A satellite photo of the island of Sardinia with the location of the Algherese-speaking area being marked in yellow.
Algherese (Standard Catalan: alguerès, pronounced [əlɣəˈɾɛs]; Algherese: alguerés [alɣaˈɾes]) is the variant of Old Catalan spoken in the city of Alghero (L'Alguer in Catalan), in the northwest of Sardinia, Italy.
The dialect has its roots in 1372, when Catalan-speaking colonists were allowed to repopulate Alghero and expel the native population, after several revolts. Catalan was replaced as the official language by Spanish, then by Italian in the mid-18th century. Today the language has semi-official recognition alongside Italian.
Studies give an approximate number of 20,000 to 30,000 native speakers of the language worldwide. In communities where Algherese is spoken, Italian and Logudorese Sardinian are often used as well.
Algherese is a regional dialect spoken by anywhere from 20,000 to 30,000 individuals, most of which reside in the town of Alghero, located in the northwest of Sardinia. The language, though distinct is initially derived from, and thus considered a variant of, the Catalan language. The origins of the language can be traced back to 1372, when Catalan invaders repopulated the city of Alghero after exiling the indigenous populations in Sardinia. Despite the city's increasing Italianization, the use of this Catalan dialect remained widespread until at least the 1970s.
As a result of the city's extensive Italianization, Italian is now the predominant language in Alghero, being estimated by a 2004 survey to be first language of close to 60% of those surveyed. The use of the dialect in schools and media, to name a few, remains sparse. Teaching of the dialect in school is also rare. However, in an attempt to reverse the trend, the Regional Council of Sardinia officially recognized "Algherese Catalan" as a separate language in 1997, in order to promote its use and circulation. According to the 2004 survey, Algherese was used by approximately 14% of the population for daily interactions. The dialect is mostly a local language, often used to supplement Italian and/or Sardinian in relatively small circles.
The following figures were obtained from the Enquesta d’usos lingüístics a l’Alguer ("Survey of linguistic usage in Alghero", EULAL) of 2004 and the "Els usos lingüístics a l’Alguer" of 2015 (EULA 2015), both of which were studies conducted in the town of Alghero about the general use of Algherese in several media.
|Oral Comprehension||90.1% (Sardinian oral comprehension: 69.7%)||88.2%|
|Oral Expression||61.3% (Sardinian oral expression: 33.9%)||50.5%|
|Written Comprehension||46.6% (Sardinian written comprehension: 35.4%)||35.6%|
|Written Expression||13.6% (Sardinian written expression: 15.4%)||8.1%|
|First Language||22.4% (59.2% Italian)||17.5%|
In 1999, Catalan and Sardinian were among the twelve minority languages officially recognized as Italy's "historical linguistic minorities" by the Italian State under Law No. 482/1999. Prior to this, the Regional Council of Sardinia had passed the Regional Law No. 26 of 15 October 1997 which, aside from promoting the equality in dignity of the Sardinian language with the Italian language throughout the island, provided that the other languages of smaller scope be afforded the same treatment as the aforementioned languages, among which Catalan is cited, in the city of Alghero. The city council, for its part, promulgated its protection and standardization in its city statute.
See also: Catalan phonology
The Algherese variant is Eastern Catalan, but it has many differences from Central Catalan, with some of the most obvious ones as follows:
The following abbreviations are used: m (masculine), f (feminine), pl (plural), fpl (feminine plural), inf (informal), f (formal).
The following phrases were gathered from a Catalan translation set, but the common phrases in Algherese are similar:
Benvinguts (pl) Benvingudes (fpl)
Benvinguts (pl) Benvingudes (fpl)
|My name is ...||Em dic ...||Me aquirr ...
Me dic ...
|Where are you from?||D'on ets? (inf)
D'on és vostè? (f)
|De ont ses? (inf)
De ont és vostè? (f)
|Good morning||Bon dia||Bon dia|
The Premi Rafael Sari, organised by the Obra Cultural de l'Alguer, is a series of prizes awarded in September each year to the best literary works of poetry and prose written in Alguerese Catalan.
Notable poets include Rafael Sari, Pasquale Scanu and Maria Chessa Lai. There is also a long tradition of writing and performing songs in Alguerese Catalan and the Premio Pino Piras is awarded for new songs written in the language. Notable singer-songwriters include Pino Piras and Franca Masu.
In 2015 Carla Valentino published an Algherese translation of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince.