User talk:Terfili

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Romansh continuum[edit]

Hi Terfili, about this edit [1]: I know that the Romansh dialects are linked by a chain of mutual intelligibility whereby adjacent dialects cause no problems for local speakers but those farther geographically can cause communication difficulties. The fact that there is a West Romance chain coupled with the knowledge that Romansh is within this sphere surmises that any variation in Romansh usage is rigid. Take Italy for example: one standard language but dozens of dialects from Sicily to Venice but no abrupt changes anywhere. From Italy to France via Piedmont and Occitan regions of France, Italian is linked with French, and from France to Spain via Catalonian registers on both sides of the border (including Andorra), another link exists. You also know about the Iberian links between Spanish and Portuguese though forms such as Galician, Asturian, Mirandese - one spoken on one side of a border but considered a form of the other, etc. and the whole ethnic/national identity often comes into question for some. My worry is that by claiming Romansh to have a continuum but not ackowledging the wider group could indicate to some that Romansh is Latin-derived but not connected - as though its speakers developed their language in a remote destination for generations before returning to a region where related languages are spoken but loss of intelligibility means the language remains different, all of thise while the intermediate dialects between French and Italian with their relics in everyday speech both in Franco-Italian border areas and French/Italian cantons of Switzerland might just be something else! See my point? This could be like Istro-Romanian (East Romance and unconnected to West Romance through break in chain centuries ago) being spoken in the region just as it is indeed spoken in an area where some pockets of people continue to speak Venetian (incidentally, Romansh). The Istro-Romanian (east) and Venetian (west) are different enough for one not to influence the other (plus the standard language is Croatian in that region), rather like Schleswig-Holstein where you get Danish (north Germanic) and German (west Germanic) spoken side by side - they too are subjected to a broken chain. Evlekis (Евлекис) (argue) 19:30, 11 February 2012 (UTC)

I see the point you're trying to make and I'm aware of the Romance dialect-continuum from Normandy to Sicily. You don't even have to go that far for an example: the "Italian" dialect of the Val Bregaglia was considered a Romansh dialect until the 17th century, when they decided for whatever reason that they were going to be using an Italian bible instead of a Romansh one. But I don't think the section on the dialect of Romansh is the right place to explain all this. The section "Linguistic classification" might be a more suitable place. It's important to stick to the subject though, since there are so many things to say about Romansh that it's impossible to mention and explain everything. I could write an entire article about the classification of the dialects of Romansh by itself, so I don't think its a good idea to explain the classification of the Romance languages there. --Terfili (talk) 20:42, 11 February 2012 (UTC)
Good points, but then looking from the other angle and avoiding the confusion of West Romance (and frankly, dialect continuum is a technical issue not widely known to novices and its mention should only be if necessary), I would ask whether we need to state it at all. If you think about it, it is presupposed that when you refer to a set of dialects as being a property of one named language that those dialects are linked by a chain of intelligibility. Can you imagine if one of those dialects were outside of the chain? If so then no linguist would even suggest referring to it as the same language even if the speakers identified by the demonym used by the others. It would at most be a case of one nation having two distinct languages, such as with the various forms of Arabic. I believe it is good enough to state that Romansh is a language and it has many dialects and these are spread over a vast geographical area as far as Slovenia and Croatia (looking at Venetian which I think belongs to that family). By the way, if the authorities of Val Bregaglia made the decision to use an Italian language bible, this should not have affected any scientific classification of to which language the dialect belongs. Evlekis (Евлекис) (argue) 00:45, 12 February 2012 (UTC)
Of course "dialect continuum" is a technical term, but that's what the link is for, so that people can look it up. It's still important to mention it, since otherwise people might get the impression that there is a sharp dialect border between Sursilvan and Sutsilvan, or Putèr and Vallader for example, when really those are somewhat arbitrary divisions and the dialects gradually blend into each other. By the way, I've never heard that Venetian is a dialect of Romansh. Maybe you're confusing it with Friulan, which isn't a dialect of Romansh either though, but is often seen as one of the Rhaeto-Romance languages, a subgroup within Gallo-Romance that not all linguists are convinced even exists. And political factors are very important when deciding what language a dialect belongs to (Danish-Norwegian-Swedish being the classic example). Since the people in Val Bregaglia decided at some point that they were speakers of Italian rather than Romansh, that's what they are sociolinguistically, even if their dialect is an intermediate between Romansh and Lombard. --Terfili (talk) 14:49, 12 February 2012 (UTC)
Regarding political factors governing languages and associated dialects, this is dubious when unilaterally declared versus scientific facts. You will always find scholars who contend otherwise, and a good example is Galician of northwestern Spain; many from Portugal consider it a dialect of Portuguese, the Galicians who are outside Portugal don't generally like that label but most linguists take the sensible view that standard Portuguese and Galician may be dialects of a single language but Galician is certainly exlcuded from Castillian Spanish despite being on the territory. I am nut sure about Venetian but it falls into a category linking it with one of the languages spoken near Romansh lands. It may be Occitan. If I am not mistaken, northern Italy has a very strange isogloss disecting it with Rhaeto-Romansh one side and dialects belonging to Occitan on the other. I'm not consulting the articles here and am writing ad lib according to how I've learnt things down the years and we do forget. In my opinion though, I don't believe ANY dialect BELONGS to another language, when languages are merely standards based on what is either another extant dialect (natural) or on a cocktail of dialects (stylised). In my part of the world (former Yugoslavia), you get a wild disagreement from one end of the territory to the other, especially across the Serbo-Croat zone which is mainly Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia. To explain, the dialect of a municipality with a mixed Croat/Muslim/Serb population will have all three corresponding languages (Croatian, Bosnian and Serbian) declared in the census for the region along consistent lines with the ethnicities. It gets even more complicated but I won't get into it. To get back to the issue at hand - all right, I know that with language/dialects, any demarcation is wholly arbitrary as natural language can never know a border of any kind (the people of Palermo in Italy cannot suddenly be expected to talk like those in Tuscany just because they are now part of the same state - but nurtured over generations when one Italian identity is promoted, yes it can happen). I just feel that where dialect continuum is mentioned, we can produce just the slightest of hints that the continuum itself is wider, or that Romansh lies within a larger sphere, anything to that effect, it will atleast prevent it from looking isolated like Basque, or subjected to remote development like Romanian, just a brief hint, nothing more. Do you agree? Evlekis (Евлекис) (argue) 06:19, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
I don't know man, I'm just sticking to what the linguistic literature on Romansh says. As I said, the section Romansh_language#Linguistic_Classification isn't excessively long yet, so something could probably be added there about the relationship of Romansh to the other Romance language and especially the continuum to the neighboring Lombardic dialects, within which the dialect of the Val Bregaglia is an intermediate dialect. I'm gonna have to take another look at the book by Ricarda Liver when I get a chance, I think she might have written about it there in more detail. --Terfili (talk) 10:21, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
Absolutely, if you believe it worth mentioning. Don't get me wrong, I am all in favour is implicity and keeping complicated issues out but as you know, facts and facts, comparisons are wholly relevant and the information you seek probably carries a lot of weight. Looking at my suggestion, I only wish to brush the issue in passing, not dwell on the West Romance thing, just enough so that the reader will have the sense the determine the place of Romansh is along a chain rather than isolated. Thanks Terfili. Evlekis (Евлекис) (argue) 00:16, 16 February 2012 (UTC)

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