Nos Dialet . . . Our Dialect #1

The dialects of modern Italian all have their roots in the spoken form of Latin (Vulgar Latin), in use throughout the Roman Empire. Vulgar Latin had, no doubt, its own local peculiarities before the fall of the Empire. The political instability that followed Roman rule kept Italy from re-uniting as a nation until the nineteenth century. This long period of fragmentation and the fact that Classical Latin was preferred as the international language of study allowed the various modes of speech to develop on their own until they could almost be called separate languages. Many dialects are, in fact, unintelligible with each other. The separate language of the Trentino or Tyrol had the effetto montagna, the mountain effect.he communities of the Trentino developed as separate entities by virtue of real divisions due to the mountains, the valleys, rivers, and even streams. The dialect of the Val Adige (Trento) is distinguishably different from that of the Val di Non or the Valsugana or the Val delle Giudicarie.

El dialet…the dialect captured and reflected the traditions, mannerisms, and culture. The dialect was a distinction for a particular community, area, or valley. The vocabulary, the enunciation, the very intonation were a distinguishing trademark, an affirmation of their “exceptionalism” from one area to the next. There was the affectionate reference to el nos dialet…our dialect..with the understanding that the nos…was a possessive acknowledgement of who they were and what they were like. Take for the example, the knife grinders from the Val Rendena who actually developed an almost separate language, el Taron, which was a spin off from the dialet but a mechanism of separation and protection as they traveled far a field…as Russia. to earn their living. Our Tyrolean relatives in our country relied and maintained their distinguishing dialect to literally separate themselves from the “italians” …kept apart even physically staying in colonies and types of work.

It is a challenge to present to our readers the dialect. Many of our readers do not speak or understand the dialect and many might not have pursued language education. There will be an attempt to present the background and history and styles of the distinctive dialects in the various valleys of the Trentino. But both for the interested and the curious, there will be presented some grammar, syntax, and vocabulary. In doing so, the hope will be to do a little a bit of teaching or simply to have our readers possibly connect to the memories of the sounds and phrases that they might have heard in their homes or gatherings. In Trentino dialect, it’s common to say, ‘sa fente, nenteo stente? (cosa faciamo, andiamo da qualche parte o stiamo qui?) Translated, it means, at should we do,stay or go? Hence… a bit of grammar. Here is the present tense of the verb to be …(red ), Italian ( blue ), and in the dialect interrogative mode…

Nos Dialet . . . Our Dialect #2

Ding! Ding! Dialect school . . . Before beginning our second lesson, I remain uncertain how to teach the dialect. I know the dialect but never learned it. It was simply the sounds of the parents spoke to themselves, to me,to my siblings and to our paesani. I do not know of any dialect school even in the today’s Trentino unlike the Val Gardena in the Alto Adige where there is a very deliberate effort to teach and carry on their historic Ladino dialect. With this uncertainty, I would urge anyone in our community to come forth and attempt to be its teacher for the Filò. My methodology will be to present some grammar, syntax and vocabulary to reawaken some of the sounds and memories of those of us who were the first generation and for others to possibly de-mythologize this truly cosa nostra, el nos dialet. Remember that the dialect, while common, has individual differences from valley to valley. The illustration is a dictionary of one part of one valley and each valley probably has its own such dictionary. Ding! Ding! Gianna and Lou Sem a scola …we are in school…

Definite Articles: In Italian, the definite articles are the following: Il, Lo, La,I, Gli and Le. En dialèt i è de men (In dialect there are fewer) For singular: EL, LA and for plural: and LE … Difati se en taliàn se diss (In fact inItalian one says) Lo zàino e Gli zoccoli (the back pack and shoes)…en dialèt trentin se sparmia e disén (in the Trentino dialect we economize and say…) El prossac e i zocoi.

Verbs: Here is the present tense of verb to have…red in dialect, blue in Italian…and the interrogative form in dialect

Nos Dialet . . . Our Dialect #3

Ding…ding…Ding…ding…Dialect school is in session…Although I can speak Italian, when I arrive in my village in the Bleggio twice a year, people regard me as some “professore” and begin to speak to me in high-faluting Italian…to which I quickly respond and retort.. Mi non capiso el ‘talian…parlame in dialet se non parto” Translated…I tell them..I cannot understand Italian…speak to me in dialect otherwise I`m out of here…Hearing and speaking the dialect is a special memory, a special gift…a special link to our roots. Hence, I will struggle again to be relevant to “teach” the dialect in the Filò. I am thinking of possibly creating small video lessons so that the readers can hear the sounds of our dialect spoken by our paesani in the Province…ding ding…Let’s get to work….

Definite Article: The dialect does not follow too many rules of Italian grammar. It has its own way that could almost be called a “rule”. In dialect, one says I gnochi (in Italian…gli gnochi) or El zifolot (Italian would use “Il”).In Italian, it is an error to put a definite article before a proper name, we ignore that and say El Mario, la Luisa, elCicio.

Personal Pronouns: The personal pronouns are different Mi (io), Ti (tu), Elo o Lu (egli) masculine and ELA (lei,ella) feminine, Noi (same as Italian), Voi (same as Italian) LORI (essi-masculine) or LORE (esse feminine)

Verbs: Here is the past tense of the verb to be…red in dialect; blue in Italian; black in English

Nos Dialet . . . Our Dialect #4

Din! Din! Dialect school in session….Time for a change this time leaving grammar and syntax aside…So many have called and regretted that I veci non I ghe pu…our older emigrants are leaving us and along with them the very sound of the dialect,those intonations that we had learned to love. I found a way that might provide some of those very sounds. Here is the way….

The Museo degli Usi e Costumi della Gente Trentina (The Museum of the Ways and Customs of the Trentino People) has a web site where you click on to 310 film clips of our people from a variety of valleys speaking the dialect. I closed my eyes and just listened and I felt that I was in the kitchen of the Bleggio with my nonna and nono or on Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village hearing mom and dad talking. Give it a try…here is the link and you will discover a virtual museum of cultural material.

Time for a Quiz…a read and match test…Below you will find a list of dialectal words drawn from the Val Rendena specifically the nomenclatures of the vecchi mestieri of la Vecchia Rendena , which is a wonderful feast celebrated each year in Bocenago, a village in the valley, that displays these tasks and activities with the town folk replete with traditional dress. Here is the challenge…read the list and go to the facing page and match the vocabulary word with the task. Please grade yourself…since we presume on the honesty and diligence of all of our people!

Nos Dialet . . . Our Dialect #5

Din! Din! Dialect school is in session…I had a dialect experience. In attempting to translate and comment on the song detailed in this issue, La Vaca Nonesa, I experienced great difficulty. I consulted with 5 valleys and 12 contacts in the Province…to finally get it almost rendered for the Filo`. Our dialect is not Italian. It has always been la nossa cosa (not to be confused with the Cosa Nostra”. It has its own “rules” or styles and gets shaped from one valley to the next…the “mountain effect.” In addition, we have several other languages within the Province..Ladin as well as German with a numerous minority that speak it. Hence, how relevant is it to try to teach it? Don`t know…but it represents one of our heirlooms of our culture, the sound of our people and our immigrant relatives so the effort is to bring to our families some elements of its words, “grammar and syntax” and even of its sounds to hear these echoes of our people…

Hence, here indeed is something again about our unique use of K, a verb and some vocabulary. At the same time,do consider going to the web site of the Museo degli Usi e Costumi della Gente Trentina (The Museum of the Ways and Customs of the Trentino People) to hear film clips of people in the Province speaking the dialect…Here is their website

The letter K…they have the sound but not the actual letter. There is an inconsistency in using a “hard C” like casa and a “soft C” as in celet…so they add an H or presume an H with further inconsistency…so we have Bosch forbosco (woods). Poch or Poc for Poco (little) or Toch or Toc (a piece) or Sgnech or Sgnec (soft) or Bech or Bec(beak) or Sech or Sec (dry). Not easy to understand…nor to explain! Agreed!!!

Nones . . . the Language

The Nones, or Anauni, are one of the oldest people in Trentino Alto Adige, and one of the oldest in the Alps. They originate from Rhaetian tribes, a people of Mesopotamian origin who over the centuries marched up the Danube from the Black Sea arriving and settling to the central Alps and their southern slopes. They were a very advanced people, had their own alphabet and its own system of writing. They were experts in metalwork and agriculture. Roman historians relate they had no king but self managed and governed themselves. In contrast to the Germans, they lived in many towns and not in scattered farmsteads. 500 years before Christ, the Anauni were settled in the Valley, The name of the valley, its people and the river (the Nos) that runs through it are of Rhaetian as well as semetic origin. The Nones peacefully accepted Roman rule, while the Rhaetian tribes to the north had to be subdued by force. The Nones were integrated into the Roman civilization, so that in 46 AD, the Roman Emperor Tiberius Claudius issued an edict granting them the privilege of Roman citizenship. In the very same edict the emperor also claims to be particularly pleased to confer citizenship, since many of the Nones were found in his personal guard while others were high-ranking officers in the Roman legions, and others served as magistrates administering justice in the very city of Rome. There developed a combining of the Roman language with Rhaetian. This combination still remains as the source of the Nones language, a form of Rhaetian ladin language This very ladin language is in evidence is several other valleys in the Trentino Alto Adige and as a consequence establishes the Nones as one of the Province`s linguistic minorities.

Even with the fall of the Roman Empire, and with the arrival of the barbarians, the Nones did not lose their cultural and linguistic identity. Indeed, during the Middle Ages, the people of the valley rose up repeatedly pre-serving and expanding the privileges of the Valley. When the Trentino Alto Adige was granted its autonomy by Italy, the Nones claimed recognition of their status as a minority language. In the 2011 census, in a secret and direct ballot, 10,000 declared themselves “ladini” claiming the same rights enjoyed by Ladin of the Valley of Badia and the Val Gardena in South Tyrol and the Ladin Val di Fassa in the Trentino. While the origin of the minority of the Nonesi dates back to 2000 years ago, the settlement of the Ladin Dolomites dates back a thousand years later. While the origin of the minority of the Nonesi dates back to 2000 years ago, while the settlement of the Ladin Dolomites dates back a thousand years later. The identity of these latter people who settled in those areas is not well defined.. Ladin is officially recognized in the Trentino and South Tyrol by provincial and national law. Italy signed the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages of 1991, but has not ratified it so far. The charter calls for minority rights to be respected and minority languages, to which Ladin belongs, to be appropriately protected and promoted. Starting in the 1990s, the Italian parliament and provincial assembly have passed laws and regulations protecting the Ladin language and culture. A cultural institute was founded to safeguard and educate in the language and culture.School curricula were adapted in order to teach in Ladin, and street signs are being changed to bilingual.

There is a great deal of evidence regarding the antiquity and uniqueness of the “nones language. The noted linguist , William Bertagnolli, has compiled written a collection in 3 volumes of nones poetry from the 1850 to1910. Another eminent nones linguist, Prof. Enrico Lent, drafted in 1964, the vocabulary of the language nònesa. In 2005, yet another nones linguist, Ilaria Debiasi published the grammar of the language nonesa. Both Italian and non-Italian linguists have written extensively regarding the nones. Nones poetry continues to flourish today. The status of the ladino nones minority has been affirmed and recognized by the schools who teach the language, its history and its culture. Such developments reinforced the identity and validity of the Nones Ladino minority.

Written by Doctor Sergio de Carneri

Nos Dialet . . . Our Dialect #6

No one in our community has attempted to teach our dialect;it is hard to teach and hard to learn. Unlike Italian, there is not really a “grammar” and a “syntax.” I myself never“learned it. . . I kind of absorbed it from the one and only language spoken in my home in Greenwich Village by my mom and dad. Throughout our neighborhood, one could hear Genovese, Toscano, Sicilian, Neopolitan, while we were few, but distinctive. In my annual two trips to the Province, I keep looking for someone to indicate the methodology but have found no one or book or resource other than a professor saying that our dialect is basically phonetic. Our dialect is common throughout the Province . . .with distinctive differences resulting from the separation of the valleys by its mountains . . . and its history and traditions. When I am there, I continue to exercise questionable manners interrupting people I encounter as a dialect evangelist asking that they speak to me in dialect.Hence, I appeal to the almost 5000 readers to be on the lookout for someone with more competence than I to present these lessons in the Filò. My aim is to present the forms and shapes of our dialect since it was the language of our people and hidden in those sounds and phrases, there is the very person.

Continuing the presentation of the verb “to be” . . .Here is the future tense of the verb . . .Note the use of the definite and indefinite articles in the verbs . . .

Please consider visiting the website of the Museo delgi Usi e Costumi della Gente Trentina (The Museum of the Ways and Customs of the Trentino People) to hear clips of people in the Province speaking in dialect. . .Here is their website