Local dialects vs. Italian – a deadly battle?

Are local dialects more often spoken in a country than the national language?
Well, probably you would say no, but in some places it indeed happens, like in Italy.

It could happen that sometimes you ask for directions and the answer is given in a local dialect, or at least with a strong accent from the place. Usually a dialect is spoken in a small territory, so if you are not from that place perhaps you won’t understand everything of what the person is trying to explain.

If you can speak Italian, watch this video and I dare you to understand what those people are saying 😀

And as Italy has lots of small towns, due to the Roman expansion originally, it is easy to understand how many local idioms there are in this country. And mostly, they are different one from another and from Italian.

Why all these differences?

We have to go back in time to get the reason. During its history, Italy had been under the control of several other countries at the same time, and therefore there were many little reigns instead of a big and united one, as we know it today. In fact every small region, for example in the 15th century there were the so called Signorie, had its own language, currency and culture depending on the country they were subject to.

In addition to that, Italy reunited all its parts later compared to other European countries, therefore the Italian identity –and language- is quite recent.
We also have to consider that till the first decades of the 20th century illiteracy was spread through the 56 % of the population and this half of the population usually couldn’t afford school education at all. Hence it is clear that Italian had many difficulties to become the national language. So that’s why still nowadays dialects are so widely used by people.

– In the end what do you think, will Italian or local dialects win the battle?

– Shall we forget about our territorial traditions or on the contrary enhance them?

– Should we teach local dialects at school?

Did you understand what the man is talking about? 😉


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