Alghero, the Sardinian Catalonia

The Catalan language has several peculiarities. One of them is that Catalan language is spoken in Italy too, precisely in Alghero, Sardinia.

This Catalonian song called “Des de Mallorca al Alguer” sings:

Des de Mallorca a l’Alguer, tots parlem el mateix” (from Majorca to Alghero, we all speak the same way).

In fact, there is a monument in Alghero with the colours of the Catalonian flag, where a remarkable extract appears: “Alghero pays Catalá’ de Sardenya”, which means “Alghero, a Catalonian country in Sardinia”.

Historically, each geographical area of Sardinia has been shaped by several linguistic influences, which explains how the Sardinian language is the most singular one among every Latin language. Then, Alghero represents the biggest exception to this language, in view of the fact that Catalan is spoken since 1354, after the famous naval battle between Genoese and Catalans, where the first were defeated in Porto Conte.

Indeed, after this victory, the Catalan-Aragonese confederation decided to exile all Sardinian and Genoese population to settle a new Catalonian community.

Nowadays, Alghero represents an unique linguistic and historical phenomenon, considering that, even regarding its distance with Catalonia, its traditions and language still remain.

Nevertheless, the language of Alghero can be politically defined as a dialect of standard Catalan; a linguistic island or, even better, as and old version of Catalan from the XIV and XVII centuries.

Today, the number of people speaking Catalan in Alghero is imprecise (the records range from a 20% according to the city council, to a 61% as shown by the statistics from the Generalitat de Catalunya).

Besides, this language has had to compete with the presence of the Italian and Sardinian languages. Generally, young people speak and understand less the Alghero language, in spite of the undertaking of several operations aimed to preserve it, which are still being launched by the Alghero city council and the Region of Sardinia.

 

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