Talk:Corsican language

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I wish somebody would get some of the referred-to Corsican proverbs up on the proverbs page.

Polyphonic Singing[edit]

(The belief that Corsican polyphonic singing emerged from a "millenary oral transmission", and would derive from some kind of primordial Mediterranean music going back to the Neolithic is nothing but a myth. That style developped after the 16th century and evolved essentially from an importation of 3-part singing from the Italian mainland. See Marcel Peres (ed.), Le Chant religieux corse.) - I moved this text out of article but updated the article to reflect it --Cjnm 16:49, 18 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Language versus dialect[edit]

At the risk of offending, should this be the Coriscan "Language"? It's an Italian dialect not a seperate language, more recognizable to many northern Italians than many southern Italian dialects.

Whether Corsican should be considered a language if it’s own is a matter of definition. As far as I know Portuguese, Spanish, Corsican, Italian and Interlingua (an artificial language) is mutually understandable. Several centuries ago Portuguese, Spanish and Italian defined themselves as languages by creating their own rules of spelling. So did Corsican in the 1820s. It can’t just be the local dialect spelled phonetically with Italian rules: in that case Ajaccio would have been pronounced “uy-UK-ee-aw” and not “uy-UT-shaw”. Please tell me if I am wrong!

2007-02-16 Lena Synnerholm, Märsta, Sweden.

Well, Lena, it is a bit late to answer but I will. You know I was watching a Swedish film with subtitles on TV and it struck me, Swedish is a dialect of English! Once I could read what it said many of the phrases were just what I would have said in English, with but slight variation in pronounciation. I had great dreams of stepping into Sweden and participating in Swedish speech. On the other hand I went to Edinburgh once, and you know, I couldn't understand a word even though it was supposed to be English! They got pretty tired of repeating eveything for me at low rpm. So, the "mutual intelligibility" argument isn't so intelligible for languages in the same group that are close together. Unfortunately the universe is binary and Aristotle's first law for simultaneous events is rather strict. It either is or is not a dialect of Italian. Sorry, the middle is excluded. At some point in the evolution of the language it went abruptly from Latin to Corsu. At 3:00 it was Latin and at 3:01 it was Corsu and distinct from Italian. We may not know the exact time so we select a window within which it must have happened. You can't have it both ways. The consensus of the good people is that it is NOT Italian, so arguments are futile. It cannot both be and not be Italian. If that were true all linguistics would come crashing down and we wouldn't know what to say about the noises made by our apparatus. So if you don't mind let's stick to the non-Italian. There are many cases like this. You either are or are not guilty, are or are not married, are or are not responsible, are or are not the owner, etc. Deeds around here are only quitclaim but if you are quitting your claim then it is clearly mine and not his!Dave (talk) 07:06, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

Sorry, but many phenomena does not have sharp borders. There is no sharp line where the shrub-steppe ends and the desert begin. Instead the vegetation gradually thin out until you can tell for sue that you are in the desert and not on a shrub-steppe. People even have different definitions of what constitute a “shrub-steppe” and a “desert”. I remember passing a sign in western United States saying something like “Here the desert begins”. Then I had already passed the supposed “desert” without noticing. In fact, I would consider the area shrub-land rather than desert. This is just an example to show that the Universe is NOT binary the way you think.

How does this way of thinking relate to linguistics? Languages does not always have sharp borders. For example, the Afrikaner people understand the Dutch people and Flemings who in turn understand north Germans. The north Germans, south Germans, Austrians and German-spoken Swiss all understand each other. However, the Afrikaner, Dutch and Flemish peoples does not understand the Swiss. Somewhere along the chain the local language have changed enough to make the ends mutually incompensible. Yet there is no line where people on each side of the border does not understand each other. Thus the lines between Afrikaans, Dutch and German are arbitrary.

Did not you understand the Scotsmen when they spoke more slowly? Most English-spoken people does not understand most Swedish-spoken people. You might well be an exception from the rule. If you try to speak English to people with Swedish as mother tongue they will ether not understand you or answer in English. I know from my own experience that Italians understand Interlingua. On my last journey to Italy I tried a couple of phrases in Interlingua and the Italians understood me. My dad have talked to Spanish-spoken people in Italian an they typically understood him. Does this mean Italian and Spanish is the same language? Well, there are two ways of defining language:

1. “Distance language”: defined as a group of mutually understandable dialects.

2. “Construction language”: defined by dictionaries and written-down grammars.

The concepts where originally coined in German, I tried to translate the German words for them. Some linguists use only the first definition. According to them Corsican is just a dialect of “West Romantic” which also encompasses Italian, Spanish and Portuguese. (I did not know what they would call it so I made up the word “West Romantic” by myself.) Other linguists use only the second definition. They consider Corsican a language in its own right. I am not a linguist but I have decided to use the second definition for written languages and the first for non-written ones. As such I consider Corsican a language of its own. However, it has only been so as long as there has been a mutual agreement on how to write it. Before there was such an agreement Corsican was just an Italian dialect. Consequently, Corsicans who died before the agreement was made had Italian as their mother tongue. This group includes Pasquale Paoli, his contemporary Carlo Buonaparte, and Carlo’s children Napoleone and Elisa. Those who lived at the time of the agreement had “West Romantic” as their mother tongue. This group includes Napoleone’s old mother Maria Letizia, the six siblings who survived him, and the medical doctor Francesco Antommarchi. Corsicans born after the agreement had Corsican as their mother tongue. The most famous member of this group was Angelo Mariani.

Which leads me over to the topic of language evolution. Languages don’t change suddenly in the seemingly magical way you seem to think. In fact, I can’t come up with any natural mechanism that could create such a change. In the real world languages only change a little by each generation. Please note that all speakers of the same language variety alive at a certain time are able to understand each other. Yet those little changes adds up to big changes when enough time has passed. Typically, a language changes to the incomprehensible in about 600 years. Few present-day Italians would have understood Dante Alighieri if they had had the chance to talk with him. The reason we consider the language he wrote in Italian rather than Latin is that was more similar to present-day Italian than the Latin of Antiquity. But most present-day Italians would had understood Leonardo da Vinci. However, in Leonardo’s time there was still no mutual agreement on how to write Italian. I am not even sure if they talked about Italian those days: Leonardo might well have referred to his mother tongue as “Florentine” since he where from the city-state Florence. If a present-day Corsican could talk with Pasquale Paoli it would not have been more difficult than a present-day English-spoken person talking with George Washington. When the rules for writing Corsican was agreed upon this event did not change the way people like Francesco Antommarchi and Luciano Buonaparte spoke. Their dialect was just described and standardised. Corsican, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese are still mutually understandable. If you don’t get my points please tell what you don’t understand.

2008-06-18 Lena Synnerholm, Märsta, Sweden.

Hi Lena- well thanks for your response. I have to chuckle a little - ho ho ho. I agree with you actually - I was throwing you a philosophic "curve ball." Where is boundary between things? Some things appear to have a sharp boundary, others do not. And yet, if there are no boundaries between them they are non-different. We aren't going to solve this problem on Wikipedia. With regard to language, if you say one language descends from another, this implies they are different and that at some point they became different. So, you have to define that point. Your definition might be totally conventional I admit. In the node theory of language descent a language splits into different line of descent. But, if you can't distinguish any boundaries there cannot be any nodes. So, it is to a large extent arbitrary and conventional. All I was saying there is that there are no scientific or absolute standards for defining a language, some are easily defined, others not. With regard to Corsican feel free to jump in with any alternative opinions but please reference them. I think your stories are interesting. Thanks for swapping your experience.Dave (talk) 14:11, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

I though in terms of language evolution. Think about the theory of evolution! Today, there is a clear line between humanity and other species. The scientific consensus is that anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens) evolved from Heidelberg man (Homo heidelbergensis) about 200,000 years ago. Does that mean a typical Heidelberg woman gave birth to a typical modern human? No, speciation does not happen that way. The anatomical differences are too large to have been caused by a single mutation. What most likely happened was that a woman locking more similar to typical Heidelberg men gave birth to a child that was more similar to present-day humans. At the time people probably did not notice anything special. The whole speciation process may have taken ten-millennia. When modern humans spread out of Africa they encountered other human species: Neanderthal man (Homo neanderthalensis), Peking man (Homo erectus) and the recently found “Hobbit”(Homo floresiensis). Skeletons with a mix of Neanderthal and modern human features have been found. Since the two species evolved independently from Heidelberg men such people probably represent a cross-breeding of them. It is not known if such crossbreedings where sterile or not. Anyway, anatomically modern humans eventually out-competed the other species. As such we become the only human species in existence. Borders between present species are not always that sharp ether. The dog, grey wolf, red wolf and coyote are mutually interbreedable. Furthermore, crossbreedings between them are fertile. In fact, the red wolf evolved from a cross-breeding of grey wolf and coyote. However, wolves and coyotes rarely interbreed in the wild. This is why they are usually considered different species.

How does this analogy apply to languages? The borders between languages are not always sharp. My example of Afrikaans, Dutch and German is comparable to a ring species. Even if the borders are sharp today it may not have been so in the past. Today there are at least nine Romance languages: Catalan, Corsican, French, Italian, Ladino, Portuguese, Romanian, Romansh and Spanish. As I previously mentioned speakers of Corsican, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish can understand each other. Ladino and Spanish are mutually understandable. But I don't know if speakers of Ladino can understand Corsican, Italian or Portuguese. As far as I know speakers of the other Romance languages does not understand each other. Thus there are sharp borders between them.

At a second thought I seriously doubt that you would had understood much Swedish without translations readily at hand. When the Vikings came to England a millennium ago Old English and Old Norse was mutually understandable. Yet today speakers of Swedish and English rarely understand each other. (Why would there otherwise be such a thing as Swenglish?) Six hundred years ago speakers of all the Scandinavian languages understood each other. Today there is a sharp border between East Scandinavian and West Scandinavian. East Scandinavian consist of Swedish, Danish and Norwegian while West Scandinavian consist of Icelandic and Faeroese. Within those groups languages are mutually understandable. However, Spekers of East and West Scandinavian understand little of languages from the other group. It is hard to tell when they become so since language evolution is usually very gradual. Anyway, the fact that there is no sharp border between two groups does not mean that you can’t describe the properties of the majority of each group. This is not any problem for me since I often think in correlations and overlapping groups. Your first inlay made it sound like you where unable to imagine such ways of thinking!

2008-07-04 Lena Synnerholm, Märsta, Sweden.

Wait, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian and Corsican are all mutually intelligible? If you're talking about a very basic conversation (like "Where is the store?" "It is here."), maybe. But not any kind of in-depth conversation. A Portuguese-speaker and a Corsican could not easily discuss the day's events without knowing the other's language. (talk) 02:20, 14 May 2013 (UTC)

Corsican is a dialect of Italian in the same way as Valencian is a dialect of Catalan (or Catalan-Valencian-Balear) language and Croat is a dialect of Serbocroatian (or Serbian-Croatian-Bosnian) language. I understand the feeling and reasons of Corsicans (imposition of french, etc.) but facts are facts. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:44, 28 June 2013 (UTC)

I may be wrong about Portuguese being mutually understandable to Spanish and Italian. My Dad denies this last night which made me start thinking about it. On the other hand, Romanian seem to be mutually understandable to Italian. At least one mother tongue speaker of Romanian I know claims to understand Italian. Maybe Spanish, Corsican, Italian and Romanian are all dialects of a common language which we can call South Romantic. If Corsican is a language or not can be considered a matter of definition. Which definition do you use?

2013-08-16 Lena Synnerholm, Märsta, Sweden.

In transition?[edit]

The article says: The dialect of Ajaccio has been described as in transition. What does it mean for a language to be "in transition?" | Keithlaw 22:38, 20 August 2005 (UTC)

I interpreted that as meaning it's transitional between northern and southern dialects, i.e. it has a mixture of northern and southern features. User:Angr 11:11, 28 June 2006 (UTC)
It's right. The transitional dialect of Ajaccio (Aiaccinu) is a mixture of the southern dialect base (in effect could be classified as a southern dialect: -ll->-dd- but only at the end of words, pronunciation of the -ghj- group, feminine plural noun ending in -i) and northern corsican influences (lexical "cane" and "accattà" and not "ghjacaru" and "cumprà", "ellu"/"ella" and not "eddu"/"edda") with minor local particularities ("sabbatu">"sabbitu", "u li dà">"ghi lu dà", stressed final: "marinari">"marinà", "panatteri">"panattè", "castellu">"castè", "cuchjari">"cuchjà").
--Dch 09:03, 30 June 2006 (UTC)

Number of speakers[edit]

The population of Corsica recorded in the 1990 census is 260,196. In 2004, the population was estimated to be 272,000 (both figures present in our article on Corsica and corroborated by other sources). Ethnologue's report on Corsican says that the 2001 Johnstone and Mandryk study says there are 341,000 speakers of the language in Corsica. Now this figure has to be wrong. Ethnologue goes on to say that the total number of speakers of Corsican throughout the world is estimated at 402,000. I know French domestic language policy has been rubbish in the past, but these figures don't add up. I would suggest that we treat Ethnologue's as a tainted source for this one. --Gareth Hughes 22:33, 1 December 2005 (UTC)

Ah... The census in Corsica! One month before, no more tickets are available on planes or car-ferries and during the census itself, people from Mainland returns to Corsica to their homeland. It looks like a big Exodus, under the rule of the old Roman Census (read again the Bible about the birth of a little poor baby in Bethlehem). And even when few travellers come back, all the villages and so, add some extra Corscicans on their lists. I used to live in L'Île-Rousse for 15 years. At each census, 500 more people were added. Once, a political scandal happened, because the little town has more than 2,000 inhabitants — that's means more money than 1,950. So the figures of the French census in Corsica has to be over-estimated by at least 10 or 20%! And in Corsica itself, who speaks Corsican? The young people? They uses a few words but they are unable to speak fluently. The foreigners and the French that represents more than half of the populace? I suppose that less than 50,000 people speaks Corsican on the island. And perhaps, the same figure outside in the world. Enzino 18:08, 2 December 2005 (UTC)

To Enzino : That's true populations of certain villages or places can be overestimated but it's always to the detriment of others, which amounts to say the estimation of the total population is correct. It's impossible to be taken into account in 2 different places, especially since you can't have any idea of when the census counters come. That's wrong to say that Corsicans would go back to Corsica so they could get counted as inhabitants of Corsica (and indeed impossible for the very same reason). About the number of corsican language speakers, it's hard to say but the key 50.000 seems to suit well. But contrary to what you say, there exists young people that can speak corsican fluently (that's still rare). 402.000 or 350.000 speakers is way too much, I agree on that. To an unnamed contributors : Corsican is part of what we call the "italo-romance" languages, but there is no real difference between a language and a dialect : a dialect is a variety of language: british english, american english, australian english are all dialects of the same language, that is to say english. Corsican is close to the Tuscany dialect, that is to say the current italian language, and thus they are dialects of the same language.

I noticed the discrepancy on Ethnologue and I'm responsible for changing the article in that regard. I at first didn't think very much of ethnologue, suspecting as you folks say a "tainted source". Maybe they are uncareful or maybe they are so enthusiastic about Corsican they invent Corsicans that aren't there. But it struck me there is another possibility as well. I've been working on some of the commune articles and I notice that practically every one has two populations, in-season and out-of-season. I think if you mistake all the in-season populations for Corsican speakers you will have no trouble getting the 341,000. Maybe someone should research that aspect but for now I put in the census populations from Corsica. Unfortunately they have not had a census there for a while. Maybe the Wikipedia committee should write to the French government and say, look, you need to take another census because Wikipedia needs the data! Anyway since Ethnologue is a powerful tool I didn't dare take out the number because people would want to know why we are not using Ethnologue on this. On the other hand government census figures and surveys are even more powerful so something had to be said, as you have noted above. Ciao.Dave (talk) 20:52, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
The new (17th) edition of the Ethnologue lists 30,000 speakers in Corsica, with 125,000 people having "some command of Corsican"; "Population total all countries: 31,000." I think this solves the problem. Mcswell (talk) 13:09, 19 March 2013 (UTC)

The UN Classification[edit]

Corsican defined itself as a language of it’s own in the 1820s by creating an own system of spelling. All the speakers don’t have to live in France, there might be minorities (primary immigrants) in neighbouring countries. When counting a language’s speakers they don’t have to speak it fluently: speaking it good enough to have a conversation is what is counted. However, I have hard to believe that a language with hundreds of thousands of speakers would be considered threatened by the United Nations. There is a rule of the thumb saying that a language needs at least 10,000 speakers to survive. Of cause there is exceptions but if it is spoken by hundreds of thousands it is highly unlikely to be considered endangered. Except by people who don’t know what they are talking about...

2007-02-16 Lena Synnerholm, Märsta, Sweden.

One more comment. I will check this out naturally, but languages can go faster than anyone believes possible. I had a great-uncle who spoke Scottish Gaelic as a boy but by the time he got to mid-life he could find no one to speak it with. If it isn't your first language and you are not a natural polyglot then you forget fast. I know some people who speak English with a German accent but now can't speak German without considerable coaching. Incidentally I hear Danish is starting to vanish like the Cheshire cat in favor of English. Better watch out, Lena! You might wake up and find yourself the only Swedish speaker in town! Lithuanian almost went that route but was pulled back from the brink by a determined effort of post-war Lithuanian nationalists. For myself I find all these rare languages I never suspected existed quite interesting.Dave (talk) 07:06, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

How fast and to what extent you forget a language depends on your age, language skills and if you maintain them or not. If you begun to learn a language when you are young enough you will eventually speak it without accent. If you don’t have the opportunity to use your first language at the same time it might be largely lost. Usually, the upper limit is the age of eight but some people may retain this language flexibility until puberty. If you begin to learn a language after the “age limit” you might learn to speak it fluently yet with a noticeable accent. You will also express yourself more exactly in your first language. However, if you don’t maintain your first language skills parts of the vocabulary may be lost. This is probably what happened to the speakers of German you mentioned.

The situation for Swedish and Danish is compleatly different. Swedish is the majority language in Sweden and parts of Finland. Danish is the majority language of Denmark. Each of them have several million native speakers. Education is avaliable in both languages all the way from starting school to graduating from an university. Both languages has a rich literature stretching several centuries back. Swedish is the language most commonly used by the Swedish government. Similarly, Danish is most commonly used by the Danish government. Both Swedish and Danish are quite unlikely to die out in future centuries. People who fear their extinction don’t understand the issue of language extinction! They typically compare the size of their own language with one or several of the ten largest languages in the world. Actually, Swedish and Danish are much larger than the majority of the thousands of languages in the world. They note English being used more than previously in their society. Examples include business and higher education. Apparently, they don’t understand what uses are really crucial to language survival. Such uses includes parents raising their children in the language and its use in everyday life. In such areas there is no treat to ether Swedish or Danish.

How is the situation for Corsican and Scottish Gaelic? I don’t really know how strong their situations are. But I know that both are minority languages. Scottish Gaelic is rather small even by global standards since it has only about 60,000 speakers. About Corsican the question is about credibility. Let us assume that the language has a couple of hundred thousand native speakers. If so the only possible way it could be treated to extinction would be if the majority of them was bilingual – had two mother tongues – and did not raise their children in Corsican. Otherwise I could not come up with any reason the number of speakers would drop rapidly. In the case of Lithuanian I seriously doubt that it has been threaded to extinction. Lithuanian is today the official language of Lithuania. It is spoken as mother tongue by 80% of the country’s population of 3,370,000. It has been estimated to have about four million speakers: far above the risk of extinction. The situation for Lithuanian might have been worse when Lithuania was a part of the Soviet Union. Yet the current number of speakers suggests that is was nowhere near the brink of extinction. After all, the majority of present-day native speakers grew up during the Soviet period (1944 – 1990). Where did you get the claim of near-extinction from? The source may be highly partial.

2008-07-27 Lena Synnerholm, Märsta, Sweden.

I have checked out how many speakers Corsican has. Most estimate seem to be in the range of 100,000 – 400,000. With so many speakers I can’t se why it would be considered threatened unless the number was rapidly dropping. Anyone who has an other idea?

2009-01-20 Lena Synnerholm, Märsta, Sweden.


Some of the ideas presented in the initial argument tipped me off that there might be a problem with the classification, but it is not what I thought. Ethnologue classifies it as Italic! Well, I thought, someone is trying to be an irredentist and claim it is Italian - there is such a minority view. I am afraid I threw that term in. Sorry. I do apologize. What Ethnologue means by Italic is not Italian! Moreover, it is not even what was formerly meant by Italic! According to them Romanian is an Italic language. Well, I never heard that in all my life. But then I have never heard a lot of things. Ethnologue's classification appears to be something new and I see I am not the only person astounded by it. Well, that is fine, scholars with the means are entitled to propose new things. But, I agree with the writer that it is not or at least has not been the customary way to present the languages. And yet the article has Ethnologue plastered all over it. What I propose to do is source the traditional classification, reduce Ethnologue to one or two refs and deemphasize their view by putting it in a footnote. Meanwhile I took out the Italic part of the classification because without lengthy explanation the good people are going to think we are saying Corsu is Italian.Dave (talk) 12:41, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

I agree with much about what you say, yet I changed the classification to identify it under Italian dialects. While it is true as you said, that it is not Standard Italian, it is still much closer to Standard Italian than most dialects in Italy are (Venetian, Sicilian, Piedmontese etc.) I realise that some readers might misunderstand this, as you say, and that is unfortunate. On the other hand, we cannot make up terms on our own instead of the established ones.JdeJ (talk) 19:35, 11 July 2009 (UTC)
Re the Italic group of languages, you can find out about that in the Wikpedia :-) Italic_languages. Mcswell (talk) 14:20, 19 March 2013 (UTC)

The Sassarese[edit]

Well the Italic/southern/western/central/upside-down/right-side up/who-ha issue has been taken care of. It seems there are a lot of schemes afoot and you could pretty well argue the rest of my life about it. The arguments were going on before I was born. A new and more scientific approach appeared so I took it. The article should not be about going around yet one more time trying to guess what kind of Romance language Corsican is. I say it comes from the moon with about the same proof and validity as they offer. Hmm. Maybe it is this, no, maybe it is that, who-ha, ha-ho, righteous righteous faddle da yay. This isn't about the structure of Romance seen mistily through the foggy, foggy dew. As far as Ethnologue is concerned they appear to have it all detailed out and pinned down until you start checking on it. They have far more Corsican speakers than there ever were Corsicans and no one else at all is rash enough to lay out a totally detailed scheme right down to the last region. I will leave it at that, except to note that their site sells their product (for 70 dollars).

That reminds me there is an Italian user making changes to the dialect section on Sassarese. I have not started on that yet so I wouldn't know right at the moment what the length of Pinnochio's nose is. I do know, sir, that you have not added one footnote or cited one reference for what you say. Maybe you're an expert for all I know. Certainly an expert should be doing all this work on the article but I don't see any volunteers. Whether expert or inexpert, whether the gospel truth or the word from the other place, Wikipedia requires line-item sources, please, if you do not mind. When I start checking it that is what I will use regardless of what you personally have said and why. The goal is not to present your enlightened perceptions or coach us from your vast store of knowledge but to do an encyclopedia article that anyone may verify from credible sources. Thanks.Dave (talk) 04:19, 16 June 2008 (UTC)

"That reminds me there is an Italian user" ... "I wouldn't know right at the moment what the length of Pinnochio's nose is". No comment at all. --Felisopus (talk) 08:29, 16 June 2008 (UTC)
Thanks my friend for your swift response. It seems quite satisfactory except for minor English clean-up. There is enough detail in there for me to get a picture that whether or not these are to be considered distinct languages or Corsican is not at all settled and that is the kind of explanation I like to see. The alternative is the "Yes it is - No it ain't" kind of English argument I can get from my relatives any day. It is too - no it isn't - yes it is - baloney, etc etc etc. From my point of view you might have been anybody trying to slip something in. I would of course rather have Gepetto than Pinnochio. But all that aside you seem to be coming down on the side of a transitional language rather than a transitional dialect so if you don't mind I'd rather keep that concept consistently. A dialect is primarily within a distinct language. You would never, for example, call Dutch a dialect of German even though some varieties are close to it. However if I make any changes you don't agree with step right in there. I am sure we can work something out. You split us into a dialect side and a transitional language side. I might do more with the dialect part of it to clarify the vocabulary. I am not inclined at the moment to jump into the two other language articles as this is peripheral to my main interest in prehistory, but what good does it do to have good prehistory sections in terrible or half-incomplete articles? That is the problem with Wikipedia, one thing leads to another. Someone however has done a great job setting up the Corsican Commune articles. Now we have to make progress on them. Anyway thanks.Dave (talk) 10:39, 16 June 2008 (UTC)
Well, OK, I have discovered you. You took your write-up practically word-for-word off the "Gallurese - Gallurese and its Corsican heritage" Encyclopedia II article. That is quite a different ball game, as it isn't really you I'm dealing with but them. So let me say this. First of all, you cannot take stuff of other sites word-for-word unless they say you can do it. Second, you got a lot of new notes in there but I am not at all sure of their relevance. You rely on the fact that they are in Italian to cover your sins. You forgot about machine-generated translation. Apart from those little niceties there are some ideas in there but they all have to be validated by sources and now we have to validate your sources. Preferably they should be in English but we can't always get English sources for this material so we will have to explain it as best we can. Third, the formatting isn't too skilled. I think now this section needs a major edit instead of a light edit. But just because you copy someone else's work does not make it wrong so the ideas might be valid. So, I am going to be rewriting and re-annotating your stuff, which I now presume is not yours but was taken from a source, however ineptly. As to your comment about having no comment on my Pinnochio comment, no comment. I need to be writing on the article now instead of on these discussions, which wear me out. In view of the circumstances I cannot consider you sacrosanct. Ciao.Dave (talk) 02:39, 17 June 2008 (UTC)

For the RAS (Regione Autonoma Sardegna) dialects of Sardinian are only those. Gallurese and Sassarese are other languages/altre lingue. --Felisopus (talk) 09:23, 17 June 2008 (UTC)

Tags by[edit]

Hello sir, you are an unidentified user. You have no user page and very little history. Moreover you are using tags that require an entry on the talk page. How can I possibly know what you mean unless you tell me? You can't just stand off in the shadows and snipe anonymously at the article without any indication of how you would improve it. I would be very glad to have co-workers on this article. Except for a few very hard workers who move pretty much in the background I've felt like I'm the only person interested in Corsica or Corsican. Just to show good faith I responded to one of your tags guessing at what you might have meant. Now we need some good faith on your part. What do mean? Those sections you tagged have references that are available to you. Have you read them? How does your view differ and do you have any references? You can edit the article yourself you know as long as you have the refs and do not take anything out that is suitable and not wrong. I look forward to your joining the article as an editor and researcher. Until then I am taking your tags out, as without further identification and explanation they are vandalism. Read the sources. If you think something is not justified by the source correct me on it. To be honest with you I have no way of knowing that you are not some sort of partisan. Ciao.Dave (talk) 14:25, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

PS Those sections you tagged are going to get condensed and a few expanded so I will will keep in mind that, sincere or not, someone thought it should be less like an essay. However what I said above is still true. The tags are intended to suggest specific ways to improve the article. This reminds me of people who in tech writing reviews just scrawl in red across the page "this is terrible - unacceptable" without one word of critique. You may have your reasons for not wanting to come out here (or they may not be good ones) but that approach is an expression of feeling not a critique. You are either going to work on the article, in which case we negotiate, or you are not, but in that case a critique not an implied epithet is needed, and it doesn't have to be much. But, if you were going to say some such thing as that Corsican is an Italian dialect, in view of the controversy over it you need to back it up. I would then insist on equal time for other views. The arguments for independent descent seem cogent to me.Dave (talk) 09:25, 21 June 2008 (UTC)

Wrong statements[edit]

This caption contains some errors:

For example one of the characteristics of Tuscan and Italian is that Latin -u- in -us becomes -o: annus "year" but Italian anno. Corsican has annu, retaining the -u. Or, the -re infinitive ending as in Latin mittere, "send", is retained in Tuscan but lost in Corsican, which has mette/metta, "to put."

Corsican has not retained Latin -u(m): in Medieval Corsican documents the normal ending was -o, like Tuscan and Italian. The -u is an independent evolution, probably influenced by Genoese or Sardinian. The infinitive without -re is very common in Italian dialects and also in Tuscany, especially in the western part of the region.--Carnby (talk) 23:24, 21 December 2008 (UTC)

Tags, time to pick up on this[edit]

The tags here far precede the dates on them, which are recent. The tags were on before my last round of work, which was over a year ago. I did not finish my work so I left the tags on - a mistake I can see now. I can't remember exactly what I did but currently it does not seem like an essay and at the time everything I said was justified by the sources. I notice some people have taken out material that WAS justified by the sources just because they personally did not agree with it. I would like to remind you that what you may think has nothing to do with it. If you have a different view with a source you are justified in putting in two views supporting both with sources. Some ideas have a lot of views; we are not necessarily backing this or that view. So what we need at this late date is for someone to go over it again making sure there is no essay-like material in it and checking that everything has a source. Then the tags have to come OUT. I do not think they belong there now and nothing in this discussion points to any material to which the tags may apply. If you are not in the mood to do additional work on this article but you can see where the tags may apply, give us a heads-up here, will you, so we will know what to work on? As a bottom line I will at some point go over the thing in detail and then remove the tags if they are still there but not for a while yet. I believe tags without explanation or discussion can just be removed. I think it is time to haul this article back from the country of abandoned articles. We DO care about Corsica. Thanks.Dave (talk) 11:18, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

Please stop adding nonsense from Ethnologue[edit]

A few users have taken to claiming that Corsican is a Southern Romance language and backs it up with a reference from Ethnologue. These users are most likely editing with the best of intentions, but that doesn't make their edits any more correct. There are two things of a certain relevance here:

  • 1. Corsican is a Romance language derived from the Tuscan dialects. It is is closer to Tuscan, from which Standard Italian also is derived, than most contemporary Italian dialects. This is completely undisputed, I don't know of a single linguist who holds a different view and reading any standard academic work on the Romance languages will confirm this. Claiming that Corsian is a Southern Romance language, and thus by definition further removed from Tuscan than even Calabrese or Venetian is just silly, if I may so.
  • 2. Ethnologue is not a good source for linguistic classification. Yes, I know that Wikipedia uses it quite a lot but that doesn't change anything. I realize that it is easier to browse a web-page than to go to the library or open a book, and a web-page is not less reliable than a book so as long as the source used is reliable, everything is fine. That's not the case here. Let's get one thing very clear, Ethnologue is not an academic linguistic source. It is a Christian organization with the primary aim of providing Bible translations. The linguistic information they provide is not compiled by them, they use linguistic sources and base their information on the works of other. In other words, Ethnologue is always a secondary source. Don't get me wrong, I have some respect for the work they do and with such a huge amount of information, nobody can blame them for the occasional errors. Unfortunately, their errors are not that occasional, but that's another discussion. In this case, they have clearly made an error when interpreting a linguistic source.

If the user(s) so eager to claim Corsican as a Southern Romance language want to continue to make this claim, I urge them to provide a primary source saying that that is the case. In the mean-time, here is just a small selection of books saying the opposite, including the standard reference on Romance languages by Harris and Vincent:

  • Blackwood, Robert (2008), "The State, the Activists and the Islanders: Language Policy on Corsica".
  • Harris, Martin and Vincent Nigel (1997), "The Romance languages"
  • Maiden, Martin and M. Mair Parry (2007), "The dialects of Italy".
  • Poser, Rebecca and John N. Green (1993), "Trends in Romance Linguistics and Philology".

Jeppiz (talk) 20:24, 4 October 2009 (UTC)

That's your problem. Wikipedia actively discourages the use of primary sources if secondary sources are available. If you consider Ethnologue to be so despicable, you should at least tell the people from WP:LANG, because as you admitted yourself we make extensive use of it when it comes to language classification. But since the NYT made several articles about it, one calling it a sprawling compendium of the world's languages and reporting that is used as "a source for academics and governments, and the occasional game show" , you may have a hard time convincing them.--Ultimate Destiny (talk) 20:38, 4 October 2009 (UTC)
You seem to take this very personal, perhaps it might be a good idea to try to calm down a bit? The idea here is to provide as good and reliable information as possible, right? I've provided some of the most reliable and widely-used sourced that exist on Romance languages. I'm not calling Ethnologue "despicable", and I recommend you to avoid putting words in others' mouth just to then attack a claim they never made, it's not a very honest way to debate. What I said is that Ethnologue sometimes makes mistakes, and this is one of those cases. Don't just take my word for it, I already provided many reliable academic sources to back it up.Jeppiz (talk) 00:11, 5 October 2009 (UTC)
It's not that I'm taking this personally, and I never said that you called it despicable, but that IMO you consider it so, which I still think is the case. I already pointed out the problem with the sources you put forward, on the other hand you removed a perfectly fine ref because in your own opinion (unless any of the books you mentioned reads "ethnologue is wrong!) they are mistaken. So, unless you can prove that Ethnologue is unreliable or wrong, you can't throw out the the classification, even if get me hundrends of primary sources.--Ultimate Destiny (talk) 05:27, 5 October 2009 (UTC)

Actually, reading the headline of the discussion again, it says: "Please stop adding nonsense from Ethnologue". It's not a long shot to say that you already made up your mind about the guys from Ethnologue and their work.--Ultimate Destiny (talk) 05:32, 5 October 2009 (UTC)

I've assumed good faith this far, but now it starts to look as if you're trolling. What you're claiming here is that every linguist who has published on the matter is wrong and that a secondary source put together by a non-linguist is what we should follow. It is as if you would have found one single source claiming that Leeds is the capital of the United Kingdom, and no matter how many sources I put forward claiming that it is London, you'll keep reverting to Leeds. I've produced a list of highly respected Romance linguists supporting my version, you haven't managed to produce a single linguist supporting your view, yet you keep reverting. That can no longer be considered good faith.Jeppiz (talk) 15:06, 5 October 2009 (UTC)
You insist on deleting references, and now you're calling me a troll. If you don't stop doing that, no further discussion is possible.--Ultimate Destiny (talk) 16:06, 5 October 2009 (UTC)
Let's me be honest here. I remove one single reference, after having argumented for why it is incorrect and having showed, by providing several other references, that so is the case. You, by contrast, keep removing several references without having provided any justification at all. It would be interesting to hear your reasoning for removing Harris and Vincent.Jeppiz (talk) 16:17, 5 October 2009 (UTC)
You didn't prove anything, you just removed a valid reference and you even dare complain if someone reverts you. I already told you that your first ref doesn't verify in any way your assertion, and that secondary sources have precedence over primary ones, yet you keep on reverting.--Ultimate Destiny (talk) 16:45, 5 October 2009 (UTC)
Do you even know what a secondary and a primary source is? None of the sources I added are people who themselves have identified Corsican as Italo-Western, that was done long ago. These are the standard references for Romance linguistics and you claim they are not reliable? Based on what? I have asked you several time to explain why Martin and Vincent is not reliable, the way I've done with the mistake in Ethnologue, but you keep avoiding the discussion.Jeppiz (talk) 16:48, 5 October 2009 (UTC)
Should I remember you that you're the one who urged me "to provide a primary source", even contesting that "Ethnologue is not a primary linguistic source". So, yes I do know what a primary source is. Do You?--Ultimate Destiny (talk) 17:04, 5 October 2009 (UTC)

Previous part of the discussion[edit]

In all good faith, I'don't see where in the ref you provided does Britannica say that Corsican is a dialect of Italian, the closest it gets to it it's when it says that Corsican is "influenced by Catalan and Italian". On the other hand, we have a full Ethnologue classification that you just removed for no apparent reason. In the same edit you also added:

"The 2001 population of 341,000 speakers on the island given by Ethnologue[ref] exceeds either census and thus may be considered questionable, like its estimate of 402,000 speakers worldwide."

you took a valid citation out of context (where's the ref for the 99 census?), and then you drew your own conclusions (aka OR), since you know nothing about the methodology, or the definition of "speaker", in either survey.--Ultimate Destiny (talk) 18:52, 4 October 2009 (UTC)

You reverted, but you didn't answer my message.--Ultimate Destiny (talk) 20:11, 4 October 2009 (UTC)
"user is in good faith but lacks any knowledge of Romance linguistics"
When you wrote that you actually meant that Ethnologue, in your opinion, "lacks any knowledge of Romance linguistics", since I myself took no part in their genetic classification of the language.--Ultimate Destiny (talk) 20:22, 4 October 2009 (UTC)
You're quite right. Ethnologue is not a primary linguistic source, it does not involve linguistics specialized on Romance languages and it has made several mistakes on Romance languages before. So yes, Ethnologue certainly lacks knowledge of Romance linguistics, and you'd find it hard to come up with a linguist who disagrees. In the future, would you mind keeping the discussion on the relevant talk page, few people interested in Corsican are likely to come here.Jeppiz (talk) 20:27, 4 October 2009 (UTC)


Obviously the user Ultimate Destiny and I fail to agree. According to the user, Corsican is a Southern Romance language while I say it is Italo-Western.Jeppiz (talk) 16:42, 5 October 2009 (UTC)

  • My view is the following, and I hope Ultimate Destiny will take the time to presen his view. The academic community is unanimous on this as can be seen from any academic source. The only source he has for this is an entry in Ethnologue. As a linguist myself, I know that that is not the case, but of course we need to respect WP:V. That is why I have provided several of the leading experts on the matter as sources. Even the best source can make occasional mistakes, and it is no doubt about the fact that Ethnologue has made one here. To take an example, BBC is an excellent source and it once mistakenly claimed Stockholm as the capital of Norway. Even if someone used that reference to edit Wikipedia, we could provide several sources contradicting it. That is what I have done, I have argued in some length for why Ethnologue made a mistake in this case and I have provided a lot of academic sources to support that view. Despite this, the user keeps removing all the sources I have provided without giving any reason for why he is deleting these sources. While I have removed his source, I have at least argued in detail for why I'm doing it and provided sources to support it. The text of the article also supports the sources I've provided and contradicts the error in Ethnologue, as can be seen in the section "Classification"Jeppiz Jeppiz (talk) 16:29, 5 October 2009 (UTC)
You don't claim that Ethnologue made an occasional blunder, you clearly wrote that "Ethnologue certainly lacks knowledge of Romance linguistics". And neither this is strictly a matter of disagreement: you're trying to impose your edits even when they are obviously contested, ignoring WP:CONS, and WP:V, by removing valid references (FYI, "new" references never supersede the "old" ones if they are valid)--Ultimate Destiny (talk) 16:59, 5 October 2009 (UTC)
  • It looks like further editing is needed. If the geneaology of Corsican is controversial, explain the controversy; don't just cite Ethnologue or any other source as fact, but explain the dispute and mention "Ethnologue classifies is at _________, [some other source] classifies it as __________, etc." This is more useful to readers. (And btw, as a fellow linguist, I can also vouch that many linguists are distrustful as ethnologue but see it as somewhat of a necessary evil—it's the most comprehensive resource we have so far, regardless of its unsavory provenance, so sometimes we use it for expediency's sake. That doesn't mean it's absolute truth or absolute garbage, but it does mean we need to think about it critically, and cite it critically.) rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 17:24, 5 October 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for your input Rjanag. The geneaology of Corsician is not controversial if we take a broader picture. There is disagreement on whether it is an independent language or a Tuscan dialect, but that is not the question here. What we're disputing is whether it is Italo-Western (thus closer to Italian, French, Catalan etc.) than it is to Romanian or Vlach. This dispute is purely a dispute on Wikipedia, not in the linguistic community. To the best of my knowledge, not a single linguist claim that Corsican is a Southern Romance language. Ethnologue does, and I guess somebody at Ethnologue simply made a mistake. As a linguist myself, I've been talking to people at Ethnologue who readily admits that Europe and European languages are not their priority. They are interested in providing Bibles for small indigenous languages and focuses on these languages, not on the very well-studied European languages. I have used Ethnologue as a source myself, both in articles and in my theses, and I don't disregard it, but when it is obvious that it is wrong, as is the case here, we could safely overlook it. I have repeatedly asked Ultimate Destiny to provide a single linguist claiming Corsican to be Southern Romance, but he has failed to do so, while I've provided a long list of linguists claiming the opposite. If it is clear that a source, even a reliable source, has made a mistake, and sources can be provided to show that it is a mistake, we should acknowledge this.Jeppiz (talk) 17:35, 5 October 2009 (UTC)
If Ethnologue is the only source that makes this claim, I would say don't report it, and report the books you listed above instead. Ethnologue is less authoritative than these, and the fact that a random NYT article (written by a journalist, not a linguist) calls it a "compendium" doesn't mean it's a reliable one. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 17:37, 5 October 2009 (UTC)
Well, guess I was wrong - thank you for your comment Rjanag.--Ultimate Destiny (talk) 17:39, 5 October 2009 (UTC)

Useless image[edit]

Corsican dialects

This image, included in the infobox, is useless without an English translation of the labeling. Readers of this article cannot be expected to understand what the labels mean in whatever language they are written in, which looks like Italian. Either a translation of the labels should be added or the image should be removed. There are better maps of Corsica, and all this one conveys to a speaker of English is the shape of the island.--Jim10701 (talk) 23:42, 1 January 2011 (UTC)

Try stepping outside your comfort zone a bit. I don't speak Italian, but it should be plain to any English speaker what all of those labels say. "Variante linguistiche dal Corso"... does it take a genius to figure out the meaning? Linguistic variants of Corsica. The labels by the colors are quite obviously dialect names. This is not a map labelled in Korean, all of the words have close English cognates so there's no issue. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:42, 1 March 2011 (UTC)
I agree. Would be nice if someone redid the map in English but in the absence of that, it's perfectly serviceable. Akerbeltz (talk) 11:40, 1 March 2011 (UTC)

Classification needs improvement[edit]

This article desperately needs a clear statement on the classification of Corsican, backed up by academic sources. The explanation given by Seidl on the discussion page of the German article agrees with my understanding, although I am not a Romanist and cannot provide appropriate sources.

According to the view which seems to me the best-supported one, the language spoken on Corsica in the early medieval period (called "Old Corsican") was essentially identical to Old Sardinian, the language spoken on Sardinia at the same time (which is remarkably well attested for such an early Romance language). One has to keep in mind that the Southern Sardinian dialects (also called Campidanese Sardinian) are more strongly influenced by Catalan and Italian than the more conservative Central Sardinian dialects (also called Logudorese Sardinian), especially the Central-Eastern group (also called Nuorese Sardinian), which is considered the most conservative dialect group of Sardinian. Especially the dialects of Bitti and the Barbagia are very distinctive. Old Sardinian and Old Corsican resemble those more than Campidanese or the new Sardinian standard language.

However, in the high medieval period, Corsica came under the influence of Pisa, and the local dialects became increasingly Tuscanised through the influence of the dialect of Pisa. The Tuscan influence is particularly strong in the northeast of Corsica, while in southern Corsica, the preserved "Sardinian" traits are considerably more frequent.

Unlike in southern Sardinia, the Tuscan influence was indeed so strong that unlike Campidanese Sardinian, which is still classified as genuine Sardinian, Modern Corsican is considered to be a different language from Old Corsican, basically a Tuscan offshoot (though with a strong native Corsican substrate), which could be called "Corso-Tuscan" to emphasise this shift.

However, Gallurese and Sassarese in northern Sardinia are considered to have experienced the same fate of radical Tuscanisation, or alternatively to have brought to Sardinia by immigration and import from the adjacent (across the strait) parts of Corsica (as the southernmost dialect of Corsican and Gallurese/Sassarese are remarkably similar), and for this reason, Gallurese and Sassarese are usually classified as Corsican (or "Corso-Tuscan" in the above terminology) rather than "Northern Sardinian", as could be expected on geographical grounds.

Given this history, one could describe Modern Corsican as "Standard Italian with a strong Sardinian accent" and expect that strongly Sardinian-influenced varieties of Italian spoken in the remotest parts of Sardinia (such as the Gennargentu) would exhibit some similarity to Corsican dialects. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 14:12, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

Here it is stated (if I am understanding this correctly) that Gallurese was brought to Sardinia through an immigration of Corsican shepherds at the beginning of the 17th century. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 06:29, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
Southern Corsican ("oltremuntanu") is - like Sardinian - a romance Language, while northern Corsican ("cismuntanu"), which is spoken in about two third of the island, is practically Tuscan, i.e. an Italo-Dalmatian Language. See Bertoni, "Italia dialettale", p. 147, e G. Devoto "il linguaggio d'Italia". This has occurred, as is written above, because the north part of the island has been exposed during the middle age to a massive immigration from tuscany (cfr. the Corsican Surnames). So, a classifiation of Corsican as a whole is senseless, since actually in Corsica are spoken two languages. Alex2006 (talk) 04:45, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
A-ha! Very interesting. So Gallurese and Sassarese are Insular Romance, too? And the boundary between Insular and Italo-Romance runs right through Corsica? Do you happen to know which isoglosses are the most important of those used for the demarcation? Does the preservation of -s in Insular Romance play the role I suspect it should? --Florian Blaschke (talk) 02:09, 17 October 2014 (UTC)
That`s what affirm G. Bertoni: "Italia Dialettale"; and Giacomo Devoto: "Il linguaggio d`Italia". Bertoni describes (par. 97.) the characteristics of the oltremontanu (with respect to the cismontanu) that allow to insert it in the Sardinian system and make of these languages "un nuovo gruppo di parlari romanzi" Alex2006 (talk) 03:24, 17 October 2014 (UTC)
Good. It would be great if you could name some of these characteristics because I don't have these books at home. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 04:24, 17 October 2014 (UTC)
Ich werde es gerne tun, wenn ich nach Hause gehe :-) Alex2006 (talk) 05:06, 17 October 2014 (UTC)

Italian the official language until 1859?[edit]

Corsican was long the vernacular language alongside Italian, the official language in Corsica until 1859; afterwards Italian was replaced by French, owing to the acquisition of the island by France from Genoa in 1768

Is this really true? Under French rule, Italian remained the official language for nearly a century in Corsica? That seems awfully hard to believe. (talk) 04:32, 28 August 2014 (UTC)

It is really so. You can read about it for example the history section of Le Guide de la Corse, by Georges Ravis-Giordani, who is a French ethnologist and antropologist of Corsican origin. According to him, the Corsican people until 1840-50 simply refused to learn and speak French, read books in Italian, studied in Pisa, etc. The Corsican simpathy for the italian Risorgimento was another factor that delayed what Ravis-Giordani calls L'ammarage a la France. You have also to consider that the language of the church in Corsica continued to be Italian until the beginning of the 20th century. Alex2006 (talk) 05:28, 29 August 2014 (UTC)