University in Sicilian language

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Is Sicilian being taught at a university level? In fact, we can ask, Is Sicilian being taught at all? According to several friends who have academic positions, the answer is, No. I quote from one of them who is a Sicilian-American but was born in Sicily.

In Sicily nowadays only some poets still write in Sicilian.


Most Sicilians, especially the young generation, do not or cannot use the dialect because they generally speak a Regional Italian, except at home or with their Sicilian peers. … Sicilian, as far as I know, is not being taught anywhere, not even in Palermo or Catania.

And as far as I know, it isn’t being taught anywhere in the United States either.

I am an alumnus of the University of Michigan and in August 2001 I received their newsletter announcing the establishment of a professorship in Modern Greek,  partly funded throught the university there and partly funded through the Foundation for Modern Greek Studies. The professorship is named in honor of the poet Constantine Cavafy. Obviously the Greek-American community thinks enough of their language and its reputation to gather money to form a chair dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Modern Greek.


It should be taken as a given that Sicilian is an independent language in its own right. It is not a dialect of Italian. I stressed this point in my book, Introduction to Sicilian Grammar. Since Sicilian has its own history and is a language in its own right, it ought to receive as much recognition as any other Romance language having its own unique history and traditions. It would be hazardous to claim that Sicilian is an important as Italian in the world of international affairs and business. However, it must remain as an important vehicle for maintaining the Sicilian cultural heritage. Therefore, it seems appropriate to ask, How can this task best be served?


I truly believe that to promote the preservation of the Sicilian language, the Sicilian-American community ought to emulate the Greek-American community and establish a chair for Sicilian Studies. This would require organizzation among Sicilian-Americans to broach the issue with several universities that might be willing to partially fund such an endeavor.

Sicilian Studies should encompass several activities. Among these are:

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Promote the use of Sicilian.

Establish firm orthographic rules for the spelling of the language since there is at present a wide diversity.


Garner the extant literature and give classes in Sicilian.

Encourage the literary use of Sicilian.

Establish a clear relationship among the various Sicilian dialects.

Gauge the extent to which Sicilian is used and promote its use.

Establish ties with Sicilians in Sicily to encourage the more open use of Sicilian there.

Gather individual stories told by people in Sicilian before this material is allowed to disappear.

Study the history of Sicily and the socioeconomic forces prevailing to impart a clearer understanding of Sicily’s historical circumstances.

Hopefully this little essay will provoke Sicilian-Americans in thinking about this issue and making a response indicating that they don’t want to see their language disappear.



Pi cummintari ha trasiri Trasi



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bibliografia pi lu studiu du sicilianu Select Section Briscula 'n-cincu Carta Europea delle lingue regionali e minoritarie sicilia Corso di lingua e letteratura sicilianaCORSO di LINGUA e LETTERATURA SICILIANA Coordinato da Salvatore Di Marco Il dialetto siciliano fra le lingue dei popoli. conferenze tematiche. 1 - LINGUA E DIALE cultura popolare siciliana Cunta un cuntu detti siciliani dialetto Diffirenzi principali ntra i parrati siciliani: Varii diffirenzi fonuloggichi ibridismo e tautologia ibrida nel siciliano IL PROGETTO ABRACADABRA PER LA DIFFUSIONE DELLE LINGUE NON DOMINANTI NELLA SCUOLA Il Siciliano: Dialetto o lingua?lingua La lingua siciliana attraversu li seculi leggi per la tutela del siciliano Libbra in sicilianu Lingua madre Lingua Siciliana lingua siciliana propria Lingua Siciliana Unificata (LSU) linguistica NAT SCAMMACCA nel siciliano di Marco Scalabrino nuovo gruzzoletto di voci arabo - sicule Nutizii odissea traduzione in siciliano old french medeme in sicilian Per lo studio del siciliano e...chi vò cchiù? POEMS proverbi siciliani proverbs PUISII Select Category Select Section sicilia Sicilian language: an overview siciliano Si vutassi pi mia...inchiesta supra a pulitica linguistica in Siciliapolituca Siziuni Culturali Studi siciliani: lu discursu pi na cattrida univirsitaria teatro siciliano Tiatru i tradizioni culturali Tu i u sicilianu Ultimi nutizii Un cumpenniu di ortugrafia siciliana Compendio di lingua siciliano Universal declaration of linguistic rights

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