https://www.duolingo.com/italianboy96

Sicilian Lesson 1

italianboy96
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Before I get started with today's lesson, I'd like to state that I've never done a lesson like this before, so If I'm no good, please don't bash me. Also, If there's any mistakes or anything I can do to make the lesson better, please don't hesitate to tell me.

Sicilian is a language spoken is southern Italy and Sicily; it is a Romance language. One theory even states that it was the first out of Vulgar Latin though this theory isn't widely held among linguists. Its linguistic influences included Greek, Arabic, Catalan, French, Spanish, Provencal, Lombard, a myriad of other languages, and of course, Italian. Today we will be discussing the basics of Sicilian. First, we must discuss an alphabet, because what would a language be without an alphabet?

There are a total of twenty three letters in the Sicilian Alphabet. The letters "k", "x", "y", and "w" are only used in foreign words in Sicilian.

The Sicilian Alphabet goes like this:

<pre> Letter Name of Letter Pronunciation a a ah b bi bee c ci tchee d di dee Dd ddi ddhee e e eh F effi ehffee G gi jee H acca ahka I i ee J i longa eeh longah L elli ehllie M emmi ehmmie N enni ehnnie O o oh P pi ppee Q cu ckoo R errie ehrrie S essie ehssie T ti ttee U u ooh V vi or vu vvee, vvooh Z zeta dzetah </pre>

First and foremost, I want to apologize about the formatting of the alphabet.

Sicilian has five vowels and they are a, e, i o, u. Unlike Italian where "e" and "o" can sound open or closed, Sicilian pronounces these vowels only as open. Like in words such as "bet" "let" and "not" "more." Sicilian vowels, unlike English vowels, are only pronounced one way, no matter where they occur.
The "a" in "casa" and "pani" is like the "a" in "father" The "e" in "genti" and "meti" is like the "e" in "let" The "o" in "mori" and "robba" is like the "o" of "gorge" The "i" in "Pippinu" and "minnali" is like the "I" in "machine" The "u" in "sùbbitu" and "omu" is like the "oo" in "stoop"

However sometimes vowels, because they are in unstressed positions, can be heard as a blend of two vowels. This occurs usually in the third person plural of the present or imperfect tense and in some words. For example, the present and imperfect tense of "purtari" (to bring) can be heard as either "portanu" or "portunu" and in the imperfect "purtavanu" or "purtavunu;" "sèntinu" or "sèntunu; words like subbitu (right away) can be heard as "subbutu." These vowels are called uncertain vowels.

Consonants

Sicilian consonants aren't pronounced very differently from Italian. Although, there are some exceptions.

<pre> B. B has the same sound as in the word "bed." In the initial and medial positions, the b is pronounced double. Words normally written with one b are pronounced double. For example "bonu," "beddu," "bastuni," and "babbu (good, beautiful, stick, and dumb.) Even if the b is in the middle of the word, it still doubles up. When you double pronounciate double consonants, don't say the letter twice. Shorten the vowel that proceeds the double consonant. This might be a little difficult for native English speakers because English really doesn't use double consonants very much, the only example I can think of is "bookkeping." This sound is made by pausing slightly after the vowel that precedes the double consonant. Try it with some of these words: à bbitu, sà bbatu, sù bbitu. Of course this isn't the actual length to the pause, just an exaggeration. Here's the actual length "àbbitu," "sàbbatu," "sùbbitu" (suit, Saturday, and right away.) Double consonants appear frequently after most sounds except for "sci," "gli," and "gn." Words beginning in "b" are actually written with two b's, but I have chosen to write with just one. C C has either a hard sound (k) as in "cani" (dog) or a soft sound (ch) as in "celu" (sky). If the c is followed by "a," "o," "u," or "h," it has a hard sound like the English "k." If the "c" is followed by "e" or "i" the sound is pronounced as the English words "check" and "chin." So, the if we add c to our vowels it would look like "ca, che, chi, co, cu." Do not forget the h because then it would turn into a soft c! Here are some example words to practice with "cani," "chiesa," "china," "cori," and "cuda" (dog, church, full, heart tail.) Sometimes though, if other vowels follow "e" or "i" you will pronounce them as one sound. As in "cia (" or "ciu." Sometimes though, they will be pronounced separately as in "ceusa" or "farmacia." Practice with these words "cessu, cinima, Ciulla, ciaula" (toilet, movie, Ciulla, crow.) In the medial position though, the c is often doubled: "occhiu (eye), specchiu (mirror)" while in the initial position, it's not doubled: "chiavi (key), chiovu (nail)." </pre>

There is still the rest of the consonants and another sound that "c" can make, but I must be going to bed. I know this is a little unorthodox (usually pronunciation includes all of the sounds) but it is very late here and I've got to get up in the morning. Tomorrow, I plan to finish up the pronunciation and then, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. What do you guys think so far?

2 years ago

3 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/paulrausch
paulrausch
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How do we get this moving again? We have lots of very passionate contributors. I learned Sicilian and have studied it's dialects, and I know a number of formally trained linguistics who would kill to save our language.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/paulrausch
paulrausch
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I'm trying to gather together people actively interested in Sicilian language preservation online. We've created a group of dedicated Sicilian language activists. Is this something you'd be interested in?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/italianboy96
italianboy96
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I'm interested!

2 years ago
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