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of a Language

Letter of Sampiero Corso [23th of June 1564]
Archives of State of Genoa, Secretorum Corsicae No 338

A Definition
Corsican is a romanic language of the italian-romanic group.
This classification was asserted by the scientific publication of the Lexicon Romanistischen Linguistik (1988) where it is put in the list of the fourteen romanic languages just like italian anf french, for instance and also to not cite the two languages with which corsican "has to deal", for it is often associated with them for evident socio-historical reasons.

It is nevertheless not useless to remind that this language is not an imported or transformed italian language, but indeed the result of a real evolution from a state of language which is strongly latinized, without however being possible to set with precision the different dates of this evolution, if only because of the shape of the island relief which is extremely mountainous and compartmentalized.


Influences and Linguistic Islands and Relationships

The Tuscan influence was capital at the following stage, that is to say from the 9th century, with as a consequence the rupture of the old linguistic-cultural unity the sardinian-corsican. (Sardinia suffered then a catalonian-aragonian domination).
From this influence corsican language incontestably kept a Dantesque Color ; it even owns to it to be considered as a privileged place preserving italic archaisms, by certain sociolinguists of the peninsula.

Relationships can also be noticed with certain southern dialects of Italy, notably the calabrian, while the Genoese, despite a political domination of five have left a little of their dialect for they adopted themselves Tuscan as a written language.
Under the heading of curiosities , we have to notice that it exists in Gallura, in the north of Sardinia, a dialect which is closely related to the one of Corsica of the South because of a population of corsican shepherds at the beginning of the 17th century.

Conversely linguistic islands which were formerly set up, constitute an originality in very Corsica: the dialect of Bonifacio, language imported from Liguria in the 13th century by the genoese settlers, and from Greek, introduced by the settlers from the region of Laconia, Maina in Greece, settled near from Carghjese in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Only a few families keep the practice of these languages, notably in the liturgy for Greek.
As to the influence of french, it very slowly developed from the annexation of 1769, during a process of transculturation which lasted nearly one century.

The Frenchifying
First, a vigorous policy of frenchifying, then the school laws, the emigration towards the colonial Empire, making of french the language of the Bread, have considerably emphasized the effects of acculturation.

The Future
Today, the access to the status of language for the old corsican idiom is not without any problems: always minimized between two prestige languages, it searches for its way in a still alive reality where oppositions enter unity/diversity, oral/written, norm/use, in strong complex functionings of diglossia, analyzed in the light of sociolinguistic recognized concepts (recognition/birth, elaboration, distance, popular will).

In this problem, the writting of corsican, its literary illustration, its teaching and the university research, its daily and media use, in a diversified range of functions and registers fit in.
The developments in each of these domains will depend on the vitality of the new speakers and writers of corsican, on the richness and the sincerity of the public debate, on the collective will and on the cohesion of the user community, to not talk about the quality of the measures of the policy of the language which will be proposed to it. Jacques Fusina Academic

A Few Sentences
Here is a few words or written expressions in Corsican.

  • Peace and good Health : Pace i salute
  • Good Morning, how are you ?: Bonghjurnu , Cumu h ?
  • What's the weather like ? : Ch tempu face ?


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