Italian Lexical Features

Italian Lexical Features

Latin element . – According to iamhigher, the lexicon of the Italian dialects results in its greatest part of Latin elements, which constitute its truest richness. There are Latin terms that have remained exclusively in central-southern and southern areas (eg, nap.  ‘Nzorá , cal.’ Nzurate  “to marry”; abr.  Nengu ə,  nengh ə, cal.  Ningi  “snows”; sic.  abbentu , cal.  abbientu , abr.  abbiend ə, from  adventum  “rest”) and others found only in northern areas (eg, lomb., emil.  crodár  “fall”; lomb.  crös, Genoese  crośa  “mountain path, lane”; lumb. nòda  “mark on the ears of goats”, etc.). Sometimes, Latin meanings have taken on profound differentiations in different areas. For example, in Apulian  incumbere  is passed in the sense of “to support” (‘ ncummere ); corrivo  means “credulous” ( querréiv ə); in much of the  planar  Mezzogiorno it has come to mean “to rise” ( acchianari , ‘ ncianari ); applying  has taken on, as in Romanian, Spanish and Portuguese, the sense of “arriving” (sic.  chicari ,  agghicari , cal. acchicare ), etc.

Due to ethnic overlapping, invasions, wars, trade, literary influences, etc., it has happened that more or less abundant veins of words extraneous to Latinity have remained or penetrated into the great Latin lexicological treasure, and Latin words in Romance form from neo-Latin countries have entered, in a process of time, that is, elaborated by non-Italian phonetic tendencies.

Pre-Indo-European elements . – Precious remains of pre-Latin terms, vestiges of prehistoric conditions, relics of languages ​​spoken in the regions of the Alps and in the Mediterranean basin, last evidence of remote civilizations, are not lacking. These are terms that concern the configuration of the soil, or tools of the countryside, or plants, or animals and which have remained almost exclusively, as fossils, in the dialects. The surviving of some of them on the fringes of the domain into which the Indo-European languages ​​penetrated allows us to think of their very vast and very remote diffusion. They are part of this very obscure group of words, terms such as the following  * matta  “wicker, bush” (le  camatte, that is, “casemates”, must have been huts covered with wicker or branches, just as the “crazy roads” in certain places in northern Italy, in Mantua, were muddy streets with wicker fences to facilitate transit); ganda  (Alpine voice) “steepness of the ground”; * gaba ,  gava  “mountain stream” (in Plinio  Gabellus , emil.  Gavel , name of stream), which gave in Carnia and Cadore  gava ,  ǵ ava ,  ǵ ao  “stream” in Friuli  gavín  “swamp”; * cala  (eg, ven. emil.  calanca ,  calanc, etc.), “slope”, “steepness of the mountain”; * tala  “fat land”; *  “marshy ground” room; mar ( r ) to  “steep”; * rugia , Lombard  roža , Tuscan “roggia”, etc. The Friulian alp must also be Prelatino. fiemm. cirnul ,  zirmo  “Pinus cembra”, which has correspondences in the Carpazî ( zâmbrul ). Other pre-Indo-European plant entries will be: Nov. cropo , sicil. crópanu  “species of fir”; rumpus “Branch of the vine”, a word accepted as a technical term for agriculture in Latin (Varro, Columella) and represented in com. romp  “maple that serves as a support for the vine”, locarn. rümp , sottocen. rompor  (plur.) “elms supporting the vines”, viterb. rompazzo  “branch of the vine”. The latter term seems to be of Ligurian origin.

Ligurian elements . – They belong to the Ligurian or Gallo-Ligurian substratum: ἰουπικέλλος (Diosc., I, 103), breg. ǵ üp  “juniper”, valt. ǵ üba , ticin. ǵ ip  “juniper”, piem. alto-savoi. araf ,  arve ,  arbe ,  arola , etc., stone pine “.

Celtic elements . – Leaving the terms penetrated into Latin and from this into the novel, we will cite some Gallic relics: it. north “basket” bucket  ; genov. lumb. abr. brénu ,  bren ,  vren ə (also in Corsica) bran “; emil. corbèla  “sorbola”, crossing of Lat. sorbus  with gall. corma  (cf. Br.  Cormier  and  Corbier ); piedmont barlèt  (fr.  berle ) from  berula  “nasturtium” (Irish.  biroz ); valt. brianz  “absinthe”, called  herba vermicularis to be connected with  brigantes  “vermiculi” (Marcello) from Gall. * brigantios , etc.

Italic elements . – Even the Italic dialects have left precious terms, which can sometimes be surely identified thanks to a distinctive phonetic mark. Words such as  sow ,  tuff ,  scofina ,  tartufo , sic. funny  “toad”, cal. tifa  “zolla”,  gliefa  ”  zolla”, tofa ,  tufa  “horn of the shepherds”, with a – f – for – b – between vowels, terms with non-Latin suffixes ( cockroach ), duplicates such as  siphile  and  hiss ,  bubulcus  and bufulcus  (bifolco) do not seem to allow themselves to be explained other than as Italic wrecks. It will be difficult to establish whether some obscure terms, which live in the mountains of southern Italy, for example, in the Calabrian mountains, are of Italic or even pre-Indo-European origin, where we find:  vitorra  “great spoon of shepherds”,  timpa  “spring, rock”,  calfa ,  carfa  “dormouse”,  pezorra  “bunch of grapes”, etc.

If these pre-Latin and Italic influences are difficult to document, there is no doubt that, on the other hand, it is possible to discriminate, with good effect, those Greeks, Arabs, Germans, etc., which have made, in progress of time, a strong contribution of words and ideas to the language of Italy, as well as to dialects, as well as to the literary idiom.

Greek elements . – In the literary language the Greek element is abundantly represented both by popular words ( shop ,  envelope ,  uncle , etc.), and by learned words. It is natural that the largest number of the former are found in southern Italy, where the Greek era was more lively and intense. Excluding for many of them a remote origin from the Greek of Magna Graecia does not seem possible, given the geographical expansion of some and the Doric stigmata of others (eg,  fitu  “top”;  nasida  “strip of land, islet along the banks of a river “; Calabrian  casèntaru ,  crasèntaru “Earthworm” etc.). But most of the southern Greekisms do not seem to date beyond the Byzantine age. These are expressions typical of agriculture, or connected to the primitive civilization of rural peoples ( fusca  “grain slag”  animulu  “spinning wheel”,  grasta  “vase of flowers”, etc.). Numerous names of animals and plants ( ta ḍḍ arita  “bat”  vampurida  “firefly”,  ornu  “falcon”;  dafina  “laurel”,  spronu  “mullein”,  famaropa  “querciuola”, etc.).

Arabic elements . – The terms of Arabic origin that have entered the lexicon of the literary language cannot be said to be numerous ( algebra ,  notebook ,  dock ,  gabella , etc.). We have many, however, as is natural, in Sicily (where the Arabs ruled for a long time), for  example : sic. dammusu  “vòlta, prison”  cafisu  “oil measure”, trap. cabusu  “loaf”, etc. Most of these voices are common to other southern dialects, such as the aforementioned  dammusu  (calab.  Tam7nusiellu ) and  cafisu , as  cantàru  “quintale”, záccanu  “sheepfold, stable”,  giarra  “kind of large jar”,  ciranna  “frog”,  margiu  “uncultivated land”, etc. etc.

Germanic elements . – There are numerous vocabulary derived from Germanic (just under half a thousand, of which two thirds are roughly common to other Romance languages). A first group is made up of terms that have already penetrated into Latin (for example,  borgo ,  bevero  “beaver”), a second group from Gothic words (for example,  daring ,  to watch ,  truce , etc.), a third from Lombard voices , i.e. ant.-High German (such as  bench ,  ball ,  zaffo ,  mop , etc.), a quarter from the franc ( bando  – ire ,  scabino ,  senescalco, etc.), one-fifth from modern German (from the late Middle Ages onwards). Other voices came through the French, such as:  gaggio ,  ligio ,  rango , etc. The Germanic terms of the Italian lexicon generally refer to war ( schiera ,  elmo ,  brando ,  stormo ,  sperone ,  hauberk, etc.), hunting, customs, institutions, etc. and they refer rather to material things than to the life of the spirit. This is represented, in a particular way, by terms of anger and hatred, which are the way in which the oppressed have reacted to the oppressors. If many words have penetrated into the literary language, others, on the other hand, live only in dialects, for example, Lombard  skossdā  “grembiale”, lomb. emil. gudaz  “padrinr” ven. Lombardy Piedmont broàr ,  broà ,  broé  “to burn” etc.

French elements . – French also acted strongly on the Italian lexicon, especially in the period of its origins. This influence is due, as is natural, to the various relations between the two countries: pilgrimages, trade, crusades, French popes, students, ecclesiastical congregations, wars, French rule, journeys of artists and craftsmen, exchanges of ideas, etc. . There are voices, intimately penetrated into the substance of the Italian vocabulary, which came from France, such as  thriller ,  garden ,  food ,  verziere , etc. Others, which have come through literature, can only be found in ancient texts (for example,  miro  “medico”,  ciausire  “perceive, choose”, pain ,  fault ,  acievire ,  clergy ,  freri , etc.). Others have remained only in the dialects, particularly in the southern ones, due to the Norman and Angevin domination (eg, sic.  Guastedda ,  vastedda  “loaf”, piccardo  wastel , fr.  Gâteau ; nap.  Marvizzo  “thrush”, fr.  marvis ; sic.  vucciria  “butcher”,  nnugghia  “guts”, fr.  nouille ;  custureri  “tailor”,  vivieri  “tub”, Calabrian  dubrettu “Bodice”, etc.).

Spanish elements . – There is no doubt that the phonetic imprints are excellent in identifying words of foreign origin. But sometimes this discrimination is not reached, if one does not resort to history. And this happens for quite a few words of Spanish origin, which could even seem Italian, judging by the phonetics. They are certainly Spanish: for example  , aio ,  brio ,  chaste ,  calm ,  broken  (“marine path”),  storm , etc. There are other words that might seem of direct French origin, while instead they came to Italy from Spain. So  bay ,  edge ,  fleet,  bitterness ,  embarrassment , etc. The chronology and historical evidence are, in these cases, decisive. The period of the greatest Spanish influence was the one that includes the 16th-17th centuries. Then came terms such as  water bottle ,  politeness ,  ease ,  braggart ,  commitment ,  neat ,  thoughtfulness ,  gift ,  coward , etc. Also in the dialects, particularly in the southern ones, the Spanish has left traces: for example, nap. kišare . “To get angry” ( quejar ).

Italian Lexical Features

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