The Italy Literary Language Part I

By | February 13, 2022

According to mysteryaround, the Italian literary language is Tuscan. more properly the archaic and learned Florentine. As always happens with definitions, even the value of this is not absolute. The interpretation that we must give is that the dialect elevated to high dignity of art by Dante, the Florentine dialect, an instrument of spreading the civilization of a city, Florence, which established itself on other Tuscan cities in the 12th-13th centuries, the dialect, that is , in which the phonetic imprint of the word of Rome was best continued in its perspicuity and beauty and in which dialectal characters from other cities, such as Lucca and Pisa (which in the 11th-12th centuries had been the centers most flourishing and important of Tuscany) ended up by imposing itself, for literary, geographical and social reasons, to all the other dialects of the peninsula, even to those that boasted more or less relevant artistic and historical monuments. This absolute pre-eminence was neither achieved nor recognized until after long centuries, during which the Florentine dialect, with ever new temperaments and mixtures, had come acquiring a new glory. The illustrious Sicilian of the first verseurs, the hybrid northern language (Lombard-Emilian-Venetian), like that of the Lombard rhymers of the thirteenth-fourteenth centuries, had not been able to hinder his path. During the sec. XVI, the victory of the Tuscan was accomplished, when the propaganda of Bembo came to justify and recognize the strength of a great tradition, which by now asserted its rights and imposed itself on writers. But this Florentine, this triumphant Tuscan, had assumed a national character.

What is most striking, who examines the characters of the literary language as a whole, is the beautiful and perspicuous continuity of Latin: of that Latin, that is, brought to Tuscia and remained there, more than in Rome itself, immune from Italic influences. This admirable continuity can be seen, in comparison with the other Romance languages ​​and with the Italian dialects themselves, in the following traits:  a ) in the conservation of accentuated vowels, which have been transmitted unaltered or have undergone processes of crystalline clarity, as happens for  ê  e  or???  (  lat.ú ,  ó ) which are diphthongized in free syllable ( light ,  new ) and remain in closed syllable (seven ,  body ); b ) in the treatment of final vowels, which are free from those vigorous modifications of decay and fall that are observed in other languages ​​and in dialects; c ) in the conservation of proparoxitones; d ) in the maintenance of long Latin consonants, the so-called geminate or double ( hood ,  flame , etc.); e ) in the treatment of intervocalic consonants, for which the Latin conditions are reflected (we will see below in what way) in Italian, better than elsewhere; f ) in the conservation of the labial element of  ku̯  ( qu ) and of gu̯  (e.g.,  five ,  language ). There is no lack of oscillations and disturbances (no language unfolds mechanically); but both are not such as to deprive Italian of the primacy that belongs to it, among the sister languages, as a more sincere and pure representative of Latin. The learned origin of many words, the foreign derivation, the suffix exchanges, the analogies, the contaminations, the overlapping of terms of similar meaning or form, the neoformations, the proclisies, etc., are all reasons for apparent perturbations and problems to be solved often on a case-by-case basis.

In the vowel system, the literary conditions are the Tuscan ones (for  ẹ  and  ọ  followed by palatal or  n  + guttural, they are, as we said above, the Florentine ones). Thus, in Lat. õ  ŭ ???  and  ÿ  ĭ ???  respond  or  and  and  without further modifications; to  ú , and  ó  answer  ię  ę  and  u ǫ  ǫ ; ê ,  ū  and  ī  remain unchanged (e.g.  v ọ ??? ce ,  cró ??? ce ; ré ??? te ,  se ??? te ; but:  therefore ,  family ; lięve ,  sętte ,  nu ǫ vo ,  c ǫ rpo ; father ,  wall ,  wire ); but it should hardly be noted that instead of  ọ  and  ẹ we  meet  ǫ  and  ę  in voices of learned or literary origin, such as:  des , oto ,  noble ,  cruel ,  faithful , and f instead of  ie  (mere ,  medical ) and  ǫ  instead of  uo  ( way ,  hole), etc. In the consonant system, what happens for vowels occurs: the literary conditions are Tuscan, indeed Florentine. It is important to note that ancient Tuscany, including Florence, seems to have had more intense and widespread voicing of voiceless intervocalic consonants. If this is the case, that is, if the conservation of deaf voices between vowels does not always represent ancient phonetic conditions, but is the result of a regression or a return, it is only those who do not see that many cases, which we want to explain both as a result of vowels in contact with consonants, both moving from northern influences, can be clarified with the effectiveness exercised by the educated classes or the Latin of the schools, that is, by learned influence, in the thirteenth-fourteenth centuries, when Florentine civilization was shining.

The Italy Literary Language 1