); if the subject is postponed (14f); and if the verb is impersonal (14g).16 Example (14d) also shows that in direct interrogative clauses the subject clitic is “inverted” (enclitic to the verb): 14) Southern Veneto dialects a. **Arrives / He-arrives; b. Antonio (he)-arrives; c. Nobody he-arrives / Nobody arrives; d. **Who arrives-he? / Who arrives? / Arrives-he?; e. **The boy who he-arrives…/ The boy who arrives; f. **He arrives Antonio / Antonio arrives; g. **It is too late / Is too late. This is the system applied by most dialects in southern Veneto: many northern Italian dialects must have a subject pronoun even when the sentence already has a lexical subject. Still, most of them keep some or all of the restrictions expressed in the examples with asterisks above. Friulian has evolved more than any other dialect and has removed practically all restrictions to the appearance of subject clitics: all the sentences with asterisks are perfectly grammatical in Friulian, apart from (14a), which shows that a non-impersonal verb must have a visible subject. This restriction is shared by all northern Italian dialects with respect to personal verbs, whereas impersonal verbs display variation with interesting implicational hierarchies (see note 14 above). But in Friulian, even when a lexical subject is present, it must also have a clitic copy. Example (15) illustrates the Friulian forms parallel to (14). The spelling is simplified and roughly corresponds to central Friulian; for the sake of clarity, I put asterisks also in the glosses.

1983), 121-145. The only exception to this rule is an area of the Val di Non, which has recently been described by Ilaria Adami in her paper “Le inchieste per l’ALDII in Val di Non: Analisi di alcuni fenomeni sintattici,” in Ladinometria, ed. Gabriele Blaikner-Hohenwart et al. (Universität Salzburg, 2008), 1: 47-62. 16 See Poletto’s The Higher Functional Field for a systematic survey of the various combinations found in northern Italian dialects and on the patterns of implication that can be gleaned from them.


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15) Friulian a. **Rive / Al rive (**Arrives / He arrives); b. Toni al rive / **Toni rive (Toni he arrives / **Toni arrives); c. Nissun al rive / **Nissun rive (Nobody he arrives / **Nobody arrives); d. Cui rivi-al? / **Cui rive? /Rivi-al? (Who arrives-he? / **Who arrives?/arrives-he?); e. Il fantat k-al rive... / **Il fantat ke rive... (The boy that he arrives / **The boy that arrives); f. Al rive Toni / **Rive Toni (He arrives Toni / **Arrives Toni); g. Al è masse tart / **È masse tart (It is too late / **Is too late). Apart from the first example, which corresponds to all northern Italian dialects, the others show that the structures which are ungrammatical in Veneto dialects are perfectly grammatical in Friulian. It is important to underline that, up until the end of the nineteenth century, Friulian was very much like the system outlined in (14): the lexical subject did not need to be doubled by the clitic and was absent (presumably impossible if the subject was an operator such as an indefinite, interrogative, or relative pronoun). Present-day Friulian, as seen in the example (15), has progressively restricted the functional force of the subject clitic and extended its use, making it an almost automatic add-on to any inflected verb, an appendix of the subject-verb agreement. This means that Friulian is of little interest for the study of micro-variation. This traditional branch of dialectology allows the formulation of hypotheses about subtle details of a structure or process based on minimal differences between dialects or varieties. Modern Friulian syntax offers very little information on such aspects, because the differences between the various systems are minimal or completely absent and provide no clues for the reconstruction of specific functions of the subject clitic in the different syntactic structures affected. However, the system of subject clitics in Friulian acquires great relevance when we move onto a more general level, and try to understand the function of subject clitics. The traditional interpretation, later taken up by formal syntax, is that the subject clitics fulfil the function of completing the verbal inflection, adding material that has been lost due to phonological transformations. Ultimately, this would be the reason why all Romance languages with subject clitics are found in the northern Romance continuum, where phonology has weakened the last part of words, affecting morphology and in particular the features connected to subjectverb agreement. In French, which is often used as a representative case, four out of six verbal persons of the present indicative are phonetically

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indistinguishable. This is why, some argue, the subject clitic became compulsory; to complement a type of subject-verb agreement that had become ambiguous.17 But Friulian is a clear counterexample to this theory: Friulian shares with French the main lines of diachronic phonology, but its verbal inflection has well-preserved and distinct endings. Clitics on the other hand, which are required for all verbal persons, are often identical (apart from those for the third person singular and plural). Thus we have, within the linguistic area of the languages that have developed subject clitics, a variety (Friulian) that has clitics for each verbal person, and whose grammar imposes their use in all syntactic contexts in addition to the inflected verb. Its verbal morphology however, is more explicit and clear than that of the other languages. Friulian, then, tells us that subject clitics cannot have the function of re-determining the verbal inflection eroded by phonology. Diachronic data tell us that the present situation is the result of an evolution that started from a system similar to that of the other varieties affected by the phenomenon. Thus, Friulian can be justifiably compared with other varieties, northern Italian and French dialects, from their origins to the present day, and should be considered as a possible evolutionary stage of this general system. If we analyse the Friulian system with the theory formulated for the other Romance varieties with subject clitics, what we get is a paradoxical image which compels us to search for a different answer to the presence of subject clitics in Romance languages.

4.1. Old Friulian Syntax18 As mentioned above, the syntax of subject clitics in old Friulian is parallel to that of French and northern Italian dialects; its basis is the grammatical nature of subject pronouns, which at this stage in time are not clitic, but free (or tonic);19 as such, they cannot appear in a sentence that includes 17

It should also be noted that subject clitics distinguish gender and other referential traits of the subject that can never be expressed by verbal inflection in these languages, nor in general by Indo-European languages for that matter. A well known exception is the dialect of Ripatransone (Teramo), which has yet to be described and analysed with the attention it deserves. 18 Unless otherwise stated, data on medieval varieties are taken from the online database of the Opera del Vocabolario Italiano at content/ovi. 19 It is hard to determine whether they are not actually weak and belong to the same category as the subject pronoun egli “he” or the dative loro “to/for them” in letter-perfect Italian; see Anna Cardinaletti and Michael Starke, “The typology of

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any kind of lexical subject which is also taking on full subject function (both in case and in thematic role). In other words, they cannot double a subject the way they do in modern Friulian. By observing the structure of old Friulian relative clauses, we discover that relative clauses on the subject have no subject clitic, except when the subject is a proper noun. This corresponds to what happens in modern southern Venetan: relative clauses on the subject have a clitic copy of the subject only if they are appositive; proper nouns, in fact, are the prototypical antecedents of appositive relative clauses. Below are some examples of restrictive relatives taken from a text that dates to 1360;20 the relevant contexts are in italics: 16) a.

b. c.

Item spendei per una seradura di zep che fo mesa su l usso del chanpanili den. 24 “Also, I spent for a fetterlock that was placed on the spire gate: 24 deniers”; per far aplanchà lu solar chi è sot li chanpanis “to redo the floor covering of the attic that is below the bells”; Item a chulor che aiudar tirà su le scale .... den. 12. “Also, to those who helped to build the staircase…12 deniers.”

Below are some examples of appositive relative clauses from texts of, respectively, 1355, 1380 and 1389:21 17) a. b. c.

Sì ob lu predi di sent Martin ch el dis meso soldi 2 “The vicar of Saint Martin who (=that he) said mass received 2 soldi”; Adi 21 di lugl diei a Dumini Brich ch el fo a Puriesin...den. 4 “On the 21st of July I gave to Dumini Brich who (=that he) was in Puriesin 4 deniers”; diey a Zuan Cillo ch el ziè ad Udin là dei Deputadi a portar una letira… “I gave to Zuan Cillo who (=that he) went to Udine at the Deputies’ to deliver a letter…”

structural deficiency,” in Clitics in the Languages of Europe, ed. Henk C. van Riemsdijk (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1999), 145-234. 20 From Vincenzo Joppi, “Testi inediti friulani dei secoli XIV al XIX,” Archivio Glottologico Italiano 4 (1878): 190. 21 Ibid. 189, 194-95.

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As I have explained above, in today’s Friulian, relative clauses on the subject always require pronominal doubling of the subject; the history of Friulian shows that this situation has developed from a system that was entirely similar to that of southern Venetan, which distinguishes between restrictives without doubling and appositives with doubling. This aspect too is connected to the changed properties of subject clitics. In old Friulian (and in general in medieval languages of the northern Romance continuum), the realization of an explicit subject (pronoun or noun) was required only in subordinate clauses and only for some verbal persons. In main clauses, the verb moves to the left (the V2 word order, as in modern German) and is preceded by a constituent of the sentence; if this constituent is not the subject, the subject itself appears immediately after the inflected verb, or, if it is semantically retrievable, it does not appear at all. This type of language is called a “partial” or “asymmetric null-subject language”: the subject can be null only in well-defined syntactic contexts. All languages of the northern Romance continuum in their medieval stage have this characteristic.22 I will consider two examples in Friulian from two ballads of the fourteenth century: the point where the subject should appear, if for semantic reasons it were to be lexicalized, is indicated with an underscore; the constituent that shifts ahead of the verb in the main clause is placed between square brackets; and I have underlined the subject pronoun that appears for purely syntactic reasons (as it can be retrieved from the context and the morphology). The first example is from Piruç myó doç inculurit (Sweet Blush Pear of Mine), the second from Biello dumnlo di valor (Fair Lady of Worth).23 The original Friulian is followed by two translations, the first done word-for-word, and the second conveying the sense:


On the level of syntax, the V2 word order (but not the need for an explicit subject) is common to all medieval Romance languages. See Paola Benincà, “Un’ipotesi sulla sintassi delle lingue romanze medievali,” Quaderni patavini di linguistica 4 (1993): 3-19; Laura Vanelli et al., “Typologie des pronoms sujets dans les langues romanes,” in Actes du XVIIe Congrès Internationale de Linguistique et Philologie Romanes (Aix-en-Provence: Université de Provence, 1983), 163-76; and Paola Benincà, “A Detailed Map of the left Periphery of Medieval Romance,” in Negation, Tense and Clausal Architecture: Cross-Linguistic Investigations, ed. Raffaella Zanuttini et al. (Washington, DC: Georgetown UP, 2006), 53-86. 23 See Alvaro Barbieri and Laura Vanelli, “Una nuova edizione di ‘Biello dumnlo’,” Ce fastu? 69 (1993): 143-65.

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18) a.


[per vo] mi ven _ tant ardiment, e [si furç] soy _ di grant vigor / ch’yo non crot fa dipartiment... [for you] to-me comes _ great audacity, and [so strong] am _ of great vigour that I not think take leave... “Because of you I grow so bold, and I am filled with such strength that I do not think of taking leave…”; [sirvido vuestri] saray_ / fin cg io viviraj al mont / [ben] mi par _ cg io se un cont / quant cg io viot lu vuestri color [servant your] will-be _ that I will-live on earth [well] to-me seems _ that I am a count when that I see your colour “I shall be your servant for as long as I shall live on earth, indeed I feel like I am a count, when I see your face.”

In a modern Friulian version, besides the different word order, there could never be this oscillation in the use of subject pronouns; instead, we will find a compulsory subject clitic in all cases: 19) a. b.

per vo al mi ven…, cussì fuart o soy (...) ch’yo no crot... sirvido vuestri o saray / fin cg io viviraj (…) / al mi par cg io se un cont / quant cg io viot…

This syntactic feature connects early Friulian to all the medieval languages of the northern Romance continuum and, at a more abstract level, to all medieval Romance languages, as we will see presently. Medieval Friulian, in fact, shares with all Romance languages of the same period, from the most isolated varieties to those with the widest diffusion and circulation, the same rule regulating the position of complement clitics. This rule, known as Tobler-Mussafia Law, was formulated independently by Adolfo Mussafia on the basis of Italian varieties, and by Adolf Tobler on the basis of French. The position of complement clitics is very precisely connected with sentence structure, that is, with the V2 word order I have already mentioned in connection to the partial null subject: these properties were simultaneously lost (broadly speaking) around the end of the fourteenth century. There is not much information on Friulian, because of the limited number of texts from the period in which the rule was active; but even if they are just a few, they never challenge the law. The Tobler-Mussafia law says that complement clitics are strictly adjacent to the verb, but when the verb is in a clause initial position the clitic becomes enclitic. The example

Friulian Linguistics


below from Biello dumnlo demonstrates very clearly that the law was still active. The verb is in italics, and the clitics are underlined: 20) vacgint vio cul mal an e si cgin zir uno altro flor go-you away with misfortune and find-you another flower “Go away with misfortune and find yourself another flower.” The first verb is an imperative in initial position and is accompanied by pronouns in enclitic position. This is still the compulsory order for imperative, but it is not so in early Friulian, as shown by the second verb, another imperative, which is not in initial position because it comes after si “thus,” a common filler of the first position: in this case, the pronouns are proclitic. Also, for these aspects of early syntax, the contribution of Friulian linguistics is relevant to Romance linguistics. The Friulian examples are later than the surviving ones from Piedmontese, Venetan, Florentine, or Sicilian, but Friuli was an isolated area whose phonology and morphology today display particular developments of phenomena which it shares with other Romance varieties. As far as syntax is concerned, Friulian at first glance seems marginal and unimportant– its phenomena, both modern and early, fit within the general frame without providing clues to identify new phenomena. Nevertheless, it should be noted that they complete the description in an interesting way: the phenomena observed in modern syntax fit into the framework of the syntax of subject clitics in the northern Romance continuum and complete it, by showing a final stage of evolution that is not attested elsewhere. As far as early syntax is concerned, it is from Friuli’s marginal position that we gain further evidence corroborating the hypotheses regarding verb movement within the sentence structure and the properties of complement clitics, which are even more clearly revealed to be shared features of all medieval Romance languages. Translated by Rosa Mucignat

References Adami, Ilaria. “Le inchieste per l’ALD-II in Val di Non: Analisi di alcuni fenomeni sintattici.” In Ladinometria. Edited by Gabriele BlaiknerHohenwart et alii, 1: 47-62. Universität Salzburg–Fachbereich Romanistik, Libera Università di Bolzano, Istitut Cultural Ladin “Majon di Fascegn”, Istitut Ladin “Micurà de Rü,” 2008.


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Ascoli, Graziadio Isaia. “Saggi Ladini.” Archivio Glottologico Italiano 1 (1873): 1-556. Barbieri, Alvaro and Laura Vanelli. “Una nuova edizione di ‘Biello dumnlo’.” Ce fastu? 69 (1993): 143-165. Bais, Maurizio. “La lunghezza vocalica nella lettura di parole friulane e di non parole.” Ce fastu? 73 (1997): 7-29. Benincà, Paola. “A detailed map of the Left Periphery of Medieval Romance.” In Negation, Tense and Clausal Architecture: Crosslinguistic Investigations. Edited by Raffaella Zanuttini, Héctor Campos, Elena Herburger, and Paul H. Portner, 53-86. Washington, DC: Georgetown UP, 2006. —. “Friaulisch: Interne Sprachgeschichte. I: Grammatik.” In Holtus, Lexikon der Romanistischen Linguistik, 3: 563-585. —. “Il friulano dalle origini al Rinascimento.” In Holtus, Lexikon der Romanistischen Linguistik, 2: 42-61. —. “Un’ipotesi sulla sintassi delle lingue romanze medievali.” Quaderni Patavini di Linguistica 4 (1993): 3-19. Benincà, Paola and Laura Vanelli. Linguistica friulana. Padua: Unipress, 2005. Benincà, Paola and Laura Vanelli. “Morfologia del verbo friulano: Il presente indicativo.” Lingua e contesto 1 (1976): 1-62. Benincà, Paola and Laura Vanelli. “Il plurale palatale in friulano: Saggio di analisi autosegmentale.” In Scritti di linguistica e dialettologia in onore di Giuseppe Francescato, 25-46. Trieste: Edizioni Ricerche, 1995. Cardinaletti, Anna and Michael Starke. “The typology of structural deficiency.” In Clitics in the Languages of Europe. Edited by Henk C. van Riemsdijk, 145-234. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 1999. Francescato, Giuseppe. Dialettologia friulana. Udine: Società Filologica Friulana, 1966. Francescato, Giuseppe and Fulvio Salimbeni. Storia, lingua e società in Friuli, Udine: Casamassima 1976. Heinemann, Sabine and Luca Melchior. Bibliografia ragionata di linguistica friulana. Udine: Società Filologica Friulana, 2011. Guglielmo, Cinque. Adverbs and Functional Heads: A Cross-Linguistic Perspective. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1999. Holtus, Günter, Michael Metzeltin and Christian Schmitt. Eds. Lexikon der Romanistischen Linguistik. 12 vols. Tübingen, Niemeyer, 1988-2005. Joppi, Vincenzo. “Testi inediti friulani dei secoli XIV al XIX.” Archivio Glottologico Italiano 4 (1878): 185-342.

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Ledgeway, Adam. “I tempi sovraccomposti in napoletano antico.” L’Italia Dialettale 60 (1997-9): 105-124. Marcato, Carla. “Forme bicomposte («surcomposées») nelle parlate del Veneto.” In Guida ai dialetti veneti. Edited by Manlio Cortelazzo. 8: 45-60. Padua: CLEUP, 1986. Pellegrini, Giovanni Battista. Saggi sul ladino dolomitico e sul friulano. Bari: Adriatica, 1972. Poletto, Cecilia. “The Aspect Projection: An Analysis of the Passé Surcomposé.” In Proceedings of the XVIII Meeting of Generative Grammar. Edited by Elisabetta Fava, 289-312. Turin: Rosenberg e Sellier, 1992. —. The Higher Functional Field, New York: Oxford UP, 2000. Porath, Christine. Die Herausbildung doppelter Perfektbildungen im Deutschen in diachronischer Perspektive. Master’s dissertation, Universität Potsdam, 2012. Renzi, Lorenzo and Laura Vanelli. “I pronomi soggetto in alcune varietà romanze.” In Scritti linguistici in onore di Giovan Battista Pellegrini, 121-145. Pacini: Pisa, 1983. Rizzolatti, Piera. Del dialetto di Clauzetto: Alcuni problemi di fonologia, semantica e lessico. Master’s dissertation, Università di Padova, 197677. Schlieben-Lange, Brigitte. Okzitanische und katalanische Verbprobleme. Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1971. Trumper John. Analisi morfofonologica di tre dialetti conservatori friulani. Master’s dissertation, Università di Padova, 1976. —. “Ricostruzione nell’Italia settentrionale: Sistemi consonantici.” In Problemi della ricostruzione in linguistica. Edited by Raffaele Simone and Ugo Vignuzzi, 250-310. Rome: Bulzoni, 1977. Vanelli, Laura. “L’allungamento delle vocali in friulano.” Ce fastu? 45 (1997): 66-76. —. I dialetti italiani settentrionali nel panorama romanzo: Studi di sintassi e morfologia. Rome: Bulzoni, 1998. —. “Le vocali lunghe in friulano.” Quaderni della grammatica friulana di riferimento 1 (1998) 69-108. Vanelli, Laura, Lorenzo Renzi, and Paola Benincà. “Typologie des pronoms sujets dans les langues romanes.” In Actes du XVIIe Congrès Internationale de Linguistique et Philologie Romanes, Aix-enProvence, 1983, 3: 163-176. Aix-en-Provence: Université de Provence, 1985. Zamboni, Alberto. Alle origini dell’italiano: Dinamiche e tipologie della transizione dal latino. Rome: Carocci, 2000.


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—. “Sul neolatino delle aree marginali friulane.” In Raetia antiqua et moderna. Edited by Günter Holtus and Kurt Ringger, 617-646 Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1986.

CHAPTER FOUR THE FRIULIAN LEXICON CARLA MARCATO 1. Characteristics The Friulian lexicon is well documented thanks to important lexicographic works such as Jacopo Pirona’s dictionary, first published in 1871, then largely expanded in the 1932 edition (known as Nuovo Pirona), and further complemented with additions in a reprint of 1992. Other sources besides the Nuovo Pirona are, in particular, works that adopt a geolinguistic approach such as the Sprach- und Sachatlas Italiens und der Südschweiz (Linguistic and Ethnographic Atlas of Italy and Southern Switzerland, abbreviated as AIS), the Atlante linguistico italiano or ALI (Linguistic Atlas of Italy), and the fundamental Atlante storico-linguisticoetnografico friulano or ASLEF (Historical, Linguistic and Ethnographic Atlas of Friuli). The ASLEF was designed and edited by Giovan Battista Pellegrini between 1972 and 1986, and focuses especially on lexical conservativism and its diatopic variation, recorded through surveys carried out in the 1960s.1 The sections dedicated to the terminology of botany and agriculture have been analysed in etymological and comparative perspectives, especially in relation to Italo-Romance, in two wide-ranging monographs; one co-authored by Giovanni Battista Pellegrini and Alberto Zamboni, and the other by Pellegrini and myself.2 The Friulian lexicon is particularly rich in peculiar lexemes, both in comparison to neighbouring varieties and to Italo-Romance vernaculars in general. It is also characterized by internal variations between different 1

Among the areas surveyed there are also places where German, Slovene, and Venetian are spoken, which provides interesting information on linguistic interference. 2 Giovan Battista Pellegrini and Alberto Zamboni, Flora popolare friulana (Udine: Casamassima, 1982); Giovan Battista Pellegrini and Carla Marcato, Terminologia agricola friulana (Udine: Società Filologica Friulana, 1988-1992).


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geographical areas, different functions and contexts, and different semantic values. In this chapter I will describe some features of the Friulian lexicon in a historical perspective,3 and I will also consider variation across areas, which is in part caused by cultural and environmental differences. Special attention will be given to peculiarities and unique features. Other aspects such as the presence of erudite words and the relationship between the lexicon of high culture and folk tradition will also be analysed. The largest part of the Friulian vocabulary stems from Latin, but other languages added to it when they came into contact with the Romance language that developed in Friuli. As far as the Latin base is concerned, the most recognizable elements of Friulian are those that have not survived or are only minimally known in other Romance languages, and those elements that have undergone a particular semantic evolution, thus producing typical and sometimes exclusively Friulian words. Such phenomena are well represented by words such as frut “child” (from the Latin fructu) and muini “sexton” (from the Latin monachu). The semantic evolution leading to frut in Friulian happens in three stages, as has been perfectly reconstructed by Mario Doria: 1. “product of farming and livestock rearing”; 2. “young animal” (two meanings already present in the original Latin); and 3. “child, young person.”4 Typical Friulian words are not only words of Latin origin but also loanwords from other languages, derivations from other Friulian words, or characterizations resulting from processes of word formation. One of the most distinctive words of Friulian is mandi, which the Nuovo Pirona defines as: “goodbye, widely used to express good wishes when parting in Carnia and throughout the part of Friuli on the left bank of the Tagliamento.” Mandi is commonly used in a variety of contexts and is the equivalent of today’s “hello, cheers, see you later, bye-bye.” It is used not just as a parting phrase but, with a different intonation, can also function as a greeting. The term derives from the reduction of the formula corresponding to the Italian mi raccomando “take care,” as demonstrated by the variant marcomandi, recorded by the Nuovo Pirona as a greeting phrase “standing for M’arecomandi.”5 The first known occurrence is in a 3

We still do not have a complete etymological dictionary of Friulian. The Dizionario etimologico storico friulano (Historical and Etymological Dictionary of Friulian, abbreviated as DESF) stops at the letter “e.” 4 See Scritti di Mario Doria, ed. Ugo Cardinale (Udine: Forum, 1988). A different evolution of the same Latin term leads to the Italian frutto “fruit.” 5 Although the etymology has long been clarified, traditionally the term is interpreted as a derivation from the Latin mane diu “stay long.”

The Friulian Lexicon


sixteenth-century text by Giovan Battista Donato: M’arecomandi a voo per cent mil dijs! (“Please take care of yourself for a hundred thousand days!”). The Nuovo Pirona also reports a poem of 1772 from the village of Paularo, where “one finds Mi racomandi in the specific meaning of goodbye: Mi racomandi vita ciara / A riviodisi vita nôn...” (“Take care dear life / Goodbye life of mine...”). There are some cases of vocables that either exist only in Friulian or are attested very sporadically in other Neo-Latin areas, especially in peripheral areas. Other words are unique because of the meaning they have acquired.6 As far as notional spheres are concerned, it must be said that especially distinctive words in Friulian belong both to the vocabulary of common usage, such as the aforementioned frut and mandi or fantàt “youth, young man,” and to particular sectors of the lexicon. For instance, many of them come from the spheres of botany, zoology and agriculture providing lexical peculiarities such as pudièse “stink bug,” favìte “wren,” iubâl “pole of a hay cart,” tulùgn “winch of a cart,” racli “spray, dry branch with the upper offshoots still on, used as stake to support creepers or weak plants.”

2. Diatopic Variation As the geolinguistic maps of the ASLEF show, the Friulian lexicon is differentiated geographically, due in some cases to the opposition of lexical types between the Eastern area and Carnia on the one hand, and the Western area on the other. This distinction has its origins in the diatopic varieties of Latin, and also in the imbalance between more conservative and more innovative situations, which are connected to historical conditions, institutions and territorial subdivisions. These areal differences can be represented by words of the Friulian spoken in Carnia such as fede “sheep” and spongje “butter,” which are conservative as compared to the Central and Western Friulian pióre and butîr (or butíru). Of course, other differences are the result of environmental conditions, exchanges, and internal linguistic evolutions. The mountain area of Carnia is characterized by a terminology typical of the Alpine environment and connected activities. Typical lexemes are, for instance, dane “white fir” and lisse, a term used by woodcutters to indicate a floating canal along which logs and 6

For an overview see Giovanni Frau, “I nomi friulani dell’arcobaleno,” in Aree lessicali: Atti del X Convegno per gli Studi Dialettali Italiani, Firenze, 22-26 ottobre 1973, (Pisa: Pacini, 1989), 273-306; on the history of a few terms see Carla Marcato, Fevelâ: Storia e geografia di parole friulane (Udine: Società Filologica Friulana, 2013).


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timber are transported downhill from mountain woods. Some words connected to particular traditions are known all over Friuli: the generic meaning of cìdule is “wheel, disk” and “pulley,” but the fieste des cìdulis is the name of a traditional festival in Carnia during which burning beechwood disks are hurled down from the hilltops to mark the celebrations. Among geographically differentiated terms that designate common concepts, some examples from Western Friulian include canài “child” instead of frut; raspa (a strong distilled liquor), which corresponds to the standard Friulian sgnape; sani, a parting phrase used instead of mandi; bilùga “bottom of a cart” instead of scjalâr; sampedón “carrying pole,” from sampa “paw” (which refers to the hooks fixed at each end of the pole) instead of buinç (from spoken Latin *bicongiu). As far as variations in usage are concerned, functional-contextual varieties (or technical terminologies) deserve special attention.7 We can observe for instance the distinction between words which are commonly used and those belonging to technical terminologies. For example, there are two words for “pavement”: marcepît and listón. The latter is used rarely and only in specific contexts, such as in the toponym liston di Mercjât vieri,8 the promenade along the Via Mercatovecchio in Udine. Listón has also been converted into a neologism in the vocabulary of transport, where it means “lane of a highway.” With reference to social variations, besides differences connected to different life experiences, there are also distinctions connected to a more or less self-conscious use of the language. In the case of higher linguistic awareness, a preference for a supposedly more authentic Friulian lexicon is often registered. For instance, the toponym Anglie “England” will be used instead of the Italianized Inghiltere, marciadant “merchant” or 7

In the last few years, scholars have produced a series of lexicographical instruments that list Friulian terms and the corresponding Italian expressions in the fields of administration, informatics, commerce and business. Among them there are the Dizionari talian-furlan di informatiche e gnovis tecnologjis (Italian-Friulian Dictionary of Informatics and New Technologies), the Lessic Aministratîf Manuâl (Handbook of Administrative Lexicon), and the Dizionari talian-furlan di dirit (Italian-Friulian Legal Dictionary). Currently, the reference work for Friulian lexicon and its Italian equivalent is the Grant Dizionari Bilengâl Talian-Furlan or GDB (Comprehensive Bilingual Dictionary). 8 In Friulian “old,” said of a person, is vieli (< Latin vetulu); an object, instead, is vieri (< Latin vetere); vecjo is a generic term taken from Venetian and adapted to Friulian phonetics (Venetian vecio > Friulian vecjo). A text of 1355 found in Cividale talks of gli fiç viedris di doi ani “two-year old lease contracts”; the urban toponym Merchat vieri (It. Mercatovecchio, “Old Marketplace”) is attested as early as 1410, but in the form Merchat vecho too in 1417.

The Friulian Lexicon


buteghîr “shopkeeper” instead of comerciant, prionte “add-on” instead of zonte, which, if not Italianizing, is certainly less conservative. A further distinction can be made between spoken and written Friulian. Writing, which is predominantly a literary pursuit, is characterized by a more or less self-conscious search for refined, rare, archaic words. In Friulian there are two words for “spring,” primevere and viarte, which is a typical example of the difference between commonly used words and archaisms, or recently entered neologisms. The same is true for other cases such as nore vs. brût “daughter in law”; barbe vs. zio “uncle”; siarade or sierade, literally “closed (season)” vs. atóm or autun (from the Latin attumnu, variant of autumnu), both meaning “autumn”; bàtem (an outdated term, a rare continuation of the Latin baptismu, which is an archaic form for baptisimu) vs. batésim “baptism”; voi da madone (literally, “Our Lady’s eyes”) vs. nontiscordadimè “forget-me-not”; campanele vs. bucanêf “snowdrop.” The characteristic features of the Friulian lexicon can also be highlighted by comparison with the neighbouring Venetian dialect, in oppositions between words such as cjâf (“head”), cjalâ (“to look”), cjoli (“to take”), fevelâ (“to speak”), sedón (“spoon”), vuè (“today”), sorèli (“sun”), fumate (“fog”), cumò (“now”), vonde (“enough”) in Friulian, and their Venetian counterparts testa, vardàr, tor, parlàr, cuciàro, ancùo, sol, caligo, (a)deso, (a)bastansa, among others. The peculiarities of Friulian with respect to the lexemes mentioned above are evident also from a comparison with Italian. Cjalâ “to look” is an interesting vocable that implies, just like the Italian calare, an etymology from the Latin calare “to lower, to drop,” via an expression such as “to lower one’s eyes,” i.e. “to look carefully,” which probably already existed in spoken Latin. Further comparisons can be made between different meanings of words that have the same etymology. In Friulian, gustâ can simply mean “to taste, to enjoy” (just like It. gustare), but it is commonly used to signify “to have a meal,” especially referring to the main meal of the day, traditionally at midday.9 The verb gjoldi is a similar case: its generic meaning is “to enjoy” (close to It. godere), but it normally means “to eat.” The term cerciâ is related to the meaning of the It. cercare (both from Latin circare, “to search”). However, in Friulian it is generally used to signify “to taste, to have a flavour of something”), whereas the meaning of “to search” as well as that of “to seek, to be after 9

Gustâ is used also as a noun, meaning “lunch,” and it is a time marker that refers to the course of the day: prime dal gustâ, denànt gustâ indicate the time before midday, dopo dal gustâ, dopo gustâ or also dopogustât (literally “after having had lunch”), simply mean “after midday.”


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something” is covered by the verb cirî (a derivation from the Latin quarere).

3. Lexical Stratification As mentioned above, a great proportion of the Friulian vocabulary is made up of words of Latin origin. However, there are also other components that testify to the complex history of the territory and its impact on language, starting in the pre-Roman period which left a trace in words that have to do with the morphology of the land, botany, and agriculture.10 Different linguistic strata coexisted in the phase before latinization, even though it is not always possible to identify and distinguish each of them with sufficient precision. The Celtic stratum is of some relevance and is represented by continuations, present elsewhere in the Cisalpine area as well, of base words such as *glasina > glasine “blueberry,” dragiu > drac’ “sieve,” tamisiu > tamês “tamis,” carpentu > cjarpint “axle of cart wheels.” Among the characteristics of the Friulian lexicon that depend from latinization there are on the one hand those lexical elements that belonged specifically to the Latin of the Regio X (one of the eleven administrative regions in which Augustus divided the Italian peninsula), which included the historical regions of Venetia and Histria; and on the other hand, differences between the municipium of Aquileia and other municipia of the area corresponding to today’s Friuli, which give rise to the distinction between East-Central Friuli and parts of Carnia, where the so-called “aquileiese” Friulian was spoken, and Western Friulian, where the “concordiese” variety prevailed. These denominations refer to the municipia and later dioceses of, respectively, Aquileia and Concordia. Regio X Latin, as is well known, displays a series of lexical peculiarities that will later contribute to shaping the physiognomy of the Friulian vocabulary. Among them there are Graecisms such as criure “bitter cold,” which derives from the Greek kryos “cold” via the intermediate form *kryura. Also noteworthy is the Germanic word brutis “daughter-in-law,” attested already in the Latin epigraphy of Aquileia, which continues into Friulian as brût, and also, with different results, in Engadin Romansh (Switzerland) and French. Some terms seem to derive from the presence in Friuli of Latin from the central area of Samnium-Sabella. This is the case of fulgur “lightning,” which continued into Friulian in the nominative10

For a historical overview including linguistic history see especially Giuseppe Francescato and Fluvio Salimbeni, Lingua, storia e società in Friuli (Udine: Casamassima 1976), as well as chapter 1 above.

The Friulian Lexicon


accusative form folc; the lexeme fulgur is rare in Northern Italy but it is widely attested in Friuli. The same example can also show the distinction between “aquileiese” and “concordiese” Friulian: folc belongs to the former, while the latter prefers the lexeme saeta (from Latin sagitta). Distinctive features of the “concordiese” Friulian compared to “aquileiese” Friulian are, among others: zi (< Latin ire) meaning “to go,” as attested also in ancient Friulian texts, instead of lâ (< Latin *allare, with ancient Friulian not showing the apheresis of a–); versor (< Latin versoriu), used in the outer area of Concordia in analogy with Venetian, instead of vuargine (< Latin organu, via *orgina and organa), both meaning “plough.” As discussed above in relation to the words frut “child” and muini “sexton,” in the Friulian lexicon there are vocables of Latin origin which, despite existing in other Romance areas too, have taken on a distinctive meaning in Friulian. There are several so-called lexical archaisms, some of which are shared by other Romance varieties, such as adìn “young goat, kid” from the Latin haedinu in the Friulian of Carnia; and stradalbe “Milky Way,” which retains a continuation of the Latin albu “white.” The lexical archaisms are especially frequent in the toponymy. For instance, the Latin formidu “warm” is found in the place name Campoformido (Friulian Cjampfuarmit); teguriu for tuguriu “hut, hovel” is the origin of the name Teor; agellu, diminutive of ager “field” is continued by Aiello (Dael in Friulian). Post-Latin linguistic strata include Germanic loanwords of a more ancient origin, which derive from elements such as brutis “daughter-inlaw” (see above) that entered spoken Latin early on, as well as more recent Germanisms.11 Other terms are classed as Gothisms, for instance sedón (< skaido, “spoon”) and glove “fork in a tree.” Among words of Langobardic origin there are the typical Friulian designation bearç, which indicates the enclosed meadow next to a farmhouse (from *bigardiu, which could also be a Gothic base); uadiâ “to wed” from wadia, wadium “betrothal”; farc “mole” from the base *far(a)h “pig.” Germanisms start to enter Friulian in the Middle Ages, but continue to flow in after that due to various forms of contact, not least the seasonal migration of Friulians to Germanophone countries. Among the Medieval Germanisms there are: cràmar or cramâr (attracted by the lexical series of agent nouns with suffix –âr), meaning “pedlar,” which can be linked to the Middle High German krâmaere “haberdasher,” a word documented in 11 On this see Giovanni Frau, “I tedeschismi nel friulano,” Ce fastu? 75 (1999): 736.


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Friulian since 1307, in the given name Benvenutus Cramarius; crot “frog” and crote “toad,” comparable to the German Kröte, which can probably be traced to Middle High German Krot; likôf “light meal or gathering offered by the homeowner at the end of major building works,” from the Middle High German litkouf “toast to celebrate the sealing of a deal,” a term attested in Friulian as early as 1332. However, it is not always possible to date the loanword through archival documents or linguistic data. This is the case of vignarûl “thimble,” which relates to a German dialect word that in turn relates to the German Fingerhut; the loanword has later been adapted to Friulian, given that the part of the compound -hut has been interpreted as a suffix and replaced by the Friulian suffix -ûl. The words that entered through temporary migration are connected to the different types of work that the migrants undertook. For instance, railway work brought the term asimpón, from the German Eisenbahn “railway” and Eisenbahner “railway employee.” The word is also documented in Venetan dialects with the meaning of “(seasonal) migrant”; besides that, in Friulian it has taken on the meaning of “person who has become unsociable and withdrawn.” Other examples are sine “rail” from the German Schiene; bintar “vagrant, loafer,” a semantic evolution of the German Winter-(arbeiter) or “winter worker,” through the designation of the seasonal migrant who, having squandered all that he had earned in the summer months, has no money to return home and is forced to spend the winter abroad. More recent Germanisms are: befel “order, command” from the German Befehl; rusac from Rucksack; alustic or lustic “cheerful,” from lustig “funny”; spolêr “kitchen range” from Sparherd. In some cases German loanwords entered Friulian at the time of the Austrian rule and are more frequent in the area of Gorizia, which belonged to the Habsburg dynasty from 1500 to 1918. Typical dialectisms of the Isonzo area are placàt “poster, funeral notice,” from the German Plakat; rons “backpack or bag for carrying food,” from the German dialect form ronzen for Ranzen “satchel”; and chifel, the name of a crescent-shaped bread roll, from the German Kipfel “croissant,” “type of pastry,” and others. Slavisms are another important strand of loanwords in Friulian, starting from the tenth-eleventh century with the arrival of Slovene peasants who settled in the Friulian plain at the invitation of the Patriarchs of Aquileia. Their settlements were few in number and spread across the land, and were quickly absorbed into the Neo-Latin communities, even though they have left a trace especially in toponymy. Slavisms in Friulian tend to be words related to geographical features, plants, agriculture, tools, and traditional food. Among the most widespread ones, as is shown by the maps of linguistic atlases, are: cespe or sespe “plum”; cernìcule

The Friulian Lexicon


“blueberry”; trìscule “strawberry”; cos “pannier, basket”; brìtule “jackknife”. Other terms have entered later through Slavo-Friulian contact, but these are mostly limited to Gorizia and the surrounding area. Among the Slavisms of Gorizia there are: clanz “country lane,” from the Slovene klanec “slope, pass”; sliva, a kind of plum, from sliva; clabùc “hat” from klobuk. The geographical contact with Veneto has facilitated the entry of Venetisms, especially into Western Friulian. This penetration of Venetisms, however, is also due to the long-standing prestige of Venetan and of the language spoken in the city of Venice in particular, which manifested itself also through the presence of a colonial Venetian, “parachuted” into Friulian towns after the Venetian conquest of Friuli in 1420. The influence of Venetian is felt not only in lexicon but also in other elements such as the loss of quantitative opposition between vowels in Western Friuli and in Gorizia, and has thus contributed to widening the gap between different dialects in the Friulian territory. The lexical sway of Venetian—easy to detect in various cases because of linguistic, cultural, or historical reasons, but sometimes less easily demonstrable—often runs not only over Friuli but across large parts of Northern Italy. An example of this can be the term missete “intermediary” (especially as missete di matrimonis or “matchmaker”), from the Greek mesetes “intermediary, gobetween,” a word that spread from Venice to the Veneto and the neighbouring dialects. Lexical Venetisms become more frequent from the fifteenth century. These are not only neologisms such as gazète “coin” and “newspaper,” but also words that replace existing ones such as vécio instead of viéli or viéri. Such presences can be found in ancient Friulian texts, too: the notebook of a fourteenth-century notary from Cividale named Ordorlico contains the word luyo for “July” (also found in the forms luglo or lugl in coeval texts), preserving the final -o in opposition to the modern form lui. This word eventually replaces the Friulian seseladôr (< Latin *sicilatoriu, from sicilis “reaping sickle”), literally “(the) reaper,” which is well attested in ancient documents (a. 1381: in seselador), and not continued in modern Friulian. Venetian, and more specifically the colonial Venetian based on the language of Venice, also acted as the entry route into Friulian for other foreign loanwords. Frenchisms are rarely direct loans in Friulian and have certainly or at least presumably, arrived through Venetian. Some examples are: bisù (from the French bijoux “jewel”) “something pretty, said especially of children: al è come un bisù (he is like a jewel)”; burò “piece of furniture with drawers and a cabinet on top”; buinegrazie “recess of a window or door, from which curtains hang” (from the French bonne grâce


Chapter Four

“side curtain hanging over bedposts”). In some cases, what may appear as less recent Italianisms could actually be Venetisms, for instance autún instead of siarade or sorunviâr “autumn”; ripôse for polse “rest”; ocjade for voglade “look, stare”. In general, loanwords from Venetian and Italian display some traits, especially phonetic, that reveal their status as acquired terms. In some instances, their adaptation to Friulian oscillates between, for instance: gambâl “bootleg” and the adapted variant gjambâl; garbìn (the name of a south-west wind that blows on the Adriatic coast) “cold, dry, bitter wind” and giarbìn; casèrme and ciasèrme “army barracks”; camisole “jacket, bodice” and cjamese “shirt”; caregón and cjadreón “armchair”; coresime and quaresime “Lent,” showing the folk evolution of qua-. As a prestige language variety, Venetian was progressively replaced by Italian in its sociolinguistic function, and consequently Italianisms became more frequent, due also to the ever-increasing contact between Italian and Friulian and the growing number of Italian speakers in the territory. Moreover, Italianisms were no longer acquired through Venetian but directly from Italian, which also became the vehicle for other foreign loans, including Anglicisms and Anglo-Americanisms. These phenomena are in opposition to the necessity to provide Friulian with a lexical standard on a par with Italian in any communicative situation. A mere glance at the recently published bilingual Italian-Friulian dictionary (GDB) shows how many loanwords from Italian enter Friulian, despite the effort to express meanings differently. For instance, mountain bike is translated as bici di mont but mountain bike too is accepted; for mouse (in the sense of the pointing device), besides the loanword the dictionary suggests the literal translation surîs; leader becomes cjâf (literally “head”) or remains leader; the culinary term mousse remains as it is. An interesting attempt has been made to normalize terms that have long been in use as non-adapted loanwords from the Italian. Mutuo, for instance, meaning “mortgage,” is the form used in spoken language and normalized as mutui, and according to the GDB it can be replaced with imprestance (literally “loan”). Mainly because of phonetics, in the Friulian dictionary it is easy to distinguish between terms that belong to folk tradition and terms that belong to the language of the educated. A word such as vicjari “vicar,” from the Latin vicarius can be defined as a semi-erudite word because of the adaptation of –ca– to Friulian phonetics (–cja–) and the ending –ari instead of the more common –âr. Òpare “work” and vore derive from the same Latin base opera and can be considered allotropes. Vóre, however, has taken on a more concrete meaning similar to lavôr, and is

The Friulian Lexicon


included in expressions such as dâ di vore “to give work.” The adverbial phrase une vore “a lot” represents an instance of the grammaticalization of a lexical element. Examples of words from learned language are: gramatiche “grammar,” which also has a popular form gramàdie (attested as early as the fourteenth century in the Friulian of Cividale, in translation exercises from Friulian to Latin); mùsiche “music” instead of the popular term sunade; or recently acquired terms such as acuidòt “waterworks,” which differs from words compounded with or derived from aghe“water”. Words coming from Church Latin (the so-called latinorum) are also part of the learned tradition. Some of them were adapted in meaning as well as phonetics, as for instance verbuncaro “admonishment, rebuke,” which features in the phrase molâ il verbuncaro “to give a good scolding.” The word is a deformation of the well-known lines from the Gospel of John “et Verbum caro factum est” (“and the Word became flesh,” 1:14), which mark the point at the conclusion of the Roman mass when the priest genuflects. Bisodie means “long, uninteresting, insubstantial speech,” as well as “lanky old woman,” and “rambling, mindless woman,” and is taken from the fragment (da no)bis hodie (“give us this day”) of the Lord’s Prayer. The erudite word which gained most currency in Friulian, however, is the Latin patria “fatherland”: at least since the twelfth century, the designation Patria del Friuli (“Fatherland of Friuli”) has been used to indicate the Patriarchate of Aquileia, which as a territorial entity dates back to 1077. Indeed, at the time of Henry IV and following his concessions to the patriarch Sigeard in 1077, the Patriarchate received full feudal investiture with the ducal prerogatives of the Comitatus Forojuliensis. In this way, the two sides of power—civil and ecclesiastic—were unified in one single person.12 The designation Patria del Friuli continued to be used after that, during the Venetian rule over Friuli.13 Translated by Rosa Mucignat

References AIS = Sprach- und Sachatlas Italiens und der Südschweiz. Edited by Karl Jaberg and Jakob Jud. Bern: Zofingen, 1928–1940. Online edition at Accessed January 30, 2014. 12

Francescato and Salimbeni, Storia, lingua e società in Friuli, 93. In Friulian, pàtrie is a common term meaning “hometown.” In the national sense, the use of pàtrie is recent (see Nuovo Pirona).



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ALI = Atlante Linguistico Italiano. Rome: Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato, 1995–. ASLEF = Atlante storico-linguistico-etnografico friulano. Edited by Giovan Battista Pellegrini. Padua: Istituto di glottologia e fonetica dell’Università and Udine: Istituto di filologia romanza della Facoltà di lingue e letterature straniere dell’Università, 1972-1986. DESF = Dizionario etimologico storico friulano. Edited by Alberto Zamboni. Udine: Casamassima, 1984–1987. Doria, Mario. Scritti di Mario Doria. Edited by Ugo Cardinale. Udine: Forum, 1988. Francescato, Giuseppe and Fulvio Salimbeni. Storia, lingua e società in Friuli. Udine: Casamassima, 1976. Frau, Giovanni. “I nomi friulani dell’arcobaleno.” In Aree lessicali: Atti del X Convegno per gli Studi Dialettali Italiani (Firenze, 22-26 ottobre 1973), 273-306. Pisa: Pacini, 1976. —. “Friaulisch: Interne Sprachgeschichte II. Lexik / Evoluzione del lessico.” In Lexikon der Romanistischen Linguistik. Edited by Günter Holtus, Michael Metzeltin and Christian Schmitt, 3: 586-596. Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1989. —. “I tedeschismi nel friulano.” Ce fastu? 75 (1999): 7-36. GDB = Grant dizionari bilengâl. Talian-furlan. Udine: Arlef, Regjon autonome Friûl-Vignesie Julie, 2011. Marcato, Carla. Fevelâ: Storia e geografia di parole friulane. Udine: Società Filologica Friulana, 2013. Nuovo Pirona = Giulio Andrea Pirona, Ecole Carletti and Giovanni Battista Corgnali. Il Nuovo Pirona: Vocabolario friulano. Edited by Giovanni Frau. Udine: Società Filologica Friulana, 1992. Pellegrini, Giovan Battista and Carla Marcato. Terminologia agricola friulana. Udine: Società Filologica Friulana, 1988-1992. Pellegrini, Giovan Battista and Alberto Zamboni. Flora popolare friulana. Udine: Casamassima, 1982. Pirona = Jacopo Pirona. Vocabolario friulano. Venice: Antonelli, 1871.

CHAPTER FIVE THE FEMININE GENDER IN FRIULIAN: VISIBILITY AND COMMONPLACES FABIANA FUSCO 1. Introduction We all like to think that our vision of the world is objective and fair, but at times we are forced to recognize that our thought-processes are influenced by language in ways which we are wholly unconscious of. That would not be a problem if the influence of language were positive—if, for instance, language gave us one single form to designate women and men, it could promote equality. But what happens if language reflects obsolete ways of thinking that we now reject as unethical? Does the linguistic system have the power to hinder or to hasten transformations that are taking place in society? In the last few decades, since a new perspective on women and their role in society began to gain ground, people have been asking this question. The women’s movement in the Seventies aimed at bringing about a radical cultural revolution, from the bad old times when women were bereft of self-determination and generally subaltern to men, to a new era in which everyone would have equal rights and equal status. The problem is that the languages we have inherited came to us through those bad old times, accumulating bad linguistic practices and customs. So we might ask whether they force us to think according to outdated models without even being aware of it. In short, we might ask: does language discriminate against women? Or rather, do the allowances different languages make for referring to women and men discriminate against women? Theoretically, the same question could be asked about discrimination against men, but this seems rather unlikely. In any case, it is hard even to find research that looks closely at male language, which appears as a purely hypothetical point of comparison since, as Giorgio Cardona argued, “si è sempre considerata la lingua delle donne l’eccezione rispetto alla


Chapter Five

lingua normale, che poi sarebbe quella degli uomini: in termini praghesi, quella degli uomini sarebbe la varietà non marcata, rispetto a quella delle donne” (the language of women has always been considered an exception from the normal language, by which they actually mean the language of men: in terms borrowed from the Prague school, men’s is the unmarked variety compared to that of women).1 Through a careful observation of our culture, unexpected vistas can be opened on the way in which the image of women emerges, or sinks, in the languages we use. There are numerous indications and testimonies to the cultural impact of linguistic usage on society. Nevertheless, the majority of speakers tend to conceive of linguistic behaviour as neutral and therefore non-gendered. Still, whatever the level of awareness, language entangles us in all the choices that we make, which are never impartial. These choices take on a cultural and social value both in the context of day-today communication and of linguistic education. The cultural impact of linguistic action is so strong that it forces users and policymakers to take the responsibility for reflecting seriously on the consequences of their choices.2 Such are the reasons that led me to reflect on the use that, day after day, we make of certain hackneyed and stereotypical words and expressions in the context of Friulian, which is of particular dialectological and sociolinguistic relevance. It is well known that Friulian, which cohabits with Italian, varieties of Venetan, and Slavic and Germanic idioms, has freed itself from social stigma and has not only been reappraised but is widely available, both in a multiplicity of oral forms and in the ever growing written corpus. With regard to the contexts of use, 1

Giorgio R. Cardona, Introduzione all’etnolinguistica (Turin: Utet Università, 2006), 66. 2 For useful general and bibliographical information on the theme of language and gender see Gianna Marcato, “Italienisch: Sprache und Geschlechter/Lingua e sesso,” in Lexikon der Romanistischen Linguistik, ed. Günter Holtus et al., (Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1988), 4: 237-246; Gianna Marcato, La bella signora e lu Re: Donna e linguaggio (Teramo, Ideasuoni, 2003); Donne e linguaggio: atti del Convegno di Sappada/Plodn (BL) (26-30 giugno 1995), ed. Gianna Marcato (Padua: Cleup, 1995); Carla Marcato and Eva Maria Thüne, “Gender and Female Visibility in Italian,” in Gender across Languages: The Linguistic Representation of Men and Women, ed. Marlis Hellinger et al. (Amsterdam and Philadelphia: Benjamins), 2: 187-212; Rita Fresu, “Il gender nella storia linguistica italiana (1988-2008),” Bollettino di Italianistica 1 (2008): 86-111; Carla Bazzanella, “Genere e lingua,” in Simone, Enciclopedia dell’italiano (Rome: Treccani, 2010), 556-558; and Fabiana Fusco, La lingua e il femminile nella lessicografia italiana: Tra sterotipi e (in)visibilità (Alessandria: Edizioni dell’Orso, 2012).

The Feminine Gender in Friulian


there can be no doubt that Friulian, besides fulfilling the communicative needs of everyday life in a traditional rural environment, is also beginning to be employed in administration and other official circumstances, mostly thanks to the application of national and regional laws. At present, the relationship between Italian and Friulian can be described as oscillating between bilingualism and diglossia. It is, in other words, a form of bilingualism where partial superimpositions and functional coincidences can occur, because the marilenghe (“mother tongue”) is used, whenever possible, in high-level forms of expression such as literary writing and, as mentioned above, public communication; this is in part due to the powerful phenomena of linguistic pride and “loyalty.”3 I am interested in investigating the problem of gender in this unique linguistic space, and in particular I shall address the issue of how the female figure is represented in Friulian lexicography, whose repertory, as we shall see, oscillates between conservation and innovation.4 Before addressing the issue of the feminine in Friulian, I will briefly review some trends in linguistic research on the differences in linguistic behaviour between men and women in terms of “gender variation”. By “gender” I mean “the complex of social, cultural and psychological phenomena attached to sex.”5


As is made clear in chapter 2 above, Friulian is one of the minority languages recognized by the Italian law 482/99. For an overview of the (socio)linguistic situation of Friuli see Silvia Morgana’s entries on Friuli-Venezia Giulia in L’italiano nelle regioni: Lingua nazionale e identità regionali and L’italiano nelle regioni: Testi e documenti, ed Francesco Bruni (Turin: Utet, 1992-94), 282-315 and 311-337; Carla Marcato, “Il Friuli-Venezia Giulia,” in I dialetti italiani: Storia, struttura, uso, ed. Manlio Cortelazzo et al. (Turin: Utet, 2002) 329-56; and Sabine Heinemann, Studi di linguistica friulana (Udine: Società Filologica Friulana, 2007). Giuseppe Francescato and Fulvio Salimbeni give an account of the historical and social framework in their Storia, lingua e società in Friuli (Udine: Casamassima, 1976). For a bibliography on Friulian linguistics see Sabine Heinemann and Luca Melchior, BIbliografia ragionata di linguistica friulana (Udine: Società Filologica Friulana, 2011). The examples used here follow the spelling adopted by each of the authors I quote from. 4 The theoretical and methodological approach of the present article draws on a larger investigation of the lexicographic corpora of the Italian language (see Fusco, La lingua e il femminile). 5 Sally McConnel-Ginet, “Language and Gender,” in Linguistics: The Cambridge Survey, ed. Frederick Newmeyer, vol. 4, Language: The Socio-Cultural Context (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1988), 76.


Chapter Five

2. The Image of Women in Italian Linguistics Descriptions of the language of women by grammarians and linguists have always attracted a great deal of attention, also from those who aimed at rectifying prejudices that have long connoted the female figure, in which the underlying stereotype is easily detected. It is not by chance that gender-based variations in language usage (peculiar pronunciation, the conservation of archaic linguistic traits abandoned by men, changes in intonation and other prosodic traits, and differing pragmatic modalities in the use of courtesy forms, hesitations, rhetorical questions, and expressions of doubts) have perfunctorily been observed by linguists, ethnolinguists and anthropologists. The more complex dimension of the phenomenon, however, has been neglected. There have been a number of attempts at description, some exemplary, and since the Seventies the bibliography on this subject has grown longer and more articulated, developing in two directions: the study of variability correlated to gender; and the fight against gender discrimination as represented in language and in the linguistic behaviour of speakers (known as “linguistic sexism” and investigated in particular by feminist linguistics). The limits of this study do not allow for more than a cursory discussion of these themes. My aim is to frame the question by taking as reference points some continuing trends in Italian dialectological and sociolinguistic research. Among the Italian linguists, Carlo Tagliavini is usually referred to when wishing to trace the genealogy of studies of the female language.6 He in fact is the author of an “abbozzo preliminare” (preliminary sketch), which, as Gianna Marcato has argued, addresses “per la prima volta in modo sistematico il tema della diglossia sessuale” (for the first time in a systematic way, the topic of sexual diglossia).7 More than a decade later, in 1952, a survey on the topic “Le langage des femmes” appeared in the first issue of the journal Orbis, which collected the contributions of dialectologists from various countries, including Clemente Merlo, Giorgio Piccitto and Oronzo Parlangèli for the Italian side. Its aim was to “mettre en lumière dans quelle mesure le langage des femmes est conservateur ou innovateur par rapport à celui des hommes.”8 The positioning of the language of women in relation to linguistic documentation and transmission, and the issue of whether they are guardians of tradition or 6

Carlo Tagliavini, “Modificazioni del linguaggio nella parlata delle donne,” in Scritti in onore di Alfredo Trombetti (Milan: Hoepli, 1938), 87-142. 7 Gianna Marcato, “Italienisch,” 237. 8 “Le langage des femmes: Enquête linguistique à l’échelle mondiale,” Orbis 1 (1952): 10.

The Feminine Gender in Friulian


innovators are distinctive traits of the Italian dialectological domain. As we shall see, they constantly reappear even in the presence of new methods and approaches. Both Tagliavini and the contributors to Orbis focus on an aspect that, in their view, is decisive: the purported higher rate of conservation in women’s language use, which assigns to women the double role of ideal informers, in particular for some semantic areas, and of patient “custodians,” capable of giving evidence of a specific idiom that is feared to be soon contaminated by non-local linguistic types, thus cementing it before it is too late. Tagliavini reinforces this idea by recalling his investigations in the Dolomite valleys, where he gave prominence to women interviewees, “che meglio conservano il ladino e più puro dall’infiltrazione veneta” (who better preserve Ladin, and less contaminated by the infiltration of Venetan).9 He also highlights the specific features of a few alloglot islands, namely the German dialect of Sappada (near Belluno) and the Albanese dialect of Borgo Erizzo (Zara), where he has found a remarkable faithfulness to the native dialect in the female cohort. Merlo too, responding to the same inquiry about the Italian situation, gives evidence of how women would be more archaizing than men, and nostalgically remembers a domestic scene in the village of Sora, in the Lazio region: “Nell’ampio tinello della casa dei Simoncelli in Sora, sede[va] tra i fratelli, arbitra per giudizio concorde di tutti, giudice inappellabile, la buona sorella Costanza, custode gelosa della purezza della parlata nativa” (In the large drawing-room of the Simoncellis’ house in Sora, the good sister Costanza used to sit among her brothers, arbiter by everyone’s consensus, strict judge, jealous custodian of the purity of the native idiom).10 Thus, the idea that the linguistic attitude typical of women


Tagliavini, “Modificazioni del linguaggio,” 90-94. Ibid., 13. In order to explain the presence of “chiari segni di origine infantile” (clear signs of childhood origins) in vocabulary, Clemente Merlo blames “mamme, nonne e zie, e specialmente le mamme, [che] tra baci e carezze e ninnenanne, le fecero proprie nelle loro effusioni di affetto” (mums, grandmothers and aunts, and especially those mums [who], among kisses and lullabies, appropriated them in their outburst of affection), in “L’elemento femminile nella graduale uniforme alterazione del linguaggio avito” Orbis 1: 13. Tagliavini, on the other hand, asserts that “la forza creatrice dell’immaginazione, il bisogno di attenuare concetti troppo alti o troppo volgari, specialmente nel linguaggio affettivo della madre al bambino, ha fatto sì che ogni donna abbia contribuito inconsciamente all’arricchimento del linguaggio con creazioni nuove” (the creative force of imagination, and the need to reduce concepts that are too high or too coarse, especially in the affective language of a mother to her child, resulted in the fact that every woman has unwittingly 10


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and the most frequent traits in female expressive modalities oscillate, putting it very simply, between archaism and innovation, is a commonplace of dialectological research on the variable “gender”. Since the first half of the twentieth century, researchers have found that some features of phonetic transformation could be attributed to female usage. Such claims are methodologically within the sphere of historical linguistics and linguistic geography, but they also reflect a backwardlooking ideology about the role of women that was typical of the time. Benvenuto Terracini, also quoted by Tagliavini, states, with reference to the idiom of Usseglio, that “le donne, per la loro condizione, si trovino in seconda linea come elemento importatore ed abbiamo invece una parte preponderante come elaboratrici e trasmettitrici delle novità” (women, because of their condition, are on the back line as far as importing is concerned and have instead a key role in the elaboration and transmission of new features).11 Conversely, Pier Gabriele Goidànich, a staunch neogrammarian who considered any linguistic change a “degeneration”, in harmony with the prevailing approach of the period, explains the disposition of women to anticipate men in some phonetic transformation (a thesis dear to Louis Gauchat, who presented it in his ground-breaking work on the dialect of Charmey) in the following terms: Anche per l’udito, la memoria e l’attività muscolare la donna si mostra da natura più avaramente dotata che l’uomo. Ora perché queste sono qualità meccaniche o attività automatiche, mi troverei confermato per ciò nell’opinione che i fenomeni fonetico-fisiologici siano meccanici ed automatici e non coscienti e spirituali. (In hearing, just as in memory and muscular activity, women show themselves by nature less generously gifted than men. Now because these are mechanical qualities or automatic activities, I would think myself justified in my belief that the phonetic-physiologic phenomena are mechanical and automatic and not conscious and spiritual).12

A few lines down he underlines that, based on his personal experience, “le signore erano più conservatrici in fatto di lingua che gli uomini: il fatto si spiega con la maggior compostezza che à nel ceto signorile la donna. contributed to the enrichment of the language with new creations), in “Modificazioni del linguaggio,” 141. 11 Tagliavini, “Modificazioni del linguaggio,” 167. 12 Pier Gabriele Goidànich, “Saggio Critico sullo studio di L. Gauchat ‘L’unité phonétique dans le patois d’une commune (Charmey)’,” Archivio glottologico italiano 20 (1926): 68.

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Comunque, ciò può servire a mettere in guardia contro certe frettolose generalizzazioni” (ladies were more conservative in matters of language than men: this is explained by the greater composure that women have in the higher classes. At any rate, it may serve to ward against certain hasty generalizations). In substance, even innovation, which would place women at the forefront compared to men, ends up being sanctioned as a form of weakness or subalternity. Such arguments must be considered with some caution: the trait “innovation vs. conservation” cannot be taken as a distinctive peculiarity of “female language.” Tagliavini himself recognized that two phenomena apparentemente contrarî l’uno all’altro, ma in realtà dovuti alla medesima causa che risiede nella condizione sociale della donna, hanno contribuito a differenziare, più o meno, la parlata dei due sessi: a) un fenomeno di “conservazione” per cui le donne…distanti dalla vita pubblica e dai contatti esterni, rifuggono, o perlomeno accolgono più tardi le innovazioni che vengono dal di fuori…; b) un fenomeno di “innovazione” per cui le donne, meno esposte all’influsso della scuola, della lingua letteraria e dei rapporti esterni, precorrono gli uomini nelle innovazioni spontanee. (apparently opposed to one another, but due in reality to the same cause residing in the social condition of women, contributed to differentiate, to a larger or lesser extent, the idiom of the two sexes: a) a phenomenon of “conservation” by which women…removed from public life and from contact with the outside world, flinch from, or at least accept later the innovations coming from the outside…; b) a phenomenon of “innovation,” by which women, less exposed to the influence of education, literary language and relations with the outside world, run ahead of men in spontaneous innovations.)13

Even so, the issue of the language of women continues in the following years to be addressed as a phenomenon that should be interpreted within the larger framework of transformation, still taking the lead from Tagliavini, who argued: that “se le donne infatti si mostrano (almeno nel linguaggio!) meno proclivi degli uomini ad accettare le innovazioni esterne, esse sono sovente le prime ad introdurre mutamenti linguistici, sia fonetici che morfologici e lessicali, di carattere interno” (if indeed women show themselves [at least in language!] less prone than men to accept innovations coming from outside, they are often the first to introduce linguistic transformations, phonetic as well as morphological and lexical,


Tagliavini, “Modificazioni del linguaggio,” 137.


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that occur within the system).14 In this respect, it can be useful to bring back to mind Gerhard Rohlfs’ remark on the gender differences within languages: along the Calabrian coast (in the Belvedere area) he regularly ILQGV ERWK LQ RSHQ DQG FORVHG V\OODEOHV Ư ! ĊL in the language of men, who pronounce IĊLOX “thread,” YĊLQX “wine” e YĊLWD ³OLIH´ EXW Ư ! ai in the language of women and children, who consequently say failu, vainu e vaita.15 From the investigations carried out for the Atlante linguistico italiano by Giovanni Tropea in 1963, it appears that in a locality in the province of Messina the female variety preserves archaic characters that have been dropped by male expressive modalities: specifically the result of the Latin –LL– in final postonic syllable is for women –tr– and for men –d–, so that women say kapítri “hair” (on a persons’ head) and kuótru “neck” and men say kapídi e kuódu.16 This fact is so established that it has produced phenomenon of hypercorrection which manifests itself in the tendency of men to avoid, even in non-pertinent contexts, the realization –tr–, which is finger-pointed as effeminate.17 The truth value of such generalizations must be cut down to size, since data from places where the contrast between standard language and dialect is stronger, and in particular from plurilingual contexts, seem to invite prudent relativizing, by attributing the cause of some linguistic phenomena to the position and role of women in the community. As a matter of fact, this standpoint can be found in Parlangèli’s article of 1952 in which, through an analysis of the (modern) Greek language island in the Salento area, he indicates a line of enquiry that would be vehemently discussed later on in the Seventies.18 The difference in language between men and women is not a difference of form but of function. If women, conscious of the power they yield in the transmission of language to children, reject the traditional idiom, there is no way of slowing down the accelerating process 14

Ibid., 93-94. Gerhard Rohlfs, Grammatica storica della lingua italiana e dei suoi dialetti, vol. 1, Fonetica (Turin: Einaudi, 1966), 54. 16 See Giovanni Tropea, “Pronunzia maschile e pronunzia femminile in alcune parlate del messinese occidentale,” L’Italia dialettale 26 (1963): 1-29. 17 Tropea’s essay tempers to some extent the peremptory assertion by Giorgio Piccitto that Sicily “non si presta a particolari osservazioni sul linguaggio delle donne rispetto a quello degli uomini” (does not lend itself to particular observations on the language of women compared to that of men), in “Osservazioni sul linguaggio delle donne,” Orbis 1 (1952): 14. 18 Oronzo Parlangèli, “Il linguaggio delle donne della ‘Gricía’ salentina (Italia),” Orbis 1 (1952): 46-52. 15

The Feminine Gender in Friulian


of regression for a linguistic custom that is already outdated. Men and women evaluate grico differently; its occurrence is closely connected to women’s choices, and in places where women consider it a coarse language, its obsolescence is incredibly rapid. This view still remains within the boundaries of the innovation vs. conservation debate, but the focus is finally shifted from actuation to evaluation and conscious choice (even if this is guided by dynamics larger than the individual’s freedom of choice).19 The suggestion advanced by Parlangèli was not ignored. Indeed, it opened the way for analytical parameters that ask different questions about the change in language usage and local idioms. Starting from the Seventies, the theme of gender variation in language takes on new theoretical and methodological premises, mostly derived from sociolinguistics. In the new socio-cultural context, the female figure displayed a greater propensity and sensibility towards higher prestige models in the linguistic repertoire, in contrast to the dialect tradition and to usages preserved and handed down by minorities in the course of the centuries. Nevertheless, it must be noted that even this field of enquiry, which benefitted from William Labov’s substantial studies, is dominated by the same old generalisation that seems to overcome all others. Ralph Fasold explains the “fascination” of sociolinguists for such an assumption by invoking the “sociolinguistic gender pattern” that illustrates the reasons why “male speakers are often found to use socially disfavored variants of sociolinguistic variables while women tend to avoid these in favor of socially more favored variants.”20 This stereotype matches exactly the stronger tendency towards dialectophony that is found among male compared to female sample groups in the Italian context.21 Still, it must be 19

See Gianna Marcato, “Italienisch”. Ralph Fasold, The Sociolinguistics of Language (Oxford: Blackwell, 1990), 92. 21 Evidence of this is found in the Friulian linguistic area as well: for instance, a recent sociolinguistic investigation has demonstrated that women profess their “friulanità” to a lesser degree than men, and consider language more as an instrument and a tool for communication than as something valuable in itself. Thus, women are quicker to adopt Italian, as in many situations it is the most convenient and the most efficient language, especially in the education of children; see Linda Picco, Ricerca sulla condizione sociolinguistica del friulano (Udine: Forum, 2001). In contrast to this, Giuseppe Francescato and Paola Solari Francescato studied a case of a “minority within a minority”, that is, the alloglot island of Timau in Friuli, and claim that the preservation of ancient idioms is more successful where awareness is raised about the central role of women in the education of children and in language transmission, all the more so where the web of sociocultural relations is particularly complex—see Timau: Tre lingue per un 20


Chapter Five

taken into account that the women examined did not show a preference for standard forms in all cases, and that generally, the differences between men and women in the selection and actualization of variables are small. Moreover, such differences are often interrelated with social differences in ways that are not easy to understand.22 Since then, debates and studies have mostly focused on demonstrating that female and male linguistic behaviour differ in usage frequency, or simply because of preferences that have nothing to do with being female or male. The shortcomings of many analyses, and the uselessness of certain naïve predictive generalizations, have gradually been exposed. Any expected distribution of female and male usage is subject to counterexamples, as demonstrated by many sociolinguistic and pragmalinguistic studies that link gender to other variables.23 Earlier studies insisted on the supposed conservatism of female language, whereas later they emphasised the greater proclivity of women towards prestige forms. In both cases, the position of women in society is nearly always the key to interpret linguistic behaviour. This shows how neither of these paese, (Galatina, Lecce: Congedo Editore, 1994). Outside Friuli, in the dialects spoken in the Val di Cembra and particularly in the village of Montesovér near Trento, the female sample group tended to reject dialect forms and chose standard phonetic realizations instead: women avoid close anterior round vowels, which are heard frequently in male speech, and prefer posterior non-rounded realizations of the Tuscan type. Round vowels are sanctioned negatively by women, who see them as rustic attributes to be avoided in favour of a more prestigious, urban trait. Women, in this case, are more responsive to the influence of urban contexts and they clearly push forward an innovation for the sake of social promotion; see Aldo Aneggi, Dizionario cembrano (S. Michele all’Adige: Museo degli usi e costumi della gente trentina, 1984). 22 The clear preference of female sample groups for alternative linguistic models (in most cases standard) over traditional ones (in most cases dialect) has been documented by numerous studies, too many to be listed here. For a critical summary see Marcato, Donne e linguaggio, and Gaetano Berruto, Prima lezione di sociolinguistica (Rome and Bari: Laterza, 2004). 23 Similar generalizations have been made about communicative modalities and discourse planning, but they have focused on linguistic phenomena that are hard to measure and lead to weak conclusions: for instance, in the sphere of conversation, women’s language would be characterized by signs of gender difference, such as less propensity to take the initiative, more frequent hesitations and more politeness. In this case too, empirical data often turn out to be contradictory, and the only possible conclusion is that women are in actual fact more polite if the community of which they are part, and their role, require it. Once more, gender appears to be mediated by social position, and such mediation, theoretically, does not exclude men and their communicative practices.

The Feminine Gender in Friulian


representations of female language is sufficiently grounded in substantial facts and empirical evidence. It seems, therefore, more reasonable to abandon the idea of a rigid restriction associated with gender: actually, it is not gender that determines a greater conservatism or, conversely, the tendency to abandon lower and more stigmatised usages. The role played in the social community, together with other variables, is a crucial factor that explains a lot more.24 It is clear from this brief overview that the interrelations between language, gender and society affect not only the structure of the language and the different levels of analysis, in particular the level of lexicon, but also social behaviour and the expectations that language contributes to create and propagate. This starting point makes it possible to examine linguistic facts as reliable and verifiable indicators of the social processes to which they are connected. Far from being neutral, language does indeed significantly influence the symbolic systems of speakers. Thus, the paragraphs that follow will illustrate the ways in which Friulian expresses an asymmetry between women and men in some lexicographical resources.

3. Manifestations in Friulian lexicon and lexicography After surveying some recurring tendencies in dialectological and sociolinguistic approaches with a feminine inflection, I shall now examine some aspects of the Friulian lexicon, which, as in any community, is a symbolical form of self- representation. In fact, the semantics of the feminine sphere is entrusted to a series of forms which mediate and disseminate, in a non-neutral fashion, images, values, assessments and prejudices. By speaking and listening, women and men play their allotted social role, and at the same time outline the worldview of which they are the protagonists. For this reason, the study of words represents a peculiar 24

A very interesting case of how dialect, or rather, the jargon derived from a local idiom, plays a symbolic role in defining identity is that of the sedonere (pedlar women selling handicraft wooden objects) from Claut in Valcellina, Western Friuli. In Claut, a jargon variety of Friulian used mainly by women has been documented, which is linked to the work they once did as sedonere. Men had generally a passive competence of this jargon, which they often learnt following their mothers in their travels from town to town. The recourse to dèrbal (i.e. jargon) served mainly as a form of self-recognition and to strengthen group identity outside the community, and it was abandoned when the women returned to their families; see Carla Marcato, “Il gergo,” In Storia della lingua italiana, ed. Luca Serianni and Pietro Trifone, vol. 2, Scritto e parlato (Turin: Einaudi, 1994), 771.


Chapter Five

point of entry for the understanding of cultural dynamics, because it allows us to identify implicit evaluative formulations which are clearly expressed in everyday conversations. It is evident that words do not circulate independently, but by means of the people who use them. Therefore, the study of words must also take into account speakers, senders and receivers of messages, and the context of their lives and of everyday events in which certain lexical usages are employed. Even a dictionary, which apparently is an impartial selection of words, can be read as a symbolical reconstruction of a world with a much more complex meaning. I will carry out this experiment on two influential lexicographical instruments, chronologically far apart but subtly connected to one another, which, to put it simply, testify, each in its own way, to the vitality of Friulian through time and to the cultural specificity of the Friulian tradition: on the one hand the Nuovo Pirona (which derives from the Vocabolario friulano published in 1871 by Jacopo Pirona), and on the other hand the Grant Dizionari Bilengâl (henceforth GDB). It should be noted that Friulian occupies a distinctive position among Italian dialects, both in terms of its peculiarities and of its sociolinguistic situation. Today, as I have mentioned above, the community’s repertoire is characterized by an ever increasing oscillation between bilingualism and diglossia (Italian/Friulian). This, together with a widespread disaffection with Friulian, especially among younger generations, could lead to a serious distortion of the idiom and consequently, to a sharper fall in the number of speakers. If this has not happened yet, it is due on the one hand to the fact that the number of Friulanophones has remained stable, and on the other hand to the effective measures for preservation as devised by regulations that are now in force.25 Among the initiatives to strengthen the linguistic awareness of Friulians, there has been the idea of providing the language with the instruments that are needed to codify linguistic norms consistently, such as dictionaries and grammars. My comparison between the two repertoires does not aim at evaluating the objectives and criteria of lemmatization, but seeks to document a minority language in two different historical moments. The Nuovo Pirona appears to be “conservative” and inspired either by didactic requirements (learning Italian) or by the desire to offer a ‘rarefied’ testimony to words. Conversely, the GDB appears to be “innovative”, because it partakes of a moment of sociolinguistic change, which would make Friulian a language with a befitting status and corpus. The innovations introduced by the GDB 25 On the laws for the protection and promotion of Friulian see William Cisilino’s account in chapter 2 above.

The Feminine Gender in Friulian


follow the model of the Grande dizionario italiano dell’uso (henceforth GRADIT) and show lexical layering in its actual usage, which should make users more assured and informed about the live usage of the language that they speak. Before looking at the lexical inventory in more detail, though, it is worth recalling a few peculiarities of the grammatical gender in Friulian, which, as we shall see, have a significant impact on the social typecasting of female as well as male roles. In Friulian, the category of gender for animated beings is associated, as in other languages, with the semantic trait “feminine/masculine.”26 Thus we have entries such as paron/parone “boss”, morôs/morose “boyfriend/girlfrend,” frut/frute “boy/girl,” amì/ amie “friend,” mestri/mestre “teacher,” and so on. Gender variation can also be achieved: a) through a different lexical element, for instance pari/mari “father/mother,” fradi/sûr “brother/sister,” om/femine “man/ woman,” and so on; b) by adding a derivative suffix, such as –esse, which is joined to the masculine lemma to give contesse “countess” from conte “count,” professoresse from professôr “professor,” madresse from madôr “fiancé.”27 It should also be noted that there are no strict rules that allow us to establish or predict the gender of nouns based on their meaning or form, as in most of the world’s languages. It is true that in Friulian the gender of nouns ending with a consonant is mostly masculine (il president “president”; l’om “man”). But still, some masculine nouns end with a vowel (il barbe “uncle”; il miedi “medical doctor”; il Pape “Pope”). Similarly, feminine nouns can end with a vowel (la agne “aunt”; la mame “mum”) as well as with a consonant (la brut “daughter-in-law”; la sûr “sister”). There are also substantives, such as those cited above, which have both a feminine and a masculine form, as for instance the terms indicating 26 The grammatical notions outlined here are taken from Giovanni Frau, Il Friuli (Pisa: Pacini, 1984) and Federico Vicario, Lezioni di linguistica friulana (Udine: Forum, 2011) (whose examples are sometimes debatable in terms of underlying stereotypes), which include useful bibliographical information. 27 Frau explains that for masculine nouns ending in –ôr (which generally designate professions) the feminine can end in –ore (il sartôr/la sartore, “the taylor”), but also in –(o)resse (il dotôr/la dotoresse “the doctor”); those ending in –âr have the feminine suffix –arie (il scuelâr/la scuelarie “the pupil”; even though the italianized variant scuelare is more frequent); lastly, for masculine nouns ending in –îr, the corresponding feminine ends in –ere (l’ostîr/l’ostere “the innkeeper”); see Frau, Il Friuli, 65. See also Giorgio De Leidi, who notes that the suffix –esse “still enjoys enough vitality for new creations when a new expressive need requires it,” in Giorgio De Leidi, I suffissi nel friulano (Udine: Società Filologia Friulana, 1984), 99.


Chapter Five

functions, roles and qualities that belong both to women and to men: l’assessôr/l’assessore “town councillor,” il bidel/la bidele “school janitor,” il sartôr/la sartore “tailor,” il retôr/la retore “rector.” If a name can have both genders, the masculine is used as a neutral term, as is done in Italian.28 Therefore in the example i fruts a son vignûts fûr di scuele “the children came out of school” the noun fruts indicates both male and female children, whereas frutis in sentences such as lis frutis a son vistidis di blanc “the girls are dressed in white” and mi plasin lis frutis che si compuartin ben “I like well-behaved girls” circumscribes only the female component. In the following examples, however, the two terms mark a semantic opposition: i fruts si metin di ca e lis frutis di là “boys come over here and girls go over there” and ai fruts ur plâs di zuiâ di balon, a li sfrutis no “boys like playing football, girls don’t.” The Nuovo Pirona was and still is a reference point for lexicographers, writers and scholars because it includes peripheral and lesser-known varieties (for instance Western Friulian), and also because of the care with which the meaning of entries already present in the dictionary is further specified. For the sake of my argument, I will limit myself to analysing two terms whose definition illustrates some of the semantic characterizations of feminine and masculine: om and femine, which in Friulian mean either “man” and “woman” or “husband” and “wife,” even though the form marît for “husband” is attested as well. In the entry for om we find the corresponding Italian “uomo” and the diatopic variants omp (Udine and surrounding area), on (Cormóns). There follows a series of examples that explain usage, including proverbs such as “l’om si cognòs in tre tobis: tal zûc, tal matrimoni e tal testament” (“you know a man by three things: his playing, his marriage, and his testament”). The lemma fèmine “female, woman, wife”29 is more articulated, because it defines its role and functions through the large selection of proverbial phrases quoted below: Feminis e pàssaris. Un gran s’cialâr di ciàcaris “Women and thrushes, a big cartful of tattle.” Lis fèminis àn putròs ciavei e pôc ciâf “Women have a lot of hair and little brain.” Lis fèminis an san un pont plui dal diaul “Women are more shrewd than the devil” (literally: “women know one thing more than the devil”). 28

For a discussion of the Italian neutral pronoun see the overview in Fusco, La lingua e il femminile. 29 It is worth noting that in Friulian a female animal is called mascje; on this see Heinemann, Studi di linguistica friulana, 148.

The Feminine Gender in Friulian


Ne fèmine ne tele al clar de ciandele “[Judge] neither a woman nor fabric by the light of a candle.” Lasse lis fèminis c’a fasin pan fruz e lissie “Let women make bread, children, and do the laundry.” Uelin siet umign a fâ une ciase, a baste une fèmine a struciâle “It takes seven men to build a house, but just one woman to destroy it.”

This brief roundup of some of the most well-known Friulian proverbs sheds light on the deep-seated presence of gender stereotypes in this regional language. What emerges is a portrait of women that distinguishes itself from the male image in the insistence on traits such as loquacity, stupidity, and bad-heartedness, which require sanctioning. These are taken as defining characteristics that can be used to describe the sphere of action of women.30 The alleged good and bad qualities of women, which have somehow sedimented in the oral tradition of proverbs, paint an eloquent picture of the gender model that society wants to preserve and pass on.31 Further examples can be found in statements taken from Gian Francesco Beltrame and Giovanni Nazzi’s 1978 study: La femine ‘è jè il paradîs dal cuarp, il purgatori de borse, l’infiâr da l’anime “A woman is heaven for the body, purgatory for the wallet, and hell for the soul.” Dôs feminis e un’ocje a’ fàsin un marcjât “Two women and a goose make a market.”


See Marcato and Thüne, “Gender and Female Visibility in Italian,” 207; and the works by Gianna Marcato quoted above. Their studies have contributed to highlighting the role of proverbs in the codification and transmission of a specific image of women. More information on Italian can be found in the Dizionario dei proverbi edited by Valter Boggione and Lorenzo Massobrio (Turin: Utet, 2004). On the collections of Friulian proverbs see Heinemann and Melchior, Bibliografia ragionata. 31 In this regard, it should be noted that the education of women has always aimed at maintaining a subaltern and deferential role; in his study “La cultura in Friuli,” Rienzo Pellegrini quotes the maxim of Teodorico Vatri, a Friulian intellectual of the late nineteenth century, who believed that “non è bisogno che la donna sappia hanno delle donne che scrivono e fanno libri, ma le più sagge fanno figli” (there is no need for a woman to know how to read...there are women who write and make books, but the wiser among them make children), in Storia d’Italia: Le regioni dall’Unità a oggi: Il Friuli-Venezia Giulia, ed. Roberto Finzi et al. (Turin: Einaudi, 2002), 2: 1046.


Chapter Five Lis fèminis a’ son come lis bistechis: plui si lis bat e miôr a’ devèntin “Women are like steaks: the more you beat them the better they become.”32 Lis trê contentecis dal om: lâ coscrit, copâ il purcìt, murî la femine “The three contentments of man are: being conscripted, slaughtering the pig, and their wife dying.”

And from Mario Martinis’s Proverbi del Friuli: La femine che e ubidìs, e comande “A woman who obeys, rules.” Femine iraconde, flum cence sponde “A quick-tempered woman is like a river with no banks.” An bisest, lis feminis ni cjâf ni sest “In a leap year, women can’t make head or tail of anything.” La buine femine e à di vê: brac d’açâr, panse di furmie e lenghe scjampe vie “A good woman must have arms of steel, a belly like an ant, and a shy tongue.” La lenghe des feminis e je lungje tant che la Tresemane “Women’s tongues are as long as the road between Udine and Tricesimo.” Vuarditi de femine che e à lunc il pas e dal om che al cjale bas “Beware of a woman who walks in long strides and of a man who keeps his eyes down.”33

In Friulian too there is no shortage of gender biases that interfere with language and its daily usage by speakers. And what is more, the lexicographic repertoire does nothing but confirm these backward ideas and limiting stereotypes. The pervasive emphasis of popular sayings on women constitutes an evident communicative strategy aimed at conforming behaviour to the demands of the dominant culture, which usually presents masculinity as the paradigm of “normality.” One also wonders why this legacy of stereotypes has been handed down not only by men but also by women, within an oral tradition in which the transmission of language depends entirely on the choices of speakers. The role played by older women, the custodians of tradition, should not be underestimated. They would sanction with lapidary statements any intemperance of 32

Gian Fancesco Beltrame and Giovanni Nazzi, Proverbi friulani (Florence: Giunti, 1978). 33 Mario Martinis, Proverbi del Friuli, 2 vols (Udine: Editoriale FVG, 2010).

The Feminine Gender in Friulian


younger women, who would return to order and in their turn continue to perpetuate through language a worldview aligned with common sense, whether they shared it or not. As Elisabetta Soletti argues in his entry on proverbs in the Enciclopedia dell’italiano, “i proverbi, in virtù della loro immobilità ideologica e formale, hanno sancito e trasmesso di generazione in generazione un codice di regole e di ammaestramenti tanto più efficace in quanto riprodotto in forme stereotipe, generiche e generalizzanti” (proverbs, due to their ideological and formal fixity, have sanctioned and transmitted from one generation to the next a set of rules and teachings which is all the more effective because it is reproduced in stereotypical, generic and generalizing forms).34 One of the tasks of lexicography is to provide as faithful a representation of a given society and language as is possible. Still, as we have seen above, the image that filters through the dictionary is not innocent, because it offers a vision of the world which is influenced by the choices and opinions of the editors. The images of women as they appear on the pages of a dictionary are often one-dimensional. These are portraits drawn using words chosen by others and shaped in the same way as they would like to shape the women they describe. In the wake of such considerations, I have asked myself to what extent the GDB represents women in a fair and respectful manner, especially with reference to the entries quoted below for donna and uomo, meaning “woman” and “man,” but also “wife” and “husband.” donna 1 s.f. [FO] (persone adulte di ses feminin) femine: una donna giovane, une femine zovine; una brava donna, une brave femine; ormai è una donna, aromai e je une femine; diventare donna, deventâ femine | (cun valôr coletîf) femine: i diritti della donna, i dirits de femine S femmina, signora | femmina; siore | 2 s f. [FO] (compagne intune relazion sentimentâl, spec. daûr di un adi.poss.) amie, compagne, morose: la sua donna, la sô compagne S amica, compagna, consorte, fidanzata, innamorata, ragazza; fantate 3 s f. [FO] (in funzion di adi. inv., spec. cun nons di professions che a son masculinis par tradizion): avvocato donna, avocate; chirurgo donna,


Elisabetta Soletti, “Proverbi,” in Simone, Enciclopedia dell’italiano, 1183.

Chapter Five


chirurghe | (denant di nons di profession, ju mude di sost. in adi.): donna meccanico, mecaniche 4 s f. [FO] coloc., fam. (femine che e fâs i lavôrs di cjase par cdn. altri) femine, massarie: assumere una donna per pulire la casa, cjoli une femine par netâ la cjase S femine di servizi 5 s.f. [CO] (titul denant dal non di feminis nobilis, o des feminis di grandis personalitâts dal stât e v.i.) done | [RE] merid. (titul di rispiet par feminis, ancje no nobilis) done, siore: donna Mimma, siore Mimma o ancje done Mimma 6 s.f. [TS] zûcs (la regjine des cjartis di zûc francesis) regjine: la donna di quadri, la regjine di cuadri | (la regjine tal zûc dai scacs) regjine: la donna nera, la regjine nere uomo 1a s m. [FO] (persone) om: rispettare gli uomini, rispietâ i oms | [TS] antrop., paleont. (homo sapiens) om S individuo, persona; individui, persone | 1b s m. [FO] (cun valôr coletîf, la specie umane) om: l’uomo e gli animali, l’om e lis bestiis S gente, umanità; cristian, int, umanitât 2a s m. [FO] (adult de specie umane di ses masculin) om: un uomo di trent’anni, un om di trente agns (individui rivât ae maturitât ancje inteletuâl e morâl) om: le responsabilità lo fecero diventare uomo, lis responsabilitâts lu faserin om | (ancje cun funzion di adietivogjen) om: uomo oggetto, om ogjet S adulto, maschio; adult, mascli | 2b s m. [FO] (persone di ses masculin) om: al telefono rispose un uomo, al telefon al rispuindè un om | (in prov. o det.) om: uomo avvisato, mezzo salvato, om visât, mieç armât S signore, tale, tipo, tizio; siôr, siorut, tâl, tip, un | 3 s m. [FO] (persone che e à di fâ un servizi) om: l’uomo del telefono passerà domani, l’om dal telefon al passarà doman

The Feminine Gender in Friulian


S addetto, incaricato, operaio, tecnico; incaricât, lavorant, operari, sorestant, tecnic 4 s m. [FO] (marît, morôs o convivent, spec. cun adietîf possessîf o complement di specificazion) om: l’ho vista al mercato con il suo uomo, le ai viodude al marcjât cul so om S amante, amico, bello, compagno, convivente, fidanzato, innamorato, marito, partner, ragazzo, sposo; amant, amì, biel, compagn, convivent, cristian, inamorât, madôr, magalt, marît, morôs, nuviç, puem, spôs, zovin 5a s m. [FO] (membri di une formazion militâr, di un ecuipaç) om: un commando di dodici uomini, une scuadre speciâl di dodis oms | (membri di une scuadre sportive masculine) om: l’allenatore ha deciso quali uomini convocare, l’alenadôr al à decidût cuâi oms convocâ S militare1, soldato | atleta; militâr, soldât | atlete 5b s m. [FO] (compliç, membri, cun valôr negatîf) om: gli uomini della mafia, i oms de mafie 6 s.m. [FO] (in funzion di pronon personâl o dimostratîf, par indicâ une persone particolâr che si cognòs benon) om: è l’uomo giusto per questo lavoro, al è l’om just par chest lavôr | (ancje in funzion di pronon indefinît) om, un: se un uomo si comporta così, non c’è più speranza!, se un om al fâs cu ssì, no je plui sperance!

A comparison between the two lemmas highlights the coherent and synthetic treatment of the various meanings.35 However, it must be noted that the meaning of “wife” is not clearly explained, even though under moglie the corresponding Friulian is femine. Surprisingly, deventâ femine simply means “to become a woman,” whereas the sentence lis responsabilitâts lu faserin om (“the responsibilities made him a man”), implies also the meaning of “individui rivât ae maturitât ancje inteletuâl e morâl” (“an individual who has reached intellectual and moral maturity”). Among the examples that expand the definitions, there is a cursory reference to women’s conquests, crystallized solely in the expression i dirits de femine. Also noteworthy is a peculiarity of the Friulian dictionary that concerns the occurrence of feminine agentives. In fact, beside nouns referring to mostly male professions, the dictionary indicates feminine 35

See Fusco, La lingua e il femminile for an analysis of the lemmas in the GRADIT, from which the GDB is derived.

Chapter Five


forms such as avocate, chirurghe and mecaniche, whose Italian translations (avvocato donna, chirurgo donna and donna meccanico) contravene the recommended forms. In other lemmas with a feminine variant, I have found further evidence of choices that are more respectful to gender equality in Friulian than in Italian. Sadly, the sample sentences in Italian continue to give precedence to masculine forms, as can be seen in the following examples: assessore 1 s m. [ÛA] (component di une zonte aministrative) assessôr: assessore regionale, assessôr regjonâl; il nuovo assessore alla cultura è una professoressa, la gnove assessore ae culture e je une professore avvocato 1a s m. [FO] (chel professionist che al assist in judizi) avocat: […] sua moglie è un bravo avvocato, la sô femine e je une buine avocate

In the GDB (as, for that matter, in the GRADIT) there are a number of lemmas whose definition is, as such, neutral, and can refer to both genders. Anyway, in various cases it can be observed that the explanatory example refers only to women. In other words, I have found that for some entries, the definition is objective and purely descriptive, as it gives no indication of gender by resorting to unmarked periphrases. By contrast, the examples presented to illustrate usage make explicit reference to women or wives, suggesting that the term in question is more relevant to female behaviour. Such terms are connoted mostly in a negative sense, channelling the stereotype of women indulging in unrestrained sexual activity and in violent or undignified behaviour: affamato […] 3 adi. [CO] fig. (plen di voie, seneôs) bramôs, seneôs: è affamato di fama e successo, al è bramôs di fame e di sucès |(persone smaniose di vê rapuarts sessuâi) afamât, bramôs, seneôs, voiôs: è affamata di uomini, e je bramose o ancje voiose di oms concedersi […] 2a v.pronom.intr. [FO] (vê rapuarts sessuâi cun cdn.) concedisi, dâsi: si è concessa a molti uomini, si è dade a tancj oms scandaloso 1 adi. [CO] (che al è motîf di scandul) scandalôs: un comportamento scandaloso, un compuartament scandalôs | (che al à di norme un compuartament imorâl, indecorôs) scandalôs: una donna scandalosa, une femine scandalose

The Feminine Gender in Friulian


maneggiare […] 5 [ÛA] (manovrâ un par fâi fâ alc) messedâ: sua moglie lo maneggia come vuole, la sô femine lu messede cemût che e à voie sbancare 1b [CO] scherç. (mandâ in disgracie economiche, fâ un dam) netâ, netâ il tacuin, suiâ di bêçs: la moglie oggi mi ha sbancato, non ho più soldi, la femine vuê mi à suiât di bêçs o ancje netât, no ‘ndi ai plui

On the other hand, it must be acknowledged that in the dictionary there are also positive examples that evoke the image of an (even excessively) happy and loving couple: miele 1 s.m. [ÛA] (sostance dolce fate des âfs, penze e tacadice, doprade tant che robe di mangjâ o in farmaceutiche) mîl: […] (ancje fig., robe o ancje persone tant dolce) mîl: sua moglie è un miele, sô femine e je dute une mîl medico […] 2a s m. [FO] (cui che al cure par bonâ un dolôr fisic o morâl) miedi: nella malattia il marito è stato un buon medico per lei, te malatie l’om al è stât un bon miedi par jê

Thus, the study of the dictionary is the preferred avenue for documenting live usage of the Friulian idiom, as well as tracing the ways in which stereotypes solidify, contributing to the establishment, so to say, of “polarized” male and female models. Men are described as strong, virtuous, and gallant, whereas women are conversely defined as helpless, apt only for care work, but also seductive, evil and objects of sexual fetishism.

4. Final Remarks Languages represent casual stratifications and sedimentations of beliefs, which are not always valuable and rigorous. In their path of evolution, languages drag these relics along and prolong misconceptions and misunderstandings. This, to some extent, is inevitable. What is important is creating greater awareness of the need for change at the source, as many scholars have long argued, which would uproot stereotypes from people’s minds, rather than in the structural aspects of the linguistic system. Language depends on the context of use, which in turn is linked to historical, social, economical, and cultural factors and, as we have seen, to ancestral prototypes. In fact, it is in the dimension of the everyday and of communication between people that words, including those with a feminine inflection, live and spread, acquiring new meanings and


Chapter Five

indicating new referents. In sum, words gain weight only in a real context, including that which is reflected by lexicography, the same reality to which linguists must return if they want to reconstruct the modalities of usage. Translated by Rosa Mucignat

References Aneggi, Aldo. Dizionario cembrano (triangolo Sovèr-MontesovèrPiscine): Parole e cose–Frasi–Modi di dire–Proverbi del dialetto della Valle di Cembra. S. Michele all’Adige: Museo degli usi e costumi della gente trentina, 1984. Bazzanella, Carla. “Genere e lingua.” In Simone, Enciclopedia dell’italiano, 556-558. Beltrame, Gian Fancesco and Giovanni Nazzi. Proverbi friulani. Florence: Giunti, 1978. Berruto, Gaetano. Prima lezione di sociolinguistica. Rome and Bari: Laterza, 2004. Boggione, Valter and Lorenzo Massobrio. Dizionario dei proverbi. Turin: Utet, 2004. Cardona, Giorgio R. Introduzione all’etnolinguistica. Turin: UtetUniversità, 2006. De Leidi, Giorgio. I suffissi nel friulano. Udine: Società Filologica Friulana, 1984. Fasold, Ralph. The Sociolinguistics of Language. Oxford: Blackwell, 1990. Francescato, Giuseppe and Fulvio Salimbeni. Storia, lingua e società in Friuli. Udine: Casamassima, 1976. Francescato, Giuseppe and Paola Solari Francescato. Timau: Tre lingue per un paese. Galatina (LE): Congedo Editore, 1994. Frau, Giovanni. Il Friuli. Pisa, Pacini: 1984. Fresu, Rita. “Il gender nella storia linguistica italiana (1988-2008).” Bollettino di Italianistica 1 (2008): 86-111. Fusco, Fabiana. La lingua e il femminile nella lessicografia italiana: Tra sterotipi e (in)visibilità. Alessandria: Edizioni dell’Orso, 2012. Grande dizionario italiano dell’uso. Edited by Tullio De Mauro. 6 vols. Turin: Utet, 1999. Grant dizionari bilengâl talian-furlan. Edited by Consorzi Centri Friûl Lenghe 2000. 6 vols. Udine: Arlef, 2011.

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Goidànich, Pier Gabriele. “Saggio Critico sullo studio di L. Gauchat ‘L’unité phonétique dans le patois d’une commune (Charmey)’.” Archivio glottologico italiano 20 (1926): 61-71. Heinemann, Sabine. Studi di linguistica friulana. Udine: Società Filologica Friulana, 2007. Heinemann, Sabine and Luca Melchior. Bibliografia ragionata di linguistica friulana. Udine: Società Filologica Friulana, 2011. Marcato, Carla. “Il gergo.” In Storia della lingua italiana. Edited by Luca Serianni and Pietro Trifone. Vol. 2, Scritto e parlato, 757-791. Turin: Einaudi, 1994. —. “Il Friuli-Venezia Giulia.” In I dialetti italiani: Storia, stuttura, uso. Edited by Manlio Cortelazzo, Gianrenzo Clivio, Nicola De Blasi and Carla Marcato, 329-356. Turin: Utet, 2002. Marcato, Gianna. “Italienisch: Sprache und Geschlechter/Lingua e sesso.” In Lexikon der Romanistischen Linguistik. Edited by Günter Holtus, Michael Metzeltin, Christian Schmitt, 4: 237-246. Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1988. —. “Dicesi di donna: Lessico femminile nel dizionario veneziano di Giuseppe Boerio.” In Dialettologia e varia linguistica per Manlio Cortelazzo. Edited by Gian Luigi Borgato and Alberto Zamboni, 187209. Padua, Unipress, 1989. —. Ed. Donne e linguaggio: Atti del Convegno di Sappada/Plodn (BL) (26-30 giugno 1995). Padua: Cleup, 1995. —. La bella signora e lu Re: Donna e linguaggio. Teramo: Ideasuoni, 2003. Marcato, Carla and Eva Maria Thüne. “Gender and Female Visibility in Italian.” In Gender across Languages: The Linguistic Representation of Men and Women. Edited by Marlis Hellinger and Hadumod Bussmann, 2: 187-212. Amsterdam-Philadelphia: Benjamins, 2002. Martinis, Mario. Proverbi del Friuli. 2 vols. Udine, Editoriale FVG, 2010. McConnel-Ginet, Sally. “Language and Gender.” In Linguistics: The Cambridge Survey. Edited by Frederick Newmeyer. Language: the Socio-cultural Context, 4: 75-99. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1988. Merlo, Clemente. “L’elemento femminile nella graduale uniforme alterazione del linguaggio avito.” Orbis 1 (1952): 12-13. Morgana, Silvia. “Il Friuli-Venezia Giulia.” In L’italiano nelle regioni: Lingua nazionale e identità regionali and L’italiano nelle regioni: Testi e documenti. Edited by Francesco Bruni, 282-315 and 311-337. Turin: Utet, 1992-94.


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Il Nuovo Pirona: Vocabolario friulano. Edited by Giulio Andrea Pirona, Ecole Carletti and Giovanni Battista Corgnali. Udine, Società Filologica Friulana, 1992. Parlangèli, Oronzo. “Il linguaggio delle donne della ‘Gricía’ salentina (Italia).” Orbis 1 (1952): 46-52. Pellegrini, Rienzo. “La cultura in Friuli.” In Storia d’Italia: Le regioni dall’Unità a oggi: Il Friuli-Venezia Giulia. Edited by Roberto Finzi, Claudio Magris and Giovanni Miccoli, 2: 1021-1088. Turin: Einaudi, 2002. Piccitto, Giorgio. “Osservazioni sul linguaggio delle donne.” Orbis 1 (1952): 14. Picco, Linda. Ricerca sulla condizione sociolinguistica del friulano. Udine: Forum, 2001. Rohlfs, Gerhard. Grammatica storica della lingua italiana e dei suoi dialetti. Vol. 1. Fonetica. Turin: Einaudi, 1966. Simone, Raffaele. Ed. Enciclopedia dell’italiano. Rome: Istituto dell’Enciclopedia Italiana Treccani, 2010. Soletti, Elisabetta. “Proverbi.” In Simone, Enciclopedia dell’italiano, 1182-1185. Tagliavini, Carlo. “Modificazioni del linguaggio nella parlata delle donne.” In Scritti in onore di Alfredo Trombetti, 87-142. Milan: Hoepli, 1938. Terracini, Benvenuto. “Il parlare d’Usseglio.” Archivio Glottologico Italiano 18 (1914-1918-1922): 105-186. Tropea, Giovanni. “Pronunzia maschile e pronunzia femminile in alcune parlate del messinese occidentale.” L’Italia dialettale 26 (1963): 1-29. Vicario, Federico. Lezioni di linguistica friulana. Udine: Forum, 2011.


CHAPTER SIX FRIULIAN MIGRATION TO LATIN AMERICA: LINGUISTIC REFLEXES FRANCO FINCO The migration of Friulians to Latin America, particularly to Argentina and Brazil, saw a sharp increase starting in 1877 which followed the population and colonisation policies of the two countries; the flux of migration lasted until the 1960s, with a brief interruption only during the Second World War.1 Most of these migrants were dialect speakers, who had little familiarity with the Italian language and an extremely high rate of illiteracy.2 Among the dialects spoken in Friuli, besides the Friulian varieties (belonging to the Rhaeto-Romance or Ladin linguistic group), there are Venetan dialects (particularly in the western and south-eastern 1

See Javier Grossutti, “L’emigrazione dal Friuli-Venezia Giulia in Argentina e in Uruguay,” on the website of Ammer (Archivio multimediale della memoria dell’emigrazione regionale), last modified 2005, accessed October 7, 2013, &Cont_ID=14p; and Grossutti, “L’emigrazione dal Friuli-Venezia Giulia in Brasile” On the website of Ammer (Archivio multimediale della memoria dell’emigrazione regionale), last modified 2010, accessed October 7, 2013, &Cont_ID=324. 2 On this see Luca Lorenzetti, “I movimenti migratori,” in Storia della lingua italiana, ed. Luca Serianni and Pietro Trifone, vol. 3, Le altre lingue (Turin: Einaudi, 1994), 653; Gianfausto Rosoli, “Alfabetizzazione e iniziative culturali per gli emigranti tra Otto e Novecento,” in Cattolici, educazione e trasformazioni socio-culturali in Italian tra Otto e Novecento, ed. Luciano Pazzaglia (Brescia: La Scuola, 1999), 124; and Massimo Vedovelli, ed., Storia linguistica dell’emigrazione italiana nel mondo (Rome: Carocci, 2011), 48-59 and 76-77. Migration was, however, an important factor in the spreading of Italian within and outside Italy and in the reduction of illiteracy; see Tulio De Mauro, Storia linguistica dell’italia unita (Rome and Bari: Laterza, 1970), 58-63; Lorenzetti, “I movimenti migratori,” 651-57; and Vedovelli, Storia linguistica, 54-67 and 74-76.

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parts of the region, but also in the main urban centres as a sociolect) and, to a lesser extent, Slovene and German varieties. In Latin America, the dialects spoken by Friulian migrants came into contact not only with Portuguese and Spanish, the official languages of the host countries, but also with varieties of Creole, with the languages and dialects of migrants from other Italian regions and from other European countries (Germany, Ireland, Scotland, Poland, Greece, Russia, Scandinavian and Baltic countries, and so on), and in some cases with indigenous languages, particularly in the early frontier colonies. An extensive linguistic mixing occurred, involving also colloquial and regional Italian. These varieties of Italian were used more frequently by Friulian migrants abroad than in their native country, both in exchanges with migrants from other regions of Italy and in their correspondence with relatives who had remained in their homeland. One of the first records of the linguistic mixing which characterised Italian migrants in Latin America is provided by Edmondo De Amicis in Sull’Oceano, the account of a journey he took in 1884 on a ship of migrants heading for Argentina: Ma bisognava sentire che vocabolario: era il primo saggio ch’io intendevo della strana lingua parlata dalla nostra gente del popolo dopo molti anni di soggiorno nell’Argentina, dove, col mescolarsi ai figli del paese, e a concittadini di varie parti d’Italia, quasi tutti perdono una parte del proprio dialetto e acquistano un po’ d’italiano, per confonder poi italiano e dialetto con la lingua locale, mettendo desinenze vernacole a radicali spagnuole, e viceversa, traducendo letteralmente frasi proprie dei due linguaggi, le quali nella traduzione mutan significato o non ne serban più alcuno, e saltando quattro volte, nel corso di un periodo, da una lingua all’altra, come deliranti.3 (But you had to hear what vocabulary they used: it was the first sample that I heard of the strange language spoken by our lower classes after many years’ stay in Argentina, where, by mingling with the natives, and with their fellow citizens from various parts of Italy, almost all of them lose a part of their own dialect and gain a bit of Italian, and then mix up Italian and dialect with the local language, adding vernacular endings to Spanish roots, and vice versa, translating idiomatic phrases literally from the two languages, which through translation significantly change or lose their meaning, and jumping from one language to the other four times in the course of a sentence, as if in a frenzy.)


Edmondo De Amicis, Sull’oceano (Milan: Garzanti, 1889), 37.


Chapter Six

Dialects spoken by Friulian migrants developed differently according to the sociolinguistic conditions found in settlement areas. The most interesting phenomena of contact took place where the dispersion of migrants and the immersion in complex linguistic contexts did not lead to a drastic reduction in the use of the native dialect and its progressive abandonment. The linguistic phenomena that characterise migration took various forms, as a result of diverse modalities and conditions of contact: linguistic mixing, hybridisation, a convergence towards shared expressive systems, the adoption of varieties, or total assimilation in the new language.4 In urban areas, which were characterised by greater fragmentation and more intense sociolinguistic dynamics, there were phenomena of linguistic interference such as cocoliche, a sort of mixed Italian-Spanish language of transition which was used by Italian migrants (particularly Southerners) in the metropolitan areas of Buenos Aires and Montevideo; and lunfardo (or lunfa) which is the argot spoken in the Rio de la Plata area, in which Italianisms constitute the main ingredient, and is very often used in tango songs.5 In contrast with rural areas, in major urban centres like Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Córdoba, Rosario, Mendoza, Santa Fe, and São Paulo, the Friulian communities proved to be more fragmented, and communicative situations demanded the use of Spanish or of Portuguese much more often, even among Friulian speakers.6 Generally, Friulian migration towards cities is more recent than that towards rural areas, and took place mostly after the Second World War.7 Thus, those who kept up their active competence were mainly people who had been born in Friuli. This favoured the conservation of native varieties with their characteristic features, as opposed to them levelling towards a common language or koinè from which the most marked and widespread diatopic traits are erased.8 At the same time, communicative situations in Friulian 4

See Vedovelli, Storia linguistica dell’emigrazione, 151. See Antonella Cancellier, “Italiano e spagnolo a contatto nel Rio de la Plata: I fenomeni del ‘cocoliche’ e del ‘lunfardo’,” in Associazione Ispanisti Italiani: Atti del Convegno di Roma, 16-18 settembre 1999, ed. Cancellier and Renata Londero, vol. 2, Italiano e spagnolo a contatto (Padua: Unipress, 2001), 69-84. 6 Silvia Trangoni, “La comunità friulano-argentina a Maiano tra conservazione e innovazione,” Ce fastu? 78, no. 2 (2002): 199. 7 Nevertheless, phenomena of internal migration of Friulians or of their descendants from the provinces to the large urban centres are documented. 8 See Trangoni, “La comunità friulano-argentina,” 207; and Piera Rizzolatti, “Osservazioni sul friulano d’Oltreoceano,” Oltreoceano 1 (2007): 159. The audio 5

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diminished and transmission to the next generations became rarer—which corresponds to the fundamental stages of involution, fading, reduction in the lexicon as well as in the morpho-syntax, and finally, the fragmentation of the linguistic system.9 In the colonies founded before the Great War in rural areas, the role played by Italian was completely marginal (at least until the mid-twentieth century), whilst a key part was played by dialects that were regularly transmitted to new generations. In communities formed by groups of immigrants of different origins, but where each group had a sizeable number of members, different dialects—structurally similar—were able to coexist. In most cases one variety prevailed above the others, for quantitative and/or qualitative reasons: either the dialect spoken by the majority of colonists prevailed, or the one which was perceived as more prestigious or easier to adopt as a lingua franca. In other cases, when the contact language was a variety of the same dialect or of similar dialects, a sort of koinè could be formed, that is, an inter-dialectal code—shared by the community—which preserved the shared characteristics of the different varieties, but eliminated the traits that were more marked or that had local connotations. That is what happened with the so-called taliàn (or vêneto brasileiro) of Venetan origin, which was spoken in three southern states of Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and Paranà). As Giovanni Meo Zilio has shown, people from Veneto made up almost half of the total Italian migration to Brazil.10 Taliàn superimposed itself on the varieties from Vicenza, Treviso and Feltre-Belluno, but was also adopted by colonists from other regions such as Lombardy, Piedmont, Trento and Friuli.11 From material recorded by Noboa Feliz in Buenos Aires in 2007 also includes an interview with an elderly woman originally from Lovea. She had kept intact the DQWHULRULVDWLRQ RI >D‫ @ޝ‬LQWR >‫ @ޝܭ‬RQH RI WKH PRVW W\SLFDO WUDLWV RI WKH /RYHD YDULHW\ RI Friulian which today has virtually disappeared in its original area, because it was the object of stigmatisation by other Friulians. On this see Franco Finco, “La parlata carnica di Lovea: Dati fonetici e variabili sociolinguistiche,” in Dialetto: usi, funzione e forma: Atti del convegno internazionale di studi (Sappada/Plodn, 25-29/06/2008), ed. Gianna Marcato (Padua: Unipress, 2009), 57-8. 9 Here I employ the terminology found in Susan Gonzo and Mario Saltarelli, “Pidginization and Linguistic Change in Emigrant Languages,” in Pidginization and Creolization as Language Acquisition, ed. Roger W. Andersen (Rowley, MA: Newbury House, 1983), 182-83. 10 Giovanni Meo Zilio, Ricerche di dialettologia veneto-latinoamericana (Rome: Bulzoni, 1995), 1089. 11 Giovan Battista Pellegrini, “La ‘koinè’ veneto-brasiliana di Rio Grande do Sul,” in A catàr fortuna: Storie venete d’Australia e del Brasile, ed. Ulderico Bernardi


Chapter Six

the 1920s a rich Venetan-Brazilian literature developed, in the wake of the famous Nanetto Pipetta by Aquiles Bernardi (1891–1973), a collection of stories written in taliàn and published in instalments on the Correio Riograndense from 1924.12 The eponymous Nanetto’s adventures are the expression of the simplicity and naivety of Italian migrants travelling “in Mèrica” (to America) in search of the mythical Land of Cockaigne. In some states of Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina), taliàn gained legislative recognition and was declared protected linguistic heritage in 2009. Nowadays, within Argentina and Brazil there are a number of former colonial settlements where the use of Friulian is still alive, but not much research has been done on Friulian in the colonial settlements in Brazil. For instance, the colony of Nova Udine in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, was founded in 1883 by colonists originating mainly from the area of Gemona in Friuli. In 1939 the settlement was declared a villa and its name was changed to Ivorá. The data collected by Javier Grossutti in Vale Veneto and Ivorá in 2000 are quoted by Piera Rizzolatti in her article on Friulian overseas.13 The best documented cases are those of Avellaneda (founded in 1879) in the province of Santa Fe; Colonia Caroya (1878) in the province of Córdoba; and Colonia Vicente Agüero, also known as San Durì (Friulian for “Saint Odoric”), created in 1910 as an offshoot of Córdoba. In Avellaneda, which experienced conspicuous industrial development, the active use of Friulian has mostly been lost, whilst in Colonia Caroya there is still significant evidence of the survival of Friulian, also due to the fact that the town has a mainly agricultural economy. In 1878, around 300 families arrived to Colonia Caroya, for the most part (around 70%) Friulians from the areas of Gemona, Carnia or Gorizia; there were also Venetan families from the provinces of Belluno and Treviso. In the following years there were subsequent arrivals, either directly from Friuli or from other areas of Argentina.14 Besides the difficulties of assimilation in new countries, immigrants were also subjected to stigmatisation and sometimes repression because of (Vicenza: Regione Veneto, Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Neri Pozza, 1994), 348; Meo Zilio, Ricerche di dialettologia, 1088-90. 12 A modern edition is Aquiles Bernardi, Nanetto Pipetta: Nassuo in Italia e vegnudo in Mérica per catare la cuccagna, (Caxias do Sul: Universidade de Caxias do Sul; Porto Alegre: Escola Superior de Teologia São Lourenço de Brindes, 1976). 13 Rizzolati, “Osservazioni sul friulano d’Oltreoceano,” 166. 14 See Meo Zilio, Ricerche di dialettologia, 22-23; and Grossutti, “L’emigrazione dal Friuli Venezia Giulia in Argentina e in Uruguay,” 7-9.

Friulian Migration to Latin America


their language. In 1942, under the pressure of the Allies, the populist regime of Getúlio Vargas Brazil declared war on Italy, and consequently banned the use of the Italian language in Brazil, as well as of the dialects spoken by Italian immigrants and their descendants. The ban lasted until 1945.15 In Argentina, at the beginning of the twentieth century, the ruling classes began to adopt various measures to “Argentinize” the masses of foreign immigrants, who constituted a very high percentage of the total population,16 and were held responsible for the increasing social conflict. Besides pressure from the state, some intellectual circles too had turned to nationalism, glorifying pre-emigration Creole tradition as the foundation stone of modern Argentina, and placing the gaucho above the European settler as the main civilizing influence in the country.17 In schools, Argentinean nationalistic policies opposed the teaching of Italian and the use of dialects.18 Some interviewees of Friulian origin bear witness to this, telling how, until the Seventies, schools and local authorities of the province of Córdoba discriminated against Friulianspeakers. Teachers took pains to persuade parents not to speak in Friulian to their children, in the false belief that schoolchildren would not learn the official language correctly, or arguing that the use of Friulian was equivalent to staying attached to a past characterised by poverty and backwardness, whilst they should look to the future with the state’s official language. On closer inspection, the same motivations were adopted in Italy from 1861 until the Seventies, in order to discourage schoolchildren from using their regional dialects.19 There was thus a widespread stigmatisation of the linguistic habits of the gringos, that is, European migrants who were not native speakers of Spanish. This negative stigma often stopped the transmission of their


See Ulderico Bernardi, A catàr fortuna, 120; Vitalina Maria Frosi, Carmen Maria Faggion and Giselle Olívia Mantovani Dal Corno, “Prestígio e estigmatização: Dialeto italiano e língua portuguesa da região de colonização italiana do nordeste do Rio Grande do Sul,” Revista da ABRALIN 7, no. 2 (2008): 145, 153-155. 16 In 1910, migrants of foreign origin made up around 30% of the population, compared to 14.5% in the United States; see Federica Bertagna, La stampa italiana in Argentina (Rome: Donzelli, 2009), 97n. 17 See Barbero, María Inés and Fernando Devoto, Los nacionalistas (1910-1932), (Buenos Aires: Centro Editor de América Latina, 1983), 8-10; and Bertagna, La stampa italiana in Argentina, 10, 97. 18 See Vedovelli, Storia linguistica dell’emigrazione italiana nel mondo, 66. 19 See De Mauro, Storia linguistica dell’Italia unita, 357-62.


Chapter Six

native language to the next generation.20 Despite all that, the live usage of Friulian in Colonia Caroya endured, maintaining its function and importance in the social life of the community to such an extent, that many people of non-Friulian origin (Venetans, Lombards) or native Spanish speakers learnt Friulian out of necessity, particularly in the workplace and in social relationships. This happened in particular when, in the Seventies, Colonia Caroya’s burgeoning economy, mainly based on wine production, attracted many native speakers of Spanish. This gave rise to a sort of “Caroyan koinè” of Friulian, which is the result of the homologation of the diverse varieties of Friulian (spoken by migrants) to a linguistic type based on the Gemonese dialect, but with significant transformations and influences from Castilian on all levels. The linguistic data collected in 1968 by Temistocle Franceschi and the following year by Giovanni Meo Zilio (verified by a fieldwork investigation more than twenty years later), then by Nora Lilí Prevedello and Silvia Susana Gerosa in the Nineties, can be supplemented by new acquisitions carried out in the last few years, also thanks to modern technology which enables distance data collection.21 Here I will mainly analyse the data collected in 2007 in Argentina by Sofia Solayne Noboa Feliz for her dissertation. Interviews with Friulian migrants or with those of their descendants who possessed an active knowledge of the Friulian language were carried out in various cities and small towns in Argentina, including Colonia Caroya. The Friulian spoken by these interviewees is found to have been strongly influenced by Spanish, at all levels of linguistic analysis. Evident signs of this are the Spanish expressions and discourse markers that frequently pepper their still Friulian discourse, for example tambien, bueno, estè, inclusive, porlomeno, porlotanto, de repente, etc. The lexicon is interspersed with loanwords from Spanish, particularly those with a denotative value, which relate to the local environment, social organisation, work, the education system, housing, food, etc. Here are some examples: uàne “iguana” (Spanish iguana); camote “sweet potato”; þjXþDV or þjXFLV “green beans” (Friulian uaìnis o tèghis), from the Spanish


See Bernardete Soldatelli Oliboni, “A estigmatização como fator determinante dos bloqueios de fala de descendentes de imigrantes italianos do nordeste do Rio Grande do Sul,” Ideas (Universidad del Salvador) 1, no. 2 (2003): 79-91; and Frosi, Faggioni and Dal Corno, “Prestígio e estigmatização.” 21 In Nora Lilí Prevedello and Silvia Susana Gerosa, La inmigración italiana en Colonia Caroya y el contacto de dos lenguas, (Córdoba, AR: Comunicarte Editorial, 1997).

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chauchas; la tarde “afternoon, evening”; carneâ “to slaughter, cut up” from carnear, used with this meaning in Argentinian Spanish. Other loanwords from Spanish replace Friulian words and expressions: bassùre “rubbish” from basura (Friulian scovàcis); the campìgne “countryside, field” from campiña (Friulian campagne, üDPS); the FROþzQ “mattress” from colchón (Friulian stramàç, paión, materàs); the costure “needlework” from costura (Friulian il cusî); the mansàne “apple” from manzana (Friulian PLOþ); the sarampiòn “measles” from sarampión (Friulian varùscli); vê sabidurìe “to have the competence, ability” from tener sabiduría (Friulian jessi bon di); SODQþk “to iron” from planchar (Friulian sopressâ); cuidâ fruts “to take care of children” from cuidar niños (Friulian viodi dai fruts), and so on. There are also frequent adaptations of Hispanicisms to Friulian lexical structures, particularly with abstract nouns in which Spanish suffixes are substituted by the corresponding Friulian suffixes: descubrimént “discovery” from descubrimiento; debilitât “weakness” from debilidad; intervenziòn “intervention” from intervención. There are very interesting semantic loans from Spanish, with mutations or the addition of meanings: pòpul as well as “people” also means “town, village” (Friulian paîs, vìle) based on the Spanish pueblo; fracàs “disaster, ruin, clamour, din” but also “failure” from the Spanish fracaso; i pàris “fathers” also means “parents” based on the Spanish los padres; tremènt “terrible” and also “enormous” from the Spanish tremendo; fòrme “shape” and also “way, manner” in adverbial phrases (e.g. di fòrme svèlte “quickly, in a quick way”, Spanish de forma rápida), and so on. Regarding the influence of Spanish on the morpho-syntax, I will limit myself to three examples. The first is the juxtaposition and substitution of the synthetic form of the Friulian future simple with a periphrastic construction made up of lâ “to go”, from the Spanish model of the future with ir: e.g. al va a sei mièdi next to or in the place of al sarà miedi “he is going to be a doctor,” from the Spanish model va a ser mèdico; domàn al va a fâ biel timp for domàn al fasarà biel timp “the weather is going to be good tomorrow” based on the Spanish mañana va a hacer buen tiempo. Second, the influence of Spanish can also be observed in the formation of the agent, which appears as a prepositional phrase beginning with the preposition par “for”, rather than the expected preposition di, and follows the corresponding Spanish (and Portuguese) structure with the preposition por: e.g. o soi stât invidât par Marie instead of o soi stât invidât di Marie “I was invited by Maria,” on the Spanish model fui invitado por Maria. And third, a construction modelled on the Spanish can also be observed in the implicit construction of the subordinate causative clause: e.g. lu dîs par


Chapter Six

savêlu “I say it because I know” based on the Spanish lo digo por saberlo, instead of the Friulian lu dîs parcè che lu sai. As a conclusion, I would like to point out another aspect of Friulian emigration to Latin America, that is, those who returned to Friuli. In particular between 1989 and 1994, there was a consistent return to Friuli of migrants or their descendants, mainly from Argentina, but also from Brazil, Venezuela and Uruguay, due to the difficult economic situation faced by those countries.22 Often, those who returned spoke a “strange” Friulian compared to that spoken in Friuli. This was not only because of the strong presence of lexical and morpho-syntactical Hispanicisms, of the type seen above, but also because there were a considerable number of archaic words in their Friulian, as if their language had become frozen at the time of their emigration or of that of their parents. Moreover, the Friulian spoken by returning emigrants might have reflected the characteristics of the variety of the Friulian town or village which themselves or their family had left after the Second World War.23 With this brief account I hope to have provided a general frame within which to understand the main linguistic phenomena characterizing Friulian migration to Latin America. This is a complex and diverse situation that reflects the temporal stages of the phenomenon and the different socioeconomic, geographic and cultural conditions that the migrants encountered. Translated by Kate Willman

22 See Francesco Micelli, “Emigrazione di ritorno e identità regionali: Il caso friulano.” In La riscoperta delle Americhe: Lavoratori e sindacati nell’emigrazione italiana in America Latina, 1870-1970, Atti del convegno storico internazionale promosso dalla Camera del lavoro territoriale / CGIL di Brescia (Brescia, 25-27 novembre 1992), ed. Vanni Blengino, Emilio Franzina and Adolfo Pepe (Milan: N. Teti, 1994), 665-677. Grossutti, “L’emigrazione dal Friuli: Saggio bibliografico,” in Ti ho spedito lire cento: Le stagioni di Luigi Piccoli, emigrante friulano; Lettere famigliari (19051915), ed. Adriano D’Agostin and Javier Grossutti (Pordenone: Biblioteca dell’Immagine, 1997), 269-322; and Trangoni, “La comunità friulano-argentina a Maiano.” 23 Trangoni, “La comunità friulano-argentina a Maiano,” 207.

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References Bagna, Carla. America Latina, in Vedovelli, Storia linguistica, 305-357. Barbero, María Inés and Fernando Devoto. Los nacionalistas (1910-1932). Buenos Aires: Centro Editor de América Latina, 1983. Benincà, Paola. “Friaulisch.” In Lexicon der romanistischen Linguistik (LRL). Edited by Günter Holtus, Michael Metzeltin and Christian Schmitt, 2: 42-61. Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1995. Benincà, Paola and Laura Vanelli. Linguistica friulana. Padua: Unipress, 2005. Bernardi, Aquiles. Nanetto Pipetta: Nassuo in Italia e vegnudo in Mérica per catare la cuccagna. Caxias do Sul: Universidade de Caxias do Sul; Porto Alegre: Escola Superior de Teologia São Lourenço de Brindes, 1976. Bernardi, Ulderico. A catàr fortuna: Storie venete d’Australia e del Brasile. Vicenza: Regione Veneto, Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Neri Pozza, 1994. Bertagna, Federica. La stampa italiana in Argentina. Rome: Donzelli, 2009. Calvi, Maria Vittoria. Didattica di lingue affini: Spagnolo e italiano. Milan: Guerini, 1995. Cancellier, Antonella. Lenguas en contado: Italiano y español en el Río de la Plata. Padua: Unipress, 1996. —. “Italiano e spagnolo a contatto nel Rio de la Plata: I fenomeni del ‘cocoliche’ e del ‘lunfardo’.” In Associazione Ispanisti Italiani. Atti del Convegno di Roma, 16-18 settembre 1999. Edited by Antonella. Cancellier and Renata Londero.Vol. 2, Italiano e spagnolo a contatto, 6984. Padua: Unipress, 2001. Confortin, Helena. “Comportamento de falantes bilíngües do Alto Uruguai Gaúcho frente ã língua materna (dialeto italiano) e à língua portuguesa.” In A presença italiana no Brasil. Edited by Luís Alberto De Boni et al., 3: 572-92. Porto Alegre and Turin: Escola Superior de teologia São Lourenço de Brindes and Fondazione Giovanni Agnelli, 1996. De Amicis, Edmondo, Sull’oceano. Milan: Garzanti, 1889. De Mauro, Tullio. Storia linguistica dell’Italia unita. Rome and Bari: Laterza, 1970. di Caporiacco, Gino. L’emigrazione della Carnia e del Friuli. Udine: Ente Friuli nel Mondo, 1983.


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di Caporiacco, Gino and Alberto di Caporiacco. 1877-1880: Coloni friulani in Argentina, in Brasile, Venezuela, Stati Uniti. Reana del Rojale, Udine: Chiandetti, 1978. Domínguez Vázquez, María José. “En torno al concepto de interferencia.” Círculo de lingüística aplicada a la comunicación 5 (2001). Accessed January 31, 2014. /dominguez.htm. Finco, Franco. “Note di fonologia e fonetica del friulano centrale.” In Miscellanea di studi linguistici offerti a Laura Vanelli. Edited by Roberta Maschi, Nicoletta Penello and Piera Rizzolatti, 27-43. Udine: Forum, 2007. —. “La parlata carnica di Lovea: dati fonetici e variabili sociolinguistiche.” In Dialetto: Usi, funzione e forma. Atti del convegno internazionale di studi (Sappada/Plodn, 25-29/06/2008). Edited by Gianna Marcato, 53-58. Padua: Unipress, 2009. Franceschi, Temistocle and Antonio Cammelli. Dialetti italiani dell’Ottocento nel Brasile d’oggi. Florence: Cultura Editrice, 1977. Frosi, Vitalina Maria. “I dialetti italiani nel Rio Grande do Sul e il loro sviluppo nel contesto socio-culturale ed economico: prevalenza del dialetto veneto.” In Lo Cascio, L’italiano in America Latina, 136-163. —. “Os dialetos italianos no Rio Grande do Sul: Convivência e mescla lingüística.” In Raízes Italianas no Rio Grande do Sul 1875-1997. Edited by Florence Carboni and Mário Maestri, 83-98. Passo Fundo, Brasil: UPF, 2000. Frosi, Vitalina Maria, Carmen Maria Faggion and Giselle Olívia Mantovani Dal Corno. “Prestígio e estigmatização: Dialeto italiano e língua portuguesa da região de colonização italiana do nordeste do Rio Grande do Sul.” Revista da ABRALIN 7, no. 2 (2008): 139-167. Frosi, Vitalina Maria and Ciro Mioranza. Dialetos italianos: Um perfil lingüístico dos Ítalo-Brasileiros do Nordeste do Rio Grande do Sul. Caxias do Sul, BR: EDUCS Editora da Universidade de Caxias do Sul, 1983. Gonzo, Susan and Mario Saltarelli. “Pidginization and Linguistic Change in Emigrant Languages.” In Pidginization and Creolization as Language Acquisition. Edited by Roger W. Andersen, 181-197. Rowley, MA: Newbury House, 1983. Grossutti, Javier. “L’emigrazione dal Friuli Venezia Giulia in Argentina e in Uruguay.” On the website of Ammer (Archivio multimediale della memoria dell’emigrazione regionale). Last modified 2005. Accessed October 7, 2013. ?CCat_ID=UR&CCatS_ID=&Cont_ID=14.

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—. “L’emigrazione dal Friuli Venezia Giulia in Brasile” On the website of Ammer (Archivio multimediale della memoria dell’emigrazione regionale). Last modified 2010. Accessed October 7, 2013. CCatS_ID=&Cont_ID=324. —. “L’emigrazione dal Friuli: Saggio bibliografico.” In Ti ho spedito lire cento: Le stagioni di Luigi Piccoli, emigrante friulano: Lettere famigliari (1905-1915). Edited by Adriano D’Agostin and Javier Grossutti, 269-322. Pordenone: Biblioteca dell’Immagine, 1997. —. “Friulani d’Argentina: L’altra patria oltreoceano (1875-1914).” In Serafin, Contributo friulano, 13-31. —. L’immigrazione argentina nella provincia di Udine. Udine: Provincia di Udine, Assessorato alle Solidarietà Sociali, 1998. —. I “rientri” in Friuli da Argentina, Brasile, Uruguay e Venezuela (1989-1994). Udine: ERMI Ente Regionale per i Problemi dei Migranti, 1997. Gusmani, Roberto, Saggi sull’interferenza linguistica. Florence: Le Lettere, 1986. Haiman, John and Paola Benincà. The Rhaeto-Romance Languages. London: Routledge, 1992. Lo Cascio, Vincenzo. Ed. L’Italiano in America Latina: Atti del convegno internazionale (Buenos Aires, 1-5 settembre 1986). Florence: Le Monnier, 1987. Lorenzetti, Luca. “I movimenti migratori.” In Storia della lingua italiana. Edited by Luca Serianni and Pietro Trifone. Vol. 3, Le altre lingue, 627-668. Turin: Einaudi, 1994. Meo Zilio, Giovanni. Ricerche di dialettologia veneto-latinoamericana. Rome: Bulzoni, 1995. —. “I dialetti italiani in America Latina.” In I dialetti italiani: Storia, struttura, uso. Edited by Manlio Cortelazzo et al. 1086-1091. Turin: UTET, 2002. Micelli, Francesco. “Emigrazione di ritorno e identità regionali: Il caso friulano.” In La riscoperta delle Americhe: Lavoratori e sindacati nell’emigrazione italiana in America Latina, 1870-1970, Atti del convegno storico internazionale promosso dalla Camera del lavoro territoriale / CGIL di Brescia (Brescia, 25-27 novembre 1992). Edited by Vanni Blengino, Emilio Franzina and Adolfo Pepe, 665-677. Milan: N. Teti, 1994. Noboa Feliz, Sofia Solayne. Parlar friulano in Argentina: Ricerca sociolinguistica. Bachelor’s dissertation, Università degli Studi di Udine, 2007-2008.


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Pagani, Bianca Maria. L’emigrazione friulana dalla metà del secolo XIX al 1940. Udine: Arti Grafiche Friulane, 1968. Pellegrini, Giovan Battista. “La ‘koinè’ veneto-brasiliana di Rio Grande do Sul.” In Bernardi, A catàr fortuna, 345-355. Pellegrini Rienzo. “Emigrazione e lingua.” In Metodi e ricerche: Rivista di studi regionali 1, no. 2 (May-Aug 1980): 3-22. Pilatti Balhana, Altiva. “Presenza di comunità dialettali in Brasile: Aspetti sociali, economici, demografici.” In Lo Cascio, L’Italiano in America Latina, 119-135. Prevedello, Nora Lilí and Silvia Susana Gerosa. La inmigración italiana en Colonia Caroya y el contacto de dos lenguas. Córdoba (AR): Comunicarte Editorial, 1997. Rizzolatti, Piera. “Osservazioni sul friulano d’Oltreoceano.” Oltreoceano 1 (2007): 157-168. Rosoli, Gianfausto. Emigrazione italiana in Argentina: Aspetti sociali e culturali. Rome: Istituto dell’Enciclopedia Italiana Treccani, 1993. —. “Alfabetizzazione e iniziative educative per gli emigranti tra Otto e Novecento.” In Cattolici, educazione e trasformazioni socio-culturali in Italia tra Otto e Novecento. Edited by Luciano Pazzaglia, 119-144. Brescia: La Scuola, 1999. Secci, Alberto. “Il taliàn: Spunti e riflessioni su un dibattito.” In Vedovelli, Storia linguistica, 359-364. Serafin, Silvana. Ed. Contributo friulano alla letteratura argentina. Rome: Bulzoni, 2004. Soldatelli Oliboni, Bernardete. “A estigmatização como fator determinante dos bloqueios de fala de descendentes de imigrantes italianos do nordeste do Rio Grande do Sul.” Ideas (Universidad del Salvador) 1, no. 2 (2003): 79-91. Trangoni, Silvia. Il friulano degli emigranti rientrati dall’Argentina. Master’s dissertation, Università degli Studi di Udine, 1998-1999. —. “La comunità friulano-argentina a Maiano tra conservazione e innovazione.” Ce fastu? 78, no. 2 (2002): 187-208. Ursini, Flavia. “Identità, lingua e comunità d’emigrazione: Problemi teorici e metodologici.” In Ethnos e comunità linguistica: Un confronto metodologico interdisciplinare. Edited by Raffaella Bombi and Giorgio Graffi, 507-515. Udine: Forum, 1998. Vedovelli, Massimo. Ed. Storia linguistica dell’emigrazione italiana nel mondo. Rome: Carocci, 2011.

CHAPTER SEVEN “IN THE HANDS OF THE ITALIANS”: FRIULIAN MOSAIC AND TERRAZZO WORKERS IN LONDON JAVIER P. GROSSUTTI “All they knew about making mosaic came from observation and self teaching”: Mosaic and Terrazzo Craftsmen between the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries London and the rest of Great Britain in general have never been the most popular destinations for Friulian migrants. Before the Great War, the great majority of Friulian migrants was formed of masons, brick kiln workers and farm labourers who moved seasonally from the mountains, hills and plains of Friuli to the so-called Germanie (Germanies), year after year, but only rarely crossed the Channel. The few who travelled to London and then other cities in England in the 1880s were mosaic and terrazzo workers from the Alpine foothills of western Friuli, from Sequals, Fanna, Orgnese and Cavasso Nuovo. On this phenomenon, as on many others that have marked Friuli’s recent history, there has been very little research.1 The terrazzo, also called Venetian flooring, is a very common type of stone paving in the lagoon city. It is made up of grains of marble and stone of up to 40 millimetres in diameter that are bound together with limestone or cement mixed with fine grains and opus signinum. The terrazzo can be 1

On Friulian mosaic and terrazzo craftsmen see Giuseppe Della Pozza, Sequals: Note storiche (Udine: Arti Grafiche Friulane, 1934), 43-45; and id. Sequals: Testimonianze di fede e di opere (Pordenone: La tipografia, 1982), 89-103. See also the history of terrazzo and mosaic workers from Sequals edited by Gianni Colledani and Tullio Perfetti, Dal sasso al mosaico: storia dei terrazzieri e dei mosaicisti di Sequals (Sequals, Pordenone: Comune di Sequals, 1994).


Chapter Seven

seen as simpler than a mosaic floor, but it too is made with marble and pebbles of various colours. Mosaic floors and terrazzos both require polishing, which was traditionally done by hand with a special tool, the ors or galera, which consists of a piece of sandstone attached to a special iron with a long handle. The ors was used to scrub the surface of the floor until it was shiny and smooth.2 Friulian craftsmen specialised in floor or wall mosaics made of marble, and occasionally in glass mosaics. The first Friulian mosaic workers we know of arrived in London in the 1870s, and they did not come directly from Friuli but via Paris. One of them was certainly Pietro Mazziol, born in Sequals on 6th October 1850. Pietro had worked in Paris with his relative Giovanni Battista Mazziol who, together with townsman Gian Domenico Facchina, made the mosaics of the Palais Garnier opera house. From the beginning of the 1860s, Giovanni Battista Mazziol, born in Sequals on 21st September 1828, and his fellow townsman and mosaic worker Del Turco, also from Sequals, were the owners of a mosaic company at 170 Rue Saint Dominique.3 In 1880 the “Entreprise Générale de Dallages en Mosaique Vénitienne et Romaine Mazzioli et Del Turco,” then owned by Jean Mazzioli (Giovanni Battista’s son) and a certain Chauviret, had a branch in London. Their offices were in the borough of Westminster, at 23 Gresse Street, Rathbone Place, and it was run by Pietro Mazzioli (born Mazziol), a relative of Jean’s.4 According to memories of the Mazzioli family, Pietro arrived in London in 1875.5 At the beginning of 1881, Pietro Mazzioli returned to Friuli where, on 21st February, he married Antonia Lizier from Usago in Travesio. Some months later, between May and June, Pietro returned to London and was joined by his wife Antonia in 1883. Their children were born in London: Louis in 1886, Domenica (known as Tina) in 1889, Joseph in 1891 and Adam in 1894. Pietro Mazzioli died prematurely on 14th March 1896, in London. Mazzioli and the other mosaic workers from Sequals that he had brought to London made mosaic works for the high altar in St George’s Cathedral in Southwark and for the old Scotland Yard, Baltic Exchange and Leicester Square’s Dental Hospital buildings. Gian 2

See Antonio Crovato, I pavimenti alla veneziana (Resana, Treviso: Edizioni Grafí, 1999), 53-79; and Manuela Farneti, Glossario tecnico-storico del mosaico: Con una breve storia del mosaico (Ravenna: Longo, 2001), 155. 3 As noted in the Annuaire du Bâtiment des Travaux Publics et des Arts Industriels of 1866, compiled by Eugène Sageret (Paris: Bureau de l’Annuaire des Bâtiments, 1866), 974. 4 Ibid. 1551. 5 See Joseph Mazzioli, A Brief History of the Mosaic and Terrazzo Industry in the UK (unpublished manuscript).

Friulian Mosaic and Terrazzo Workers in London


Domenico Facchina’s Parisian firm, instead, were put in charge of the mosaics on the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral in London, which had been designed by Sir William Richmond.6 Despite that, the marble industrialist William Henry Burke claimed that he was responsible for introducing modern mosaic to England at the beginning of the 1870s. In an article published in the 1890s, Burke wrote: It is true that the writer of this paper was the first to cause mosaic pavements to be adopted in Great Britain, and that, as a result of his standing with architects and artists, a fashion was quickly set, so that within a very few years the areas laid were to be reckoned by tens of thousands of feet (between 1872 and 1880 the writer’s firm put down nearly a million superficial feet), but it is certain that if he had not taken the narrative someone else would; his only merit is that he saw the time was ripe, he seized the occasion with enthusiasm, and gave velocity to a movement that had already begun. The Italians, at that time engaged in this industry, were wholly lacking education; few of them could read, and fewer still could write even their native tongue; all they knew about making mosaic came from observation and self teaching.7

Burke, however, failed to point out that “the Italians, at that time engaged in this industry” had been executing floor mosaics for over two hundred years, as the craftsmen employed in this sector in the second half of the nineteenth century belonged to the same families who had been active in Venice in the sixteenth century. Moreover, Burke does not specify the place of origin of the craftsmen who executed the mosaics made by his firm. Still, it is clear that they were Italians because, at that time, there was no local workforce capable of executing such work in London or in the rest of Great Britain. In another part of the essay, in fact, Burke points out that The men who engaged in this art, now, however, less of an art than a craft, came from villages in the neighbourhood of the town of Udine, a city of Venetia mentioned by Pliny among the municipalities of that country; and an important town in the middle ages as the capital of the province of


See the speech delivered by the lawyer Fabio Mora, recorded in the memorial book Sequals in memoria di Gian Domenico Facchina (Spilimbergo, Pordenone: Tipografia Menini, 1906), 12. 7 William Henry Burke, A Short History of Marble Mosaic Pavements and of the Events Connected with their Modern Revival (Sl. ca. 1890), 9-10.


Chapter Seven Friule [sic]. These men traveled from one Italian city to another, practicing their craft much after the fashion of the artisans in the middle ages.8

In 1872, Burke and Co. was at 17 Newman Street in London, a few hundred metres away from the English branch of the Mazzioli & Del Turco firm. The owner was an Englishman, but the firm took inspiration from Italian works and had Italian workforce, in particular people from Friuli. At that epoch (1870) many churches and public edifices were being built in England; architects like the late William Burges, whose fame as an artist its not confined to his own country, and the late George Edmund Street, architect of the new law courts in London, were calling to their aid, in council, men who had devoted their time to the study of the artistic branches of the building trade. Encouraged by promises of support from these and other architects, the writer made many journeys to Italy, visiting and dwelling in the cities and towns where any remains of Roman pavements were to be seen.9

In 1881, the entrepreneur Luigi Odorico (born in Vienna in 1855, the son of Odorico Odorico from Sequals), the owner of a mosaic and terrazzo company in Frankfurt that employed around a hundred Friulian workers,10 sent one of his employees to London, one Giovanni Mariutto (born in Orgnese in Cavasso Nuovo in 1856). Mariutto, who was probably accompanied by his manager Sigmund Diespeker, was charged with assessing the possibilities offered by the English market and, if the opportunity arose, opening a branch in London. In a short time, Diespeker and Mariutto decided to set up a business in the mosaic flooring sector; however, they did so independently, rather than as affiliates of Odorico’s company in Frankfurt. The new firm was named Diespeker & Co. Ltd. Alongside Diespeker and Burke and Co., the other mosaic and terrazzo companies operating in London in the 1890s were those owned by Ebner, an Austrian, by the Belgian Degrelle Hudrette, and by the Englishman Simpson. There were also a few small Italian firms such as Mongiat & Son and Polombo of Little Britain Street. The construction industry was expanding, but Friulian mosaic and terrazzo workers had not yet managed 8

Ibid., 7. Ibid., 10. 10 On Friulian migration to the German Reich see René Del Fabbro, “Immigrati stagionali nel Reich prima del 1914,” in Italiani in Germania tra Ottocento e Novecento: Spostamenti, rapporti, immagini, influenze, ed. Gustavo Corni and Cristopher Dipper (Bologna: Il Mulino, 2006), 127. 9

Friulian Mosaic and Terrazzo Workers in London


to create a solid network of companies: they carried out the works on behalf of English and foreign businesses. In January 1895, the business officer of the Italian Embassy in London, cav. Giulio Silvestrelli, presented a report entitled La colonia italiana in Londra (The Italian Colony in London), which was published in the Bollettino del Ministero degli Affari Esteri (Bulletin of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs). There, Silvestrelli observed that “sotto dei padroni esclusivamente inglesi molti operai italiani lavorano in pavimenti a mosaico, l’uso dei quali va estendendosi a Londra” (many Italian labourers work, exclusively under English employers, on mosaic flooring, the use of which is becoming widespread in London).11 He lists five Italian retailers of glasswork and mosaics in the capital; on the other hand, in the workingclass neighbourhood of Holborn there were 130 mosaic workers. Holborn, the oldest Italian centre in London, “si compone dei suonatori d’organo nelle pubbliche strade, dei gelatieri, dei modelli, dei merciaioli ambulanti, dei figurinai, fruttivendoli, droghieri, calzolai, tappezzieri, ebanisti, ottici e fabbricanti di strumenti musicali” (is made up of organ grinders in the public streets, ice-cream vendors, artist’s models, street peddlers, “figurinai” [producers and sellers of plaster statuettes], fruit sellers, grocers, cobblers, upholsterers, cabinet-makers, opticians, and makers of musical instruments). The Italian community of Soho, more recent than that of Holborn, instead is “composto in massima parte di cuochi, camerieri, assistenti di cucina e di domestici, corrieri, insegnanti, artisti, sarti, bottegai, orefici, trattori ed albergatori. Questa nuova colonia ha maggiore importanza dell’altra, tanto dal punto di vista della popolazione, che da quello dell’attività, del lavoro e della ricchezza” (mostly made up of cooks, waiters, kitchen assistants and servants, couriers, teachers, artists, tailors, shopkeepers, jewellers, restaurateurs and hoteliers. This new colony is more important than the other, as much from the point of view of the population as from that of industry, work, and wealth).12 Indeed, in Soho and the West End there were 2,500 Italian waiters and servants, 1,200 kitchen boys and 900 cooks and apprentices; in Holborn the Italians controlled the wandering trades with a thousand organ grinders and two thousand ice-cream, potato and chestnut sellers. The majority of the Italian community in London, therefore, was employed in catering and as peddlers, and these were also the sectors that Italians were 11 Giulio Silvestrelli, “La colonia italiana in Londra,” Bollettino del Ministero degli Affari Esteri (February 1895) 108. Silvestrelli’s report was partly reproduced in an article entitled “Gli italiani a Londra. Le loro attività, le loro industrie,” which appeared in the newspaper La Patria del Friuli on 12th April 1895, 1. 12 Ibid., 105.


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stereotypically associated with.13 However, the importance and contribution of mosaic and terrazzo workers should not be overlooked. In July 1900, the journal La Riforma Sociale (The Social Reform), edited by Francesco Saverio Nitti and Luigi Roux, published a series of articles on the Italians in England by Giuseppe Prato, an economist and historian from Piedmont. Prato revealed “la poca omogeneità di composizione, di provenienza e di educazione, che divide la colonia [italiana] in tre classi nettamente separate e distinte, le quali hanno fra loro rari, e, giova confessarlo, non sempre fraterni rapporti” (the lack of homogeneity of composition, origin and background that divides the [Italian] colony into three clearly separate and distinct classes, whose contact with one another is rare and, it must be said, not always fraternal). At the top end of the colony, according to Prato, there were artists, wealthy merchants, business owners and industrialists, “la classe meno numerosa, ma anche, è vergogna il constatarlo, quella che serba con cura ed affetto meno gelosi e solleciti le tradizioni della patria” (the less numerous class but also, it is shameful to say, the one which with less jealous care and affection preserves and advocates the traditions of the homeland). It was also the one that was affected more than any other by “i fattori funesti che, in Inghilterra meglio che altrove, promuovono ed intensificano il processo di una rapida e dolorosa snazionalizzazione” (the woeful factors which, in England more than elsewhere, promote and intensify the process of a rapid and painful denationalisation).14 On the lower levels of the Italian colony there were the peddlers and buskers—“onta e ludibrio del nome nostro” (dishonour and scorn on our name), adds Prato, the sort of people “alla quale esclusivamente si devono, e non in Inghilterra soltanto, i giudizi più severi che da scrittori non tutti prevenuti e parziali furon in ogni tempo pronunciati contro la nostra emigrazione” (who are the only ones who deserve, and that not just in England, the harsh criticisms that have always been uttered against Italian migrants by writers, not all of whom are biased and partial). Prato points out that ice-cream makers and chestnut vendors “non meritano certo di esser confusi, come da alcuni si fa, coll’accolta cenciosa e vergognosa degli altri vagabondi” (do not deserve to be


For an analysis of Italian migration to Britain and its perception in the nineteenth century see Lucio Sponza’s detailed study Italian Immigrants in NineteenthCentury Britain: Realities and Images (Leicester: Leicester UP, 1988), especially 57, 94-114. 14 Giuseppe Prato, “Gli italiani in Inghilterra,” La Riforma Sociale 10, no. 7 (1900): 692.

Friulian Mosaic and Terrazzo Workers in London


confused, as they are by some people, with the shameful raggedy bunch of the other vagabonds).15 Between the more well-off and intellectual members of the community and the wanderers and peddlers, there were the workers and the craftsmen “il cui numero si moltiplica ed il cui livello morale e materiale si eleva di giorno in giorno” (whose number is multiplying and whose moral and material level is increasing day by day). Above all, it was these workers and craftsmen who suffered most the resistance and opposition from English workers and trade unions. Prato writes: Benché l’opposizione accanita ed inesorabile delle Trade Unions e la diffidenza degli industriali, convinti che nessun lavoratore sia in grado di competere coll’indigeno, renda quasi impossibile agli italiani il trovar lavoro nelle grandiose industrie di cui si alimenta la prosperità del Regno Unito, tuttavia noi vediamo un certo numero di essi impiegati, a condizioni assai vantaggiose, in fabbriche esclusivamente inglesi, come le importanti officine meccaniche Maxim e Nordenfelt e le rinomatissime coltellerie di Sheffield, o in case di prodotti italiani appartenenti ad industriali indigeni, quali i fabbricatori di mosaici o di pavimenti alla veneziana.16 (The fierce and relentless opposition of trade unions, and the diffidence of industrialists, who are convinced that no worker is able to compete with the locals, makes it almost impossible for Italians to find jobs in the important industries which fuel the United Kingdom’s prosperity. However, we can see a certain number of them employed, with quite advantageous conditions, in factories that are exclusively English, such as the important mechanic’s workshops Maxim and Nordenfelt, or Sheffield’s well-known cutlery works, as well as in companies belonging to local industrialists that sell Italian products, such as makers of mosaics or Venetian paving.)

Nevertheless, the majority of Italian craftsmen and workers were part of the group that was “omogeneo ed importantissimo costituito dal ceto degli impiegati di albergo, di ristorante, di caffè e di tutti coloro le cui occupazioni in qualche modo si connettono all’andamento di tali esercizi...Esclusivamente impiegati in tutte le locande e trattorie italiane, bene accolti anche in quelle esercite da inglesi, ricercati dai clubs e dalle case private, essi son riusciti ad assumere una specie di monopolio dell’arte loro” (homogenous and conspicuous, made up of employees working in hotels, restaurants and cafés, and all those whose jobs are in some way connected to the workings of such services... employed 15 16

Ibid., 698-99. Ibid., 695.


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exclusively by all the Italian inns and small restaurants, but also welcomed in those run by the English and sought after by clubs and private homes, they have succeeded in gaining a sort of monopoly on their craft).17 The control exercised by the Italians over some sectors of the London economy is confirmed by the periodical Pearson’s Weekly, which on 7th July 1900 deplored the fact that some industries in the metropolis, especially the hotel and restaurant businesses and that of mosaic paving, were entirely in the hands of foreigners, and especially of the Italians. In the mosaic and terrazzo sector there was no such competition between the indigenous and migrant workforces. In 1903, the compilers of the Annual Report for the Medical Officer of Health in Finsbury, a district north of the City of London, wrote as follows: It appears that there are practically no English mosaic workers, the whole work being in the hands of the Italians...Such mosaic flooring is increasingly used for public offices and buildings, in corridors, lavatories, etc. One firm alone in central London employs 80 to100 Italians in this process of flooring. The busy season is in the summer, much less work being done in winter. The work is not of course confined to London. Many of these Italian mosaic floor workers are sent into the provinces for longer or shorter periods. The wages are the same as in asphalting, 4s. to 4s 6d. a day.18

The wages of Italian workers and craftsmen were in line with the salaries received by local workers. As Giuseppe Prato wrote: Mentre i pochissimi operai italiani che sono eccezionalmente riusciti a farsi ammettere nelle officine inglesi percepiscono i salari assai elevati che competono agli indigeni (6 a 10 e più pence all’ora), e ne adottano per lo più lo standard of life abbastanza costoso, la maggior parte degli altri, pure realizzando discrete giornate, riescono con un maggior risparmio ad accumulare piccole somme, risorse preziose per il sospirato ritorno in patria. Di essi i più fortunati sono, secondo le tavole del [console italiano] Heath, gli orefici ed argentieri, il cui guadagno oscilla fra i 60 ed i 100 scellini settimanali; vengono subito dopo i tappezzieri, mosaicisti, marmisti, calzolai, sarti, parrucchieri con una media di 30 a 40 s.; seguono i legnaiuoli con 25 a 35 ed i lavoranti in specchi con 20 a 30...Della classe degli impiegati d’albergo, ricercatissimi e rimuneratissimi sono i cuochi, il cuoi stipendio può salire fino a 200 e più scellini settimanali; generalmente 17 18

Ibid., 696-97. Quoted in Sponza, Italian Immigrants, 91.

Friulian Mosaic and Terrazzo Workers in London


ben pagati i camerieri ed I garzoni di trattoria, che posson contare sopra un guadagno di 20 a 100 s.20.19 (The very few Italian workers who, extraordinarily, have succeeded in gaining entry into the English workshops, receive the quite high salaries that are due to the locals (6 to 10 pence and over per hour), and generally end up adopting their rather expensive standard of life. Most of the others instead, even though they get a fair day’s wage, manage to save more and accumulate small sums, which are precious resources for their yearned for return home. The most fortunate of them, according to figures from Heath [the Italian Consul], are the jewellers and silversmiths, whose earnings oscillate between 60 and 100 shillings a week; they are closely followed by the upholsterers, the mosaic and marble workers, the cobblers, the tailors and the hairdressers, with an average of 30 to 40 shillings; next come the carpenters with 25 to 35, and the mirror makers with 20 to 30...Among the class of hotel employees, cooks are in high demand and very well remunerated, their weekly wages reaching 200 and over; waiters and kitchen boys in small restaurants are generally well paid, being able to count on earnings from 20 to 100 shillings.)

According to Prato, the relatively high salaries of Italian craftsmen and workers and their satisfactory economic situation were the cause of the distance that these groups of migrants kept towards what he called the “sette sovversive” (subversive sects)—that is to say, the anarchist groups “le cui tendenze esaltate costituiscono un permanente pericolo per la considerazione e la quiete degli altri nazionali stabiliti nel Regno Unito” (whose hot-headed inclinations constitute a permanent danger for the reputation and peace of the other countrymen who have settled in the United Kingdom).20

“Mosaic Workers Unite!”: Trade Unions and Enterprise among Friulian Workers Friulian craftsmen did not seem to belong to the demographic of Italians who joined anarchist groups in London. However, between 1900 and 1901, Friulian mosaic and terrazzo workers established the Società 19

Prato, “Gli Italiani in Inghilterra,” 702. Ibid., 703. On the Italian anarchists in London see Pietro Di Paola, The Knights Errant of Anarchy: London and the Italian Anarchist Diaspora (1880-1917) (Liverpool: Liverpool UP, 2013).



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operaia dei mosaicisti (Mosaic Workers’ Society) which, a year after it was founded, had already over 120 members.21 The fact that Italian mosaic workers had established their own society is significant, because this group was modest in size. Among the Italians in London, only the much more ambitious and numerous hotel and restaurant workers had created their own organisations: the Società di mutuo soccorso e collocamento (Society of Mutual Aid and Employment) for hotel and restaurant employees in 1886 and the Circolo italiano d’arte culinaria (Italian Circle of Culinary Art), which was founded in 1894 on the initiative of inn workers.22 The mosaic workers’ association too was a mutual aid society, its main objective being the improvement of working conditions for its members. In a letter sent to the bulletin of the Segretariato dell’emigrazione (Emigration Bureau) in Udine, GioBatta Toffolo, a socialist terrazzo worker who was born in Fanna in 1871 and came to London in the last few years of the nineteenth century with his wife, also from Fanna, highlights the achievements of the Society of Mosaic Workers. In an article entitled “Mosaicisti-Terrazzai unitevi!” (“Mosaic and Terrazzo Workers Unite!), Toffolo wrote: “Del tentativo fatto a Londra nel 1901 di cui io pure feci parte, dirò che in meno di 2 anni dalla fondazione della società, e senza nemmeno un[o] sciopero, gl’impresari concessero riduzione d’orario senza diminuzione di paga” (With regard to the attempt made in London in 1901 in which I also took part, I will say that in less than two years since the society had been founded, and without even once going on strike, the managers conceded a reduction in our hours without a pay cut).23 Three months earlier, on 15th January 1910, Leonida Giannese, who was from Sequals and was a colleague of GioBatta Toffolo, confirmed the progress made by mosaic workers thanks to the actions of the Society. On the pages of the bulletin of the Segretariato dell’Emigrazione in Udine, Giannese wrote: A Londra nel 1901 si fondava una lega fra i mosaicisti e manovali, che in breve tempo produsse un miglioramento, sia per l’attiva propaganda, come pure per la grande differenza di trattamento in paragone alle altre classi operaie inglesi. È da notarsi che al momento della sua fondazione si lavorava dodici ore al giorno (cioè 72 ore alla settimana): dopo due anni di vita e di lotta si ottenne un orario complessivo di 56 ore settimanali. Altra notevole 21

See Prato, “Gli Italiani in Inghilterra,” 18. Ibid., 14-15, 17-18. 23 GioBatta Toffolo, “Mosaicisti-Terrazzai Unitevi!,” L’Emigrante: Bollettino bimestrale del Segretariato dell’Emigrazione di Udine 5, no. 2 (February 1910): 4. 22

Friulian Mosaic and Terrazzo Workers in London


conquista fu quella del riconoscimento delle ore in più dell’orario, qualificate straordinarie e compensate col 50 per cento in più. Nell’istesso anno si giunse per qualche tempo ad imporre alle ditte l’esclusione dal lavoro dei non aderenti alla società; ma su questo punto la lotta si fece seria e si dovette ricorrere allo sciopero. La ditta The Arts Paviments & Decoration Ltd., di quella metropoli, dopo due settimane incaricò il suo capo, certo Orazio Tramontin della frazione di Petrucco, comune di Fanna, di rimediare alla grave situazione. E il Tramontin si mise d’impegno, riunì una decina degli scioperanti fra i più vecchi, promise un mare di belle cose e ottenne il loro tradimento. La società si liquidò colpita a morte dal crumiraggio!24 (In 1901 a league between mosaic workers and manual labourers was founded in London, which rapidly led to an improvement, both because of active propaganda and because of the large difference in treatment compared to the other categories of English workers. It is worth noting that since it was founded we have been working twelve hours a day (that is, 72 hours a week): after two years of activity and struggle, we obtained a maximum 56 hour week. Another notable achievement was the recognition of time worked beyond scheduled working hours, designated as overtime and paid 50 per cent more. In the same year, we went as far as forcing companies to leave out from work those who were not members of the society; but on this point the struggle became tough and we had to resort to a strike. After two weeks, the Art Pavements & Decoration Ltd., a London firm, instructed their boss Orazio Tramontin, from the hamlet of Petrucco in the municipality of Fanna, to solve this grave situation. And Tramontin set down to work: he summoned a dozen from among the older strikers, made big promises and obtained their betrayal. The society was liquidated, hit to death by strikebreaking!)

The Società operaia dei mosaicisti was dissolved in 1903, but in 1904 around one hundred Italian craftsmen created the “Mosaic Workers Cooperative Society” and elected Angelo Busolini from Sequals as president. “Anche questa finì male” (this one ended badly too) wrote Toffolo in 1910. For the second defeat, he put forward the following 24

Leonida Giannese, “Per l’organizzazione dei Mosaicisti-Terrazai,” L’Emigrante: Bollettino bimestrale del Segretariato dell’Emigrazione di Udine 5, no. 1 (January 1910): 2.


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explanation: “le cause della non riuscita sono molteplici, ma a parer mio la più importante è che dura fra gli operai delle diverse ditte un certo spirito di campanilismo. Mancano inoltre menti direttrici, vi è poco spirito d’associazione, e per completare, abbonda quel certo egoismo che purtroppo esiste fra gli operai Friulani, i più, intenti ad accumulare un po’ di denaro, e correre in patria” (there are many reasons why it did not work, but in my opinion the most important is that among the workers of the different firms, there remains a certain spirit of parochialism. There is also a lack of leading thinkers, little spirit of cooperation, and finally, there is plenty of that particular selfishness that unfortunately exists among Friulian workers, who are mostly bent on accumulating a bit of money and then running back home).25 For most Friulian migrants, the main objective of working abroad was that of earning enough to sustain their families who had remained back home. Some however, especially among specialised craftsmen such as mosaic and terrazzo workers, aimed at opening their own business—a goal that was hardly reconcilable with the trade union struggles of the workers’ societies. In London, as in the United States, the commercial success of some of these skilled artisans relegated their initial enthusiasm for trade union mutualism to the background.26 In London, there were numerous cases of mosaic and terrazzo workers who became successful entrepreneurs. At the beginning of the twentieth century, for example, the Friulian Giovanni Mariutto became the sole owner of the firm Diespeker & Co. and Pietro D’Agnolo from Fanna was running The Art Pavements & Decorations (before known as Degrelle Hudrette). Alongside the Englishman William Henry Burke’s Burke & Co., these were the three most important companies in the capital’s mosaic and terrazzo sector. These three firms, which predominantly employed Friulian workers, and the smaller firms of Friulian mosaic and terrazzo workers in the city, produced practically all the mosaic and terrazzo works in London. Among the most important works carried out between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries are: the mosaic flooring of the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Science Museum in Kensington and the entrance of the National Portrait Gallery; the ceiling mosaic in the lobby of the London Coliseum; the mosaic on the canopy of Westminister Cathedral; the mosaics floors in the Midland Bank building on Gracechurch Street; the foyer of the London Opera House (demolished in 1957); Queen’s Hall 25

Toffolo, “Mosaicisti-Terrazzai Unitevi!,” 4. For a discussion of terrazzo workers in New York, see my paper “Beyond ‘Pick and Shovel’ Laborers: Italian Mosaic and Terrazzo Workers in New York City,” presented at the Italians in the Americas Conference, John D. Calandra Italian American Institute–CUNY, 24-26 April 2008. 26

Friulian Mosaic and Terrazzo Workers in London


(destroyed by German bombing in 1941), the London General Post Office; the Brigade of Guards’ headquarters at the Wellington Barracks; the Headland Hotel in Newquay (Cornwall); and a number of office buildings in the King’s Cross area.27 In the years after the Great War, the use of mosaic floors tended to decrease, mainly because of excessive costs. The use of terrazzo floors instead had not yet reached its peak, which it did in the period between 1920 and 1930. Moreover, the war delayed the introduction to Great Britain of a mechanical device for smoothing and polishing terrazzos, which a Friulian entrepreneur, Marco Rosa, had introduced to Germany in 1912. Prior to that, these laborious tasks were done manually. From the second half of the Twenties, in London and in the rest of Great Britain, the use of the smoothing machine made it possible to cover large areas at a relatively low cost, propelling what used to be largely the work of craftsmanship to an industrial scale.

“They know the secret to this art”: Mosaic and Terrazzo Workers Before and After the Second World War In the Twenties and Thirties, two firms competed in the London terrazzo market: the Art Pavements & Decorations Ltd. and Diespeker & Co. Ltd. The Friulian Giovanni Mariutto was no longer the owner of Diespeker; he had sold it around 1923 to the holding company Hollybush Trust Limited, which was at the time associated with the large cement producer Bigspan. In 1924, the Hollybush Trust put Joseph Mazzioli, Pietro’s son, in charge of Diespeker and imposed product diversification and a more dynamic marketing strategy. Joseph became the work manager and shortly after, at the beginning of the thirties, the company went from having around 25 employees (in 1924) to over 400, most of whom were Friulian terrazzo workers. In 1931, alongside the central London headquarters on the Holborn Viaduct, Diespeker had branches in Birmingham, Hull, Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow, and Belfast.28 Apart from the spread of polishing machines, the element that completely renewed the trade and supported its expansion was the so-called “precast terrazzo,” consisting of panels prepared in factories and then installed on site. The benefits of precast terrazzo are its many applications: it can be used for floors, 27

As testified by Joseph Mazzioli in his unpublished memoir. Peter Mazzioli recorded the company’s history in an unpublished manuscript History of Diespeker & Co., Ltd at 38 Graham Street London; see also the Diespeker catalogue published in 1931.



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dividing walls, stairs, façades of buildings, ceilings, columns, pillars, balconies, and so on. In the thirties, at least six hundred Friulian terrazzo workers were operating in London. They came from Sequals and Orgnese, but also from Fanna and Solimbergo, and some from Cavasso Nuovo, Arba and Colle. Those from Sequals and Orgnese predominantly worked for Diespeker and Co. Ltd., and arrived in London at the summons of Joseph Mazzioli, who was also from Sequals. Those from Fanna were employed by the Art Pavements & Decorations Ltd., where the work manager was Pietro D’Agnolo, also from Fanna. Until the outbreak of the Second World War, the terrazzo sector did not suffer from the worldwide economic crisis. In an attempt to fight high rates of unemployment, the British government funded the construction of public buildings (hospitals, schools, housing, government offices, train stations, barracks), and terrazzo companies were barely able to keep up with demand. Moreover, property development companies such as British Land financed the construction of large hotels (like the Dorchester and the Grosvenor) and luxury flats, where mosaic flooring and above all terrazzos were widely used. Just as it had done overseas in the United States and in Canada, terrazzo became popular in the United Kingdom because it offered many advantages: high standards of hygiene, a variety of colours, and widespread applications. Innovative techniques and new aesthetic trends came to London and the United Kingdom from the United States, which was at that time the most important global market for terrazzo. In order to tap into that market, Friulian mosaic workers took advantage of the network of family members and townspeople that extended across the Atlantic. Peter Mazzioli, Joseph’s son and the work manager at Diespeker, remembers that: Mio padre era in contatto con Del Turco, con Pellarin e altri compaesani di Sequals impresari del terrazzo che lavoravano negli Stati Uniti: così egli era al corrente delle novità nel settore del terrazzo negli Stati Uniti. Negli anni Venti, in Inghilterra si usavano le macchine per lucidare Cassani, fatte in Italia, che avevano solo un piatto per lucidare. Nel decennio successivo, invece, la Diespeker ha cominciato a importare alcune macchine fatte negli Stati Uniti che, rispetto a quelle italiane, avevano più piatti per lucidare ed erano più efficaci.29 (My father was in touch with Del Turco, Pellarin and other fellow countrymen from Sequals who were in the terrazzo business in the United 29 Interview with Peter Mazzioli, Sequals, 23rd April and 9th June 2009; 14th September 2012.

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States, so he was up-to-date on the innovations in the American terrazzo sector. In the Twenties, in England we used Cassani polishing machines, which were made in Italy and had only one plate for polishing. In the following decade instead, Diespeker started to import some machines made in the United States that, compared to the Italian ones, had more plates for polishing and were more efficient).

Friulians were not the only Italians working in the terrazzo sector. Between the two wars, terrazzo craftsmen were predominantly Friulian, polishers came from Parma and Piacenza, and carpenters, manual labourers, administrative staff and drivers were mainly English.30 The terrazzo craftsmen received the highest wages, from three to seven pounds a week; manual polishers earned two and a half pounds, and those who used machines earned between three and three and a half pounds, which was the same as an unskilled labourer, with companies guaranteeing sixty hours’ work per week. Friulians carried out the work that required the most skill; and polishers instead were mainly men from Piacenza and Parma who had previously worked in catering (especially fish and chips shops), many of them in Wales. When the economic crisis forced many in the catering business to close, the migrants from Parma and Piacenza who were spread around the United Kingdom flooded into London, where they found work as polishers. These low-skilled labourers, however, did not satisfy the demand for a specialised workforce in a mosaic and terrazzo sector that was quickly expanding, and the restrictions to immigration adopted by the British government for certain groups of specialised foreign workers began to provoke the protests of architects and construction company owners. In 1927, the periodical Architect’s Journal pointed out the damage that such barriers had done to the sector, particularly in the “art of mosaics” which had almost “disappeared in England because of a lack of Italian workers, who know the secret to this art.” Following these heated protests, the Ministry for Employment agreed to let into England a certain contingent of Italian mosaic and terrazzo workers as an exception, on condition that each of them taught his trade to an English apprentice. A large number of Friulian terrazzo workers arrived in England between 1928 and 1930. The Architect’s Journal states that “if this absurd system of restrictions had been in place in the past, England,


In her history of Clerkenwell’s Italian community, Olive Besagni talks about Italian terrazzo workers that were not Friulian, A Better Life: A History of London’s Italian Immigrant Families in Clerkenwell’s Little Italy in the 19th and 20th Centuries (London: Camden History Society, 2011), 63, 85, 107.


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which in all areas has drawn on the talent and initiative of Italians and other foreigners, would today still be in the Stone Age.”31 Thus Italians, and Friulians in particular, contributed to embellishing the main buildings in London and in the rest of Great Britain with mosaics and terrazzos. In October 1933, in the period of greatest development of the terrazzo sector, the National Federation of Terrazzo and Mosaic Specialists was founded. It included all the most important companies operating in the sector in the United Kingdom.32 For the Italians in London and in the rest of Great Britain, Italy’s entry into the war represented a sort of watershed that left a deep scar in the community. In July 1940, the police turned up at the workshops of the Diespeker Company and arrested almost all Italian workers: some were sent to Canada, others to Australia, and a group was confined to the Isle of Man; those born in England of Italian parents were enlisted and sent to the front. One way or the other, Diespeker ended up without any workers, and the same fate befell the other mosaic and terrazzo companies that employed Italian craftsmen. Of the Friulian workers at Diespeker who were arrested in 1940 and sent to Canada, at least four died when the SS Arandora Star sank and 446 Italians perished; they were Domenico Cristofoli, Renato Cristofoli, Antonio Bertin and Ettore Cristofoli, all from Sequals. Other Friulians also lost their lives in the disaster, most of whom were employed in the terrazzo sector, such as Luigi Bertoia (from Montereale Valcellina), Riccardo Tramontin (from Cavasso Nuovo), Matteo Fossaluzza (from Ognese in Cavasso Nuovo) and Antonio Santuz, Giovanni Maria Stellon and Marco Carlo Maddalena, all three from Fanna.33 During the war, the mosaic and terrazzo sector practically came to a standstill because of a lack of workforce as well as of materials, especially iron and marble. After the end of the conflict, the sons of Italians and Friulians who had been enlisted in the British army and had previously been involved in the sector did not, as a rule, resume their fathers’ work. The craftsmen who had returned from prisoner-of-war camps, instead,


Quoted (in Italian) in the article “Emigrazione ‘intellettuale’,” which appeared in the Bollettino dell’emigrazione 10 (1927): 1561. 32 However, some London terrazzo businessmen, including Peter Mazzioli, claim that the federation was created in 1929. 33 See Maria Serena Balestracci, Arandora Star: Una tragedia dimenticata (Pontremoli, Massa e Carrara: Il Corriere Apuano, 2002), 123-133; see also Rando Bertoia’s testimony about his father Luigi, appeared in the journal Immigrants & Minorities 3 (1992): 229-235.

Friulian Mosaic and Terrazzo Workers in London


wished to continue in their trade, but they found it hard to find materials. For those from Piacenza, the easiest option was to get back into catering. After 1952, the demand for terrazzo floors showed the first signs of recovery and, from the mid-Fifties and mainly in the Sixties, the sector underwent a true regeneration. The market was in a similar situation to that of the early Twenties: it lacked workforce. Once more, the British government allowed the inflow of foreign workers, restricted to some particular professions. Some Friulian terrazzo workers arrived in London from Belgium, others directly from Italy. They created many new firms, with around fifty-seven companiesregistered with the National Federation of Terrazzo and Mosaic Specialists in the second half of the Fifties. Peter Mazzioli’s experience as a businessman is particularly significant. He was born in London on 30th July 1922, the grandson of the terrazzo pioneer Pietro, and son of Joseph, the Diespeker manager. Once he had finished his military service at the end of 1946, Peter was hired by Diespeker. A year later, together with two English associates, he opened the Arcanum Terrazzo and Tile Company, which was active until 1956. In 1957, with his brother-in-law Anthony Griso and John Lenarduzzi (also known as Lenard), he established the Alpha Mosaic and Terrazzo Company Ltd., which predominantly employed Friulian workers. At the beginning of the Sixties, Peter and Anthony became the sole owners of the company. The Alpha Mosaic and Terrazzo Company carried out works in every corner of London, including University College, the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, the London College of Communication, the Commonwealth Institute, the Royal Masonic Hospital, King’s College Hospital, the Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital, and Finchley Synagogue. The Alpha Mosaic and Terrazzo Company worked also in the London underground transport system. On the walls and floors of the subway passages between Hyde Park and Marble Arch, the company applied around 14,000 yards of mosaics and terrazzos: this is considered to be the largest work of its kind in Europe. At the beginning of the Seventies, the widespread economic crisis hit the mosaic and terrazzo industry, leading to a complete restructuring of the sector. Many firms went bankrupt, others merged and managed to survive, but were forced to expand their business into marble and ceramics. The Alpha Mosaic and Terrazzo Company, however, extended its operations outside the United Kingdom to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Libya, Gambia and Nigeria.34 Just as London and Paris had been the destinations 34 Interview with Peter Mazzioli, Sequals, 23rd April and 9th June 2009; 14th September 2012.


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for Friulian mosaic workers in the second half of the nineteenth century, Riyadh, Dhahran, Doha, Abu Dhabi and Dubai were the new frontiers of the mosaic and terrazzo business in the 1970s. Peter Mazzioli, English descendant of the founding father from Sequals, exported the terrazzo all over the world. For three generations, the Mazziolis have provided mosaics and terrazzos for Britain, and along with many others, have left on London the mark of the entrepreneurial creativity of the craftsmen from a small community in the Friulian Prealps. Translated by Kate Willman

References Balestracci, Maria Serena. Arandora Star: Una tragedia dimenticata. Pontremoli, Massa e Carrara: Il Corriere Apuano, 2002. Bertoia, Rando. “Internment Testimonies: Rando Bertoia.” Immigrants and Minorities 3 (1992): 229-235. Besagni, Olive. A Better Life: A History of London’s Italian Immigrant Families in Clerkenwell’s Little Italy in the 19th and 20th Centuries. London: Camden History Society, 2011. Burke, William Henry. A Short History of Marble Mosaic Pavements and of the Events Connected with their Modern Revival. N.p.: [1890?]. Colledani, Gianni and Tullio Perfetti. Eds. Dal sasso al mosaico: Storia dei terrazzieri e mosaicisti di Sequals. Sequals, Pordenone: Comune di Sequals, 1994. Crovato, Antonio. I pavimenti alla veneziana. Resana, Treviso: Edizioni Grafí, 1999. Del Fabbro, René. “Immigrati stagionali nel Reich prima del 1914.” In Italiani in Germania tra Ottocento e Novecento: Spostamenti, rapporti, immagini, influenze. Edited by Gustavo Corni and Christof Dipper, 117-42. Bologna: Il Mulino, 2006. Della Pozza, Giuseppe. Sequals: Note storiche. Udine: Arti Grafiche Friulane, 1934. —. Sequals: Testimonianze di fede e di opere. Pordenone: La tipografia, 1982. Diespeker & Co. Ltd. Catalogue 1881-1931. London, 1931. Di Paola, Pietro. The Knights Errant of Anarchy: London and the Italian Anarchist Diaspora (1880-1917). Liverpool: Liverpool UP, 2013. Farneti, Manuela. Glossario tecnico-storico del mosaico: Con una breve storia del mosaico. Ravenna: Longo, 2001.

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Giannese, Leonida. “Per l’organizzazione dei Mosaicisti-Terrazzai.” L’Emigrante: Bollettino bimestrale del Segretariato dell’Emigrazione di Udine 5, no. 1 (January 1910): 2. Grossutti, Javier P. “Beyond ‘pick and shovel’ laborers: Italian Mosaic and Terrazzo Workers in New York City.” Paper presented at the Italians in the Americas Conference, John D. Calandra Italian American Institute–CUNY, April 24-26, 2008. Mazzioli, Joseph. A Brief History of the Mosaic and Terrazzo Industry in the UK. Unpublished manuscript. Mazzioli, Peter. History of Diespeker & Co. Ltd. at 38 Graham Street London. Unpublished manuscript. Prato, Giuseppe. “Gli italiani in Inghilterra.” La Riforma Sociale 10, no. 7 (1900): 674-703. Sageret, Eugène. Annuaire du Bâtiment des Travaux Publics et des Arts Industriels. Paris: Bureau de l’Annuaire des Bâtiments, 1866. Sequals in memoria di Gian Domenico Facchina. Spilimbergo, Pordenone: Tipografia Menini, 1906. Silvestrelli, Giulio. “La colonia italiana in Londra.” Bollettino del Ministero degli Affari Esteri, February 1895: 105-11. Partly reproduced in “Gli italiani a Londra: Le loro attività, le loro industrie.” La Patria del Friuli, 12 April 1895. Sponza. Lucio. Italian Immigrants in Nineteenth-Century Britain: Realities and Images. Leicester: Leicester UP, 1988. Toffolo, GioBatta. “Mosaicisti–Terrazzai unitevi!” L’Emigrante: Bollettino bimestrale del Segretariato dell’Emigrazione di Udine 5, no. 2 (February 1910): 4. Unsigned. “Emigrazione ‘intellettuale’.” Bollettino dell’emigrazione 10 (1927): 1555-62.

CHAPTER EIGHT THE CONTRIBUTION OF FRIULIANS TO MOSAIC WORK IN CANADA OLGA ZORZI PUGLIESE The fact that Friulians have tried to keep their traditions alive abroad, and in this case in Canada, is demonstrated by the continuing presence of associations such as the Fameis furlanis (Friulian Families) and the Fogolârs furlans (Friulian Hearths) throughout the country.1 Another sign of this tendency can be seen—albeit in a less obvious way—in the cult of mosaic art. Since the late nineteenth century, wherever large numbers of Friulians have migrated, one can usually find terrazzo floors (and in fact the word “terrazzo” entered the English language in North America precisely in the last years of the nineteenth century),2 as well as mosaics of considerable artistic value. National Canadian art is associated with the Group of Seven and their typical landscape painting depicting trees bending in the wind, colourful leaves falling in autumn, and winter scenes painted white. However, the approximately two hundred mosaic art works, which, according to my research, are found throughout the country, deserve some attention too. These were all executed in the last hundred years, mainly in the central Canadian provinces and in other areas where Friulian immigration was particularly intense.3 These mosaic works are, 1

On the foundation of the Famee furlane of Toronto, see Angelo Principe and Olga Zorzi Pugliese, Rekindling Faded Memories: The Founding of the Famee Furlane of Toronto and Its First Years (1933-41) / Ravvivare ricordi affievoliti: La fondazione e i primi anni della Famee Furlane di Toronto (1933-41) (Toronto: Famee Furlane in Toronto, 1996). 2 A question from colleague Rienzo Pellegrini as to whether Friulian mosaic workers had any influence on the English language brought this term to mind. 3 As early as 1931, the Reverend Luigi Ridolfi expressed the hope that Friulians would be given credit for “being the first to have brought terrazzo and mosaics from Italy to America,” I Friulani nell’America del Nord (Udine: Arti Grafiche Cooperative Friulane, 1931), 19, 149, 150.

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for the most part, integrated within architectural structures in both public and private locations, and are often found in religious institutions. In cases where the works have been designed by Canadians of different ethnicities—for instance by Ukrainians for their Orthodox churches in the province of Manitoba—a Friulian component is often still present, either in the materials used or in the workforce involved in the execution and installation. Some of the terrazzo and marble companies founded in Canada by Friulians in the first decades of the twentieth century, such as TMT (originally Italian Terrazzo Mosaic and Tile Company) founded by Giulio Gasparini (Fagagna 1890–Toronto 1959), are still in operation today.4 As for mosaic work, many craftsmen and a few true artists have distinguished themselves (and, in some cases, continue to be active). These include not only the alumni of the Spilimbergo School (the Scuola Mosaicisti del Friuli, founded in Spilimbergo in 1922 to supersede the Società Anonima Cooperativa Mosaicisti del Friuli established in Sequals in 1920) but also, even before them, ordinary inhabitants of the hills around Sequals and other parts of Friuli, who came to Canada with the requisite technical knowledge they either gained at home or acquired abroad from fellow Friulians. Of the two hundred individual works that have been identified to date, the finest (and one of the oldest) in Canada is certainly the vaulted ceiling in the foyer of the former headquarters of the Metropolitan Insurance Company, now a government building called the Wellington Building, located across from the parliament building in the capital, Ottawa. Designed by American artist Barry Faulkner (Keene, New Hampshire 1881–1966), who studied in Italy, the mosaic’s illustration is based on a rather elaborate allegory of Mother Insurance who, like the Lady of Mercy, spreads her wide cloak to protect the weak and the poor.5 In one of 4

A brief history of the companies and of the changes in management and names of the businesses–with the suppression of the word “Italian” after the outbreak of the Second World War–can be found in Olga Zorzi Pugliese, “The Mosaic Ceiling of 1933 in the Royal Ontario Museum and Its Craftsmen: the Untold Story,” Studies in the Decorative Arts 11, no. 2 (2004): 62-63. See also previous studies by John Zucchi, Italians in Toronto: Development of a National Identity, 1875-1935 (Kingston, Montreal: McGill-Queen’s UP, 1988); and id. “Furlans in Toronto and Across Canada,” introduction to Landed: A Pictorial Mosaic of “Friulani” Immigration to Canada ([Toronto]: Friuli Benevolent Corporation, 1992), 1-8. 5 On the artist and his studies in Italy see the Barry Faulkner Papers, 1900-1973, Archives of American Art in the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, microfilms 5031-5033. The work is described by the artist himself in Barry Faulkner, “Mosaics in Metropolitan Life Insurance Company’s Building, Ottawa,”


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the many scenes depicted, she kills the dragon that inflicts misfortune on humans. The work was carried out between 1925 and 1927 not by a Canadian firm, but by the Ravenna Mosaic Company of New York, a branch of Puhl and Wagner in Berlin, which was also responsible for the mosaics in the Rockefeller Center in New York in 1932. The Venetian Antonio Sussi (1858–1951), first director of the Spilimbergo School,6 worked with this German company, and there were most probably some Friulians among the artisans of the New York firm.7

Figure 1. “Mother Insurance”, Metropolitan Insurance Company, Ottawa ON, detail (Photo by Olga Zorzi Pugliese)

Architectural Forum 53, no. 2 (1930): 146-43. In a short unsigned article titled “Mosaic Work of Unusual Artistic Value in Ottawa Office Building” of 9 May 1928, which appeared in the Contract Record and Engineering Review, the work is defined as “the most perfect piece of mosaic design on the continent and [...] a feat of artistic genius reminiscent of the Ptolemaic and Roman ages” (486). 6 I wish to thank Dr Venuto, the school’s archivist, for the invaluable information she provided about the various Friulian Canadian mosaic workers who were former students of the school. 7 As stated by Danila Venuto in her essay “La scuola dalle origini al 1941,” in La Scuola Mosaicisti del Friuli: Bozzetti, documenti, fotografie, stampe e modelli (Spilimbergo, Pordenone: Scuola Mosaicisti del Friuli, 2000), 54.

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Figure 2. Floor mosaic of moose, Museum of Nature, Ottawa (Photo by Pugliese)

Another Ottawa institution, the natural history museum (formerly Victoria Memorial Museum Building, now the Canada Museum of Nature), which was built between 1906 and 1911, houses a floor mosaic representing a moose. From the Fifties to 1990, however, the work was completely covered by a red carpet because of the visible anatomical details which had scandalised visitors.8 No archival documents for this work have been found but, according to the oral testimony of a Friulian tile setter in the city, it was made by an American firm founded by Luigi Mion, who was originally from Fanna (Fanna 1869–1951).9


See Peter Hum, “Museum Drops Cover-up: Moose Emerges From Hiding,” The Ottawa Citizen, 28 July 1990, A 19. 9 On the attribution of the moose mosaic to Mion see Paolo Brun del Re, “Il terac’ dalle sue origini,” computer-printed booklet, 1995, revised 2003. Alberta Maria Bulfon has a brief biographical profile of Luigi Mion in her “Per un dizionario dei fannesi: repertorio biografico,” in Fanna: La sua terra, la sua gente, ed. by Paolo Goi (Fanna, Pordenone: Comune di Fanna, 2007), 469-525. Javier Grossutti points out that Mion, who had returned to Italy, was in New York between 1906 and 1910 and therefore, it can be concluded, not far from Ottawa and available to contribute to the museum project, “Professionalità ed emigrazione: I terrazzieri di Fanna (1866-1915),” in Goi, Fanna, 236.


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At the time of these first works, several Friulians had already established their own terrazzo and marble companies in Canada. A few of these stand out, namely Enrico De Spirt’s (New York 1891–Montreal 1965) Italian Mosaic and Marble Company in Montreal; another company of the same name, run by Enrico’s cousin Egidio De Spirt (Fanna 1894– Toronto 1981) in Toronto; and the Italian Mosaic and Tile Company and the Venetian Marble and Mosaic Company, founded by Albino Pedron (Piazzola sul Brenta, Padova 1881, but raised in Sequals–Toronto 1946) and Natale Vadori (Mussons di Morsano al Tagliamento 1891–San Vito al Tagliamento 1957). Although these Canadian companies did produce, besides marble and terrazzo works, beautiful mosaic floors such as that of the provincial legislature building of Ontario, they did not yet create artistic murals. It was in the early Thirties that a Toronto firm, run by the Irishman Joseph Parnell Connolly (Drogheda, Ireland 1882–Toronto 1943),10 in partnership with two Friulians, Ciro Mora (Sequals 1889–1960) and Remo De Carli (Arba 1908–Toronto 1972), employed various Friulian artisans to carry out two extraordinary projects. In 1933 they produced the spectacular vaulted ceiling of what was then the entrance hall to the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto. Designed by an unknown artist and made of tesserae imported from Italy, it presents twelve symbols of world culture.11 The she-wolf of Rome and the Venetian lion stand out among the twelve sections, all set against a rich golden backdrop. Three years later, in 1936, the same Connolly firm prepared the mosaic decoration of the Thomas Foster Memorial Temple in Uxbridge, north of Toronto. This was commissioned by Foster, former mayor of Toronto, as a mausoleum for his daughter and wife, in imitation of the Taj Mahal which he had seen on his travels. The temple is in the Byzantine style and boasts a richly decorated interior.12 Of note are the marble columns and the floors 10 An unsigned obituary appeared in The Evening Telegram on 7 June 1943. Further information on Connolly was provided by Anita De Carli Baker, by the inscription on Connolly’s tomb in the Mount Hope Cemetery, Toronto, and by the Might directories for the city of Toronto. 11 My aforementioned article “The Mosaic Ceiling of 1933” contains reproductions of the work and photographs of the mosaic workers. Other descriptions of the work do not include information on the creators of this masterpiece (see for instance David A. Young, “The Dome of the Rotunda,” Rotunda 14 [Spring 1983]: 2-3). 12 See Zorzi Pugliese and Angelo Principe, “The Mosaic Workers of the Thomas Foster Memorial in Uxbridge,” Journal of the Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada 28, nos. 1-2 (2003): 25-30. An article written by J. H. Craig, one of the architects, illustrates the architectural design of the Temple, “The Thomas Foster

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covered with symbolic images, such as the black waves of the River Styx the visitor must cross at the entrance, and the colourful mosaic designs adorning the ceiling arches. The archival documents I have consulted usually report only the architect’s name, but it has been possible to trace the identity of the Friulian craftsmen involved in these two projects through articles in the Italian newspapers of Toronto,13 the city’s address and telephone directories, immigration records (of Ellis Island and, for example), and through photographs and memories preserved by the craftsmen themselves and their descendants. Some of the mosaicists had already worked in the United States (Ciro Mora was in Washington, for instance); others would later return to Friuli, like Franco Bortuzzo (Spilimbergo 1880-1966), who had been Connolly’s partner for a short period from 1930 to 1932; others still were to remain in Canada. In a rare group photograph taken inside the temple on a festive occasion—no doubt the traditional Friulian licôf, which celebrates the completion of a building project.14 Antonio Dell’Angela (Pozzecco di Bertiolo 1875–San Vito al Tagliamento 1948), one of the chief mosaicists, can be recognized in the picture.15 He had trained in Germany, won a gold medal for mosaic work in a Friulian competition, and worked in the United States too.16 Also visible in the photograph is a young Andy Bortolotti (Viscount, Saskatchewan 1913–Toronto 1996), whose parents were from Maiano, and who would go on to become partner and co-founder of Vincenzo D’Ambrosio’s firm, later to be named York Marble Tile and Terrazzo in 1961. Another photograph captures the moment of the mausoleum’s official inauguration in October 1936 with De Carli, Connolly, Mora and Memorial Temple,” Journal, Royal Architectural Institute of Canada 13 (December 1936): 225-29. 13 An unsigned article titled “Aliti di arte italiana in Canada,” which appeared in La tribuna canadiana on 11 November 1924, was discovered by my colleague Angelo Principe. 14 On the origin and meaning of the word licôf or likôf see p. 00 of this volume. 15 Elsa Dell’Angela Bratti, an eye-witness, explained that when the photograph was taken, she and the other women were with the children on the lawn outside the temple preparing a picnic provided by the ex-mayor. Another photo, taken on the same occasion, shows Olvino De Carli, his wife Mary and Giulia De Carli, Remo’s wife, inside the temple. 16 Information on this mosaic worker was provided by his daughter Elsa Dell’Angela Bratti of Toronto and his grandson Lucio Vadori of San Vito al Tagliamento. Dell’Angela is mentioned in an article by Maristella Cescutti, “La piccola Pozzecco e l’arte del terrazzo ‘alla veneziana’,” Il messagero veneto, 13 August 2008, 10, kindly brought to my attention by my colleague Javier Grossutti.


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another family member posing together in their Sunday best, and clearly demonstrates the fruitful collaboration that existed at the time between Anglo-Saxon businessmen and Friulian artisans.

Figure 3. Mosaic workers and friends at the licóf, Foster Memorial, Uxbridge, ON (Photo from a private collection)

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The two monumental works from the Thirties examined above reflect the Beaux-Arts style in architecture, which embraced the exquisite decoration which was typical of mosaic. Later, after the owner’s death, Connolly’s firm transferred to the De Carli brothers, who founded the Conn-Arts Studio, a branch specialising in mosaic work which in the Sixties created beautiful artworks in various parts of Canada. The company employed not only European artists (including some Italians from various regions), but also a new wave of mosaic workers from Friuli, many of whom had trained at the Spilimbergo School. The demand for mosaic increased in this period partly because Catholic churches were undergoing restructuring, following the modernising reforms of the Second Vatican Council of 1962–65. Moreover, mosaics were found to be a good complement to the simple lines of the modernist architecture of the period, for religious as well as non-religious buildings.17 Of the approximately thirty-five public works produced by the Connolly firm in central and western Canada before it halted operations in the mid-Eighties, some were designed by famous Canadian artists such as York Wilson (Toronto 1907–1984), who designed five abstract panels on the theme of communication for the façade of the Bell Canada building.18 These panels were executed by the craftsmen of Conn-Arts Studio using mainly the traditional reverse method. Made of glass and marble tiles imported from Italy, they represent, as the artist himself explained, ancient writing, prehistoric drawings, musical notes, speech, and finally satellites for telecommunications. Conn-Arts’ masterpiece, however, is the interior of Our Lady of Sorrows Roman Catholic Church in Toronto. The project was designed by various artists from Italy such as Vittorio Corsaletti (Fano 1924–2012), Saverio Tralli (Matera 1927–Toronto 1998), and the Austrian Alexander Von Svoboda (Vienna 1929; living in Barrie, Ontario), who was the firm’s artistic director. Completed in 1960 and covering over nine hundred


See Zorzi Pugliese, “Beautifying the City: 1960s Artistic Mosaics by Italian Canadians in Toronto,” Quaderni d’italianistica 28, no. 1 (2007): 93-113. This, like my other articles, includes photographic reproductions of the works. 18 On the mural artist York Wilson see the biography written by Lela M. Wilson, York Wilson: His Life and Work, 1907–1984, ed. Sandra Dyck ([Ottawa]: Carleton UP, 1997). The panels are described in an unsigned announcement in the firm’s newsletter: “‘76 Adelaide’ Opens,” Blue Bell (April 1966): 9-11; and in the article by Kay Kritzweiser for Toronto’s Globe and Mail of 12 June 1965: “Wilson Rings Bell with Mosaics.”


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square metres in the traditional Byzantine style,19 the mosaics adorn the upper walls of the church with seventy large figures and twenty-eight symbols. These represent the seven Sorrows of the Virgin Mary and various scenes from the life of Christ, such as baby Jesus in the arms of Mary riding on a donkey, and his dead body being taken down from the cross. The sheer size of this project required the combined effort of thirteen mosaic workers, most of whom had trained at the Spilimbergo School, with the aid of a further dozen installers. In the numerous photographs of the work in progress that have survived, one can distinguish [Fig. 4] Luigi Nasato (Istrana, Treviso 1924; living in Toronto) together with four Friulian mosaic workers of the Conn-Arts Studio: Edoardo Sellan (Udine 1938; living in Fiume Veneto), Antonio Riolino (San Giorgio della Richinvelda 1938; living in Toronto), Luigi Olerni (Sesto al Reghena 1935; living in his hometown), and Sereno Zucchiatti (San Vito di Fagagna 1932; a resident of California).

Figure 4. Connolly Company mosaic workers, Toronto ON (Photo from a private collection) 19

Unsigned newspaper articles highlight the church’s mosaics: “Conn-Arts Studio Revives Mosaic Art on Church Job,” Daily Commercial News and Building Record, Toronto, 16 November 1960; “New Jobs in Canada From an Old Art,” The Telegram, Toronto, 30 March 1961; and “Rebirth of Mosaic Art in Etobicoke Church,” The Canadian Register, Kingston, Ontario, 7 January 1961.

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Still, not all mosaics were produced locally in Canada. In the city hall of Vancouver, British Columbia, there are three hanging panels that were made in Spilimbergo. They were given as a gift in 1986 by the regional government of Friuli, in collaboration with the Ente Friuli nel Mondo and the Famee Furlane of Vancouver, on the occasion of the centenary of the city and in recognition of the relief aid received after the earthquake in Friuli ten years earlier. The work reproduces three details of the famous early Christian mosaics of the Basilica of Aquileia: the portrait of one of the benefactors, a female figure with an ear of corn on her head representing summer, and a detail from the story of Jonah. In the Fifties, it was common for Canadian institutions to commission works directly from the Spilimbergo Mosaic School, as in the immediate post-war period, it might have been difficult to find skilled workers locally who could create mosaics. This was how the church of Saint Paschal Baylon in Toronto acquired its stations of the cross and a reproduction in reduced size of Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Last Supper, and later in 1975 a mosaic reproduction of the Vitruvian Man was commissioned for the Da Vinci Cultural Centre in Thunder Bay in Northern Ontario.20 However, it is local creations designed and executed in Canada, rather than the imported works, which demonstrate the kind of transformation and adaptation that took place with the post-war arrival of Friulian mosaic workers on Canadian soil. Some scenes of the Ravenna mosaics inspired the Italian Canadian artist Luigi Nasato, who had trained at the Institute of Art in Venice. In the Sixties, when he was still working for the Conn-Arts Studio, he designed the jewelled cross and the blue starred panels behind the altar of Saint Anne’s Anglican Church.21 The work, which was commissioned as part of the building renovation, was later completed by Von Svoboda, who varied the thickness of the tesserae in order to make it look less smooth and traditional and to give it a more rustic and lively appearance. These mosaics contribute to give a magnificent atmosphere to this Toronto church, which boasts a dome painted with frescoes by the Group of Seven. It should be noted that not all the mosaics created in Canada were destined for churches. Interesting examples can be found in schools, business establishments, and private homes. A work which deserves attention for its unusual theme and modern style is the large mural that 20 Thanks go to Roy Piovesana, Head of the Thunder Bay diocesan archive, for bringing the work to my attention and for providing invaluable information. 21 William Dendy and William Kilbourn mention the “marvelous” blue and gold colours of the mosaics installed during the renovation in 1960, in Toronto Observed: Its Architecture, Patrons, and History (Toronto: Oxford UP, 1986), 189.


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adorns a whole wall in Villa Colombo, a retirement home next to the Columbus Centre (the true centre of the Italian community in Toronto). Designed by Von Svoboda, the collage consists of several lively scenes which show—on the left—the places of origin in Italy, typical Italian crafts and costumes, and—on the right—Canadian buildings and factories. In the middle is the ship that serves as the link between the two worlds, with a half-Italian, half-Canadian flag waving above it. The role of the Canadian Conn-Arts workers was simply to install the mosaic,22 which was made in Milan in 1976 by the company Arte Musiva, whose director, Pier Giorgio Patrizio, was born in Sequals in 1943 and attended the Spilimbergo School.

Figure 5. Villa Colombo Home for the Aged, Toronto ON (Photo by Pugliese)

In Canada, mosaic was a medium used to deal with other unconventional themes as well. Given the importance of Italian food in North America—and in the English language too, as Carla Marcato has shown—it is not surprising to find a work that illustrates the production of pasta.23 The mosaic mural is located in the entrance of an industrial


Richard Conrad supplies a photograph of the work in his article “Ethic Mosaic Mural a Prize Winner,” The Toronto Star, 7 February 1978. 23 See Carla Marcato, “Parole e cose migranti” tra Italia e Americhe nella terminologia dell’alimentazione (Alessandria: Edizioni dell’Orso, 2010). The

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building that was originally the headquarters of the ROMI pasta factory, founded in Toronto at the beginning of the Sixties by a CalabrianCanadian in partnership with Remo De Carli and others. Six metres long and two and a half metres high, it was designed by Nasato, who still has the first pencil sketches. The work narrates the various steps in the production of pasta in a stylised way. From left to right, five scenes portray oxen ploughing a wheat field, the harvesting of the wheat, a horse turning the mill stone, the sifting of the flour, and then the spaghetti being hanged to dry. The image puts an emphasis on simple geometric forms and colours that suggest earth and water, and the human figures, all of them faceless, are arranged symmetrically around the circular mill stone in the centre. Here, we might say, it is the food that counts, not the individuals who prepare it. In more recent times, after the closure of the Connolly firm, Nasato has continued to work in Toronto with Spilimbergo alumnus Mario Della Rossa (San Martino al Tagliamento 1942; now residing in Toronto). In collaboration with Reverend Nazareno Coccia, they designed and executed mosaics for the St John Bosco church, which were completed in 1999. The mosaics include: the scene of Christ’s baptism in the baptistery; the portraits of the apostles forming an impressive arc; and on the wall, the procession of the faithful who have come to adore the statue of the Madonna. Various ethnicities can be seen in the single file of worshippers, which, as the parish priest intended, reflects Canada’s multiculturalism.24 This mural clearly illustrates how the traditional theme of the procession has been updated and adapted to a new environment in a highly expressive manner.

mosaic dedicated to pasta is analysed in Zorzi Pugliese, “Beautifying the City,” 106-8. 24 The following announcements were published about the mosaics: Mariella Gallello, “L’arte espressione della fede con i mosaici,” Corriere Canadese, 23 June 2001; and Reverend Nazareno Coccia, “Cuori italiani a San Giovanni Bosco,” Corriere canadese, 23 June 2001.


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Figure 6. ROMI Foods Company (now Industrial Commercial Plastics Corporation), Toronto, ON–left-hand side (Photo by Pugliese)

Figure 7. ROMI Foods Company (now Industrial Commercial Plastics Corporation), Toronto, ON–right-hand side (Photo by Pugliese)

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Figure 8. Church of St John Bosco, Toronto ON–detail (Photo by Giuseppe Ferrari)


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Figure 9. Centennial Fountain, Prince George BC–detail (Photo from the Lenarduzzi collection)

Works found in Western Canada are equally innovative. Gino Lenarduzzi (Domanins 1914–Squamish, British Columbia 2003) trained at Spilimbergo and in various European cities before arriving in Vancouver in the forties, where he founded his own tilesetting business. After executing several important mosaics, he was commissioned to produce the enormous curved mural surrounding a fountain in the city of Prince George. Designed by Canadian artists Gwen Boyle and Naomi Patterson for the national celebrations of the Canadian centenary in 1967, the gigantic mosaic illustrates the history of the city with typical scenes ranging from sawmills to a train station, showing the evolution of modern industry.25 In Alberta, several works were prepared by the Connolly firm of Toronto, including the one designed by Von Svoboda in the Sixties for the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology in Edmonton. The long rustic mosaic of over two hundred colours, mounted on the external wall of the 25 On the mosaic see Rob Barrett, “Giant Mosaic Takes Shape,” The Citizen, [Prince George], 12 July 1967.

Friulian Mosaic Workers in Canada


courtyard in 1963, represents objects that symbolize the subjects taught at the Institute: the instruments of a chemistry laboratory, a paint roller, a crane, a car, mathematical formulae, and electronic equipment. In in the exterior of the Royal Alexandra Hospital, built in 1966, an attractive mosaic alludes to the fable of the Pied Piper of Hamlin. In the six original tempera designs for the panels, still in possession of the artist Nasato, other folk-tales are also represented—not all of whom were subsequently included in the mosaics—such as the satirical English nursery rhyme “There Was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe.” Nasato, perhaps on the suggestion of Von Svoboda, also designed the mosaic in the entrance of the Charles Camsell Hospital building, which was completed in 1967. Originally a sanatorium for native Canadians suffering from tuberculosis,26 it has now been turned into condominiums. The preparatory designs and the sketch in tempera, the latter of which has been conserved in the personal archive of Olerni in Italy, represent in symmetrical manner scenes from the life of these indigenous people: men hunting for animals, people in canoes, symbols of trees and snowflakes, and then in the centre two seated figures sharing a peace pipe.

Figure 10. Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, Edmonton AB–detail (Photo by Mario Pietramala)

26 This information is given in Donna Dryden et al., eds., The Charles Camsell Hospital, 1945-1985 (Edmonton: Charles Camsell History Committee, 1985).


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The city of Calgary in southern Alberta offers a somewhat unusual example of a truly endogenous work created by a second generation Friulian Canadian named George A. Picco (Drumheller, Alberta 1923– Calgary 1993), whose parents were from Flaibano.27 The young Picco trained at the Calgary Institute of Art—just as other young men by the name of Picco and born between 1914 and 1949, many of whom were originally from Flaibano too, trained at Spilimbergo, as my research into the school’s records has shown. Picco worked for thirty-three years as a graphic designer and in 1968, in collaboration with the parish priests, designed and executed a Christ in Glory which is located behind the altar in the church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. More than eight metres high, this figure shows Christ surrounded by twenty-one scenes from his life as well as various religious symbols. In his interpretation of the Christological theme, Picco adopted an abstract geometric style, “bold” but simple, as the artist himself defined it in a brief commentary he wrote about his work.28 The same church, once serving the Italian community, also has a via crucis made in the Fifties by Lenarduzzi and was based on designs by the Canadian artist Lionel Thomas (Toronto 1915–Sechelt, British Columbia 2005). But it is in Quebec that the most grandiose mosaics can be found, including the largest project in Canada, the spectacular basilica of SainteAnne-de-Beaupré. Moreover, in Quebec there are two exceptional examples of Friulian mosaic artists, both of whom trained at the Spilimbergo School, where they distinguished themselves and were at the top of their respective classes. While many craftsmen who went to Canada were disappointed, as they did not find employment in the mosaic sector,29 Walter Del Mistro, who belonged to an earlier generation, and the younger Giovanni Gerometta enjoyed great success.


It was discovered by Cindy Mark, a former collaborator on my research project on mosaics in Canada. 28 George A. Picco, “The Story Behind Your Mosaic,” in 50 Years, 1925-1975, At the Foot of the Hill: Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish ([Calgary, 1975]), 2. 29 See Zorzi Pugliese 2007:2 169-171. Simone Battiston analyses the mosaic trade and examines the problems faced by mosaic workers.

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Figure 11. Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Calgary, AB (Photo by Cindy Mark)

After completing his course at Spilimbergo, Del Mistro (Maniago 1912–Quebec City 2003)30 worked in Paris between 1930 and 1939 for two companies, one of which was originally founded by the famous nineteenth-century mosaic artist Gian Domenico Facchina. When these companies were given a contract for the mosaics at Sainte-Anne, Del Mistro was sent there to do the work. He arrived in Canada in 1939, and chose to remain there after the war. He founded a small company employing four or five Friulian artisans and, besides preparing commercial installations, also created a series of artistic mosaics. He dedicated approximately forty years of his life to work on the basilica, starting with the vaulted ceiling representing scenes from the saint’s life. Later on in the Sixties, in collaboration with the Redemptorist Fathers, he prepared the mosaics for the internal arches and for some of the chapels such as the baptistery, where Saints Anne and Joachim are depicted. He also designed the mosaic floor, decorated with ingenious symbols and charming figures depicting the various arts and trades, such as the tools of office workers, complete with a typewriter. Del Mistro executed several exquisite works, some of which belong to his family; moreover, he is the author of a splendid portrait of Samuel Champlain, the seventeenth-century explorer, in a mosaic panel made in 1950 which can be seen in Quebec City’s town 30 See Principe and Zorzi Pugliese, “The Mosaic Workers of the Thomas Foster Memorial.”


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hall. In recognition of his contribution, in 1999 Del Mistro was awarded the title of Knight of the Italian Republic.

Figure 12 Basilica, Ste. Anne de Beaupré, QC–floor detail (Photo by Pugliese)

Figure 13. Sherbrooke metro subway station, Montreal, QC (Photo by Pugliese)

Friulian Mosaic Workers in Canada


Other notable mosaic works in Quebec, some of which were designed by Canadian artists, include the Oratory of Saint Joseph (Oratoire SaintJoseph du Mont-Royal) which dominates the Montreal skyline and boasts in the interior a large mosaic arch, illustrating eleven scenes from the life of the saint.31 Designed by French Canadian artist Frédéric Back (Saarbrücken, Germany 1924 [lived in France before arriving in Quebec]– Montreal 2013), it was prepared by Giocondo Vorano (Nogaredo di Corno 1911–Montréal 1980), who trained at the Spilimbergo School, along with other Friulians such as Giovanni Liva (Baseglia di Spilimbergo 1913– Montréal 1993) also a Spilimbergo alumnus, and Valentino Perin (Maniago 1908-Montreal 1999). Vorano, who was the head of the group, designed the cartoons for four mosaics and then had them prepared in Venice. They illustrate important moments in the foundation and history of the church of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours in Montreal.32 In 1964 he did mosaic portraits of Pope Paul VI and Cardinal Paul-Émile Léger.33 Also in Montreal, a large wall mosaic adorning a metro subway station depicts the cultural activities of the Saint Jean Baptiste Society.34 Designed by local artist Gabriel Bastien (Montreal 1923–1976), it was executed by Andrea Vau (Buia 1934, subsequently a resident of Pozzecco di Bertiolo–Montreal 1980), another former student at Spilimbergo. Although it has no Canadian content, a work in the church of St John Bosco in Montreal is of particular interest. The artist, Guido Veroi (Rome 1926–2013), whose father was from Pagnacco di Tricesimo, designed coins for the Italian state and the Vatican, and was also the creator of splendid mosaics in Italy and elsewhere. The mosaic Veroi prepared for 31 While Nathalie Clerk, in her study “L’Oratoire Saint-Joseph du Mont-Royale,” Journal of the Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada 30, no. 2 (2005): 6178, simply names the workshop responsible for the mosaics, the three mosaic workers are identified in an unsigned article of the time, titled “Successo dei mosaicisti friulani,” La tribuna italiana, 19 March 1969. On Perin see the article written by his son Roberto, entitled “Life Story: Tile-Fitter’s Life Was a Rich Mosaic,” Globe and Mail, [Toronto], 26 August 1999. Liva, whose relatives provided the information, is mentioned in Simone Battiston, I mosaicisti raccontano: Storia e memoria di un mestiere in Friuli (1920–1950) (Portogruaro, Venezia: Ediciclo Editore, 2010). 32 See Patricia Simpson and Louise Pothier, Notre-Dame-de-bon-Secours: A Chapel and Its Neighbourhood (Montreal: Éditions Fides, 2001), 130-33. 33 The mosaics are mentioned in a caption, “Une exposition de mosaïques,” which accompanies some photos of the Cardinal with Vorano, in La presse, [Montreal], 16 May 1967. 34 For an analysis of the work see Elizabeth Schmelzer, “Montreal: Public Art Up Against the Wall,” Artmagazine, December-January 1976-77, 42.


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the Montreal church was commissioned by then parish priest Giovanni Zabotti, who hailed from Veneto. Besides St John Bosco, it also depicts the Baptist and St Francis. Unfortunately, the mosaic was defaced in recent years when a subsequent priest, deeming the portrayal of the body of Christ too graphic, had it painted over, so that Christ was shown wearing a strange robe decorated with frilled neckline and wristbands. Fortunately the current parish priest Umberto Ranieri employed a French Canadian artist to restore it.35

Figure 14. Giovanni Gerometta, standing in front of Les forces de la vie, Centre financier Le Mesnil, Quebec City, QC (Photo by Pugliese)

In the rural area near to Beaupré, in Quebec, lives the Friulian artist/mosaicist Giovanni Gerometta, who was born in Sesto al Reghena in 1934. A prize-winning student of the Spilimbergo School, he worked in Canada with Del Mistro for a few years. For a period he was unable to find employment in his field and even had to work as a ski instructor, and later he studied painting. But since 1976, he has dedicated himself exclusively to art, and, together with his wife Andrée Tremblay, runs his own art


Before the defacing, the mosaic had already been restored once by the Italian Canadian artist Antonio Caruso, whose son Demis Caruso originally brought this work to my attention. Caruso, Reverend Pietrangelo Paternieri, and most recently Reverend Ranieri have provided details of these events.

Friulian Mosaic Workers in Canada


gallery (Galerie Mont-Ste-Anne) which he has built himself.36 In his career, Gerometta has received many commissions for important murals for public buildings. In 1989 he designed and executed Les forces de la vie, for a commercial enterprise, on the theme of insurance protecting families.37 The mosaic represents the phases of human life from childhood to death— all covered by insurance, of course. The curved lines, typical of his designs, here suggest the shape of a nest and the idea of protection. Two years earlier (1987) he made another wall mosaic for a building in Montreal, entitled Communication interstellaire, which dealt with the theme of communication.38 Unfortunately it can no longer be seen, having been most probably covered or destroyed during renovation work. But photographic documentation of the mosaic remains, showing embracing figures which recall the soft outlines of an Italian artist’s drawing used as a model for Spilimbergo students,39 indicating the influence that his early training in Friuli had on Gerometta. His work was received positively by Quebecois art critics, and he was entrusted with the preparation of a mosaic for the four hundredth anniversary of the founding of Quebec.

Figure 15. Hymne aux saisons, Baie de Beauport, QC (Photo by Giovanni Gerometta) 36 Information on Gerometta comes from the archive of the Spilimbergo School, from the personal collection of the artist, which includes many photographs documenting the phases of design and composition of the works, and from a visit and interview with the artist in 2010. See, accessed January 8, 2014. 37 The mosaic was analysed by François Piette in “Les murales de mosaïque de Giovanni Gerometta,” Habitabec 5, no. 22 (1989): 43. 38 The mosaic is analysed by Jean-Paul Legaré in “La mosaïque murale: Giovanni Gerometta la fait revivre au Québec,” Le collectionneur 6 (1988): 62-66; and by Lise Montas in “Giovanni Gerometta peintre et mosaïste,” Le Médicin du Québec, October 1989, 111. 39 The painting Maternità by the artist Ezio Rizzetto (1917-97), which dates from 1952, is reproduced and described in Giacomello and Giusa, La Scuola Mosaicisti del Friuli, 252-253.


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Finally, a mural titled Hymne aux saisons (2008) is displayed on the outside wall of a community centre and shows the passage of the seasons. The flowers and greenery of the spring, the sailing boats and water of summer, autumn’s colours, and finally the white snow and trees of winter follow one another with Gerometta’s distinctive whirling movements. Gerometta’s success in the field of mosaic art in Quebec has not been equalled by many others; indeed, there are numerous artisans whose talents did not find an appropriate outlet in Canada. It must also be noted that, while mosaic is in itself a durable artistic form, many works in Canada have been plastered over or even smashed by hammers. Despite this, many have been preserved and, indeed, mosaic art continues to be cultivated in Canada. Admittedly, however, many contracts are now being awarded to American firms or to new Canadian companies that are no longer run by Friulians, such as Mosaika founded in Montreal in 1998 by two women, Kori Smyth and Saskia Siebrand. Although Nasato and Della Rossa from Toronto continue to prepare some small mosaics for local churches or for enthusiasts from the Friulian community, the artists who have established themselves in English-speaking Canada come from elsewhere, like the Romanian Canadian Lilian Broca of Vancouver, who creates exquisite mosaics of biblical scenes.40 Nevertheless, for a period of over one hundred years the Friulian contribution to mosaic work was undeniably substantial and this aspect of Canadian art should receive its due recognition. Translated by Kate Willman

References Barrett, Rob. “Giant Mosaic Takes Shape.” The Citizen. [Prince George], 12 July 1967, front page. Barry Faulkner Papers, 1900-1973, Archives of American Art in the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, microfilms 5031-5033. Battiston, Simone. I mosaicisti raccontano: Storia e memoria di un mestiere in Friuli (1920-1950). Portogruaro, Venice: Ediciclo Editore, 2010. Brun Del Re, Paolo. “Il ‘terac’ dalle sue origini.” Computer-printed booklet, 1995, revised 2003. 40

For images of the mosaics see the respective websites of the Mosaika firm (http://www, accessed January 8, 2014) and the artist Lilian Broca (, accessed January 8, 2014).

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Bulfon, Alberta Maria. “Per un dizionario dei fannesi: Repertorio biografico.” In Goi, Fanna, 469-525. C[escutti], M[aristella]. “La piccola Pozzecco e l’arte del terrazzo ‘alla veneziana’.” Il messaggero veneto, 13 August 2008, 10. Clerk, Nathalie. “L’Oratoire Saint-Joseph du Mont-Royal.” Journal of the Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada 30, no. 2 (2005): 6178. Coccia, Reverend Nazareno. “Cuori italiani a San Giovanni Bosco.” Corriere canadese, 23 June 2001, 13. Conrad, Richard. “Ethnic Mosaic Mural a Prize Winner.” The Toronto Star, 7 February 1978, B6. Craig, J. H. “The Thomas Foster Memorial Temple.” Journal, Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, 13 (December 1936): 225-229. Dendy, William and William Kilbourn. Toronto Observed: Its Architecture, Patrons, and History. Toronto: Oxford UP, 1986. Dryden, Donna et al. Eds. The Charles Camsell Hospital 1945-1985. Edmonton: Charles Camsell History Committee, 1985. Faulkner, Barry. “Mosaics in Metropolitan Life Insurance Company’s Building, Ottawa.” The Architectural Forum 53, no. 2 (1930): 143146. Gallello, Mariella. “L’arte espressione della fede con i mosaici.” Corriere canadese, 23 October 1999, 5. Giacomello, Alessandro and Antonio Giusa. La Scuola Mosaicisti del Friuli: Bozzetti, documenti, fotografie, stampe e modelli. Spilimbergo: Scuola Mosaicisti del Friuli, 2000. Goi, Paolo. Ed. Fanna: La sua terra, la sua gente. Fanna: Comune di Fanna, 2007. Grossutti, Javier. “Professionalità ed emigrazione: I terrazzieri di Fanna (1866-1915).” In Goi, Fanna, 221-240. Hum, Peter. “Museum Drops Cover-up: Moose Emerges From Hiding.” The Ottawa Citizen, 28 July 1990, A 19. K[ritzweiser], K[ay]. “Wilson Rings Bell with Mosaics.” In Globe and Mail [Toronto] 12 June 1965, 15. Legaré, Jean-Paul. “La mosaïque murale: Gerometta la fait revivre au Québec.” Le collectionneur, 6 (1988): 62-66. Marcato, Carla. “Parole e cose migranti” tra Italia e Americhe nella terminologia dell’alimentazione. Alessandria: Edizioni dell’Orso, 2010. Montas, Lise. “Giovanni Gerometta peintre et mosaïste.” Le Médecin du Québec, October 1989, 111.


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Perin, Roberto. “Life Story: Tile-fitter’s Life was a Rich Mosaic.” The Globe and Mail [Toronto], 26 August 1999. Picco, George A. “The Story Behind Your Mosaic.” In 50 Years 19251975 At the Foot of the Hill: Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish. [Calgary, 1975]. Piette, François. “Les murales de mosaïque de Giovanni Gerometta.” Habitabec 5, no. 22 (1989): 43. Principe, Angelo and Olga Zorzi Pugliese. Rekindling Faded Memories: The Founding of the Famee Furlane of Toronto and Its First Years (1933-41) / Ravvivare ricordi affievoliti: La fondazione e i primi anni della Famee Furlane di Toronto (1933-41).Toronto: Famee Furlane in Toronto, 1996. —. “Un mosaicista friulano a Québec.” MCM: La storia delle cose: La rivista delle arti minori 60 (June 2003): 34-37. Ridolfi, Luigi. I Friulani nell’America del Nord. Udine: Arti Grafiche Cooperative Friulane, 1931. Schmelzer, Elizabeth. “Montreal: Public Art Up Against the Wall.” Artmagazine, December-January 1976-77, 42. Simpson, Patricia and Louise Pothier. Notre-Dame-de-bon-Secours: A Chapel and Its Neighbourhood. Montréal: Éditions Fides, 2001. Unsigned. “‘76 Adelaide’ Opens.” Blue Bell, April 1966, 9-11. Unsigned. “Aliti di arte italiana in Canada.” La tribuna canadiana, 11 November 1924, [p. 3 non numbered]. Unsigned. “Conn-Arts Studio Revives Mosaic Art on Church Job.” Daily Commercial News and Building Record. Toronto, 16 November 1960, 9-10. Unsigned. “Joseph Connolly Dies in Scarboro: Well Known as Constructor of Mosaics in Royal Ontario Museum.” The Evening Telegram. [Toronto], 7 June 1943, 12. Unsigned. “Mosaic Work of Unusual Artistic Value in Ottawa Office Building.” Contract Record and Engineering Review, 42 (9 May 1928): 486. Unsigned. “New Jobs in Canada From an Old Art.” The Telegram [Toronto], 30 March 1961, 25. Unsigned. “Rebirth of Mosaic Art in Etobicoke Church.” The Canadian Register. Kingston, Ontario, 7 January 1961, 3. Unsigned. “Successo dei mosaicisti friulani.” La tribuna italiana, 19 March 1969. Venuto, Danila. “La Scuola dalle origini al 1941.” In Giacomello and Giusa, La scuola, 51-76.

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Wilson, Lela M. York Wilson. His Life and Work, 1907-1984. Edited by Sandra Dyck. [Ottawa]: Carleton UP, 1997. Young, David A. “The Dome of the Rotunda.” Rotunda 14 (Spring 1983): 2-3. Zorzi Pugliese, Olga. “Beautifying the City: 1960s Artistic Mosaics by Italian Canadians in Toronto.” Quaderni d’italianistica 28, no. 1 (2007): 93-113. —. “Il contributo dei mosaicisti friulani in Canada.” Metodi & ricerche: Rivista di studi regionali 26, no. 2 (July-December 2007): 169-171. —. “The Mosaic Ceiling of 1933 at the Royal Ontario Museum and Its Craftsmen: The Untold Story.” Studies in the Decorative Arts” 11, no. 2 (2004): 59-77. Zorzi Pugliese, Olga and Angelo Principe. “The Mosaic Workers of the Thomas Foster Memorial in Uxbridge.” Journal of the Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada, 28, nos 1-2 (2003): 25-30. Zucchi, John. Italians in Toronto: Development of a National Identity, 1875-1935. Kingston-Montreal: McGill-Queen’s UP, 1988. —. “Furlans in Toronto and Across Canada.” Introduction to Landed: A Pictorial Mosaic of “Friulani” Immigration to Canada. [Toronto]: Friuli Benevolent Corporation, 1992, 1-8.


CHAPTER NINE LANGUAGE AND TIME IN PIER PAOLO PASOLINI’S IL SOGNO DI UNA COSA ROSA MUCIGNAT La lingua (di cui suona in te appena una nota, nell’alba del dialetto) e il tempo (a cui ti dona la tua ingenua e immota pietà) son le pareti tra cui sono entrato... Pasolini, La scoperta di Marx

According to the account Pier Paolo Pasolini gives in Empirismo eretico, he “discovered” Friulian in the summer of 1941, when, sitting on the balcony of his mother’s house in Casarsa, he overheard a young neighbour say the word “rosada” (dew). Pasolini tells of how he was suddenly struck by the realization that “quella parola, in tutti i secoli del suo uso nel Friuli che si stende al di qua del Tagliamento, non era mai stata scritta” (that word, in all the centuries of its use in the part of Friuli extending on this side of the Tagliamento, had never been written).1 He immediately transcribed it, and that was the beginning of his first poem in Friulian. As is well known, Pasolini went on to write an entire collection of poetry in the Casarsese variety of Friulian, which he published to considerable critical success as Poesie a Casarsa in 1942.2 1

Pier Paolo Pasolini, “Dal laboratorio: Appunti en poète per una linguistica marxista,” in Empirismo eretico (Milan: Garzanti, 1972), 62; emphasis in the original. All translations are mine unless otherwise stated. 2 Pasolini, “Poesie a Casarsa,” now in Bestemmia: Tutte le poesie, ed. Walter Siti (Milan: Garzanti, 1994), 1: 11-50. The collection was positively reviewed by

Language and Time in Pasolini


This anecdote reveals how Pasolini’s interest in Friulian was awakened by the thrill of having found a purely oral language that was not contaminated by the conventions of written culture and which preserved a direct correlation to the objects it designated, like a system of natural signs. But beyond the fabled “innocence” and primitive force of Friulian, the episode reveals another key element that contributed to Pasolini’s fascination with Friuli: the events of recent history. Writing in 1964, Pasolini cannot recollect the subject of the conversation he witnessed that day and wonders: Di che cosa si parlava, prima della guerra, cioè prima che succedesse tutto, e la vita si presentasse per quello che è? Non lo so. Erano discorsi sul più e sul meno, certo, di pura e innocente affabulazione. La gente, prima di essere quello che realmente è, era ugualmente, a dispetto di tutto, come nei sogni.3 (What did people talk about before the war, that is, before it all happened, and life showed itself for what it is? I don’t know. There were conversations about this and that, certainly, or pure and innocent chatter. People, before being what they really are, were anyway, despite everything, as in dreams.)

For Pasolini, the passing of time and, in particular, the rupture caused by the war, had transformed the apparently immobile scenario of peasant life to such an extent that even the trivial talk of those earlier days seemed unimaginable and strange. The war marked the end of Friuli’s mythical “time of innocence” and its entry into the dynamic, forward-moving time of history. Still, Pasolini maintains that even before awakening to historical and political consciousness, people had an instinctive awareness of themselves and their place in the world, as one does in dreams. The moment of awakening, when dreams fade into reality and indistinct yearnings can give rise to purposeful action, is the subject of Pasolini’s novel Il sogno di una cosa, which is arguably the work in which Pasolini engaged most closely with the geographical, anthropological and historical contexts of the Friulian language that he did so much to promote.4

Gianfranco Contini in 1943, in an article entitled “Al limite della poesia dialettale,” now in Contini, Pagine ticinesi di Gianfranco Contini, ed. Romano Broggini (Bellinzona, CH: Salvioni, 1986), 110-113. 3 Pasolini, “Dal laboratorio,” 58. 4 On Pasolini’s activism in favour of Friulian, see Pasolini in Friuli 1943–1949, ed. Corriere del Friuli and Comune di Casarsa della Delizia (Udine: Arti Grafiche


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Il sogno di una cosa is a group portrait of “la gioventù contadina del Friuli, (la classe del ‘27, ‘la classe innamorata’)” (The peasant youth of Friuli, [the class of ‘27, “the loving class”]);5 in the years 1948-49, when young people’s lives as well as the life of their country seemed open to new directions and possibilities. The novel tells the story of three friends, Eligio, Nini and Milio, who strive to make a change for themselves by migrating to other countries (Yugoslavia and Switzerland) and by joining the Communist Party to fight against inequality at home. It goes on to show how their aspirations clash with the realities of a post-war Europe that is rapidly coalescing into a new order, no less oppressive than Fascism, which Pasolini elsewhere designates as “la nuova storia,” “neocapitalismo” or “la nuova preistoria.”6 Pasolini is a notoriously divisive figure, but Il sogno di una cosa tends to attract unanimous disapproval. For David Ward, it is “by far the weakest of all Pasolini’s prose writings”;7 Guido Santato deplores its “ricorrenti cadute nel patetico” (recurring lapses into the pathetic);8 and for Rinaldo Rinaldi, the novel is marred by “una volontà collezionistica, da album fotografico” (a collector’s urge, as in a photographic album).9 Such criticisms relate to a widespread tendency to privilege parts of Pasolini’s œuvre perceived as being more experimental or “scandalous,” especially his poetry and films. Robert Gordon, for instance, argues that while “his narrative and his drama both.. represent important moments in the genesis of new, hybrid poetic forms,” this process is “most radically and consistently charted in his poetry and his ‘cinema of poetry’.”10 For Walter Siti, “la prosa carica in lui di energia e di felicità espressiva solo finché è bagnata dall’eros” (his narrative prose…is only charged with energy and felicitous expressivity so long as it is wet with eroticism).11 The seriousness of Pasolini’s involvement with ideology and politics tends to be downplayed, too. Armando Maggi’s recent study, for instance, Friulane, 1976) and Nico Naldini’s biography Pasolini, una vita (Turin: Einaudi, 1989). 5 Pasolini, Lettere 1940-1954, ed. Naldini (Turin: Einaudi, 1986), 402-3. 6 Pasolini, “La nuova storia” and “Poema per un verso di Shakespeare,” in Poesia in forma di rosa (1961-64), now in Bestemmia, 2: 703-10, 728. 7 David Ward, A Poetics of Resistance: Narrative and the Writings of Pier Paolo Pasolini (Madison: Farleigh Dickinson UP, 1995), 51. 8 Guido Santato, Pier Paolo Pasolini: L’opera (Vicenza: Neri Pozza, 1980), 100. 9 Rinaldo Rinaldi, Pier Paolo Pasolini (Milan: Mursia, 1982), 72. 10 Robert S. C. Gordon, Pasolini: Forms of Subjectivity (Oxford: Clarendon, 1996), 7. 11 Siti, “Descrivere, Narrare, Esporsi,” Introduction to Pasolini, Romanzi e racconti, ed. Siti and Silvia De Laude (Milan: Mondadori, 1999), 1: xcix.

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identifies “Pasolini’s legacy” not “in his troubled Marxist views” and “failed political analyses,” but rather “in his open hatred of all forms of social, political, and intellectual conformity.”12 Within the prevalent critical framework, there is little space for the relatively conventional form and the overtly political theme of Il sogno di una cosa, where explicit references to homosexuality are carefully avoided.13 This paper will reassess the value and meaning of the novel in the wider context of Pasolini’s construction of Friuli, its language and its people as emblematic of the political and social transformations of twentieth-century Europe. I shall concentrate on three areas: Pasolini’s linguistic and stylistic choices in Il sogno di una cosa; language and aphasia as themes in the novel; and the novel’s anachronism as a form of intervention in contemporary political debates. As seen above, Pasolini saw Friulian primarily as a language for poetry which, owing to the region’s prolonged isolation, has preserved the legacy of the pan-European civilization of the middle ages in its pure Neo-Latin sounds, similar to Provençal and Catalan. Its status as a linguistic relic makes Friulian a “linguaggio poetico senza tempo, senza luogo” (a timeless, placeless poetic language), universal because it is disconnected from the historical processes of modernity.14 Pasolini’s early poetry in Friulian brings to fruition the idea of a “cristiàn furlanut/ plen di veça salut” (little Christian Friulian/, full of old health), which was the motto of the Academiuta.15 Yet Pasolini’s encounter with Friulian did not remain a 12 Armando Maggi, The Resurrection of the Body: Pier Paolo Pasolini from Saint Paul to Sade (Chicago and London: U of Chicago P, 2009), 4-5. 13 This contrasts with the erotic energy of two narratives composed at around the same time as Il sogno: Atti impuri and Amado mio, which are set among the local youth of the same Friulian towns and villages also described in the novel. For a recent discussion see Laurence Hooper, “‘Riacquistare la Casarsa Buona’: Exile, Realism and Authorship in Pasolini’s Atti impuri and Amado mio,” Italian Studies 68, no. 1 (2013): 138-54. For the novels, see Amado mio: Preceduto da Atti Impuri (Milan: Garzanti, 1982). 14 Pasolini, “Volontà poetica ed evoluzione della lingua,” in Un paese di temporali e di primule, ed. Naldini (Parma: Guanda, 1993), 208. 15 In the 1946 issue of the Stroligut, Pasolini explains that “furlanùt” is an endearing diminutive form; “cristiàn” indicates its birth at the “dawn of Christianity in Europe”; and “plen di veça salut” describes its archaic, authentic character. See Pasolini, Stroligut di ca da l’aga (1944), Il stroligut (1945-6), Quaderno romanzo (1947): Riviste friulane dirette da Pier Paolo Pasolini, ed. Gianfranco Folena (Padua: Circolo filologico linguistico padovano, 1983), 14. A facsimile reprint of the journals appeared as L’Academiuta friulana e le sue riviste, ed. Naldini (Vicenza: Neri Pozza, 1994).


Chapter Nine

purely poetic affair. As indicated by Tullio De Mauro, for Pasolini “l’incontro con il friulano è un incontro di testa e viscere” (the encounter with Friulian happened at both head and gut level).16 It was at once the discovery of a serviceable tool for poetry and of a complex human world of relations, caught in a moment of dramatic transformation, with which he deeply empathized. The circumstances of the war and his prolonged stay in Casarsa and Versuta gradually led him to take a more active role in the life of the community, first in a makeshift school he opened with his mother, then after the war in a group campaigning for Friulian autonomy and later, between 1947 and 1949, in the Italian Communist Party (PCI). This experience is at the basis of Il sogno, and even if the novel is not in Friulian, it testifies to the profound continuity that exists for Pasolini between linguistic concerns and political activism, in his Friulian years as well as later on, when his interest shifted to other peripheries in Italy and the world.17 Through language, Pasolini found a way to access social and political problems, and language is a crucial feature of Il sogno, both stylistically and thematically. The novel is in Italian, with some regional colouring and a few lines in Friulian (of which more will be said later). As can be gleaned from his letters and notes, Pasolini was not satisfied with a prose that mixed Italian and Friulian and rather than bending Italian too heavily into forms that mimic dialect (following Verga’s model, as was for some time his plan), he finally opted for a neutral language interspersed with Friulian expressions.18 It appears that writing the whole thing in Friulian was never an option. This was certainly not because of doubts about the suitability of Friulian to prose, as Pasolini had experimented with prose in the play I turcs tal Friul (1944) and in a series of propaganda posters for the PCI, as well as in numerous articles in Stroligùt, the journal of the Academiuta. The choice of Italian is most likely due to the autobiographical nature of the materials from which the first project of the novel emerged, which are contained in the Quaderni rossi alongside diary entries and drafts of the Amado mio and Atti impuri.19 16

Tullio De Mauro, “Pasolini critico dei linguaggi,” Galleria, 1-4 (1985): 10. See for instance Francesca Cadel’s recent study of Pasolini’s transnational explorations of the sacred: “Outside Italy: Pasolini’s Transnational Visions of the Sacred and Tradition,” in The Scandal of Self-Contradiction: Pasolini’s Multistable Subjectivities, Geographies, Traditions, ed. Luca di Blasi, Manuele Gragnolati and Christoph F. E. Holzhey (Wien-Berlin: Verlag Turia + Kant, 2012), 151-65. 18 See Siti, “Descrivere, Narrare, Esporsi,” cxxvi. 19 For an account of the manuscript material, see Siti and De Laude, “Note e notizie sui testi,” editors’ notes to Pasolini, Romanzi e racconti, 2: 1927-2008. 17

Language and Time in Pasolini


Nevertheless, it is evident that Pasolini’s interest in Friulian as a literary language starts to wane in the late 1940s, when his focus moves away from the mythical, timeless Friuli of his early poems to the social problems of post-war Italy. The last two sections of La meglio gioventù, “El testament Coran” (The Coran Testament) and “Romancero,” composed between 1947 and 1953, address issues of social inequality and exploitation (in “I dis robàs” [Stolen Days]), working class solidarity (in “L’amou dal cunpai” [The Workmate’s Love]), poor working conditions (in “La giava” [The River Bed] and in “Vegnerà il vero Cristo” [The True Christ Will Come]) and the trauma of emigration (in “La miej zoventút” [The Best of Youth]). All these themes return in Il sogno.20 History and its impact on the microcosm of the village is the subject of the family saga of “I Colús,” while the more recent events of the German occupation are dramatized in “El testament Coran.” The novel also explores the dynamics of continuity and change vis-à-vis the self-forgetful, obstinate resilience of peasant society.21 It is interesting to note that the language of these later poems is no longer the pure Casarsese of the first collection: Pasolini experiments with different varieties of Friulian (as spoken in Valvasone, Cordenons, and other places) as well as with the Venetan of Pordenone and Caorle.22 The novel, it could be argued, takes a step further in the direction of linguistic eclecticism, looking beyond the “Eden linguistico” (linguistic Eden”)23 of Casarsa to a postlapsarian world in which Italian is hegemonic. This transition is not painless, and the novel thematizes it by observing the many ways in which the characters’ language fails them. This happens for instance when lower-class Friulian speakers are confronted with languages that are socially more prestigious. The central episode in the novel is set during the protests organized in 1948 by the PCI, which Pasolini witnessed. They demanded full application of the so-called “lodo De Gasperi,” a piece of legislation passed in 1946 that required 20

The first draft of the novel was entitled La meglio gioventù. The title was then used for a collection of Friulian poems published in 1954, now in Bestemmia, 1: 3172. 21 Clear correspondences to the tone and subject matter of the novel are found also in “Il canto popolare” (“The Folk Song”) “L’umile Italia” (“Humble Italy”) and “Quadri friulani” (“Friulian Pictures”) in Le ceneri di Gramsci (1957), now in Bestemmia, 1: 185ff. 22 See Piera Rizzolatti, “Pasolini e i dialetti del Friuli occidentale,” Diverse lingue 1 (1986): 27-38. 23 Pasolini, “Tranquilla polemica sullo Zorutti,” in Un paese di temporali e di primule, 214.


Chapter Nine

landowners to contribute a part of their gross product to sharecroppers to make up for wartime losses and damages. This struggle is a key event in post-war history in that it momentarily boosted support for the PCI among agricultural workers throughout Italy.24 In Il sogno, Nini, Milio and Eligio are among the protesters that have gathered outside the landowner’s villa in Gruaro. After some negotiation, the landowner Pitotti agrees to receive a delegation of workers and invites them into his study room, addressing them in the “veneto di terraferma usato in Friuli dai borghesi” (mainland Venetan used in Friuli by the bourgeoisie).25 The men are suddenly lost for words: “‘Parla tu,’ disse Blasut, in friulano, a Susanna, che era il più vecchio. Susanna cominciò a parlare, balbettando e tenendo gli occhi abbassati” (‘You speak,’ said Blasut in Friulian to Susanna, who was the oldest. Susanna began to speak, stammering and keeping his eyes down, 103). The narrator signals the code-switching but gives us an Italian “translation” of the Friulian that the men speak among themselves, as he does elsewhere in the novel. Pieri Susanna is the oldest man and the group’s leader, but all his confidence disappears when he has to express himself in a language not his own (Pitotti’s Venetan, or perhaps Italian). The study room with its expensive furniture conspires to intimidate them: the bookshelves full of papers and the large, shiny desk are symbols of the power of culture that Pitotti’s class wields on the illiterate workers. The same men who were heard shouting threats and orders in the square now speak falteringly and hesitatingly like children in front of a schoolmaster. Pitotti attacks them, using their social ineptitude against them to dismiss their requests: “Prima di tutto, caro lei...l’educazione insegna che ci si deve guardare in faccia quando si parla insieme” (First of all, dear sir…good manners require that when talking to someone you look them in the face). But Eligio interrupts him: “Lei vuole approfittare di noi ignoranti perché ha studiato ed è ricco: a noi l’educazione nessuno ce l’ha insegnata” (You are trying to take advantage of us ignorant people because you have studied and you are rich: we instead, nobody taught us good manners, 104). Unlike his comrades, Eligio displays some awareness of the economic and social causes of his ill manners, and on these grounds he refuses to feel ashamed. Through this simple verbal exchange Pasolini exposes the power imbalance between the 24

On the impact of the lodo de Gasperi, see Paul Ginsborg, A History of Contemporary Italy: Society and Politics, 1943-1988 (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), 109-10. 25 Pasolini, Il sogno di una cosa (Milan: Garzanti, 2011), 104. Subsequent references to the novel will be cited parenthetically in the text. An English translation by Stuart Hood appeared in 1988 with the title A Dream of Something.

Language and Time in Pasolini


workers and the landowner, and shows how Eligio’s refusal to be silenced becomes a small but meaningful act of defiance against the age-old strategy of intimidation of the higher classes. That said, even among Friulian speakers of the same class, there are multiple barriers to self-expression. This is shown when, after the demonstration, Milio and his friends show up at the house of his uncle, a conservative smallholder, for something to eat. The unexpected guests turn the workaday meal into something of a festive occasion for the large Faedis family assembled in the kitchen. The girls flee at the sight of the strangers, while the older women, shamefaced, are thrown into fits of laughter and clumsily attempt to hide their embarrassment. After a hearty lunch of polenta and sausages, Erminio, the patriarch of the family, calls for more wine to be brought in: “Oh, non vi disturbate per noi!” fece il Nini...“Miseria ce n’è, ma per un bicchiere di vino!” esclamò Anuta, sfiorando le parole come se fossero ordigni esplosivi, per essere più educata possibile: e le altre sentendola discorrere così cerimoniosa, non si tenevano dal ridere. “Stupide!”, diceva la vecchia, vergognosa, e ridendo anche lei. (121) (“Oh, don’t trouble yourselves for us!” said Nini…“We may be poor but we can give a glass of wine!” exclaimed Anuta, lightly touching the words as if they were explosive devices, trying be as polite as possible; while the other women, hearing her converse so ceremoniously, almost split their sides with laughter. “You silly things!” the old woman kept saying, embarrassed, and laughing along.)

Anuta does her best to exchange verbal courtesies with her guest and act properly as the mistress of the house, but her competence in polite social interaction is poor, and the unfamiliar words she uses turn against her like weapons she cannot control. Made bold by drink and by the presence of the strangers, the younger women are quick to detect her unstable grasp of language and start answering back. As they are still unmarried, however, they have no right to speak: “Pensate prima a trovare un babbeo che vi sposi, e quando sarete padrone di casa potrete dire tutto quello che vi viene in mente!” (First go find some idiot who’ll marry you, and when you’re mistresses of your own house, then you can say anything that comes to your mind! 120). The males of the family do not have it easy either. Of course, boys must be quiet because they are just boys (“Taci tu, che pisci ancora a letto,” “Quiet you, you’re still wetting your bed,” 118). Eventually, Erminio himself raises his voice above the general turmoil to address his guests, but he ends up tongue-tied after a few words:


Chapter Nine “Nelle grosse famiglie contadine le cose non vanno mai bene, uno grida, uno piange, uno protesta...un...un...” Cercava la parola, il termine di paragone, ma, benché parlasse meglio delle donne, la sua sicurezza lo aveva tradito. “Un casino” concluse Milio, da dietro il focolare. Le ragazze gettarono un grido. (122) (“In big peasant families there is always trouble, one shouts, the other cries, another argues…it’s a…a…” He sought the right word, the term of comparison, but, although he spoke more fluently than the women, his assurance betrayed him. “A brothel” concluded Milio, from behind the hearth. The girls gave out a scream.)

Language is as treacherous and slippery for Erminio as it is for his wife Anuta and the other Faedis. The clarity of verbal expression is lost among a confusion of contrasting voices, shouting, laughing and clumsy gesticulation. Sentiments and ideas cannot find a direct way into speech and remain indistinct and ungraspable, like half-forgotten daydreams. The younger generation, however, seems determined to end the silence. Of all the characters of Il sogno, the fair-haired, blue-eyed Eligio is the most overtly expressive. He is “un matto” (a fun guy, 13), “un magnifico raccontatore di barzellette” (a fantastic joke teller, 16), and has “il genio della canzone” (a talent for singing, 18), which he exhibits in drunken performances of a boogie song he sings “proprio come un negro” (just like a black man), imitating English sounds in his own made-up gibberish: “tving, ca ubang, bredar, lov, aucester, tving tving, morrou thear...” (18). In the novel, song is presented as one of the few resources afforded by traditional society to express feelings and desires, and people have recourse to it in moments of difficulty. An example of this is the ill-fated expedition to Yugoslavia.26 In chapter 3, Nini and Eligio join other youths and cross the border illegally. Contrary to their expectations, they are not instantly offered work and a place to stay but are immediately taken into custody. And even when eventually they find work in a factory, life is not easy. Communication is a problem: the Friulians struggle to understand the complex bureaucratic system of ration books, so they cannot buy food; and the beautiful, sophisticated girls of Fiume shun their awkward advances proffered “in italiano con...pesante pronuncia friulana” (in Italian with… a strong 26

This episode is based on the experience of Dino Peresson of Ligugnana, who crossed over to Yugoslavia in the spring of 1948; Peresson’s own account of how Pasolini typed out his story over three afternoons is recorded in Giuseppe Mariuz, La meglio gioventù di Pasolini (Pasian di Prato, Udine: Campanotto, 1993), 81-89; see also Siti and De Laude, “Note e notizie sui testi,” 1936.

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Friulian accent, 50). Dejected, the young men lie down on the rocks by the sea, and Nini suggests they sing Friulian songs: “O se biel ciastel di Udin—o se biela zoventut...” Cantavano con molto sentimento, benchè quella fosse una villotta allegra. Poi ne cantarono una più nostalgica, con tutto il cuore: “Al ciante il gial—al criche il dì—adio bambine—j ài di partì...” (52-53) (“O how beautiful the castle of Udine—o how beautiful the youth…” They sang with much feeling although it was a cheerful villotta. Then they sang a more nostalgic one, with all their hearts: “The rooster crows—the day breaks—farewell, my child—I have to leave…”)

They sing five well-known villotte, four-line rhyming stanzas that are the most typical Friulian musical form. Pasolini quotes three songs in the original with the Italian translation in a footnote, in what is one of the very few appearances of Friulian words in the novel. This may seem a sentimental homage to folkloric traditions of the kind Pasolini despised.27 The songs, however, are not just “piccoli pezzi di dialetto in naftalina” (tiny bits of dialect in mothballs), as Rinaldi described them.28 Their presence communicates a sense of heightened pathos and urgency, as if their incantatory power were so strong as to break through the barrier of conventional Italian, and occupy the written page. The songs are also instrumental to the narrative in that their sequence charts a transformation in the singers’ state of mind. They start with an upbeat villotta that boasts the excellence of Udine’s castle and its young men, and then they abandon themselves to nostalgia and self-pity by singing of an emigrant’s farewell to his beloved. By now, a small crowd has gathered to listen, and the performance reaches a peak of emotion with Stelutis alpinis (Little Edelweisses), which mourns the dead of the Great War.29 Almost to the point of tears, they suddenly switch to a lighter mood and end with mildly salacious verses about spying on a girl in her toilet. Song has transported the group from self-assertion to self27

See the polemic against the Società Filologica Friulana and the “Zoruttiani” in “Lettera dal Friuli” and “Tranquilla polemica sullo Zorutti,” now in Un paese di temporali e di primule. 28 Rinaldi, Pier Paolo Pasolini, 72. 29 Stelutis alpinis is arguably the most famous song in Friulian. However, contrary to what Pasolini implies in the passage, it is not traditional but an original piece composed by Arturo Zardini in 1918. On the standardization and reinvention of the villotta genre in the twentieth century, see Gian Paolo Gri, “La villotta,” in Storia d’Italia: Le regioni dall’unità a oggi: Il Friuli-Venezia Giulia, 2: 1308-12.


Chapter Nine

pity, grief and then laughter, in a rustic kind of catharsis. Song also helps them to bond with the Fiumani who initially seemed unapproachable, and to regard the unfamiliar surroundings with a more optimistic outlook: “Nei due giorni seguenti,” remarks the narrator, “il Nini e gli altri si fecero un po’ di coraggio” (in the next couple of days, Nini and the others plucked up a little courage, 53). Pasolini’s use of these villotte should be viewed in the context of his lifelong search for a language that relates directly to reality and for signs that are organically linked to the objects they designate—a research that begins with Friulian and ends with cinema, where he eventually found “la lingua scritta della realtà” (the written language of reality).30 Folk music and songs are to be considered a manifestation of this fabled natural semiosis that eschews all convention and insincerity.31 In 1955, Pasolini edited an anthology of Italian folk poetry that included a number of villotte, among which there is one that Nini sings in the novel: “‘E io canto, canto, canto,’ cantava il Nini, ‘ma non so il perché—e io canto solamente—che per consolarmi me...’” (“And I sing, I sing, I sing,” sang Nini, “I don’t even know why—and I sing only so—as to ease my own mind,” 53). The lyrics are in Italian, as if Pasolini were especially keen for the reader to understand their meaning. In its brevity, the song offers a metatextual reflection on the function of singing (i.e. to cheer oneself up), while at the same time performing the desired effect of comforting the person who sings it. The way in which this strangely philosophical, selfreflective villotta turns back upon itself (“io canto…per consolarmi me) conveys the complete loneliness of a voice that has only itself to listen to. The song has been stripped bare of all its elements; there is no audience left, no motivation, no message, no content except the song itself, and the obstinate will to sing it. As De Mauro has noted, the villotta “E jo cjanti” was singled out as the most representative of the Friulian character in an anthology by Luigi Ciceri, a connoisseur of local history and customs who was Pasolini’s long-time friend and publisher.32 It is likely that Pasolini


See the essay by the same title in Empirismo eretico, 202-30. On this topic see Roberto Calabretto, Pasolini e la musica: “...l’unica azione espressiva forse, alta, e indefinibile come le azioni della realtà” (Pordenone: Cinemazero, 1999). 32 “E jo cjanti” is discussed by Ciceri in the Introduction to his Villotte e canti popolari del Friuli (Udine: Società Filologica Friulana, 1966), xv. Ciceri’s source here is Enrico Morpurgo’s preface to an earlier anthology published by the Società Filologica Friulana in 1930 by the title of Villotte e canti popolari friuliani. Ciceri published Pasolini’s poetry collection Tal còur d’un frut (Tricesimo: Edizioni di 31

Language and Time in Pasolini


was aware of, and possibly shared, Ciceri’s view that this particular villotta contains the very essence of Friulian song, which is “il canto come ragione sufficiente di esistenza, motivato da niente altro che dalla volontà di essere e di esistere” (song as a sufficient reason for existence, prompted by nothing but the will to be and to exist).33 To this type of psychological reading, Pasolini adds a more explicit historical and political dimension. In his own anthology, the Friulian section is divided into two parts: “Allegria” and “Malinconia.” “E jo cjanti” features in the latter.34 In his commentary, Pasolini highlights how the villotta form was preserved in its original features because of Friuli’s marginality and withdrawal “di fronte al gran moto evolutivo della storia trascorrente per il centro della nazione” (when faced with the great evolutionary motion of history flowing through the centre of the nation).35 This is why in Friulian folk culture “allegria” and “malinconia” are not really distinct but connote respectively the social and private responses to the same experience of poverty and isolation: a public show of braggadocio and insouciance takes place side by side with expressions of profound anxiety and affliction in the intimacy of the individual (often female) voice. In the villotte of the melancholy type, the true state of peasant life is laid bare in a flash, “quasi il senso della povertà e ingiustizia si liberasse dagli apriorismi dell’obbligatoriamente allegra rassegnazione” (as if the consciousness of poverty and injustice freed itself from the preconceptions of a compulsorily cheerful resignation).36 Read in this sense, “E jo cjanti” becomes the manifesto of a pre-political and almost pre-verbal aspiration to social change and emancipation. From the insulated, echoless space where poverty and social exclusion have relegated them, the underclasses attain a skeletal and incomplete form of self-consciousness (“io canto…ma non so il perché”), that produces an indefinite wish or “dream of something,” too slight to lead to action. The novel takes its title from a letter by Karl Marx to Arnold Ruge, his co-editor in the journal Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher. An excerpt from it appears in the epigraph: Il nostro motto dev’essere dunque: riforma della coscienza non per mezzo di dogmi, ma mediante l’analisi della coscienza non chiara a se stessa, o si lingua friulana, 1953) and, posthumously, I turcs tal Friul (Udine: Forum Julii, 1976). 33 De Mauro, “Pasolini critico dei linguaggi,” 7. 34 Pasolini, ed., Canzoniere italiano (Milan: Guanda, 1975), 106. 35 Ibid., 106. 36 Ibid., lxx.


Chapter Nine presenti sotto forma religiosa o politica. Apparirà allora che il mondo ha da lungo tempo il sogno di una cosa.37 (Hence, our motto must be: reform of consciousness not through dogmas, but through the analysis of consciousness that is unclear to itself, whether it manifests itself in a religious or a political form. It will then become evident that the world has for long had a dream of something.)

A brief analysis of this passage can perhaps clarify some aspects that have remained in the background in most readings of the novel, and especially the link it establishes between language, history and political consciousness. We know that Pasolini chose the title at the last moment, after casually hearing the quote from Franco Fortini, a Marxist intellectual. This has been often taken as a sign that the title in itself is not particularly significant.38 In the light of the observations on language made above, I would argue instead that the paratext provides clear indications on how to interpret the novel, and might even have guided Pasolini’s final reorganization of the material before publication. In his letter, Marx illustrates his strategy to gain supporters among people who have no notion of Communism. The proposed journal he would edit with Ruge should not set forth a series of dogmas in complete opposition to existing systems of thought, but instead engage with these and expose their limits from within. In other words, it should reformulate the questions that people already ask of religion, science, and politics in a revolutionary sense. The passage selected by Pasolini (via Fortini) states that Communism is not a new doctrine but simply gives voice to mankind’s dormant hopes and expectations. This is to be achieved through a “reform of consciousness” that should make the hitherto unexpressed or misunderstood contents of consciousness intelligible to itself. The eponymous “dream of something” is what occupies people’s minds before they are awakened to the full consciousness of their own rights and aspirations. Il sogno di una cosa uses Marx’s theory to illustrate the condition of Friulian peasants and workers in a moment when it seems that an awakening is possible. The theme of self-expression through language 37

Pasolini cuts the sentence here while the original German continues with a relative clause: “…die Welt längst den Traum von einer Sache besitzt, von der sie nur das Bewußtsein besitzen muß, um sie wirklich zu besitzen” (the world has long had the dream of something, of which it has only to be conscious of, in order to possess it in reality), MEW (Berlin: Dietz, 1957), 1: 346. Pasolini clearly prizes the poetic vagueness of the dream above the visionary clarity and strength of purpose of Marx’s prose. 38 See, for instance, Siti, “Descrivere, Narrare, Esporsi,” cxxvi.

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becomes therefore charged with a fundamental political import, and is connected to the theme of Friuli’s “entry into history”. Eligio, Nini and Milio are exceptions in the rural society they belong to because they use language freely, without guilt or embarrassment. Eligio’s signature “American” song and his reaction to Pitotti’s remark, discussed above, are two sides of the same expansive desire for self-expression, which also manifests itself in Nini’s Friulian songs and in bold statements that shock the Faedis: “E al pievano gli diamo fuoco al sedere!” (And as for the vicar, we’ll set his bum on fire! 113). Milio exercises his freedom of speech through constant curses and blasphemies (“sacramento,” “casino”), and even takes up the role of first-person narrator in the chronicle of his time in Switzerland in Chapter Five.39 Their friendship is cemented when, after a night of carousing at the Easter Monday sagra in Casale, they sit together in the dark of Eligio’s kitchen, talking: “Non sapevano bene quello che dicevano: conversavano. E questo li soddisfaceva immensamente” (They weren’t sure what they were saying: still, they were having a conversation. And this satisfied them immensely, 23). The three friends are members of the PCI, but their activism is inspired more by their natural loquacity and buoyancy than by well thought out political views. On an evening at the ENAL, the working men’s club, the older men sit and drink, talking gloomily of corruption and unemployment, when Eligio jumps in: “Su col morale...verrà bene il momento che gliela faremo pagare! Ma intanto è inutile prendersela in questo modo!” (Cheer up…the day will surely come when we’ll make them pay for this! But in the meantime it’s no use getting so upset! 30). Their’s is a generic eagerness to speak out, get moving and get things done, fuelled by their youthful energy and by a naïve optimism about the future. Even when, starved and fatigued, they have to scramble back to Italy from Yugoslavia, one of them says confidently: “Quando la faremo noi la rivoluzione...le cose non andranno come qui” (When we will make the revolution…it won’t be like here, 61). There is little evidence in the novel that the militants have any knowledge of ideology, and party meetings and manifestations are described much in the same vein as the village festivals of the first chapters. So it is true that, as Ward observes, no “sharply defined and developed political consciousness” emerges.40 But 39 The source for Milio’s story is a series of written accounts commissioned by Pasolini in 1950-51 to Archimede Bortolussi of San Floreano, who had migrated to Switzerland; see Mariuz, La meglio gioventù di Pasolini, 35-38; also Siti and De Laude, “Note e notizie sui testi,” 1936. 40 Ward, A Poetics of Resistance, 48.


Chapter Nine

that’s because Pasolini’s aim, as announced by the epigraph quote, is different: he does not wish to teach dogmas but achieve the “analysis of consciousness which is not clear to itself.” Thus for Eligio, Nini, Milio and the others, taking possession of language and using it to speak their minds is the most urgent political action they can take. That said, the novel does much to quench their enthusiasm: as seen above, Yugoslavia is not such a great place after all, and even in Switzerland, farmers run into debt and cannot pay wages to their workers, as Milio learns to his own cost. Back home, the PCI might have won the battle over the “lodo De Gasperi,” but poverty and unemployment still afflict the region. Nini, for all his anti-clerical pronouncements, finds work in the gunpowder factory through the intercession of the same vicar whose buttocks he had threatened to set fire to, and narrowly escapes death in an accidental explosion. Eligio takes a job in the gravel pit but his health, already undermined by the malnourishment suffered in Yugoslavia, quickly deteriorates. In the final chapter, the three friends meet again at Eligio’s deathbed. Eligio, who was the most vocal and spirited of the three, has lapsed into incoherence. For a moment, he seems to react to his sister’s voice—and once again, words that carry a heightened emotional value are given in Friulian: “Eligio...vuardimi, i soj Alba” (Eligio…look at me, I’m Alba). Nini draws closer to him, and hears him mutter something: “Una cosa”, pareva dicesse, “una cosa!” E accennava, come ammiccando, a qualcosa che sapevano bene lui e il Nini, e Milio. Ma non parlava, non riusciva a dire che cosa fosse. Ce l’aveva negli occhi. Non sarebbe riuscito a dirlo nemmeno quand’era forte e pieno di vita, figurarsi se riusciva a dirlo adesso che stava morendo. (212) (“Something,” he seemed to be saying, “something!” And he hinted, almost mischievously, to something that he and Nini and Milio knew very well. But he did not speak, he could not say what it was. He had it in his eyes. He would not have been able to say it when he was strong and full of life, how could he say it now that he was dying?)

Eligio’s mind, which had just begun opening itself to verbal articulation in a clumsy, improvised fashion, sinks back into a primitive mystical daze that is inaccessible to rational analysis and expression. Rinaldi has argued that Milio’s narrative about Switzerland is “tutta articolata sul filo di un’opposizione ‘linguistica’: tra la sua ‘povera’ pre-verbalità e la richiesta dominante di una parola attiva, parola-azione” (entirely played out on a “linguistic” contrast: that between his “poor” pre-verbal expression and

Language and Time in Pasolini


the prevailing demand for an active word, a word-action).41 I believe this applies to the novel as a whole and to this scene in particular, where we witness the ultimate failure to oppose the gagging effect of both poverty and lack of education. In any case, the unsayable “something” that Eligio hints at has already become obsolete. The narrator remarks that “in pochi mesi erano cambiate tante cose” (in the space of a few months, many things had changed, 160): Nini, who always wanted to be “un cittadino, non un contadino” (a townsman, not a peasant, 170) has married a vapid girl with showbusiness ambitions, and Milio comes to the hospital wearing a new shiny white coat bought with the money he has made in Switzerland. To Pasolini’s eye, these are unmistakable symptoms of the dreaded “anthropological mutation” of the Italian working classes, brought about by industrialization, American-style consumerism, and television, which heralded their disowning of both traditional values and socialist ideals, and ending with their absorption into the middle class.42 The novel’s conclusion is an accusation against Italian society of the early Sixties: “the dream of something” has been forgotten, and the underclasses have joined the rest of society in a debasing normalization imposed by the new consumerist society. Pasolini published the novel in 1962, by which time he was already convinced that Italy had turned its back on revolution, only to be later engulfed by the much more violent and radical change produced by economic development.43 According to Pasolini, this second revolution, internal to the capitalist system, has succeeded where the “external” revolution of socialism has failed; the economic migration from the South to the industrializing North and the impact of the new mass media have produced an unprecedented “linguistic transformation of society,” the decline of dialect and the rise of a homogeneous Italian spoken by large sectors of the population.44 The “economic boom” of the Sixties blotted out Friulian and socialism in one stroke, and Pasolini’s return to the unpublished typescript in 1962 is veiled with nostalgia. Siti notes that “quelle lotte contadine…quei fazzoletti rossi cadono sulla crisi ideologica dei primi anni Sessanta come una nevicata di nostalgia” (those farm workers’ struggles…those red 41

Rinaldi, Pier Paolo Pasolini, 74. Pasolini, “Dal laboratorio,” 70; see also the articles collected in Scritti corsari (Milan: Garzanti, 1975). 43 See the introduction to Canzoniere italiano, pp. cxxiv-v; see also “La confusione degli stili” (1957), now in Passione e ideologia, 1948-1958 (Milan: Garzanti, 1960), 342-3. 44 Pasolini, “Dal laboratorio,” 69- 71. 42


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handkerchiefs fall on the ideological crisis of the early Sixties like a snowfall of nostalgia) and that Pasolini himself claimed he had written new bits “divertendosi a fare ‘un’imitazione di me stesso d’allora’” (amusing himself by doing “an imitation of myself back then”);45 Gordon similarly writes that Il sogno and other works that Pasolini published after 1960 but had composed much earlier, are “nostalgic, not culturally present interventions” whose subject “inhabits a sort of posthumous afterlife…caught in a metahistorical or anachronistic stasis.”46 Anachronism, however, does not necessarily imply a disengagement from the present, and nostalgia can be a powerful critical tool, especially in Pasolini’s hands. Pasolini’s engagement with Friulian had begun with the experience of an anachronism: he saw the language and people of Friuli as being immersed in a pre-historical time that continued to flow untouched by the great historical movements and transformations of Europe. Friuli had lived for centuries “in una sorta…di substrato politico, di rustico mondo a sè, a suo modo nobile, su cui sono passate senza intaccarlo…le dominazioni esterne, dalla veneziana, alla fugace napoleonica, all’austriaca, all’umbertina, e…alla fascista” (in a sort…of political substratum, of self-contained rustic world, noble in its own way, which has been traversed but not affected by…external dominations, from the Venetian to the brief Napoleonic one, to the Austrian, the Umbertine, and…the fascist domination).47 In Il sogno, the action often pauses on scenes of placid everyday life in the villages, which form a contrast to the heated political meetings and drunken shenanigans of the young people. The poignant imagery of Pasolini’s earlier poetry returns in the sound of bells and in visions of black-clad women hurrying to Church or going about their daily duties. And after the demonstration has been dispersed, a serene evening light spreads over San Giovanni, signifying that “ormai tutto era finito, tutto era tornato normale” (it was all over, all was back to normal, 149). Yet, this noble, ancestral world will not meet destruction at the hands of the fearsome socialists, but at those of capitalism. The novel thus suffers from a redoubled nostalgia: for the old peasant society that lived with “a dream of something”; and for the young idealists (among whom Pasolini himself) who wanted to shake it up.


Siti, “Descrivere, narrare, esporsi,” cxxvii; Pasolini’s confession was made to Adolfo Chiesa for Paese sera, 6 April 1962. 46 Gordon, Forms of Subjectivity, 21. 47 Pasolini, Canzoniere italiano, lxix.

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Far from being “a parody of history”48 or a withdrawal from the present, Il sogno focuses on the tantalizing moment between the end of a cycle (traditional society, Fascism) and the beginning of a new one, still indeterminate, which is the brief window of opportunity when a revolution could happen. Looking back at Italy in 1948-49, Pasolini does not wish to anatomize the corpse of a failed revolution, but to revive its spirit for the present. Fortini has recognized in Pasolini “una fulminante capacità di intendere i caratteri regressivi di una condizione storica” (a razor-sharp capacity to detect the regressive characters of a historical condition”). But that does not result in aloofness from the present. On the contrary, Pasolini “vi si immerge per trarne figurazioni di rimpianto per possibilità scomparse e insieme—per antitesi—di soverchiante vitalità e dunque di possibile mutamento” (immerses himself in it and gleans from it representations of regret for vanished opportunities as well as—by way of antithesis—of overwhelming vitality and hence of potential transformation).49 In this sense the anachronism of the novel, written impersonating “me stesso d’allora,” is a challenge to the destructive progress of neocapitalism and an attempt to reawaken the memory of an alternative route to development that just a decade earlier seemed set to prevail.50 Moving from politics back to language, the same strategy of temporal displacement underpinned Pasolini’s earlier choice of writing verses in the “old, healthy” Friulian. His dialect poetry already constituted a deliberate regression, “coincidente con la nostalgia di chi viva—e lo sappia—in una civiltà giunta ad una sua crisi linguistica” (that coincides with the nostalgia of someone who lives—and is aware of living—in a civilization that has come to a linguistic crisis).51 Pasolini’s “Marxist linguistics” teaches that language is a barometer of social and historical change, but at the same time it has within itself the power to transform reality. Historical time and language are complex, stratified realities whose evolution does not follow a linear, predetermined path. The spoken Friulian that existed “in


Ward, A Poetics of Resistance, 48. Franco Fortini, “Esistenza e manierismo in Pier Paolo Pasolini,” in I poeti del Novecento (Rome and Bari: Laterza, 1977), 179. 50 Pasolini argued for a distinction between progress and development in “Sviluppo e progresso,” now in Scritti corsari, 175-83. On the deliberate anachronism of some of Pasolini’s stylistic choices see Keala Jewell, The Poiesis of History: Experimenting with Genre in Postwar Italy (Ithaca, NY and London: Cornell UP, 1992). 51 Pasolini, “La poesia dialettale del Novecento,” in Passione e ideologia, 137. 49


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diacronia”52 with the official literary Italian is a correlative of the anachronistic “dream of something” that was slowly and painfully striving to find expression among the protesting workers in 1948-49. That they were not able to “possess it in reality,” Pasolini seems to say, is a wrong that it is up to us to redress.

References Cadel, Francesca. “Outside Italy: Pasolini’s Transnational Visions of the Sacred and Tradition.” In The Scandal of Self-Contradiction: Pasolini’s Multistable Subjectivities, Geographies, Traditions. Edited by Luca di Blasi, Manuele Gragnolati and Christoph F. E. Holzhey, 151-65. Wien-Berlin: Verlag Turia + Kant, 2012. Calabretto, Roberto. Pasolini e la musica: “…l”unica azione espressiva forse, alta, e indefinibile come le azioni della realtà.” Pordenone: Cinemazero, 1999. Ciceri, Luigi. Villotte e canti popolari del Friuli. Udine: Società Filologica Friulana, 1966. Contini, Gianfranco. “Al limite della poesia dialettale.” In Pagine ticinesi di Gianfranco Contini. Edited by Romano Broggini, 110-113. Bellinzona, CH: Salvioni, 1986. Corriere del Friuli and Comune di Casarsa della Delizia. Eds. Pasolini in Friuli, 1943-1949. Udine: Arti Grafiche Friulane, 1976. De Mauro, Tullio. “Pasolini critico dei linguaggi.” Galleria 1-4 (1985): 719. —. “Pasolini’s Linguistics.” In Pasolini Old and New: Surveys and Studies. Edited by Zygmunt G. Baranski, 77-90. Dublin: Four Courts, 1999. Fortini, Franco. “Esistenza e manierismo in Pier Paolo Pasolini.” In I poeti del Novecento, 170-89. Rome and Bari: Laterza, 1977. Ginsborg, Paul. A History of Contemporary Italy: Society and Politics, 1943-1988. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003. Gordon, Robert S. C. Pasolini: Forms of Subjectivity. Oxford: Clarendon, 1996.


See Pasolini, “Dal laboratorio,” 58. On Pasolini’s improper use of the term “diachronic” in the sense of “obsolete,” see De Mauro, “Pasolini’s Linguistics,” in Pasolini Old and New: Surveys and Studies, ed. Zygmunt G. Baranski (Dublin: Four Courts, 1999), 77-90, especially p. 86.

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Gri, Gian Paolo. “La villotta.” In Storia d’Italia: Le regioni dall’unità a oggi: Il Friuli-Venezia Giulia. Edited by Roberto Finzi, Claudio Magris and Giovanni Miccoli, 2: 1308-12. Turin: Einaudi, 2002. Hooper, Laurence. “‘Riacquistare la Casarsa Buona’: Exile, Realism and Authorship in Pasolini’s Atti impuri and Amado mio.” Italian Studies 68, no. 1 (2013): 138-54. Jewell, Keala. The Poiesis of History: Experimenting with Genre in Postwar Italy. Ithaca, NJ and London: Cornell UP, 1992. Maggi, Armando. The Resurrection of the Body: Pier Paolo Pasolini from Saint Paul to Sade. Chicago and London: U of Chicago P, 2009. Mariuz, Giuseppe. La meglio gioventù di Pasolini. Pasian di Prato, UD: Campanotto, 1993. Marx, Karl and Friedrich Engels. Werke (MEW). Vol. 1. Berlin: Dietz, 1957. Naldini, Nico. Ed. L’Academiuta friulana e le sue riviste. Vicenza: Neri Pozza, 1994. —. Pasolini, una vita. Turin: Einaudi, 1989. Pasolini, Pier Paolo. A Dream of Something. Translated with an introduction by Stuart Hood. London: Quartet, 1988. —. Amado mio: Preceduto da Atti Impuri. Milan: Garzanti, 1982. —. Bestemmia: Tutte le poesie. Edited by Walter Siti. 2 vols. Milan: Garzanti, 1994. —. Ed. Canzoniere italiano. Milan: Guanda, 1975. —. “La confusione degli stili.” In Passione e ideologia, 332-49. —. “Dal laboratorio: Appunti en poète per una linguistica marxista.” In Empirismo eretico, 55-81. —. Empirismo eretico. Milan: Garzanti, 1972. —. Lettere 1940-1954. Edited by Nico Naldini. Turin: Einaudi, 1986. —. “La lingua scritta della realtà.” In Empirismo eretico, 202-30. —. Passione e ideologia 1948-1958. Milan: Garzanti, 1960. —. “La poesia dialettale del Novecento.” In Passione e ideologia, 9-138. —. Romanzi e racconti. Edited by Walter Siti and Silvia De Laude. 2 vols. Milan: Mondadori, 1999. —. Scritti corsari. Milan: Garzanti, 1975. —. Il sogno di una cosa. Milan: Garzanti, 2011. —. Stroligut di ca da l’aga (1944), Il stroligut (1945-6), Quaderno romanzo (1947): Riviste friulane dirette da Pier Paolo Pasolini. Edited by Gianfranco Folena. Padua: Circolo filologico linguistico padovano, 1983. —. “Sviluppo e progresso.” In Scritti corsari, 175-83. —. Tal còur d’un frut. Tricesimo: Edizioni di lingua friulana, 1953.


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—. “Tranquilla polemica sullo Zorutti.” In Un paese di temporali e di primule, 214-7. —. I turcs tal Friul. Udine: Forum Julii, 1976. —. Un paese di temporali e di primule. Edited by Nico Naldini. Parma: Guanda, 1993. —. “Volontà poetica ed evoluzione della lingua.” In Un paese di temporali e di primule, 207-9. Rinaldi, Rinaldo. Pier Paolo Pasolini. Milan: Mursia, 1982. Rizzolatti, Piera. “Pasolini e i dialetti del Friuli occidentale.” Diverse lingue 1 (1986): 27-38. Santato, Guido. Pier Paolo Pasolini: L’opera. Vicenza: Neri Pozza, 1980. Siti, Walter. “Descrivere, Narrare, Esporsi.” In Pasolini, Romanzi e racconti, 1: xciii-cxliv. Siti, Walter and Silvia De Laude. “Note e notizie sui testi.” In Pasolini, Romanzi e racconti, 2: 1927-2008. Società Filologica Friulana G. I. Ascoli. Ed. Villotte e canti popolari friuliani. Florence: Mignani, 1930. Ward, David. A Poetics of Resistance: Narrative and the Writings of Pier Paolo Pasolini. Madison: Fairleigh Dickinson UP, 1995.

CHAPTER TEN RECENT FRIULIAN POETRY: SOME OBSERVATIONS RIENZO PELLEGRINI 1. Introduction In this chapter, I shall examine three texts: “L’âga dal Tajamènt” by Siro Angeli, “Tiliment” by Amedeo Giacomini and “La Grava” by Novella Cantarutti. All three authors are accomplished poets, but my choice does not aim to establish a particular canon. The common thread to all three texts is the river Tagliamento which, as it runs across Friuli, defines areas that are at once distinct and united. The comparative reading of the three poems will highlight the appreciable variations in the language that closely mirror the geography of the region, so that the transformations of the poetic discourse, which are linked to linguistic variation, will become evident. In these examples of recent Friulian poetry, language is no longer used to achieve greater immediacy and accessibility, nor does it require of the reader a shared linguistic competence. Instead, it exploits the aura of ambiguity left by the semantic slippage from Friulian to Italian. By selecting these three undoubtedly remarkable texts, I do not claim to set a paradigm for Friulian poetry of the last decades, which is too rich and multifarious a domain to be reduced to a synthesis. The texts presented here are but a fragment of the overall personality of their authors; yet they allow us to come into contact, in a non-generic way, with poetic writing in Friulian and with the kind of Friulian that finds its way into writing.

2. A Chronology of Friulian Poetry Before moving on to an analysis of the three texts, I shall provide a brief sketch of the historical context, first of all by setting it within a grid of key dates that form a chronology of Friulian poetry itself, as well as, occasionally, of extra-literary events. The year 1942, marking the one


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hundred and fiftieth anniversary of Pietro Zorutti’s birth (and the seventyfifth of his death), inspired eloquent commemorative celebrations. Zorutti (Lonzano, in the municipality of Dolegna del Collio 1792–Udine 1867) was the author of the almanac Strolic or “The Astrologist.” He was an immensely popular figure, and a series of anecdotes began to circulate about him. Apparently, he was gifted with a sharp and sly intelligence, keen on witticisms and epigrams. As a poet he alternated between the farcical register and a gentle sensitivity for natural phenomena. The historian and statesman Pier Silverio Leicht (Venice 1874–Rome 1956) aptly epitomized the prevalent view of Zorutti in the very title of his commemoration (and later article) “Pietro Zorutti, poeta vivo” (Pietro Zorutti, living poet). Bindo Chiurlo (Cassacco 1886–Turin 1943), a literary historian and poet, called him “the greatest poet Friuli has ever had, including the poets writing in the national language.”1 In the summer of the same year 1942, in Bologna, Pier Paolo Pasolini (Bologna 1922–Ostia 1975) published at his own expense a thin booklet entitled Poesie a Casarsa. On those white pages, the verses breathed freely. Pasolini’s verses were “alien” from the outset, free from any affiliation with local myths, not constrained by the necessity to “move through” them. Pasolini did not speak Friulian, and as a result his use of it was rather approximate. Nevertheless, it marked a crucial turning point for Friulian writing. In practice (theory followed suit, and with it a poetics which was almost aggressive in its rigour), Poesie a Casarsa was already animated by a strong conceptual premise: that dialect should become the pure language of (and for) poetry. The rift between Pasolini’s idea of a purely poetic language and the supporters of a more traditional approach to dialect poetry (whom Pasolini scathingly called the “Zoruttiani”), emerged later, not without excesses.2 But what is important here is recognizing that the split took place as early as the 1940s. On the one hand, Pasolini saw Friulian as the language of poetry, a precious idiolect (an eccentric and marginal Friulian, not restricted by a “norm” or a “grammar”). On the other hand, Giuseppe Marchetti (Gemona 1902–Udine 1966), a priest, a teacher and an intellectual who was a passionate and unconventional supporter of the Friulian idea, pursued a different project: he wanted an universally applicable Friulian, which could be used in all registers of writing 1

From the Preface to the revised edition of a study originally published in 1911 and still fundamental, entitled Pietro Zorutti: Poeta del Friuli (Padua: Le Tre Venezie, 1942), 9. 2 See Pasolini’s “Tranquilla polemica sullo Zorutti,” now in Un paese di temporali e di primule, ed. Nico Naldini (Parma: Guanda, 1993), 214-17.

Recent Friulian Poetry


(including essays and technical fields such as economy, politics, geography, linguistics, and so forth) and in all spheres of oral communication (from the intimacy of the family to official purposes). Between the notion of dialect as an exclusively poetic language and that of Friulian as a fully functioning language, a chasm opened that had little hope of reconciliation. Thus, between 1942 and 1949, Pasolini went through his Friulian phase, characterized on the one hand by the subjectivity and enchanted lyricism of Poesie a Casarsa (Poems in/to Casarsa) and on the other by the intentionally choral, epic-lyric plurilingualism of Dov’è la mia patria (Where is my Fatherland). This collection of 1949 bears, like the first, an Italian title, but sets out to cover the linguistic variety of western Friuli; here, the force guiding the writing is political activism (reinforced by Giuseppe Zigaina’s drawings). For Pasolini, these were years of frantic activity. In February 1945, the Academiuta di lenga furlana (Small Academy of the Friulian Language) was founded. The first pamphlets were published, initially without any signs of antagonism. The first issue of the Stroligut di ca da l’aga (Little Almanac on this Side of the River) appeared in 1944. Stroligut, with the endearing connotation of the diminutive, is a reference to Zorutti’s Strolic Furlan (Friulian Almanac), a yearbook he published from 1821 to the year of his death, and which the Società Filologica Friuliana (Friulian Philological Society) had begun to reissue; while the aga (“water”) is by definition the river Tagliamento. Later on, the publications of the Academiuta display a resentfully autonomous stance: the title changes to Il stroligut in 1945 and 1946, leaving out the geographic specification and adding a determinative article as if to stress the uniqueness of the journal. And finally, the more ambitious Quaderno romanzo of 1947 opens toward wider horizons, severing all links with the old almanacs. Pasolini regarded translation as a privileged means to change the status of Friulian from dialect to language. And indeed, the practice of translation fitted in comfortably with the activities of the circle of the Academiuta. Needless to say, they did not conceive of translation as having instrumental purposes: its purpose was not to make the original text “known,” but rather to “re-create” it, according to the principles of “imitation” and “rewriting” (as was typical of the Hermetic school of Italian poetry of the 1940s), by forcing and exploiting the acoustic resources of the target language. It was a process of assimilation, which produced wonderful exercises by Pasolini and the young affiliates of the Academiuta, and a vertiginous opening to the outside world, at times


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mediated by Italian: from Greek lyric to Japanese, from French to Spanish, from Tommaseo to Ungaretti, and so on. In 1949, Pasolini’s Friulian season came to an end: the scandal caused by his homosexuality forced him, in the unbreathable air of the cold war, to flee to Rome, as he later wrote, “as in a novel.”3 In the same year, the group Risultive was formally constituted. Risultive is a Friulian term meaning spring water, water that comes to the surface, which refers to the natural phenomenon of karst springs found in a specific area of the Friulian plains. In this case the term is used in a metaphorical sense. The group was animated by Marchetti and acted within the perimeter of orality (villotte, folk-tales and legends), in which it found a truly original and authentic route into modernity, not self-consciously borrowed from foreign cultures. The group experimented with poetry, novels, short stories, and theatre: Dino Virgili (Ceresetto, in the municipality of Martignacco 1925–Udine, 1983) wrote the novel L’aghe dapît la cleve (The River at the Bottom of the Hill), in Friulian, which was partly serialized in journal instalments and then published as a whole in 1957; Riedo Puppo (Ceresetto, 1920–Udine, 2002) was the author of short stories, the most well-known of which is Par un pêl (By the Skin of Our Teeth), an effective distortion of Risorgimento epics, which underwent several editions, the first in 1960.4 The Risultive group adopted the standard Friulian koinè, with the deliberate aim of proposing it as a unifying language, and employed it in practice in the columns of the newspaper Patrie dal Friûl (The Fatherland of Friuli). In the 1940s the movement for autonomy, despite being alive with ideas and intelligence, did not attain significant results. It was only in 1963 that the autonomous region of Friuli Venezia Giulia was created—in a manner that, however, fell far short of expectations, and had no significant effect on Friulian writing. These were the years of the economic boom, which saw society giving in to the laws of consumerism and relinquishing both the old rhythms of rural life and its own language. Middle school was reformed in 1963, and the establishment of compulsory secondary education until the age of fourteen contributed to further spreading Italian at the expense of local idioms. Swimming against the current, Leonardo Zanier (Maranzanis, in the municipality of Comeglians, 1935) published his first collection of Friulian poems in 1964, which tackle the theme of the forced economic migration of Friulians, exposing the traumas this 3

From Pasolini’s Preface, entitled “Al lettore nuovo,” to the 1970 edition of Poesie (Milan: Garzanti, 1970), 9. 4 Dino Virgili, L’aghe dapît la clefe: Conte di amôr (Udine: La Panarie, 1957); Riedo Puppo, Par un pêl (Udine: Risultive, 1960).

Recent Friulian Poetry


caused with cadenced verses. The title Libers…di scugnî lâ ( Have to Leave) contains a violent and almost dramatic oxymoron, differing in texture from Pasolini’s tone. In the early Sixties, the phenomenon of mass migration had mostly ceased, and departures such as Zanier’s were of a different sort, motivated by a different type of economical, and not just economical, reasons. In any case, Libers…di scugnî lâ is the collection of Friulian verse to have sold the greatest number of editions and translations, although the latter changed (or rather, condensed) its initial meaning: the text became a book of memory for third-generation migrants—a memory that needs to be rebuilt, such is the deep break that separates the migrants from almost unimaginable experiences in their past. In 2012 it was translated into Arabic (with a French translation in the footer, the original on facing pages and the Italian translation in the footer of facing pages), giving voice to yet another form of that “freedom” to leave—to leave and be shipwrecked: on the cover and then on the inside there is the unequivocal image of an overloaded rubber dinghy.5 Between 1975 and 1976, a rupture was produced by two traumatic events. In 1975 Pasolini’s La nuova gioventù reignited interest in the Friulian dialect by newly putting forth the fabulous myth of his Friulian years and at the same time refuting it by means of a negative re-writing, in a cold-blooded abjuration that has the sharp harshness and apocalyptic ring of his late writing. That same year, Pasolini died horrifically, and his death was the subject of barbaric media consumption. In 1976, an earthquake struck Friuli, bringing destruction and death, as well as an anxious search for “roots.” A new phase started for Friulian, with a flurry of activities in the field of poetry (as well as, obviously, in other fields). Authors, who until then had written exclusively in Italian, now discovered Friulian: the maternal Friulian, mostly lacking a written tradition, and Friulian as the language of poetry. This is the case of acclaimed novelist Elio Bartolini (Conegliano, 1922–San Daniele del Friuli, 2006), of Amedeo Giacomini, on whom more will be said later, and of other authors of lesser stature that I will not discuss since what matters here is the general trend. Finally, the first legislative interventions for the protection of Friulian came in 1996 and 1999, and for the time being have had no immediate repercussions for poetry. The chronological outline of Friulian poetry included here, is neither a mere list of names and titles nor a congested catalogue, but it aims to provide the background for the selection and close examination of a few examples, in order give an initial assessment of the


Leonardo Zanier, LIbers…di scugnî lâ (Milan: Effigie, 2012).


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facts and features of Friulian poetry. I will start with Siro Angeli, proceeding in chronological order by the year of publication of each text.

3. Siro Angeli Siro Angeli was born in 1913 at Cesclans, in the municipality of Cavazzo Carnico. His father, a construction worker of strict moral principles who had migrated to France, never interfered with his son’s studies, and his presence in the family was by necessity intermittent. Angeli died in Tolmezzo in 1991, after a life journey that took him to Tuscany (he studied at the university of Pisa); Rome, where he lived from 1947, since 1955 as an employee of RAI (the national public broadcasting company), and at the same time working as a theatre and film critic, as well as screenwriter; and, in his final years, Zurich. The list of Siro Angeli’s works includes one single novel, published in 1988 with the title Figlio dell’uomo (Son of Man), whose protagonist is Jesus himself, who contemplates with perplexity his own existence.6 Angeli’s interest in theatre, on the other hand, is neither accidental nor ephemeral—a verbal theatre, sensitive to atmosphere and psychology. One need recall only the so-called Carnia trilogy, collected in a single volume in 1939: La casa (The House), Dentro di noi (Within Ourselves) and Mio fratello il ciliegio (My Brother the Cherry Tree).7 The image Angeli carves of Carnia (an area in the northeast of Friuli) wavers between nostalgia, which is blind by definition, and critical lucidity. Angeli’s Carnia is a harsh place, with firmly held beliefs in the house, the rule of parsimony that go with it, and the painful corollary of departures, caught between acceptance and rebellion, with no hope of a dialectic solution. Between 1980 and 1981 Angeli worked with film director Vittorio Cottafavi on Maria Zef, a cinematic adaptation in Friulian of the novel of the same name by Paola Drigo (Castelfranco Veneto 1876–Padua 1938).8 Besides co-authoring the script, Angeli was involved as an actor in the role of Barbe Zef, the abusive uncle of the eponymous protagonist, a character he brought to life with his sunken face and sober, convincing gestures. The film did not escape censorship and pre-emptive indignation because of its


Siro Angeli, Figlio dell’uomo (Milan: Edizioni Paoline, 1989). Id., Gente di Carnia: Trilogia (La casa, Mio fratello il ciliegio, Dentro di noi) (Udine: La Panarie, 1939). 8 Angeli, Vittorio Cottafavi and Paola Drigo, Maria Zef, directed by Vittorio Cottafavi (Radiotelevisione Italiana, Sede Regionale per il Friuli-Venezia Giulia, 1981). 7

Recent Friulian Poetry


treatment of outrageous themes such as rape and murder, despite tackling them in a restrained narrative. Angeli wrote poetry in Italian, too. His Italian works include: Il fiume va (The River Flows, 1938), Erba tra i sassi (Grass Among the Stones, 1941), L’ultima libertà (The Last Freedom, 1962), Matia Mou of 1976, Il grillo della Suburra (The Cricket of the Suburra, 1975, second edition 1990), and Da brace a cenere (From Embers to Ash, 1985). Each collection has a well-defined physiognomy, which can be traced back to the life events that engendered their composition.9 He was also a poet in the Friulian language: after a few occasional submissions to journals, his poems appeared in two collections. The first, tiny one, L’âga dal Tajament (The Water of the Tagliamento) was published in 1976, with a much enlarged second edition in 1986, following the trauma of the earthquake, which the verses actually predate, but from which they ultimately received their full meaning. The cinematic experience with Cottafavi forced Angeli to reconsider the old village life no longer in the sweet notes of an elegy, proclaiming its end, and to reflect instead about guilt and possible salvation. In 1985 he published Barba Zef e jo (Barba Zef and I), which is divided into two sections: “Pinzîrs di Barba Zef” (Barba Zef’s Thoughts) and “Jò” (Myself). The first part expresses Barba Zef’s point of view, his ruminations and his philosophy. Barba Zef is the antagonist and at the same time the alter ego of the author, and his reflections on destiny, on the pain of living, the search for truth, though filtered through his character, converge into a unified meaning. The double distance in time and space suggests nostalgia, but the tone is sober, and the tears concealed. The same is true of the poem “L’âga dal Tajament,” from the collection bearing the same title, which dates from 1969: L’âga dal Tajamènt Cun chel celest e vert in t’un zâl-grîs di nûi squasi colôr dal lat ch’al sprizza jù da teta da vacia quant che à fat, ’a mi torna indiment simpri, a cirî mi ven fin a Roma, sot sera, 9


Angeli, Il fiume va (Udine: Le Panarie, 1937); id., Erba tra i sassi (Venice: Le Tre Venezie); id., L’ultima libertà (Milan: Mondadori, 1962); id., Màtia Mou (Padua: Rebellato, 1976); id., Il grillo della Suburra (Milan: Scheiwiller, 1990); id., Da brace a cenere (Manduria, Taranto: Lacaita, 1986).

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178 e in font al cûr ’a dûl l’âga dal Tajamènt dopo che tant 1’à plot e da mont il serèn al romp e l’aria scleta ’a puarta odôr di fen viers il scurî da gnot. Ma in veretât no puès plui dî cemût ch’a era la so âga: a podèi no sarès chi ma un frut lassù in Ciargna, l’atòm ch’i vîf cumò al sarès primavera cun jèi di una volta, cun dut, dut chel che lant a om lunc la strada ’a si piert.





L’acqua del Tagliamento Con quel celeste e verde / in un giallo-grigio di nuvola / quasi colore del latte / che sprizza giù dalla mammella / della mucca quando ha figliato, / mi torna in mente / sempre, a cercare mi viene / fino a Roma, sotto sera, / e in fondo al cuore mi duole / l’acqua del Tagliamento / dopo che tanto è piovuto / e dal monte il sereno / rompe e l’aria schietta / porta odore di fieno / verso lo scurire della notte. / Ma in verità non posso / più dire com’era / la sua acqua: a poterlo / non sarei qui ma un bambino / lassù in Carnia, l’autunno / che vivo ora sarebbe / primavera con essa / di una volta, con tutto, / tutto quello che andando a uomo / lungo la strada si perde. (The Water of the Tagliamento With that sky-blue and green / in the yellow-grey of a cloud / almost the colour of milk / that spurts down from the udder / of the cow when she has calved, / it comes back to my mind / always, and it comes looking for me / as far as Rome, around evening time, / and it pains the bottom of my heart / the water of the Tagliamento / after it has rained heavily / and from the mountain the clear sky / opens and the clean air / brings the smell of hay / towards nightfall. / But truly I can’t / anymore say how / its water was: if I could / I would not be here but still a child / up there in Carnia, in autumn, / which would now be alive, / springtime with her / of times past, with everything, / everything that by going to man / one loses along the way).10

The practice of self-translation, which became common after Pasolini’s Poesie a Casarsa, indicates that the intended readership no longer 10 Here, as in the other poems reproduced in their entirety below, the English translates the Italian self-translation, and not directly the Friulian.

Recent Friulian Poetry


coincides with the closed group of the community of Friulian speakers. The Italian (translated into English above) adheres literally to the wording of the original Friulian, straining the target language: “lant a om” (l. 24), a Friulian phrase meaning “growing up, becoming a man,” is translated literally as “andando a uomo” (going to man). Some elements diverge from central Friulian, which has a solid literary tradition, and find their roots in a more marginal world. These are: the feminine in –a (starting from âga in the title, and then teta and vacia in ll. 4-5 and so on); the falling diphthongs (podèi in l. 18 and jèi, l. 22); and the long vowel itself, even in a position where it has no phonological relevance (âga). At times though, the compromises in the orthography threaten to erase fundamental traits such as the palatal stop (vacia, l. 5; standard spelling vacje) and the voiced palatal fricative (zâl, l. 2; alternative spelling giâl or ÷kO). The composition consists of septenaries—Siro Angeli shuns the anarchy of free verse. His prosody is traditional, ranging from septenary to hendecasyllable, with only occasional excesses, always stylistically motivated; the prosodic pause, however, rarely coincides with the syntactic pause and the syntax unravels in long breaths, effectively disrupting the scheme. There is only one marked break in the entire text, the full point in line 15, which is reinforced energetically by the adversative clause that follows (“Ma in veretât…” l. 16); a move toward rationality after the surrender, after the touching embrace of childhood memories. There is an unavoidable end mark in line 25, just a few commas, and only one occurrence of a colon in line 18. To find the subject of the first clause, the reader must wait until line 10. The rhyme scheme is applied systematically, according to the same logic of self-imposed restriction, but there are almost hidden rhymes across distant lines, as if to mask the device. Angeli’s use of rhyme, on the other hand, offers a great display of skill (even in his Italian verses) and fulfils a crucial highlighting function. Even across a distance, the rhyming pair sums up meaning and holds together the poem: “’a mi torna indiment / simpri, a cirî mi ven” (ll. 6-7) and “l’âga dal Tajamènt” (l. 10), with the strong rhyme (–ment), mingles the flux of memories with the river’s flow, with the water in its archetypal reflections, as amniotic fluid, source of life—a promise and a freshness already contained in the light, transparent tinges of the opening lines, which metonymically anticipate “l’âga dal Tajamènt” of line 10, in its turn an echo of the title of the composition (and of the entire collection): “Cun chel celest e vert / in t’un zâl-grîs di nûi / squasi colôr dal lat…” (ll. 1–3). It is a palette which is incompatible with the present reality, a palette of shades which only the ghost of memory can contemplate. Similarly, the

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perhaps crude image of the cow giving birth is in harmony with and functional to the time of childhood: “squasi colôr dal lat / ch’al sprizza jù da teta / da vacia quant che à fat” (ll. 3-5). This is a snapshot of the peasant world, a long gone season that binds up the time of childhood. The peasant world appears once more in lines 13–15: “e l’aria scleta / ’a puarta odôr di fen / viers il scurî da gnot,” where the indication of the time of day already metaphorically introduces the brisk adversative “Ma in veretât no puès…” (l. 15), which connotes the second part of the poem. Let us now observe the following rhymes: frut (l. 19) : dut (l. 23); atom (l. 20) : om (l. 24) (inclusive rhyme), where childhood is connected with totality, whereas adulthood is linked to a generic autumn, in a sharp contrast between antitheses: “no sarès chi ma un frut / lassù in Ciargna, l’atòm / ch’i vîf cumò al sarès / primavera cun jèi / di una volta, cun dut, / dut chel che lant a om…” (ll. 19-24), with the lapidary anadiplosis (“dut, / dut chel…”). Inaddition to this, we find the last rhyming couplet: “Cun chel celest e vert…” (l. 1): “cun dut, / dut chel che lant a om / lunc la strada ’a si piert” (ll. 23-25), which creates a connection between the two extremities of the poem. It is an illusory ring pattern that resolves itself into a polarity, undermining (or rather, freezing) circularity and the comfort of cyclical time, of the unchangeable return of the seasons. Even in the uneasiness of a fractured faith and in the remorse of betrayal, Siro Angeli nevertheless preserves a sense of continuity, of a strong connection that has not dissolved, as for example in the argumentative slant of the septenary of Il mistîr (The Trade) of 1947: Gnò nono muradôr al era, ancia gnò pari, e, fòs piera o madòn, malta a doprâ o cimènt, ’a tiràvin su dret il mûr como la vita. Al sarà che da lôr magàri tart ’i impàri, s’al ven fûr alc di bon quant che jù ài indimènt lì, tal sudôr ch’i met su la pagina scrita. Il mistîr Mio nonno muratore / era, anche mio padre, / e, fosse pietra o mattone, / malta da adoperare o cemento, / tiravano su diritto / il muro come la vita. / Sarà che da loro / magari tardi io imparo, / se viene fuori qualcosa di buono / quando li ho in mente / lì, nel sudore che metto / sulla pagina scritta.

Recent Friulian Poetry


(The Trade My grandfather was a bricklayer, / and my father too, / and whether it was stone, or brick, / mortar they had to use or cement, / they put it up real straight, / the wall and their life too./ It may be that I am / learning from them, perhaps late, / if anything good comes out / when I think of them / there, in the sweat I put / onto the written page.)

In the last lines the key of memory, always jarring, even when yearning, evolves in a boundless set of themes, fathoming without any fears the perspective of the cosmos: Mai fidâsci di quant che il pinsîr al cunfin das Galassias si spuarz fin dulà che las Quasars a si strenzin al cûr… Mai fidarsi di quando / il pensiero al confine / delle Galassie si sporge / fin dove le Quasar / si stringono al cuore… (Never trust yourself when / thought casts itself / at the edge of Galaxies / as far as where Quasars / nestle around your heart…)

The lexicon opens itself up to neologisms, to a marked, alienating technicality, with a rhyme scheme which does not forgo rhymes, and yet is not melodic, in an unprecedented twist which confronts the horizon of peasant life with a boundless universe.

4. Amedeo Giacomini It is impossible to briefly summarize the literary endeavours of Amedeo Giacomini (Varmo 1939–San Daniele del Friuli 2006), a novelist and poet of sophisticated elegance. Worthy of note is his narrative debut Manovre (Manoeuvres, 1986), a novel bearing the influence of Sartre.11 His intellectualistic mannerism is tangible also in the short essay of 1969 L’arte dell’andar per uccelli con vischio (The Art of Ensnaring Birds with Birdlime),12 not to mention his booklets of poetry. The code-switching and the passage to Friulian occur immediately after the earthquake, in 1976, with Tiare pesante (Heavy Earth),13 with a preface by David Maria 11

Amedeo Giacomini, Manovre (Milan: Rizzoli, 1968). Id., L’arte dell’andare per uccelli con vischio (Milan: All’insegna del pesce d’oro, 1969). 13 Id., Tiare pesante (Udine: Benvenuto, 1976). 12

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Turoldo and sketches by Anzil, and then unravel, without interruption, in a long list of titles, published not only locally but by presses from various parts of Italy. Many of these are supported by noteworthy critical essays. Fuejs di un an (Leaves of A Year, 1984) has a preface by Maria Corti; Dante Isella wrote the foreword for Presumût unviâr (Supposed Winter, 1987); and Antologia privata (Private Anthology, 1997) is prefaced by an essay by Gian Mario Villalta.14 Roughly speaking, Giacomini’s production can be divided into two phases. The first, characterized by harsher and more provocative tones of protest and unabashed “bad manners,” is followed by an extraordinary capacity for introspection: the bold and vehement self-portrait of the first phase gives way to an inward turn, to a subtle and absorbing mood of restrained anxiety, which crystallizes into small, luminous “idylls.” His Friulian debut therefore is characterized by a bitter, doomed chord, striving to represent the dark, repressed, uncomfortable side of the village community, with its outcasts—it is a vehement rebelliousness, a radical rejection, both subjective and collective, of conformism, of alignment, of bourgeois respectability and good manners, which nevertheless intersects with literary memory in a refined and attentive game of intertextuality (François Villon is the example of a name whose reminiscence is visible in the verses). Giacomini is poised between rebellion and introspection, making a clear (and very personal) reference to Leopardi and his nocturnal scenes, his moons and interweaving thoughts. The landscape is outlined clearly, only to blend, in the circularity of a modern small “idyll,” with the mind’s bewilderment. Just as in “Tiliment” (and not Tajamènt, as in Siro Angeli’s poem: the river’s name changes along its course) vacillating between “smenteât paradîs” (forgotten paradise) and “malsiart mio doman” (my uncertain tomorrow). These verses appear in the poem Presumût unviâr of 1987; yet they are not included in the subsequent selection found in Antologia privata. Tiliment Un sunsûr d’onde crevade mi mene savôr di radîs inte sere inseade, Tiliment, smenteât paradîs... Mi buti smagât tal tió grin,


14 Id., Fuejs di un an (Genoa: San Marco dei Giustiani, 1984); Presumuût unviâr (Milan: Scheiwiller, 1987); Antologia privata (Faenza: Mobydick, 1997).

Recent Friulian Poetry lûs di mâri sumiade sore dai pôj barlumîts. Il sorêli amont al sflandore: svuâl blanc di cocâj sgrisulîts ch’a’ pein al vuê tune vôs di lontan il malsiart mio doman...



Tagliamento Un sussurro d’onda spezzata / mi reca sapore di radici / nella sera abbagliata, / Tagliamento, paradiso dimenticato... / Mi getto smagato nel tuo grembo, / luce di madre sognata / sui pioppi riluccicanti. / Il sole al tramonto deflagra: / volo bianco di gabbiani rabbrividenti / che legano all’oggi in un solo grido di lontano / il mio insicuro domani… (Tagliamento The murmur of a broken wave / brings me the taste of roots / in the blinded evening, / Tagliamento, forgotten paradise.../ Disillusioned, I throw myself into your lap, / light of a mother seen in dreams / on the gleaming poplars. / The setting sun explodes: / white flight of shivering seagulls / that bind to this day in one faraway scream / my uncertain tomorrow...)

Tiliment in l. 4 is a vocative expression: the river is both the speaker and the audience of the monologue. The following grin (l. 5) and mâri sumiade (l. 6) establish a chain of equivalences, as if the river’s identity were gradually unveiling itself; the archetype of water as the source of life and maternal element. The variety of Friulian used by Giacomini is maternal too, and genuine: the idiom of Varmo, in the plain below Codroipo, presents traces of western Friulian, such as the descending diphthongs, though not systematically. Giacomini’s Friulian is able to absorb in a balanced way, and perfectly blend a neologism such as malsiart (l. 11). The entire line may be considered alien to the materiality of the peasant world, and the way in which it adheres to things, avoiding abstractions. In any case, it is a private code, an interior language, strongly marked by subjectivity. Yet what deserves particular attention is the technical virtuosity of Giacomini’s writing. He uses alternate rhyming throughout, with the inclusive rhyme radîs (l. 2): paradîs (l. 4); the only non-rhyming words being grin (l. 5), which nevertheless create an assonance with the keywords mentioned above radîs and paradîs, and sflandore (l. 8), which rhymes internally with sore in the line above and with the sorêli in the same line. A rhyming couplet closes the poem, and the device is used in such a subtle way that it is almost imperceptible. Also skilful, is the intricate web of internal echoes (sunsûr… savôr… sere… smenteât… smagât…) and the emphatic use of past participles, as in the spasmodic


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expressionism of “onde crevade” (l. 1) and “cocâj sgrisulîts,” which is then attenuated in the unfolding of the “svuâl blanc” (l. 9), reinforcing the series of “smenteât paradîs” (l. 4), “Mi buti smagât” (l. 5), “mâri sumiade” (l. 6), and in the light imagery of “sere inseade” (l. 3) e “pôj barlumîts” (l. 7). These last lines are indebted to, or rather in competition with, Pasolini’s earlier “Sera imbarlumida…” (Bright evening...), from the poem Il nini muarti (The Dead Child), one of the most significant compositions of Poesie a Casarsa and of the whole of Pasolini’s Friulian works. The poem ends recalling Leopardi and his “parola vaga” (“indistinct word”): “a’ pein al vuê tune vôs di lontan / il malsiart mio doman...,” where the ellipsis reinforces the idea of indefiniteness, despite the perfect combination of hendecasyllable and septenary, in a metric scheme that bears no fixed patterns. An observation should be made here on the author’s self-translation: the Italian is not colloquial, as is evident from the use of “mi reca” for mi mene (l. 2), which can also mean “to grow” (of plants); “deflagra” for sflandore “shines” (l. 8); “rabbrividenti” for sgrisulîts “freezing” (l. 9); and from the rather free translation “in un solo grido di lontano” for “tune vôs di lontan” (literally, “in a voice from afar,” l. 10), which is certainly more incisive and borrows from Leopardi as well as from Pasolini.

5. Novella Cantarutti Novella Cantarutti (Spilimbergo 1920–Udine 2009) was a teacher who practised verse and prose writing in Friulian alongside sensitive and scrupulous research work on popular traditions, especially storytelling, in which she reached high-profile results.15 The practice of poetry continued through the entire course of her long life. Her first publication was Puisiis (Poems) in 1952, with an afterword by Giuseppe Marchetti. Cantarutti remained firmly attached to her maternal Friulian of Navarons, an eccentric variety with unique features. She found a very personal point of balance between two agendas which had by then moved far apart: Pasolini’s idea of Friulian as a language of (and for) poetry, a jealously protected idiolect; and Marchetti’s view of Friulian as a unified and universally applicable language. Cantarutti’s Friulian mother 15

Cantarutti edited two volumes collecting oral narratives, traditional prayers and songs: Oh, ce gran biela vintura! Narrativa di tradizione orale tra Meduna e Mujé (Udine: Centro Studi Regionale, 1986), published in a second edition in 2001; and A contavant…: Diec’-Illegio, paese narrato (Udine: Società Filologica Friulana, 2010).

Recent Friulian Poetry


tongue is a poetic language, and yet maintains a firm connection with a specific and sharply focused social and geographical setting. Her second collection was published in 1968 and is entitled Scais, that is, “flakes” (of light). If the background of Puisiis, albeit just an ideal one, was the rough and imperious embrace of the mountains, in Scais we see emerging the expanse of the sea. The third stage is more stratified and complex: Crevaduri’ (a term indicating an imperceptible crack that does not appear on the surface) is published in 1989 as part of In polvara e rosa (In Dust and Flower), a collection that opens with Crevaduri’ and contains, moving chronologically backwards, Scais, then Puisiis, and in conclusion a Scelta di poesie perse (Selection of Lost Poems), a rigorous selection of her first attempts at poetry.16 In polvara e rosa, or, to the dust which, in the Vulgate, is an emblem of death (“Memento, homo, quia pulvis es…”); and (and then, and therefore) in blossom, which means life: the final check of death is at the origin of a new circle of existence. In polvara e rosa seemed to mark in 1989, a kind of farewell and conclusive assessment. However, it was followed in later years by two more booklets of more compact dimensions. In 2004 came Clusa,17 whose first meaning is “hedgerow” but has indeed nothing to do with Leopardi’s “hedgerow” (“che da tanta parte / dell’ultimo orizzonte il guardo esclude” [which cuts off the view / of so much of the farthest horizon]); neither does it recall the symbol of a welcoming and sheltering refuge, evoked with programmatic clarity by Giovanni Pascoli in his 1897 poem La siepe (The Hedgerow). The etymology may perhaps even evoke Petrarch’s Vaucluse, “Vallis clausa,” symbolizing the soul or introversion. Cantarutti’s hedgerow separates one field from another, but in a figurative sense it also marks off (while at the same time creating a point of contact with) the world of those who have passed away, creating a dialogue which becomes an instance of resistance, of stubborn opposition to death. Writing therefore becomes a last resort defence, a further resource, a possibility, however fragile and precarious, of contact and exchange with those who are on the other side of the clusa. This outreach, however, is not motivated solely by a sense of pietas for the ombri, the “shadows” of departed ones: the gaze attempts to leap over the clusa into a loss of self that lacks the benefit (and the comfort) of an answer. The last


Novella Cantarutti, In polvara e rosa: Crevaduri’, Scais, Puisiis (Udine: Arti Grafiche Friulane, 1989). 17 Id., Clusa Siepe: Poesie dal 1991 al 2004 (Meduno, Pordenone: Circolo Culturale di Meduno, 2004).

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collection, Veni, was published in 2007.18 The title (meaning “veins”) reiterates once more the image of the flow of life and the network of veins that nourishes it. Between 1946 and 1957, Cantarutti wrote a series of newspaper articles on literature and culture, which are an unprecedented attempt at this genre in Friulian. Her short stories instead draw on the works of Caterina Percoto (San Lorenzo di Soleschiano, in the municipality of Manzano, 1812–1887), which have acquired paradigmatic status in Friulian narrative. Cantarutti’s stories were collected in 1964 in a volume entitled La femina di Marasint (The Woman of Marasint), which synthesises an entire code of behaviour in one exemplary character.19 La femina di Marasint, and Pagjni’ seradi’ (Closed pages) of 1976, along with a third section made up of various discrete texts, were collected in 1997 under the title Sfueis di chel âtri jeir / Fogli di un altro ieri (Leaves of a Another Yesterday), offering a comprehensive narrative compendium of Cantarutti’s works.20 “La Grava” (in the strict sense of the word, “gravel”; as a toponym, “the river bed [of the Tagliamento]”) is Clusa’s final piece, its epilogue. In the environs of Spilimbergo, the Tagliamento is reduced to a stretch of gravel, traversed here and there by meagre streams of water, with islands of shrubs. Cantarutti’s verses speak precisely of this landscape, which opens itself wide onto an empty and vast gravel bed. La Grava A’ son ta la Grava, a larc, frantumadi li mons. E a’ cjàntin li veni da l’aga in clâr e in turbiu la letana dal cret ch’al si fai e distrût lunc via i miârs. Al strassìna il Tilimint li eti giudi ch’a si spìin clap par clap tal mosaic da la Grava. 18



Id., Veni (Pordenone: Comune di Pordenone, Quaderni della Biblioteca Civica, 2007). 19 Id., La femina di Marasint (Udine: Società Filologica Friulana, 1964). 20 Id., Pagjni’ seradi’ (Udine: Società Filologica Friulana, 1976); and Sfueis di chel âtri jeir / Fogli di un altro ieri (Udine: Società Filologica Friulana; Tavagnacco: Arti Grafiche Friulane, 1997).

Recent Friulian Poetry


La Grava Compaiono, nella distesa della Grava, / frantumati i monti. / E cantano le vene dell’acqua, / limpide o intorbidite, / la litania della roccia / che si affalda e si distrugge, / nel fluire dei millenni. / Travolge il Tagliamento / le ere trascorse / che si raccontano / da pietra a pietra / nel mosaico della Grava. (The Grava The mountains appear, in the expanse of the Grava, / as if crushed. / And the water veins sing, / clear or murky, / the litany of the rocks / that layer up and break down, / in the flow of millennia. / The Tagliamento sweeps away / the bygone eras / that tell their stories / from stone to stone / in the mosaic of the Grava.)

This is not the same desolation of Leopardi’s La ginestra (The Broom), which allows solidarity and promotes it with titanic courage as the only remaining protection. Here there is no sign of human presence (or presumption), but only an infinite, metaphysical, stunned, suspended but not despairing solitude: the smallness of existence and the dazed insistence of unexpressed questions. Yet, on a more circumstantiated reading, precise confutations of the apocalypse emerge. In the free verse, without rhyming restrictions, the words give themselves over to the suggestive force of the pauses, of the white space on the page. Mountains crumble, but in parallel fashion and in contrast “a’ cjàntin li veni da l’aga” (l. 3), where everything speaks of life: the archetypal aga, the lymph of the veni. The very verb cjàntin does not elicit mourning, and neither does the vocabulary employed: “la letana dal cret” (l. 5), the ritual character of the litany transferred onto a rock; the “mosaic da la Grava” (l. 11), which presupposes geometry, a harmonious order, as opposed to chaos and catastrophe. Finally, the “eti giudi ch’a si spìin”: in the translation, which is not inert but has its own distinctive character, the past ages “si raccontano,” “they tell their stories to one another,” suggesting a secret complicity. The logic of the intrinsic and indomitable wheel of the eras does not deter a tenacious and obstinate confidence. It is the succession of events, the circularity that is crystallized in the formula In polvara e rosa, though the awareness, not devoid of disillusionment, that life and human time “al si fai e distrût” (l. 6), “in clâr e in turbiu” (l. 4)—“is done and undone,” like the water veins, “be they clear or cloudy.” Translated by Maria Giovanna Brauzzi


Chapter Ten

References Angeli, Siro. L’âga dal Tajament. Tolmezzo, Udine: Edizioni Aquileia, 1976 (Udine: La Nuova Base, 1986). —. Barba Zef e jò. Udine: Centro Editoriale Friulano, 1985. —. Da brace a cenere. Manduria, Taranto: Lacaita, 1986. —. Erba tra i sassi. Venice: Le Tre Venezie, 1941. —. Figlio dell’uomo. Milan: Edizioni Paoline, 1989. —. Il fiume va. Udine: La Panarie, 1937. —. Gente di Carnia: Trilogia (La casa, Mio fratello il ciliegio, Dentro di noi). Udine: La Panarie, 1939. —. Il grillo della Suburra. Milan: Scheiwiller, 1990. —. Màtia Mou. Padua: Rebellato, 1976. —. L’ultima libertà. Milan: Mondadori, 1962. Angeli, Siro, Vittorio Cottafavi and Paola Drigo. Maria Zef. Directed by Vittorio Cottafavi. Radiotelevisione Italiana, Sede Regionale per il Friuli-Venezia Giulia, 1981. Cantarutti, Novella. A contavant...Diec’-Illegio, paese narrato. Udine: Società Filologica Friulana, 2010. —. Clusa Siepe: Poesie dal 1991 al 2004. Meduno, Pordenone: Circolo Culturale di Meduno, 2004. —. In polvara e rosa: Crevaduri’, Scais, Puisiis. Udine: Arti Grafiche Friulane, 1989. —. La femina di Marasint. Udine: Società Filologica Friulana, 1964. —. Oh, ce gran biela vintura! Narrativa di tradizione orale tra Meduna e Mujé. Udine: Centro Studi Regionali, 1986 (Pasian di Prato, Udine: Editrice Leonardo, 2001). —. Pagjni’ seradi’. Udine: Società Filologica Friulana, 1976. —. Sfueis di chel âtri jeir / Fogli di un altro ieri. Udine: Società Filologica Friulana; Tavagnacco: Arti Grafiche Friulane, 1997. —. Veni. Pordenone: Comune di Pordenone, Quaderni della Biblioteca Civica, 2007. Chiurlo, Bindo. Pietro Zorutti: Poeta del Friuli. Padua: Le Tre Venezie, 1942. Drigo, Paola. Maria Zef: Racconto. Milan: Treves, 1937. Giacomini, Amedeo. Antologia privata. Faenza: Mobydick, 1997. —. L’arte dell’andare per uccelli con vischio. Milan: All’insegna del pesce d’oro, 1969. —. Fuejs di un an. Genoa: San Marco dei Giustiniani, 1984. —. Manovre. Milan: Rizzoli, 1968. —. Presumût unviâr. Milan: Scheiwiller, 1987.

Recent Friulian Poetry


—. Tiare pesante. Udine: Benvenuto, 1976. Leicht, Pier Silverio. “Pietro Zorutti: poeta vivo.” Ce fastu? 18 (1942): 6570. Nuovo Liruti. Dizionario biografico dei friulani. Edited by Cesare Scalon, Claudio Griggio and Giuseppe Bergamini. Vol. 3, L’età contemporanea. Udine: Forum, 2011. Pasolini, Pier Paolo. Dov’è la mia patria. Casarsa: Edizioni dell’ Academiuta, 1949. —. La nuova gioventù: Poesie friulane, 1941-1974. Turin: Einaudi, 1975. —. Un paese di temporali e di primule. Edited by Nico Naldini. Parma: Guanda, 1993. —. Poesie. Milan: Garzanti, 1970. —. Poesie a Casarsa. Bologna: Libreria antiquaria Mario Landi, 1942. —. Saggi sulla letteratura e sull’arte. Edited by Walter Siti and Silvia De Laude. Milan: Mondadori, 1999. —. Stroligut di ca da l’aga (1944), Il stroligut (1945-6), Quaderno romanzo (1947): Riviste friulane dirette da Pier Paolo Pasolini. Edited by Gianfranco Folena. Padova: Circolo filologico linguistico padovano, 1983. —. Tutte le poesie. Edited by Walter Siti. Milan: Mondadori, 2003. Puppo, Riedo. Par un pêl. Udine: Risultive, 1960. Virgili, Dino. L’aghe dapît la cleve: Conte di amôr. Udine: La Panarie, 1957. Zanier, Leonardo. Libers...di scugnî lâ. Milan: Effigie, 2012.

LIST OF CONTRIBUTORS PAOLA BENINCÀ studied at the University of Padua and was researcher at the Centro di Studio per la Dialettologia Italiana (Research Centre on Italian Dialectology) of the C.N.R. until 1990, working with Giovan Battista Pellegrini and Manlio Cortelazzo. Together with Pellegrini she edited the Atlante Storico Linguistico Etnografico Friulano (Historical, Linguistic, and Ethnographic Atlas of Friulian). She taught Ladin linguistics at the University of Trento and, since 1990, Glottology and Linguistics at the Università Statale di Milano and later at the University of Padua. Her research focuses on synchronic and diachronic variation of grammar in the Romance area, and in particular in Italy. She has published widely on themes related to the topic of this volume, including the monograph Piccola storia ragionata della dialettologia italiana (Padua: Unipress, 1988); the sections dedicated to Friulian in volumes 2 and 3 of the Lexikon der Romanistischen Linguistik (Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1996); and two collections of essays entitled La variazione sintattica (Bologna: Il Mulino, 1994) and Linguistica Friulana, the latter co-authored by Laura Vanelli (Padua: Unipress, 2005). WILLIAM CISILINO was born in Udine/Udin in 1974. He graduated in Law from the University of Trieste, and is the Director of the Agjenzie regjonâl pe lenghe furlane or ARLeF (Regional Agency for the Friulian Language). He is the author of several scientific articles and monographs on the protection of minority languages, and the language and culture of Friuli, including: The Juridical Defence of Rhaeto-Romansh Languages, with Particular Reference to the Friulian Case (Barcelona: CIEMEN, 2001); Le. Am. –Lessic Aministratîf [Administrative Lexicon] (Udine: Province of Udine, 2004); La tutela delle minoranze linguistiche [The protection of linguistic minorities], (Udine: University Consortium of Friuli, 2004); Lingue in bilico: Buone pratiche nella tutela delle minoranze linguistiche in Europa [Languages in the balance: Good practices in the protection of linguistic minorities in Europe] (Rome: Carocci, 2009). He has also edited: Atti del Convegno “Lingue minoritarie e identità locali come risorse economiche e fattori di sviluppo” [Proceedings of the Conference “Minority languages and local identities as economic resources and factors of development”] (Udine: Forum, 2004); Friulano lingua viva: La

The Friulian Language: Identity, Migration, Culture


comunità linguistica friulana [Friulian: A Living language: The friulian linguistic community] (Udine: Province of Udine, 2006 and 2008, reprinted); Sorestants e sotans: Intervista sul Friuli [Masters and servants: Interview on Friuli], co-authored by Gianfranco D’Aronco, (Trieste: Library of Messaggero Veneto, 2012). FRANCO FINCO is Assistant Professor of Italian Language and Linguistics at the University of Rijeka (Croatia). He holds a PhD in Ladin Studies and Plurilingualism from the University of Udine. Since 2008, he has been a teaching fellow at the Centro Interdipartimentale per la Ricerca sulla Cultura e la Lingua del Friuli (Interdepartimental Research Centre on the Culture and Language of Friuli) of the University of Udine. His research interest include: Italian dialectology, and in particular the linguistic varieties of north-east Italy; Rhaeto-Romance linguistics, with a focus on varieties of Friulian and of Dolomitic Ladin; the sociolinguistics of FriuliVenezia Giulia; linguistic contact in the Adriatic Alps between Romance, German, and Slavic varieties; and toponymy and anthroponymy in FriuliVenezia Giulia. His most recent publications include the chapters “Il friulano nei giornali: Aspetti linguistici e testuali,” in Dialetto, tra oralità e scrittura, edited by Gianna Marcato (Padua: Cleup, 2012); and “Gli avverbi in –mentri negli antichi testi friulani,” in Miscellanea di studi in memoria di Vito Pallabazzer, edited by Maria Giovanna Arcamone and Carlo Alberto Mastrelli (Florence: Istituto di Studi per l’Alto Adige, 2011), 213-239. FABIANA FUSCO is Associate Professor of Linguistics and Theory & History of Translation at the University of Udine. Her research focuses on: Italian, Friulian, and French sociolinguistics, especially youth language, specialized communication, and problems of language and gender; linguistic interference, on which she wrote the monograph Che cos’è l’interlinguistica (Rome: Carocci, 2008); and the history and methods of translation (terminology, multimedia translation and self-translation). Her publications have appared in Italian and international journals, conference proceedings and books. She is member of the Centro Internazionale sul Plurilinguismo (International Centre on Plurilingualism) of the University of Udine, where she directs research projects on linguistic minorities and plurilingualism in education. JAVIER P. GROSSUTTI was born in Argentina and graduated in political science at the University of Buenos Aires in 1991. In the same year he “returned” to Friuli and studied in Gorizia and Trieste, where he obtained a PhD in political geography in 1996. His research work centres on


List of Contributors

Friulian migration, out-migration and return, and on issues related to Friulian and Italian communities abroad, where he has carried out numerous surveys. He has recently spent an academic year at Columbia University in New York where he was invited as Associate Research Scholar by the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America. He is currently research fellow at the University of Trieste. His most recent publications include Egidio Feruglio: Patagonia e Terra del Fuoco (Udine: Forum, 2010) and Non fu la miseria, ma la paura della miseria: La colonia della Nuova Fagagna nel Chaco argentino (1877-1881) (Udine: Forum, 2009). CARLA MARCATO is Professor of Italian Linguistics at the University of Udine and director of the Centro di lingua e cultura italiana per stranieri (Centre for Italian as a Foreign Language and Culture). She convenes the Master’s programme in Italian as a foreign language, and has served as deputy Head of School for Modern Languages between 2004 and 2006. From 1996 to 2008 she taught Italian dialectology at Ca’ Foscari University, Venice. She is a member of the Graduate School in Italian dialectology, linguistic geography and sociolinguistics of the University of Turin. In 2003 and 2006 she was the national coordinator for research projects co-funded by the Ministry for Education and Research; currently, she is principal investigator of the project “Friulian and Its Varieties.” Her research focuses on plurilingualism and the relationship between dialects and Italian, also outside Italy (particularly in North America); lexicon and etymology; toponymy and anthroponomy. Her publications include: I dialetti italiani: Dizionario etimologico (with Manlio Cortelazzo) (Turin: Utet, 1998); Dialetto, dialetti e italiano (Bologna: Il Mulino, 2002); Nomi di persona, nomi di luogo: Introduzione all’onomastica italiana (Bologna: il Mulino, 2009); “Parole e cose” migranti nella terminologia dell’alimentazione tra Italia e Americhe (Alessandria: Edizioni dell’Orso, 2010); and Il plurilinguismo (Rome and Bari: Laterza, 2012). ROSA MUCIGNAT is Lecturer in Comparative Literature at King’s College London. She specializes in the history and theory of the novel from the eighteenth century to the present, with a focus on the representation of space. On this topic, she has published a number of articles and book chapters, as well as the monograph Realism and Space in the Novel, 17951869 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2013). In addition to that, she works and publishes on representations of Italy in Romantic literature and thought, and on literature in minor languages, with a focus on Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Friulian works.

The Friulian Language: Identity, Migration, Culture


RIENZO PELLEGRINI has taught Friulian language and literature at the University of Trieste for many years. He now is Professor of Romance Philology at the same institution. He has researched various aspects of written Friulian and has edited documentary and literary texts from the origins to the present day, by Eusebio Stella (Udine: Il Campo, 1980), Ermes di Colloredo (Udine: Arti Grafiche Friulane, 1994), Giuseppe Malattia della Vallata (Maniago, Pordenone: Comune di Maniago, 1997), and Girolamo Biancone (Udine: Forum, 2000). He is the author of the survey Tra lingua e letteratura: Per una storia degli usi scritti del friulano (Udine: Casamassima, 1987) and later Ancora tra lingua e letteratura: Saggi sparsi sulla storia degli usi scritti del friulano (Cercivento, Udine: CjargneCulture, 2003). He has published widely on twentieth-century poetry from Pier Paolo Pasolini to Pier Luigi Cappello. He has a particular interest in writing by (and on) migrants. FULVIO SALIMBENI was born in Trieste in 1946. He teaches contemporary history at the University of Udine and is director of the Centro interdipartimentale di ricerca sulla pace “Irene” (“Irene” InterDepartmental Research Centre on Peace). He chairs the committee for Trieste and Gorizia of the Istituto per la storia del Risorgimento italiano (Institute for the History of the Italian Risorgimento), and is president of the Istituto per gli incontri culturali mitteleuropei (Institute for Cultural Encounters in the Mitteleuropa). He is a fellow of the Società Filologica Friulana (Friulian Philological Society), a corresponding fellow of the Deputazione di storia patria per il Friuli (National History Delegation for Friuli), and sits on the steering committee of the Istituto friulano per la storia del movimento di liberazione (Friulian Institute for the History of the Liberation Movement). He is the author of numerous essays on the history of historiography, the teaching of history, the history of Risorgimento and twentieth-century history, focusing in particular on the northern Adriatic and Friulian areas. On these topics he has presented numerous papers at conferences and seminars in Italy and abroad. OLGA ZORZI PUGLIESE was born in Toronto, the daughter of migrants from the municipality of Codroipo. She is Professor Emerita at the University of Toronto. She was Chair of the Department of Italian Studies (1997-2002), Director of the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies (20052009), and President of the Canadian Society for Italian Studies (20052008). In the field of Renaissance studies, she has published seven books and fifty articles on a number of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century authors, including a critical edition of Valla’s Donazione di Costantino (Milan: Rizzoli, 1993 [4th ed. 2010]); monographs titled Il discorso labirintico del


List of Contributors

dialogo rinascimentale (Rome: Bulzoni, 1995) and Castiglione’s “Libro del cortegiano”: A Classic in the Making (Naples: ESI, 2008); and, in 2012, the digital transcription of the Cortegiano manuscripts (http://hdl handle net/1807/32401). For a number of years she has also been carrying out research on Italian-Canadian culture and has published several studies (some of which together with Angelo Principe), including a book on the foundation of the Famee Furlane of Toronto, three articles on the Friulian Canadian artist Albert Chiarandini, an annotated edition (with Rienzo Pellegrini) of Giovanna Chiarandini’s diary (in Metodi & Ricerche: Rivista di studi regionali, 2009), a recent article in Metodi & Ricerche on Friulian antifascists in Canada (2013), and six articles on mosaics and Friulian mosaic workers in Canada, which appeared in NorthAmerican and Italian journals. She is also interested in genealogy and in 2010 was invited by the Ontario Genealogical Society to present a casestudy illustrating the methodology to be used in tracing Italian ancestry.

INDEX Academiuta di lenga furlana see also Pasolini 11, 153, 155, 173 Agjenzie regjonäl pe lenghe furlane (ARLeF) xv, 17, 19-22, 190 Angeli, Siro xx,176-81, 182 Aquileia xiv, xvi, 5-7, 31, 58, 60, 63, 131 Arba xvii, 116 Argentina xvii-iii, 90-1, 94-8 Ascoli, Graziadio Isaia xii, xiv, 3, 9, 30, 32 Austro-Hungarian Empire x-xi, xiv, xvii, 5, 7, 10, 15, 60 Bartolini, Elio 175 Basilica of Ste-Anne-De Beaupré xix, 138-9, 140 Bernardi, Aquiles 94 Biello dumnlo di valor xvi, 47-9 Brazil xvii-iii, 90, 93-95, 98 Canada xiv, xix-xx, 116, 118, 122-44 Cantarutti, Novella xx, 171, 184-7 Carnia xvi, 5, 7, 11, 35, 41, 54-9, 94, 176, 178 Casarsa xi, xix, 11, 150, 154-5 Castellieri culture 5 Catalan (language) 21, 39, 153 Cavasso Nuovo 103, 116, 118 Celtic populations xiv, 5 Ciceri, Luigi 160-1 Concordia, diocese of xvi, 31, 58, 59 Cortelazzo, Manlio 2, 191-2 Cottafavi, Vittorio 176-7 creolization 90-98 cocoliche 92 Spanish-Friulian 96-98 lunfardo 92 taliàn 93-94 De Amicis, Edmondo 91 De Carli, Remo 133

De Mauro, Tullio 2, 154, 160 Del Mistro, Walter 138-40, 140 Drigo, Paola 176 earthquake of 1976 xv, 11, 131, 175, 177, 181 Ermacora, Chino 11 Ermes di Colloredo xi Fanna 103, 112-4, 116, 118, 125-6 female language 68-75 Firpo, Edoardo xx Florio, Daniele 8 Fortini, Franco 162, 167 Francescato, Giuseppe xv, 2, 31-34 Friuli autonomy of x, 11-2, 154, 174 geography of x history of x-xi, 5-10 languages of 10, 15-6 multiethnic composition of 6, 9 peripheral xiii, xix, 4, 7, 55, 154 relationship to Venice 7-8 Friuli-Venezia Giulia (administrative region) x, xv, 11 Friulian (language) xi, 67 compared to other Romance languages 36, 39, 41, 42, 49, 57 dictionaries 53, 76, 81-85 gender bias and stereotypes in 7585 language policies xv, 15-27 controversy with Italian state 22-25 official recognition 17-22 in public administration 19-20 in the media xii-xiii old 45-9 proverbs 78-81 and social exclusion 94-5, 156-8 speakers of x, 15, 76 teaching of 20-21

196 uniqueness of xv, 15, 31-2, 54-5 varieties of 31 Friulian communities abroad see also migration Canada 122 Latin America 94-6 UK 107-9 Friulian linguistics 30-88 diachronic analysis 39, 45-9 grammatical gender 77-8 lexicon 53-63 Celtic stratum 58 diatopic variation 55-8, 179 erudite words 57, 62-3 Latin base 54-5 loanwords 59-62 phonology 32-6 syntax 42-8 verbal morphology 37-41 double-compound past 40-1 Friulian literature ix, 171-87 early texts 47-9 song see villotte theatre 154, 176 translation 173, 178-9 German (language) xv-xvii, 6-7, 10, 15-6, 19, 24, 31-2, 47, 58-60, 66, 69, 91 Germany xiv, x, 6, 9-10 Gerometta, Giovanni 138, 142, 142-4 Giacomini, Amedeo xx, 171, 175, 181-4 Habsburg Empire see AustroHungarian Empire Karst 5-6, 174 Latin America xvii, 90-8 Lodo de Gasperi 156, 164 Marchetti, Giuseppe 172, 174, 184 Mariutto, Giovanni 106, 114-5 Marx, Karl xix, 161-2 Mazzioli, Pietro xviii, 104 migration 90-144 out of Friuli xiv, 9-10, 90-8, 103, 174-5 towards Friuli 13, 175 mosaic 103-20, 122-44

Index in Canada 123-44 companies 106-7, 119, 124, 126 Connolly (later Conn-Arts) 126-30, 132, 136-7 Diespeker 114-5, 118-9 in London 104-5, 114-6, 119 in Paris 104 techniques 103-4, 115-6 training see Spilimbergo workers 104-11, 117, 127, 128, 130 unions 111-14 Nasato, Luigi 130-3, 137, fig. 10, 144 Pasolini, Pier Paolo xi-xiii, xix-xxi, 11, 150-68, 172-5, 178, 184 discovery of Friulian 150-4 Poesie a Casarsa xix, 150, 172-3, 178, 184 political activism in Friuli 154, 156, 166-8, 172 Pellegrini, Giovan Battista 2, 11, 301, 53, 190 Percoto, Caterina xi, 9, 186 Pirona, Jacopo xii, xvi, 53, 76 Piruç myó doç inculurit xvi, 47 Pordenone x, 10-1, 15, 155 Portuguese (language) xviii, 91-2, 97 Provençal (language) 39, 41, 153 Rizzolatti, Piera 33, 94 Romance languages xii, xvi, xviii, 302, 36, 39-42, 44-9, 53-4, 59 Sequals xviii, 103-4, 106, 112-3, 116, 118, 120, 123, 132 Slovene (language) x, xv, 4, 6, 10, 156, 19, 24, 31-3, 61, 66, 91 Slovene (people) xv xvii, 4, 9-10, 15, 60 Società filologica friulana xii, 9-11, 173 Spanish (language) xviii, 91-2, 95, 96-8, 174 Spilimbergo 186 school of mosaic xviii, 123-4, 12933, 136, 138-9, 141-3 Tagliamento x, xx, 54, 151, 171, 173, 177-9, 183, 186-7

The Friulian Language: Identity, Migration, Culture Tagliavini, Carlo 68-71 terrazzo see mosaic Thomas Foster Memorial xix, 126, 128 Treaty of Campo Formio 8 Trieste x-xi, 5-6, 8-9, 11-2, 15, 19 Udine x-xii, 2, 6, 12-3, 15-6, 19, 46, 56, 78, 80, 105, 112, 159 United Kingdom xvi, 109, 111, 116-9 Uruguay xvii, 98 USA 114, 116-7, 127 Venetan (language) xvii, 42-44, 46-7, 49, 60-2, 67-9, 94-6, 155-6


Venetian (language) x, xvii, 30, 36, 57, 59 Veneto xvii, 7, 19, 32, 61, 93 Venice xiv, xvii, 5-8, 61, 105, 141 villotta 159-61 Virgili, Dino 174 World War I xiv, 10, 93, 103, 115, 159 World War II xiv-xv, xvii-xviii, 10, 90, 92, 98, 115-6 enemy aliens xviii, 118 Yugoslavia 11, 152, 158, 163-4 Zanier, Leonardo 174-5 Zorutti, Pietro xi, xix, 9, 172-3