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A sign in Venetian Italian reading "Here we also speak Venetian"

Venetian or Venetan is a Romance language spoken as native language by over two million people, mostly in the Veneto region of Italymarker, where on almost five million inhabitants almost all can understand it. It is sometime spoken and often well understood outside Veneto, in Trentino, Friulimarker, Venezia Giulia, Istriamarker and some towns of Dalmatia, an area of six to seven million people. The language is called vèneto or vènet in Venetian, veneto in Italian; the variant spoken in Venicemarker is called venexiàn/venesiàn or veneziano, respectively. Although referred to as an Italian dialect (diałeto dialetto) even by its speakers, like other Italian dialects it is a sister language of the national language, not a variety or derivation of it. Venetan (and Venetian proper, the language of Venice), display notable structural and lexical differences from Italian. Typologically, Venetan belongs only partly to the Northern Italian group within Romance languages.

Both Venetan and Venetian proper are distinct from Venetian Italian, the variety of Italian (italiano regionale del Veneto) variably influenced by local Venetian features that is also spoken in the region. Neither Venetan nor Venetian should be confused with Venetic, an extinct Indo-European language that was spoken in the Veneto region around the 6th century BC.


A street sign in Venice using the Venetian calle, as opposed to the Italian via.
Venetian descends from Vulgar Latin, influenced by the Celts and possibly the Venetic substratum and by the languages of the Germanic tribes (Visigoths, Ostrogoths and Lombards) who invaded northern Italy in the 5th century. Venetian, as a known written language, is attested in the 13th century. We also find influences and parallelism with Greek and Albanian in words such as : "piròn" (forket), "inpiràr" (to fork).

The language enjoyed substantial prestige in the days of the Venetian Republicmarker, when it attained the status of a lingua franca in the Mediterraneanmarker. Notable Venetian-language authors are the playwrights Ruzante (1502–1542) and Carlo Goldoni (1707–1793). Both Ruzante and Goldoni, following the old Italian theater tradition (Commedia dell'Arte), used Venetian in their comedies the speech of the common folk. They are ranked among the foremost Italian theatrical authors of all time, and Goldoni's plays are still performed today. Other notable works in Venetian are the translations of the Iliad by Casanova (1725–1798) and Francesco Boaretti, and the poems of Biagio Marin (1891–1985). Notable also is a manuscript titled "Dialogue ... on the New star" attributed to Galileo (1564–1642).

However, as a literary language Venetian was overshadowed by the Dante's Tuscan "dialect" and the French languages like Provençal and the Oïl languages. After the demise of the Republic, Venetian gradually ceased to be used for administrative purposes; and when the newly-formed Italian Kingdom (founded in 1861) invaded Venetia in 1866, annexing it after a controversial plebiscite, the language was eclipsed by Tuscan, which was combined with elements of Sardinian to become the national language of Italy. Since then, deprived of any official status, Venetian steadily lost ground to standard Italian. At present, virtually all its speakers are diglossic, and use Venetian only in informal contexts. The policy of deploying law enforcement forces from other regions, especially southern Italy, has meant that people have to use standard Italian with the foremost representatives of the state. The present situation raises questions about the language's medium term survival. Despite recent steps to recognize it, the language remains far below the threshold of inter-generational transfer with younger generations preferring standard Italian in many situations. The dilemma is further complicated by the fact that the Veneto itself is becoming a land of large-scale non-Italian immigration.

In the past however, Venetian was able to spread to other continents as a result of mass migration from the Veneto region between 1870 and 1905 and 1945 and 1960. This is itself a by-product of the 1866 annexation because the latter subjected the poorest sectors of the population to the vagaries of a newly integrated, developing industrial economy so-called national economy centered on north-western Italy. Tens of thousands of peasants and craftsmen were thrown off the land or out of their workshop, forced to seek better fortune overseas.

Venetian migrants created large Venetian-speaking communities in Argentinamarker, Brazilmarker (see Talian), Mexicomarker (see Chipilo Venetian dialect), and Romaniamarker, where the language is still spoken today. Internal migrations under the Fascist regime also sent many Venetian speakers to other regions of Italy like southern Lazio.

Presently, some firms have chosen to use the Venetian language in advertising as a famous beer did some years ago (Xe foresto solo el nome - only the name is foreign) . In other cases Italian advertisements are given a "Venetian flavour" by adding a Venetian word: for instance an airline used the verb "xe" (Xe sempre più grande - It is always bigger) into an Italian sentence (the correct Venetian being el xe senpre pi grande) to advertise new flights from Marco Polo Airportmarker .

On March 28, 2007 the Regional Council of Vèneto officially recognized the existence of the Venetian Language (Łéngua Vèneta) by passing with an almost unanimous vote a law on the "tutela e valorizzazione della lingua e della cultura veneta" (Law on the Protection and Valorisation of the Venetian Language and Culture) with the vote of both governing and opposition parties.

Geographic distribution

Venetian is spoken mainly in the Italian regions of Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia and in both Sloveniamarker and Croatiamarker (Istriamarker,Dalmatia and the Kvarner Gulfmarker). Smaller communities are found in the provinces of Lombardy, Trento, Emilia (in Mantovamarker, Riminimarker, and Forlìmarker), Lazio (Pontine Marshes), and formerly in Romaniamarker (Tulceamarker). It is also spoken in North and South America by the descendants of Italian immigrants. Notable examples of this are the city of Chipilo, Mexicomarker or the Talian dialect spoken in Brazilianmarker states of Espírito Santo, São Paulomarker, Paranámarker, Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarinamarker.Until the middle 20th Century, Venetian was spoken on the Greek Island of Corfumarker, which had been long under the rule of the Republic of Venicemarker.


Venetian descends partly from Vulgar Latin — like all other Romance languages, including Italian and the other Italian dialects. However, in the traditional classification of Romance languages it is considered part of the Italo-Romance group.

According to Ethnologue, Venetian and Italian belong to different sub-branches of the Italo-Western branch: Venetian is a member of the Gallo-Iberian group, which also includes Catalan, Spanish, Portuguese and French, among others; whereas Italian is a member of the Italo-Dalmatian group. More precisely, Venetian belongs to the Gallo-Romance sub-branch of Gallo-Iberian, which includes French and Catalan but not Spanish and Portuguese. In that classification, therefore, Venetian is more closely related to French, Catalan and Spanish than to Italian.

Venetian proper can be distinguished from Venetian Italian, the variety of Italian influenced by local Venetian features that is also spoken in the region. Compare:

  • Venetian: Marco (el) xe drio rivar ('Marco is arriving')
  • Venetian Italian: Marco (el) sta rivando
  • Standard Italian: Marco sta arrivando

Regional variants

The main regional variants and sub-variants of Venetian are

All these variants are mutually intelligible, with a minimum 92% between the most diverging ones (Central and Western). Modern speakers reportedly can still understand to some extent Venetian texts from the 1300s.

Other noteworthy variants are spoken in

Language features

Familial attributes

Like most Romance languages, Venetian has mostly abandoned the Latin case system, in favor of prepositions and a more rigid subject-verb-object sentence structure. It has thus become more analytic, if not quite as much as English. Venetian also has the Romance articles, both definite (derived from the Latin demonstrative ille) and indefinite (derived from the numeral unus).

Venetian also retained the Latin concepts of gender (masculine and feminine) and number (singular and plural). Unlike other Gallo-Iberian languages, which form plurals by adding -s, Venetian forms plurals in a manner similar to standard Italian. Nouns and adjectives can be modified by suffixes that indicate several qualities such as size, endearment, deprecation, etc. Adjectives (usually postfixed) and articles are inflected to agree with the noun in gender and number, but it is important to mention that the suffix might be deleted because the article is the part that suggests the number. However, Italian is influencing the Venetian Language :

  • el gato graso, the fat (male) cat.
  • ła gata grasa, the fat (female) cat.
  • i gati grasi, the fat (male) cats.
  • łe gate grase, the fat (female) cats.

In conservative Venetian, the article alone may convey the gender:

  • i gat gras, the fat (all males or males and females) cats.
  • łe gat gras, the fat (female) cats.

  • el gatòn graso, the fat big (male) cat.
  • ła gatòna grasa, the fat big (female) cat.

  • un bel gateło, a nice small (male) cat.
  • na beła gateła, a nice small (female) cat.

No native Venetic words seem to have survived in present Venetian, but there may be some traces left in the morphology , such as the the morpheme -esto/asto/isto for the past participle, which can be found in Venetic inscriptions from about 500 BCE:

  • Venetian: Mi go fazesto ('I have done')
  • Venetian Italian: Mi go fato
  • Standard Italian: Io ho fatto

Specific attributes

Sound system

Venetian has some sounds not present in Italian, an interdental voiceless fricative spelled ç or z(h) and similar to English th in thing and thought, to Castilian Spanish c(e, i)/z (as in cero, cien, zapato), Modern Greek θ (theta), and Icelandic Thorn þ/Þ and Eth Ð/ð; it occurs, for example, in çena/zhena (supper), which sounds the same as Castilian Spanish cena (same meaning). However this sound, which is present only in some varieties of the language (Bellunese, north-Trevisan, some Central Venetian rural areas around Padua, Vicenza and the mouth of the river Po), is sociolinguistically marked as provincial, with most variants using other sounds instead such as , , and . Some variants also present an interdental voiced fricative written "z" (el pianze 's/he cries') but this is often substituted by "voiced-S", i.e. (written x: el pianxe) or [d] (el piande).

In some varieties intervocalic L is realized as a soft "evanescent" L (this alternation is often represented with one spelling ł). The pronunciation of this phoneme varies from an almost e in the region of Venice, to a partially vocalised l further inland, to null realization in some mountainous areas. Thus, for example, góndoła may sound like góndoea, góndola or góndoa. In the latter variants, the "ł" spelling provides orthographic distinction for pairs such as scóła/skóła 'school' and scóa/skóa 'broom'. The Tuscan dialect source of Standard Italian underwent a similar development of /l/ following /p/, /b/, /k/, and /g/, now represented in spelling as i (bianco, chiamare from earlier blancus, clamare).

Venetian, like Spanish, does not have the geminate consonants characteristic of Italian, Tuscan and many other Italian dialects: thus Italian fette, palla, penna ("slices", "ball", and "pen") are fete, bała, and pena in Venetian. The masculine singular ending, which is usually -o / -e in Italian, is often voided in Venetian, particularly in the countryside varieties: Italian pieno ("full") is pien, and altare is altar. Also, the masculine article el is often shortened to 'l.

Sample Etymological Lexicon

As a direct descent of regional spoken Latin, the Venetian lexicon derives its vocabulary substantially from Latin and (in more recent times) from Tuscan, so that most of its words are cognate with the corresponding words of Italian. Venetian includes however many words derived from other sources (such as Greek, Gothic, and German) that are not cognate with their equivalent words in Italian, such as:

Venetian English Italian Venetian word Origin
uncò, 'ncò, anco today oggi hunc + hodie (Latin)
trincàr to drink bere trinken (German)
becar to be spicy hot essere piccante from the verb beccare (Italian), literally "to peck"
bisato eel anguilla Latin bestia ("beast"); cf. biscia (a kind of snake)
biso snake serpente Latin bestia ("beast"); cf. biscia (a kind of snake)
bìsi peas piselli Related to Italian word.
isarda lizard lucertola same etymon as lizard
trar via to throw tirare
cantón corner angolo from cantus (Latin)
caréga, trón chair sedia cathedra, thronus (Latin) from (Greek)
petar sò to fall cascare from casus of cadere (Latin) made into a verb
ciao hello, goodbye ciao s-ciao (Venetian for slave); sclavus (vulgar Latin)
ciapàr to catch, to take prendere captare (Latin)
co when (non-interr.) quando cum (Latin) or possibly ko (slovene), the etymon being ked,kad from old slovene
copàr to kill uccidere accoppare (old Italian, literally "to behead")
còtoła, còtola skirt sottana cotta (Latin, coat or dress)
gòto, bicer drinking glass bicchiere gut(t)us (Latin for "cruet")
insìa exit uscita in + exita (Latin)
mi I io me (Latin)
morsegàr, smorsegàr to bite mordere morsus (Latin "bitten") made into a verb (cf. Italian morsicare)
mustaci mustaches baffi moustaki (Greek)
munìn, gato cat gatto perhaps from "meow" sound
muso donkey asino ?
nòtoła, barbastrìo, signàpoła bat pipistrello
pantegàna rat ratto podgana (slovene)
pirón fork forchetta from Greek pirouni
pomo/pón apple mela pomus (Latin)
sghiràt squirrel scoiattolo Related to Italian word.
sgnape schnapps liquore schnapps (German)
sgorlàr, scorlàr to shake scuotere ex + crollare (Latin)
supiar, subiar, sficiar to whistle fischiare sub + flare (Latin)
tòr su to pick up raccogliere tollere (Latin)
técia, tegia pan pentola tecula (Latin)
tosàto, tosàt, buteleto lad, boy ragazzo from tosare (Italian, "to cut someone's hair")
vaca cow mucca, vacca vacca (Latin)
sc-iopa gun fucile

Redundant subject pronouns

A peculiarity of Venetian grammar is a "semi-analytical" verbal flexion, with a compulsory "clitic subject pronoun" before the verb in many sentences, "echoing" the subject as an ending or a weak pronoun. Independent/emphatic pronouns (e.g. ti), on the contrary, are optional.

  • Italian: (Tu) eri sporco ("You were dirty").
  • Venetian: (Ti) te jèra onto or even Ti te jèri/xeri onto (lit. "(You) you were dirty").

  • Italian: Il cane era sporco ("The dog was dirty").
  • Venetian: El can el jèra onto (lit. "The dog he was dirty").

  • Italian: (Tu) ti sei domandato ("You have asked yourself").
  • Venetian: (Ti) te te à/gà/ghè domandà (lit. "(You) you yourself have asked").

The clitic subject pronoun (te, el/ła, i/łe) is used with the 2nd and 3rd person singular, and with the 3rd person plural. This feature may have arisen as a compensation for the fact that the 2nd- and 3rd-person inflections for most verbs, which are still distinct in Italian and many other Romance languages, are identical in Venetian. (The Piedmontese language also has clitic subject pronouns, but the rules are somewhat different.)

The function of clitics is particularly visible in long sentences, which do not always have clear intonational breaks to easily tell apart vocative and imperative in sharp commands from exclamations with "shouted indicative". In Venetian the clitic el marks the indicative verb and its masculine subject, otherwise there is an imperative preceded by a vocative:

  • Venetian: Marco 'l canta ben, dai! ("Mark (subj.) sings well, you have to admit it!" - exclamation: subject + indicative)
  • Venetian: Marco canta ben, dai! ("Mark (voc.) sing well, come on!" - command: vocative+imperative)
  • Ven.Ital.: Marco canta ben, dai! (both exclamative and imperative)
  • Std.Ital.: Marco canta bene, dai! (both exclamative and imperative)

Indeed, the verbal forms requiring subject clitics can often change or even drop their endings without problems of confusion because the clitic itself provide the necessary information (in Piedmontese and Milanese the clitic is not sufficient to mark the verb and often requires the cooccurence of a specific ending).

The clitics are the same in whole Veneto with two exceptions: te becomes ti in Venice (but is different from emphatic TI!) and becomes tu in some bellunese areas. El becomes Al in bellunese.

2nd singular person present indicative of "magnar"
  • Venetian in Venice: (TI) ti magn'i (lit." (You) you eat")
  • Venetian in Padua-Vicenza-Rovigo-Verona: (TI) te magn'i (=lit. "(You) you eat")
  • Venetian in Treviso-Belluno: (TI) te magn'a (=lit. "(You) you eat")

2nd singular person imperf. indicative of "magnar"
  • Venetian in Venice: (TI) ti magnav'i (lit. "(You) you used to eat")
  • Venetian in Pad-Vic-Rov-Ver: (TI) te magnav'i (lit. "(You) you used to eat")
  • Venetian in Treviso-Belluno: (TI) te/tu magnav'a/magnéa(lit. "(You) you used to eat")

2nd singular person present indicative of "sentir"
  • Venetian in Venice-Verona: (TI) te/ti sent'i (lit. "(You) you hear/you feel")
  • Venetian in Vic-Pad-Rov: (TI) te s'inti (lit. "(You) you hear/you feel")
  • Venetian in Treviso: (TI) te sent'e (lit. "(You) you hear/you feel")
  • Venetian in Belluno: (TI) te/tu sen't (lit. "(You) you hear/you feel")

3rd singular person present indicative of "sentir"
  • Venetian Ven-Ver-Vic-Pad-Rov: (EL CAN) el sent'e (lit. "(The dog) he hears/he feels")
  • Venetian Trev-Bell: (EL CAN) el/al sen't (lit. "(The dog) he hears/he feels")

Such variations in last and internal vowels do not block reciprocal comprehension between people in Veneto because what is felt as important to mark the verb is the clitic ("te, el").

Also general Venetian forms exist with no endings:
  • Venetian (in whole Veneto): te vie'n / ti vien ("you come")
  • Venetian (in whole Veneto): el vie'n (lit. "he come" as there was no -s)
  • Venetian (in whole Veneto): i vie'n ("they come")

Note that when the subject is postverbal (motion verbs, unaccusative verbs) the clitic is banned and the past participle of compound forms (if any) is invariably masc.singular, yielding a semi-impersonal form which does not exist in Italian:

Normal form
  • Italian: Le mie sorelle sono arrivat'e ("[as for] My sisters have")
  • Venetian: Mé sorełe 'łe xe/è rivàe (lit."[as for] My sisters have")

Impersonal form (only in Venetian)
  • Italian: Sono arrivat'e le mie sorelle (hey, the news! "my sisters have arrived")
  • Venetian: Xe/Gh'è/Iè rivà(è) mé sorełe (lit. "(there) has my sisters") --- no clitic and an invariable past participle

In Italian the past participle is always inflected while in the Venetian in the impersonal form it is invariable and the verb has no plural (fem.) clitic, differently from the normal flection.

Interrogative inflection

Venetian also has a special interrogative verbal flexion used for direct questions, which also incorporates a redundant pronoun:

  • Italian: (Tu) eri sporco? ("Were you dirty?").
  • Venetian: (Ti) jèritu onto? or even (Ti) xèrito sporco? (lit. "You were-you dirty?")

  • Italian: Il cane era sporco? ("Was the dog dirty?").
  • Venetian: El can jèreło onto? (lit. "The dog was-he dirty?")
  • or even: Jèreło onto el can ? (lit. "Was-he dirty the dog ?")

  • Italian: (Tu) ti sei domandato? ("Have you asked yourself?").
  • Venetian: (Ti) te àtu/gatu/ghètu/ghèto domandà? (lit. "You to-yourself have-you asked?")

Auxiliary verbs

Reflexive tenses use the auxiliary verb aver ("to have"), as in English, German, and Spanish; instead of essar ("to be"), which would be normal in Italian. The past participle is invariable, unlike Italian:

  • Italian: (Tu) ti sei lavato (lit. "(You) yourself are washed").
  • Venetian: (Ti) te te à/ga/ghè lavà (lit. "(You) you yourself have washed").

  • Italian: (Loro) si sono svegliati (lit. "(They) themselves are awakened").
  • Venetian: (Luri) i se ga/à svejà (lit. "(They) they themselves have awakened").

Continuing action

Another peculiarity of the language is the use of the phrase eser drìo (a) (literally, "behind to") to indicate continuing action:

  • Italian: Mio padre sta parlando ("My father is speaking").
  • Venetian: Mé pare 'l xe drìo(invià) parlàr (lit. "My father he is busy speaking").

Indeed the word drio=busy/engaged also appears in other sentences:
  • Venetian: So' drio i mistieri lit. means "I am busy doing the housework" (=I'm doing it)
  • Venetian: Vo drio i mistieri lit. means "I go busy with the housework" (=I'm going to do it)
  • Venetian: Mé pare l'è in leto drio (invià) dormir lit. means "My father is in bed, busy sleeping" (=My father is sleeping in bed)

Another progressive form uses the construction "essar là che" (lit. "to be there that"):

  • Venetian: Me pàre 'l è là che 'l parla (lit. "My father he is there that he speaks").

The use of progressive tenses is more pervasive than in Italian; E.g.

  • English: "He wouldn't possibly have been speaking to you".
  • Venetian: No 'l sarìa mìa stat/stà drìo parlarte (lit. "Not-he would possibly have been behind to speak-to-you").

That construction does not occur in Italian: *Non sarebbe mica stato parlandoti is not syntactically valid.

Subordinate clauses

Subordinate clauses have double introduction ("whom that", "when that", "which that", "how that"), as in Old English:

  • Italian: So di chi parli ("(I) know about whom (you) speak").
  • Venetian: So de chi che te parla (lit. "(I) know about whom that you-speak").

As in other Romance languages, the subjunctive mood is widely used in subordinate clauses (although not always). Remarkably, while the use of subjunctive is weakening in many colloquial varieties of Italian, Venetian subjunctive seems to be more resisting. For example, many Italian speakers often hesitate between subjunctive che fosse 'that...were' and indicative che era 'that...was' (though this phenomenon is generally sanctioned in the standard form), while almost no Venetian speaker would use the indicative in the following examples. Notice that it is hardly possible to distinguish a colloquial and a standard form, Venetian being used especially in the spoken form.

  • Std.Italian: Credevo che fosse... ("I thought that he were...")
  • Coll. Ital.: Credevo che era... ("I thought that he was...")
  • Venetian: Credéa/évo che 'l fuse... ("I thought that he were...")
  • Venetian: Credéa/évo che 'l *xera...

For the same reasons, while Italian speakers may accept both vada and vado 'I go-subj/indic.' in the colloquial style, nearly everybody would reject the Venetian indicative *vo in the following context.

  • Std.Italian: E' meglio che vada ("I better go", lit. "it is better that I go" subj.)
  • Std.Italian: E' meglio che vado ("I better go", lit. "it is better that I go" indic.)
  • Venetian: Xe mejo che vaga/vae ("I better go"-subj.)
  • Venetian: Xe mejo che *vo

Spelling systems

Traditional system

Venetian does not have an official writing system, but it is traditionally written using the Latin alphabet — sometimes with the addition of a couple of letters and/or diacritics for the sounds that do not exist in Italian, such as ç/zh for . Otherwise, the traditional spelling rules are mostly those of Italian, except that x represents , as in English "zero".

As in Italian, the letter s between vowels usually represents , so one must write ss in those contexts to represent a voiceless : basa for ("he/she kisses"), bassa for ("low"). Also, because of the numerous differences in pronunciation relative to Italian, the grave and acute accents are liberally used to mark both stress and vowel quality:
à , á , è , é , ò , ó , ù

Venetian allows the consonant cluster (not present in Italian), which is usually written s-c or s'c before i or e, and s-ci or s'ci before other vowels. Examples include s-ciarir (Italian schiarire, "to clear up"), s-cèt (schietto, "plain clear"), and s-ciòp (schioppo, "gun"). The hyphen or apostrophe is used because the combination sc(i) is conventionally used for sound, as in Italian spelling; e.g. scèmo (scemo, "stupid"); whereas sc before a, o and u represents : scàtoa (scatola, "box"), scóndar (nascondere, "to hide"), scusàr (scusare, "to forgive").

However, the traditional spelling is subject to many historical, regional, and even personal variations. In particular, the letter z has been used to represent different sounds in different written traditions. In Venice and Vicenzamarker, for example, the phonemes and are written z and x, respectively (el pianze = "he cries", el xe = "he is"); whereas other traditions have used ç and z (el piançe and el ze).

Proposed systems

Recently there have been attempts to standardize and simplify the script, e.g. by using x for and a single s for ; then one would write baxa for ("she kisses") and basa for ("low"). Another recent convention is to use ł for the "soft" l, to allow a more unified ortography for all variants of the language. However, in spite of their theoretical advantages, these proposals have not been very successful outside of academic circles, because of regional variations in pronunciation and incompatibility with existing literature.

The Venetian speakers of Chipilo use a system based on Spanish orthography, even though it does not contain letters for and . The American linguist Carolyn McKay proposed a writing system for that variant, based entirely on the Italian alphabet. However, the system was not very popular.

Sample texts

Ruzante returning from war

The following sample, in the old dialect of Padua, comes from a play by Ruzante (Angelo Beolco), titled Parlamento de Ruzante che iera vegnù de campo ("Dialogue of Ruzante who came from the battlefield", 1529). The character, a peasant returning home from the war, is expressing to his friend Menato his relief at being still alive:

     Orbéntena, el no serae mal

star in campo per sto robare,

se 'l no foesse che el se ha pur

de gran paure. Càncaro ala roba!

A' son chialò mi, ala segura,

e squase che no a' no cherzo

esserghe gnan. [...]

Se mi mo' no foesse mi?

E che a foesse stò amazò in campo?

E che a foesse el me spirito?

Lo sarae ben bela.

No, càncaro, spiriti no magna.
     "Really, it would not be that bad

to be in the battlefield looting,

were it not that one gets also

big scares. Damn the loot!

I am right here, in safety,

and almost can't believe

I am. [...]

And if I were not me?

And if I had been killed in battle?

And if I were my ghost?

That would be just great.

No, damn, ghosts don't eat."

Discorso de Perasto

The following sample is taken from the Perasto Speech (Discorso de Perasto), given on August 23, 1797 at Perasto, by Venetian Captain Giuseppe Viscovich, at the last lowering of the flag of the Venetian Republic (nicknamed the "Republic of Saint Markmarker").

     Par trezentosetantasete ani

le nostre sostanse, el nostro sangue,

le nostre vite le xè sempre stàe

par Ti, S.Marco; e fedelisimi

senpre se gavemo reputà,

Ti co nu, nu co Ti,

e senpre co Ti sul mar

semo stài lustri e virtuosi.

Nisun co Ti ne gà visto scanpar,

nisun co Ti ne gà visto vinti e spaurosi!
     "For three hundred and seventy seven years

our bodies, our blood

our lives have always been

for You, St. Mark; and very faithful

we have always thought ourselves,

You with us, we with You,

And always with You on the sea

we have been illustrious and virtuous.

No one has seen us with You flee,

No one has seen us with You defeated and fearful!"

Francesco Artico

The following is a contemporary text by Francesco Artico. The elderly narrator is recalling the church choir singers of his youth, who, needless to say, sang much better than those of today:

     Sti cantori vèci da na volta,

co i cioéa su le profezie,

in mezo al coro, davanti al restèl,

co'a ose i 'ndéa a cior volta

no so 'ndove e ghe voéa un bèl tóc

prima che i tornésse in qua

e che i rivésse in cao,

màssima se i jèra pareciàdi onti

co mezo litro de quel bon

tant par farse coràjo.
     "These old singers of the past,

when they picked up the Prophecies,

in the middle of the choir, in front of the gate,

with their voice they went off

who knows where, and it was a long time

before they came back

and landed on the ground,

especially if they had been previously "oiled"

with half a liter of the good one [wine]

just to make courage."

English words of Venetian origin

See also


  1. Ethnologue.
  2. Carlo Tagliavini, Le Origini delle Lingue Neolatine

External links

General Language: Grammar: Dictionaries Audio-Video Streaming Language and Culture:

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