Naomi Nagy

Linguistics at U of T

Faetar, a sociolinguistic grammar

Faetar, LW/M # 299 (sometimes #307 in the catalogue), Lincom Europa

Naomi Nagy

The University of New Hampshire


This book describes the grammar of Faetar, attempting to represent the variation found across the 80+ speakers recorded in preparation for writing this book.  I discuss some of the issues that arose through my attempts to represent all observed forms in one grammar in:

Nagy, N. 2001. Writing a sociolinguistics grammar of Faetar. Penn Working Papers in Linguistics 7.3: Selected Papers from NWAV 29 (2001). 225-246.

Faetar is a Francoprovençal dialect spoken in two villages in Apulia (Faeto and Celle di San Vito), in southern Italy. Faetar came to be spoken in these villages due to a migration from southeastern France (département of Ain) around the 14th century. An unwritten language, it has incorporated aspects of Apulian Italian dialects during its 600 years of contact. It is a doubly endangered language: Francoprovençal has been virtually exterminated in France by aggressive language planning; and it is spoken by fewer than 600 people in Apulia due to a mass exodus from rural areas. It survives in emigrant pockets in Italy, Switzerland, the U.S.A., and Canada.

Faetar phonology resembles that of neighboring dialects, but is distinguished by the phonemic presence of schwa and a process of variable deletion of post-tonic segments and syllables leaving word-final consonant clusters. It differs from Francoprovençal in having phonemic geminates word-medially and (variably present) phonetic geminates at word boundaries. The morphology is similar to southern French dialects, with post-verbal negation and little agreement marking. It is distinct in that both null and double subject pronouns are frequently present. Like French and Italian, Faetar is SVO and left-branching.

Naomi Nagy is an associate professor in the English Department and coordinator of the Linguistics Program at the University of New Hampshire. Her research on contact-induced language change (in Montreal, New England, and Faeto) includes publications in Belgian Journal of Linguistics, International Journal of the Sociology of Language, Journal of English Linguistics and Language Variation and Change.

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Please address questions or comments to Naomi Nagy.  This page was last updated 09/12/03.
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