Calabrian love poem
L'immagine tua ntra u specchiu
E la poesia mia chiù bella.
Ma fa subitu ca se cancellari
E l'ultimu mio ti amo !
→ French poem ←
Pretty Calabrian brunette, your face is this love poem translated into Calabrian (Calabrese, Napoletano-Calabrese, Neapolitan-Calabrese, Basilicatan, Lucanian, Napoletano, Northern Calabrese-Lucano, Tirrenic). Your pretty language, sing and enchant, the warm days of the Mediterranean sun.
Two million people will know how to read these words translated into Calabrese. Calabrian is a dialect of southern Italy spoken in Calabria, it is close to Sicilian and Neapolitan.
The Calabrian dialect has been influenced by a whole bunch of languages over a long period; those of the peoples who in turn colonized or dominated the region (Bretti, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Normans, Saracens, Spaniards, Austrians, French).
The Calabrian dialect is made up of different variants which can be quite different from one place to another; they are grouped into two main groups: the northern Calabrian and the central-southern Calabrian.
Latin, which of course is the main element of the Calabrian dialect, occupies a different place depending on the dialect variants. In the north of Calabria, Latinization having taken place before the south, we find more Latin terms; the south, which remained longer with Greek elements, contains less. Between the north and the south the result is that there can be real difficulties of inter-understanding.
The Greeks are said to have colonized the region, mixing with the natives 700 to 800 BC. When the Romans in their turn get their hands on Calabria in the 3rd century, the further south they will go, the more its Greek speaking people (Grecanico), of Greek culture, that they will meet. We still find the presence of this Grecanico among some old people in the south.
Between the 10th and the 11th century, the Arabs (Saracens), well established in Sicily, will begin their incursions into Calabria, incursions for trade and to subdue the cities, which will push the populations to take refuge. Their domination will be rather punctual, in the form of raids, but will nevertheless leave traces in the Calabrian dialect.
French domination, through the Normans for 150 years until the end of the 12th century, then by the Angevins for two centuries, until the middle of the 15th century, who will reign over the kingdom of Naples, will also mark the Calabrian lexicon.
The Spanish presence of nearly 450 years in the south, until the 18th century, will also leave undeniable traces.
Calabria is a poor land, in the extreme southwest of Italy facing Sicily. Tourism and port cities remain its wealth. The mountainous regions are those of villages of shepherds and poor peasants. Since the 19th century it's a region with a strong emigration.
During the Mycenaean period, navigators from Greece approached the Italian coasts. The first Greek settlement in southern Italy was that of the Eubeans coming from Eretria, they settled on the islet of Pithecusses (Ischia) around 770 BC.
Other Greek colonies followed, for example the Locrians who, according to Aristotle, would also have come from Greece from a region bearing their name, to mix with the natives already present. At that time, these Greek colonies were rather on hills, the maritime colonies (ports), did not emerge until much later in the Middle Ages.