Languages

Salentino

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Introduction

Provinces where Salentino is spoken

Salentino is the language spoken in Salento, the south-east part of Italy, sometimes called "the heel of the boot". It belongs to the group of "Extreme Southern Italian" languages, a group inside the bigger family of Romance languages. It shares lot of features with other languages belonging to this grup, that are Sicilian and Calabrese. Salento region is made of the province of Lecce, much of the southern part of the province of Brindisi and the southern part of Taranto province.

Salentino descends from Latin, though it has been influenced by the languages spoken by the populations that went to Salento territories during its history: Messapians (C.f. Messapic), Greeks, Byzantins, Lombards, Normans, Albanians, French, Spanish and Arabs.

It is a language which has been spoken for centuries in a bilingual area, where there was a strong Greek-speaking community (now reduced to a bunch of towns in the small Grecía Salentina), so lots of its words and grammar features are similar to Greek.

The verb

Salentino verbs have the following features:

  • Each verb has a fixed part (root) and a variable part (ending). The root contains the meaning of the verb, while the ending changes with the person, the number, the tense and the mood;
  • There are six persons: jeu (I), tu (you, singular), idhu/idha (he,it/she,it), nui (we), vui (you, plural), idhi/idhe (they);
  • There are seven moods; indicative, subjunctive (used rarely, and often replaced by indicative mood), conditional (just the verb "èssere", to be, has this mood), imperative, infinitive, gerund and participle;
  • There are six tenses: present, imperfect, remote past, past perfect, past pluperfect, plusremote past;
  • Past perfect, past pluperfect and remote past are expressed through the use of the auxiliar "aire" (to have) + participle of the verb.
  • It shares, with most of Romance languages, the division of verbs into three conjugations: -are (1ª), -ere (2ª), -ire (3ª);

Auxiliary verb: AIRE (to have)

Indicativo Congiuntivo Imperativo
Presente Passato prossimo Presente Passato Presente
Jeu aggiu Jeu aggiu autu/'utu Jeu (cu) aggiu Jeu (cu) issi -
Tu ai/a' Tu a' autu/'utu Tu (cu) aggi Tu (cu) issi Aggi tu
Idhu/idha ae/a' Idhu/idha a' autu/'utu Idhu/idha (cu) aggia Idhu/idha (cu) isse -
Nui aimu/'imu Nui 'imu autu/'utu Nui (cu) imu Nui (cu) íssemu Imu nui
Vui aiti/'iti Vui 'iti autu/'utu Vui (cu) iti Vui (cu) íssiu Iti vui
Idhi/idhe annu Idhi/idhe annu autu/'utu Idhi/idhe (cu) àggianu Idhi/idhe (cu) íssera -
Imperfetto Piuccheperfetto
Jeu aia/'ia Jeu aia/'ia autu/'utu
Tu ii Tu ii autu/'utu
Idhu/idha ia Idhu/idha ia autu/'utu
Nui íamu Nui íamu autu/'utu
Vui iu Vui iu autu/'utu
Idhi/idhe íanu Idhi/idhe íanu autu/'utu
Passato remoto Trapassato remoto
Jeu ibbi Jeu ibbi autu/'utu Infinito
Tu isti Tu isti autu/'utu aire
Idhu/idha ibbe Idhu/idha ibbe autu/'utu Gerundio
Nui íbbemu Nui íbbemu autu/'utu -
Vui istu Vui istu autu/'utu Participio
Idhi/idhe íbbera Idhi/idhe íbbera autu/'utu autu/'utu

Auxiliary verb: ÈSSERE (to be)

Indicativo Congiuntivo Imperativo
Presente Passato prossimo Presente Passato Presente
Jeu suntu/su' Jeu aggiu statu/su' statu Jeu (cu) sia Jeu (cu) àggiu statu -
Tu sinti/si' Tu a' statu/si' statu Tu (cu) sii Tu (cu) aggi statu Sinti tu
Idhu/idha ete/e' Idhu/idha a' statu/e' statu Idhu/idha (cu) sia Idhu/idha (cu) aggia statu -
Nui simu Nui 'imu stati/simu stati Nui (cu) síamu Nui (cu) imu stati Simu nui
Vui siti Vui 'iti stati/siti stati Vui (cu) siu Vui (cu) iti stati Siti vui
Idhi/idhe suntu/su' Idhi/idhe annu stati/su' stati Idhi/idhe (cu) síanu Idhi/idhe (cu) àggianu stati -
Imperfetto Piuccheperfetto
Jeu era Jeu 'ia statu
Tu jeri Tu ii statu
Idhu/idha era Idhu/idha ia statu
Nui èramu Nui íamu stati
Vui jeru Vui iu stati
Idhi/idhe èranu Idhi/idhe íanu stati
Passato remoto Trapassato remoto Condizionale
Jeu fuesi Jeu ibbi statu Jeu saria Infinito
Tu fuesti Tu isti statu Tu sarii èssere
Idhu/idha fose/foi Idhu/idha ibbe statu Idhu/idha saria Gerundio
Nui fòsemu/fommu Nui íbbemu stati Nui saríamu èssennu
Vui fŭestu Vui istu stati Vui sariu Participio
Idhi/idhe fòsera/fôra Idhi/idhe íbbera stati 'Idhi/idhe'' saríanu statu

Verbs in -ARE (1st conjugation) that don't change their root (MANDARE = to send)

Indicativo Congiuntivo Imperativo
Presente Passato prossimo Presente Passato Presente
Jeu mandu Jeu aggiu mandatu Jeu (cu) mmandu Jeu (cu) aggiu mandatu -
Tu mandi Tu a' mandatu Tu (cu) mmandi Tu (cu) aggi mandatu Manda tu
Idhu/idha manda Idhu/idha e' mmandatu Idhu/idha (cu) mmanda Idhu/idha (cu) aggia mandatu -
Nui mandamu Nui 'imu mandatu Nui (cu) mmandamu Nui (cu) imu mandatu Mandamu nui
Vui mandati Vui 'iti mandatu Vui (cu) mmandati Vui (cu) iti mandatu Mandati vui
Idhi/idhe màndanu Idhi/idhe annu mandatu Idhi/idhe (cu) mmàndanu Idhi/idhe (cu) àggianu mandatu -
Imperfetto Piuccheperfetto
Jeu mandaa Jeu aia/'ia mandatu
Tu mandai Tu ii mandatu
Idhu/idha mandaa Idhu/idha ia mandatu
Nui mandàumu Nui íamu mandatu
Vui mandàuvu Vui iu mandatu
Idhi/idhe mandàanu Idhi/idhe íanu mandatu
Passato remoto Trapassato remoto
Jeu mandai Jeu ibbi mandatu Infinito
Tu mandasti Tu isti mandatu mandare
Idhu/idha mandau Idhu/idha ibbe mandatu Gerundio
Nui mandammu Nui íbbemu mandatu mandandu
Vui mandastu Vui istu mandatu Participio
Idhi/idhe mandara Idhi/idhe íbbera mandatu mandatu

References

Antonio Garrisi, Grammatica del dialetto leccese

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