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Alguerese

Alguerese is the variant of Catalan language spoken in the city of Alghero, in the north-east of Sardinia. Catalan invaders repopulated the town after expelling the autochthonous Sardinian population in 1372, following several revolts. Catalan was replaced as the official language by Spanish in the 17th century, then by Italian. In the 1990s about 60% of locals still understood spoken Alguerese, or Algherese Catalan.

The Algherese dialect has many deviations from standard Catalan. Some of the most obvious:

  • Coalescing of unstressed vowels /a,E,e/ to [a] (unlike standard Catalan that has [@]).
  • Alguerese preserves /v/ as a distinct phoneme from /b/, like Balearic and most of Valencian do as well.
  • Mutation of intervocalic /d/ or /l/ to vibrant [r]; e.g. 'Barceloneta' (little Barcelona): standard [b@rs@lu'nEt@], Algherese [balsaru'nEta]; e.g. 'vila' (town) and 'vida' (life) are homophonous in Algherese ['vira].
  • Mutation of syllable final /r/ to lateral [l], and the possible resulting group [l]+consonant is still simplified to [l]; e.g. 'forn' (furnace): standard ['forn], Algherese ['fol].
  • Depalatalisation of syllable final sonants: lateral /L/ to [l], nasal /J/ to [n]; e.g 'any' (year): standard ['aJ], Algherese ['an].
  • Simple Past Perfect has been replaced by Present Perfect (present of HABERE + past participle), possibly an interference of Italian.
  • Imperfect Past preserves etymological -V- in all the conjugations: 1st -ava, 2nd -iva, 3rd -iva (unlike modern standard Catalan with has 1st -ava, 2nd -ia, 3rd -ia) (a feature shared with Ribagorçan Catalan)
  • Lots of lexical borrowings and syntactic calques from Sardinian, Spanish, and Italian.

Bibliography:

  • Diccionari català de l'Alguer / Sanna, Josep (1988)



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