Accepted paper:

How an oral language becomes a literary one (the case of "Grecia Salentina")


Evgeniya Litvin (Russian State University for the Humanities)

Paper short abstract:

The paper examines the way of literary language ща еру Greek minority in Salento (Italy) formation, its interference with the official languages (Italian and Greek) by means of texts translations and literary genres adoption and the meaning of this process for the local society representatives.

Paper long abstract:

The Greek minority of Salento (Southern Italy) conserves its dialect over at least 1000 years but since the decadence of the Byzantine Empire it became a rural oral idiom valued at a low rate. Since the beginning of the 20 century it gradually achieved the status of a literary language, in a great measure due to the efforts of local intellectuals that wrote grammar books and dictionaries for it and collected folk poems and fairy tales. They also created their own poetry in this dialect. The presented paper examines the strategies they used in order to enrich the "poor" rural language vocabulary, the literary genres that turned into account and the way of how translations from Italian, Greek and Latin have been made. During the last decades when this idiom is almost disappeared as an actually spoken language their works and activities became a mThed" giving a material for performances, school courses etc. Research that has been made includes the results of the field work considering the reflections of the poets themselves, members of their families and other representatives of the society on the links between the language, literature and the boundaries of the society.

panel P019
Writing across borders: textual mediation and collaboration in an interconnected world