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  • Ina Lancman
    Hello, I am thinking of going to Corsica (I live in NY) sometime in September. Would like to buy 3-4 books on it. Travel guides and also a good history book.
    Message 1 of 20 , Aug 6, 2009
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      Hello,
      I am thinking of going to Corsica (I live in NY) sometime in September. Would like to buy  3-4 books on it. Travel guides and also a good history book. Would so much appreciate any suggestions. Will have lots more questions once I read up on Corsica.
      Ina
    • Ronald Voets
      Hi Ina, I travelled to Corsica last month for a 3-week holiday. I bought 3 books: 2 Dutch ones and Lonely planet on Corsica. I can certainly recommend Lonely
      Message 2 of 20 , Aug 6, 2009
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        Hi Ina,

        I travelled to Corsica last month for a 3-week holiday. I bought 3 books: 2 Dutch ones and Lonely planet on Corsica. I can certainly recommend Lonely Planet. For Corsica, it's accurate and up-to-date. As usual, don't expect to much stories on history, so for that purpose you'll need another one but for overall travelleing and places to visit, it's recoomendable.

        rgds,

        Ronald

        --- On Fri, 8/7/09, Ina Lancman <ina.lancman@...> wrote:

        From: Ina Lancman <ina.lancman@...>
        Subject: [corsicalista] books recommendations
        To: corsicalista@yahoogroups.com
        Date: Friday, August 7, 2009, 2:12 AM

         


        Hello,
        I am thinking of going to Corsica (I live in NY) sometime in September. Would like to buy  3-4 books on it. Travel guides and also a good history book. Would so much appreciate any suggestions. Will have lots more questions once I read up on Corsica.
        Ina


      • John E. Richardson
        Dear Ina, I hope you have a great time in Corsica. Here are the books I would recommend: Travel guide: either the Rough Guide to... or Lonely Planet guides
        Message 3 of 20 , Aug 7, 2009
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          Dear Ina,

          I hope you have a great time in Corsica. Here are the books I would recommend:

          Travel guide: either the 'Rough Guide to...' or 'Lonely Planet' guides for Corsica. Any other travel guide is, in my opinion, too heavy on pictures & too low on actual information.

          History, etc:

          You should definitely include a book by Dorothy Carrington in your list. Many people read & liked her classic 'Granite Island: A portrait of Corsica' (1971; reprinted many times since) and I agree it is very good indeed. Personally, I preferred her last book 'The Dream Hunters of Corsica' (1995), which contains similar historic info, plus fascinating tales of the Corsican spiritual/supernatural, and is written in a lighter style.

          Other books that might interest you:

          James Boswell's 'The journal of a tour to Corsica', written during Boswell's grand tour of Europe in 1765 - the first British visitor to venture inland, attempting to reach Paoli. The 1996 edition (ISBN 1 873047 71 1) also includes a good introduction & brief 'Memoirs of Pascal Paoli'.

          In a very different vein, I really enjoyed a book called 'Feet in the clouds: In the mountains of Corsica', by Shirley Dean (1965), which tells of the author's experiences living with Corsicans in the Balagne during the early 1960s. It's travel writing in a more traditional sense - food, culture, whimsy, etc - but I really enjoyed reading it, as it shows a way of living that I doubt now exists.


          best wishes
          John



          To: corsicalista@yahoogroups.com
          From: ina.lancman@...
          Date: Thu, 6 Aug 2009 14:12:18 -0400
          Subject: [corsicalista] books recommendations

           

          Hello,
          I am thinking of going to Corsica (I live in NY) sometime in September. Would like to buy  3-4 books on it. Travel guides and also a good history book. Would so much appreciate any suggestions. Will have lots more questions once I read up on Corsica.
          Ina


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        • Edward G. Steen
          september is an excellent month for going to corsica - much better than july and aug, and just about perfect weather. you must absolutely read granite
          Message 4 of 20 , Aug 7, 2009
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            september is an excellent month for going to corsica  - much better than july and aug, and just about perfect weather.

            you must absolutely read 'granite island' by dorothy carrington, a classic even if showing its age a little.

            there is lots of good modern travel-writing on corsica.

             for example below.

            have a good time.

            edward steen

            Off-season in Corsica

            By Dan Hofstadter

            Published: October 31 2008 18:07 | Last updated: October 31 2008 18:07

            There’s an old Michel Jonasz song I’m very fond of, in which he tells of visiting an off-season resort with his parents and sister. The place sounds like a seaside town in Normandy. The family have no money but they’re content to walk up and down in front of the grand hotels, watching the freighters disappear over the horizon, licking their “glaces à l’eau”. The song catches the poignancy of low season: penny-pinching, occasional shivering, odd, left-behind characters, and the unaccountable happiness.

            I felt something similar in Corsica last January, having come over from Leghorn, Italy, for a week. In Bastia, the main northern port of the island, on a Sunday of winter sunshine – no, it was rain ... no, sunshine – well, on a day of weather which, if it didn’t suit you, you had only to wait 20 minutes for it to change, I bought a newspaper and ventured to the Place Saint Nicholas. It was just warm enough for people to be filling up the sidewalk cafes, whose phalanxes of cane chairs stretched far into the square.

            The longer the sun shone the more chairs filled up with the bourgeois sipping their café-crèmes, and I joined them. Out in the middle of the square, around the empty bandstand with its filigree ironwork, crowds of children on wheeled conveyances raced wildly. You could see the accidents taking shape: the distracted moppets tooling straight for each other, the mums at their tables doing rough calculations and then, dashing out, too late, to prevent the inevitable collision. But a few tears were a natural part of this Sunday morning scene, which could have happened 50 years ago, or might (with luck) happen 50 years hence.

            The Place Saint Nicholas, with its pollarded plane trees and tall, shuttered windows, seems to belong to eternity: it is flanked on one side by a row of stately old houses whose roof cornices meet in a row, maintaining uniformity, while on the opposite side shines the Ligurian Sea.

            With the initial aim of letting mute things – streets, facades, interiors – tell me more, I wander towards the market square, the Place du Marché. En route, I discover two mysterious and evocative churches, which have no side aisles but are lined instead with carved wooden panelling interrupted at intervals by glazed shrines or chapels.

            These buildings are not exactly churches, I learn, but oratories maintained by two confraternities, those of Saint Roch and the Immaculate Conception, whose members, known for their eerie, hooded processions, have long played an active, charitable role on the island. One shrine, in the oratory dedicated to the Virgin, holds a fine baroque Christ in wood, displayed against a good 15th century panel depicting a scene from the Passion.

            Further along, I peep into the vast Eglise de Saint-Jean Baptiste, whose lofty nave is emphasised by rows of tall Corinthian pilasters. This church overlooks the Place du Marché, a perfectly proportioned square disputed at this hour by farmers and little boys playing soccer. Even in January the stalls are burdened with fruit and vegetables, sheep’s and goat’s milk cheeses, not to mention sausages, hams and flatbread slathered with melted cheese. I consider buying a saucisson of wild boar for a friend keen on cuisine, but getting a whiff of its pungent aroma I opt for a more conventional pork salami.

            The general aspect of this walk, along with a conversation I initiate with the dramatically rotund sausage lady, who touts her charcuterie in Corsican (a language similar to some Tuscan dialects) while I reply in Italian, might suggest that I am in a Tuscan province that has somehow detached itself from the mainland. Ethnographically speaking – with respect to language, food, religion, and architecture – Bastia resembles the main city of some Tuscan province, but despite the family similarity the Corsicans have a separate history and identity. The sausage lady laments that so few Corsicans under 20 can speak the national language, though it is taught in schools and has a small literature of some distinction.

            The following day I take the tiny, narrow-gauge train for Corte, an old town high in the island’s interior. The train, which has only two carriages, begins by hugging the coast and stopping at almost every village along a coastal plain strewn with warehouses, automobile graveyards, vineyards, orchards, stands of dwarf palms. After Casamozza it turns inland and begins to climb, snaking through an increasingly rugged landscape, so that soon steep knolls loom up and peel abruptly away.

            As the little engine twists along slopes and hangs over gorges, a bony panorama heaves into view, with mists boiling over the rocky outcrops and shafts of sunlight illuminating distant villages. The train sighs valiantly, gasps for breath like an elderly hiker and, as it chugs forward, towering meadows dotted with sheep swing by then wheel off to the rear.

            The railway stations are almost deserted at this time of year, tidy single blocks like a toy train set. At length, a succession of blue and white planes rises in the distance, as if one were looking at an enormous pop-up book filled with endless mountains and torrents.

            These vast declivities of rock and scrub vegetation (largely myrtle, to the naked eye) are exactly what’s meant by the word “maquis”. The maquis is a zone of vegetation characterised by shrubs, notably broom and wild fennel, and low trees, such as the holm oak and various dwarf pines. This terrain lends itself to raising sheep and the seasonal transhumance from low altitudes in winter to high ones in summer. The prevalence of livestock raising has led to the creation of many good sheep’s milk cheeses, or “pecorini”, such as those from the Niolu and Venachese regions, and also the “brocciu”, a delicious soft cheese sold all over the island.

            That sheep would be happy in such topography is not surprising, but what amazed me was the cattle scattered across dizzying uplands of maquis, insouciantly chewing their cuds and switching their tails on what must have been an incline of at least 50 degrees. It was hard to imagine how they had climbed to where they were, or how they would shift their bovine frames back down into the valleys.

            Corte is the symbolic centre of Corsican national identity and home to the island’s sole university and its historical and ethnographic museum, the Musée de la Corse. A pretty hill-town built on many levels, it is closely associated with the memory of Pascal Paoli, the great Corsican patriot who in 1755 – 20 years before the revolt of the American colonists – led a successful insurrection against Genoese rule, founded a constitutional democracy and created the University of Corte.

            The island remained independent for 14 years, until General Paoli was defeated by the French, but by that time his experiment in social equality had been publicised throughout the Continent, Britain, and the American colonies: James Boswell visited the republic in 1765 and published his favourable Account of Corsica shortly before the French invasion.

            The Musée de la Corse appeared to be largely devoted to Pascal Paoli and his friends and correspondents among the men of the Enlightenment, but the upper floors of the museum, which offer exhibits devoted to Corsica’s rustic traditions, remind one of how remarkable it was that such a peripheral and pastoral people should have opted so early for democracy.

            I chose to climb the towering Citadel, gaining a magnificent view toward the chestnut-producing region of Castagniccia to the northeast and the cheese-producing Venaco to the south.

            Soon, though, it grows dark. In Corte at dusk, as the streetlamps blink on and the wild bare branches of the pollard trees stand out against the deep blue sky, I stroll past dour facades with tall shuttered windows, admire a little square with a dashing statue of some notability and consider buying a hunk of chestnut bread from a bakery.

            In a brasserie, grizzled gents play rummy, drink beer or the local rough wine. The same habitués hang out for hours – they probably meet there every evening. Finally, in a dark, crowded restaurant under a vault – probably a former cantina – I order terrine of fish and venison stew, and instantly acquire a reputation thanks to the unsolicited attentions of the proprietress. A family of three from the southern port of Ajaccio, a building contractor, his lawyer wife, and their conspicuously pretty daughter of about 18, invite me to their table. The contractor grills me amiably in his singsong Corsican French about my own background, then launches into a litany of complaints about the mistreatment of Corsica by the “continentals”, by which he means the Paris government. The daughter rolls her eyes – she has heard this many times.

            The truth, however, is that what my expansive host from Ajaccio is telling me is just a more developed version of what everyone I have met has been saying since I arrived on this island.

            I cannot respond intelligently to their resentment, but I am mesmerised by the chin thrusts, eyebrow leaps, and laughing eyes of my dinner companion. His good-humoured tirade has fairly silenced his wife, but when I turn to her and ask her opinion, she replies that despite her husband’s overly temperamental stance on this issue there is much to what he says.

            Isn’t it odd, she asks me, that in the municipal courts of Ajaccio, where she works, there is only one Corsican magistrate? By the time dinner is over I seem to have acquired the popularity of the sympathetic listener and, as I leave, the proprietress accords me the “bise” – a kiss on both cheeks.

            Back in Bastia, on a pleasant evening in the Vieux-Port, a sort of amphitheatre of old buildings and cafes overlooking a little marina, has become a hub of social activity. Vespas come and go; there’s a lot of air-kissing. But the conversations of those who gather on the waterfront and the clothes they wear, remind me that they’re virtually all connected to the tourist trade: this month they are busy remodeling kitchens, refitting shops and repairing boats.

            In less than two months Corsica will be a very different island, and all the sweet pathos of off-season will have vanished until next autumn.

            Dan Hofstadter is the author of ‘Falling Palace: A Romance of Naples’

            Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2009



            2009/8/6 Ina Lancman <ina.lancman@...>
             


            Hello,
            I am thinking of going to Corsica (I live in NY) sometime in September. Would like to buy  3-4 books on it. Travel guides and also a good history book. Would so much appreciate any suggestions. Will have lots more questions once I read up on Corsica.
            Ina




            --
            edwardsteen@...
            fixe (44) 207 226 1917

          • Edward G. Steen
            what thoughtful recommendations. if you are interested in history ina, then look into boswell and also edward lear s travels to corsica. ed 2009/8/7 John E.
            Message 5 of 20 , Aug 7, 2009
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              what thoughtful recommendations. if you are interested in history ina, then look into boswell and also edward lear's travels to corsica.

              ed

              2009/8/7 John E. Richardson <John_E_Richardson@...>

              Dear Ina,

              I hope you have a great time in Corsica. Here are the books I would recommend:

              Travel guide: either the 'Rough Guide to...' or 'Lonely Planet' guides for Corsica. Any other travel guide is, in my opinion, too heavy on pictures & too low on actual information.

              History, etc:

              You should definitely include a book by Dorothy Carrington in your list. Many people read & liked her classic 'Granite Island: A portrait of Corsica' (1971; reprinted many times since) and I agree it is very good indeed. Personally, I preferred her last book 'The Dream Hunters of Corsica' (1995), which contains similar historic info, plus fascinating tales of the Corsican spiritual/supernatural, and is written in a lighter style.

              Other books that might interest you:

              James Boswell's 'The journal of a tour to Corsica', written during Boswell's grand tour of Europe in 1765 - the first British visitor to venture inland, attempting to reach Paoli. The 1996 edition (ISBN 1 873047 71 1) also includes a good introduction & brief 'Memoirs of Pascal Paoli'.

              In a very different vein, I really enjoyed a book called 'Feet in the clouds: In the mountains of Corsica', by Shirley Dean (1965), which tells of the author's experiences living with Corsicans in the Balagne during the early 1960s. It's travel writing in a more traditional sense - food, culture, whimsy, etc - but I really enjoyed reading it, as it shows a way of living that I doubt now exists.




              --
              edwardsteen@...
              fixe (44) 207 226 1917

            • Ina Lancman
              Dear Ronald,Edward,and John, Thanks for your wonderful recommendations. Can t wait to read these books. Gratefully, Ina
              Message 6 of 20 , Aug 7, 2009
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                Dear Ronald,Edward,and John,
                Thanks for your wonderful recommendations. Can't wait to read these books.
                Gratefully,
                Ina

              • John E. Richardson
                Dear Ina, no problem at all. I noticed that you have a .edu email address, so perhaps this more academic book might also be up your street: Alexandra Jaffe
                Message 7 of 20 , Aug 8, 2009
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                  Dear Ina,

                  no problem at all. I noticed that you have a .edu email address, so perhaps this more academic book might also be up your street:

                  Alexandra Jaffe (1999) Ideologies in Action: Language Politics on Corsica
                  http://bit.ly/XvoxY

                  It's a bit pricey via amazon, but perhaps someone like abebooks.com will have a good secondhand copy.

                  Happy reading, and I hope that you enjoy the island!

                  best wishes

                  John



                  To: corsicalista@yahoogroups.com
                  From: ina.lancman@...
                  Date: Fri, 7 Aug 2009 11:30:02 -0400
                  Subject: Re: [corsicalista] books recommendations















                   






                  Dear Ronald,Edward,and John,

                  Thanks for your wonderful recommendations. Can't wait to read these books.

                  Gratefully,

                  Ina















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                • Ina Lancman
                  Hi John, The boook sounds very interesting. I imagine I d be eager to read it upon my return,after having experienced the Corsican dialect first hand. Thanks
                  Message 8 of 20 , Aug 8, 2009
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                    Hi John,
                    The boook sounds very interesting. I imagine I'd be eager to read it upon my return,after having experienced the Corsican dialect first hand.
                    Thanks for your recommendation.
                    Ina

                  • John E. Richardson
                    hi Ina, unfortunately, the Corsican language is an increasingly rare thing to hear in public. I have been to Corsica 6 times, and I have only heard Corsican
                    Message 9 of 20 , Aug 10, 2009
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                      hi Ina,

                      unfortunately, the Corsican language is an increasingly rare thing to hear in public. I have been to Corsica 6 times, and I have only heard Corsican being spoken spontaneously and at length once, in a place called Bocagnano, in the mountains. Here it is spoken as the first language by many (or most?) people - when you see 18 year olds pull up on their scooters, and talk to each other in Corsican, it's a pretty good sign it's a living language. But pretty much everywhere else, it seems to be limited to greetings & idiomatic phrases - does this accord with other people's experiences?
                       
                      best
                      John




                      To: corsicalista@yahoogroups.com
                      From: ina.lancman@...
                      Date: Sat, 8 Aug 2009 19:17:22 -0400
                      Subject: RE: [corsicalista] books recommendations

                       

                      Hi John,
                      The boook sounds very interesting. I imagine I'd be eager to read it upon my return,after having experienced the Corsican dialect first hand.
                      Thanks for your recommendation.
                      Ina


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                    • William Keyser
                      Hello John I guess visitors will tend not to hear the Corsican language (it is not a dialect, by the way). But if you are interested there are plenty of
                      Message 10 of 20 , Aug 10, 2009
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                        Hello John

                        I guess visitors will tend not to hear the Corsican language (it is not a dialect, by the way). But if you are interested there are plenty of Corsicans who speak their language (perhaps not on the beach). If you express an interest, Corsicans will be very helpful and draw you into situations where you can hear it. In my 16 years in Corsica I heard it all the time, but that was because I was in situations where it was natural to do so. One of my grandchildren in Corsica speaks Corsican as well as French and her native English. Bearing mind that staff may be French, the local tourist information center wherever you find yourself would probably be able to help. People love sharing their culture and too few visitors express an interest, but be sure NOT to ask about the Corsican dialect!

                        Will
                        --
                        Will Keyser
                        WorkSavvy LLC
                        www.worksavvy.biz
                        S
                        ustainability from the Startup
                      • Mimi Forsyth
                        Thank you, Will. Your remarks go with the live IN Corsica vs. live ON Corsica discussion. Maybe some of the confusion about Corsican LANGUAGE stems from it
                        Message 11 of 20 , Aug 10, 2009
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                          Thank you, Will. Your remarks go with the "live IN Corsica vs. live ON Corsica" discussion. Maybe some of the confusion about Corsican LANGUAGE stems from it being related to DIALECTS of Genovese & Toscano.
                          -Mimi
                          On Aug 10, 2009, at 6:29 AM, William Keyser wrote:


                          Hello John

                          I guess visitors will tend not to hear the Corsican language (it is not a dialect, by the way). But if you are interested there are plenty of Corsicans who speak their language (perhaps not on the beach). If you express an interest, Corsicans will be very helpful and draw you into situations where you can hear it. In my 16 years in Corsica I heard it all the time, but that was because I was in situations where it was natural to do so. One of my grandchildren in Corsica speaks Corsican as well as French and her native English. Bearing mind that staff may be French, the local tourist information center wherever you find yourself would probably be able to help. People love sharing their culture and too few visitors express an interest, but be sure NOT to ask about the Corsican dialect!

                          Will

                          -- 
                          Will Keyser
                          WorkSavvy LLC
                          www.worksavvy. biz
                          S
                          ustainability from the Startup


                        • Mirko Viviani
                          Corsican is not a dialect but is quite like a mix, merge and variations of some italian dialects. An italian should mostly understand it, as Corsicans mostly
                          Message 12 of 20 , Aug 10, 2009
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                            On 10/ago/09, at 18:29, William Keyser wrote:

                            I guess visitors will tend not to hear the Corsican language (it is not a dialect, by the way). But if you are interested there are plenty of Corsicans who speak their language (perhaps not on the beach). If you express an interest, Corsicans will be very helpful and draw you into situations where you can hear it. In my 16 years in Corsica I heard it all the time, but that was because I was in situations where it was natural to do so. One of my grandchildren in Corsica speaks Corsican as well as French and her native English. Bearing mind that staff may be French, the local tourist information center wherever you find yourself would probably be able to help. People love sharing their culture and too few visitors express an interest, but be sure NOT to ask about the Corsican dialect!

                            Corsican is not a dialect but is quite like a mix, merge and variations of some italian dialects.
                            An italian should mostly understand it, as Corsicans mostly understand italian.

                            As a Bastiais man told me: "corse c'est presque l'italien" and since at the time I did understand only some
                            french words he started speaking in corse!

                            -- 
                            Ciao,
                            Mirko

                          • John E. Richardson
                            hi all, well, I didn t describe Corsican as a dialect (in fact I called it a language 3 times in my short email), so perhaps this comment from Will was
                            Message 13 of 20 , Aug 11, 2009
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                              hi all,

                              well, I didn't describe Corsican as a dialect (in fact I called it a language 3 times in my short email), so perhaps this comment from Will was directed elsewhere?
                              Mirko is correct, though I think we also have to make a distinction between Corsican in written & spoken discourse. I have friends who speak Italian, but no Corsican, and they can read Corsican perfectly; in contrast, these same people can hardly understand a word when it is spoken, due to the phonetic shifts particular to Corsican.
                              There is also a divergence between many Corsicans' fluency in speaking Corsican and their literacy - partly due to the exclusion of Corsican from the schooling system (I have interviewed many journalists who spoke of literally being beaten if they were overheard speaking Corsican) and partly due to the (in my view unsatisfactory) way the language was standardised in a way that bears little relation to spoken Corsican.
                              Will is correct that it is spoken in particular situations - and some sociolinguists approach it as a language of the home. My point was that there is only one place, in almost 4 months of staying on the island, including a research trip, that I heard it spoken spontaneously in the public.

                              best wishes
                              John


                              To: corsicalista@yahoogroups.com
                              From: mirko.viviani@...
                              Date: Mon, 10 Aug 2009 20:56:34 +0200
                              Subject: Re: [corsicalista] Re: books recommendations

                               

                              On 10/ago/09, at 18:29, William Keyser wrote:

                              I guess visitors will tend not to hear the Corsican language (it is not a dialect, by the way). But if you are interested there are plenty of Corsicans who speak their language (perhaps not on the beach). If you express an interest, Corsicans will be very helpful and draw you into situations where you can hear it. In my 16 years in Corsica I heard it all the time, but that was because I was in situations where it was natural to do so. One of my grandchildren in Corsica speaks Corsican as well as French and her native English. Bearing mind that staff may be French, the local tourist information center wherever you find yourself would probably be able to help. People love sharing their culture and too few visitors express an interest, but be sure NOT to ask about the Corsican dialect!

                              Corsican is not a dialect but is quite like a mix, merge and variations of some italian dialects.
                              An italian should mostly understand it, as Corsicans mostly understand italian.

                              As a Bastiais man told me: "corse c'est presque l'italien" and since at the time I did understand only some
                              french words he started speaking in corse!

                              -- 
                              Ciao,
                              Mirko




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                            • Mac McKeone
                              Greetings, everybody. This thread could run and run... The language versus dialect issue is a touchy one and is clearly bound up with the island s worthy
                              Message 14 of 20 , Aug 11, 2009
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                                Greetings, everybody.

                                This thread could run and run... The language versus dialect issue is a touchy one and is clearly bound up with the island's worthy struggle to keep and enhance its own identity. I'm firmly in the "language" camp.

                                In Merimée's "Colomba" the author (OK, he was a Parisian writing in the 1840s) refers to the language throughout as a "dialect". This has always puzzled me because at the time the Italian language was yet to be born. Italy was home to a number of different languages then and Corsica was not included when the languages were rationalised later that century. How can Corsican possibly be a dialect of Italian when it predates the creation of the Italian language?

                                As for Italians not understanding spoken Corsican, I have read in the pages of Corse Matin that the Corsican spoken in some parts is even hard to understand by people living in other parts of the island... One correspondent to the newspaper dismissed the idea of Corsica being a single language, claiming that Corsican is a collection of languages. Nothing here is that simple!

                                Not so long ago, I saw a group of Italian youngsters reading an inscription in Corsican on a monument, and giggling at the strange words and spellings, but they understood it OK.

                                While we are on the subject, I have been trying for over a year to find someone to write an article or two about the Corsican language for our newsletter Corsica Bullitinu. Nobody with the appropriate authority seems to want to write about it. Anybody got any suggestions? Mac
                              • aliandian@aol.com
                                Just to add my two hap’orth on a subject which never ceases to fascinate...  I absolutely concur that Corsican is a language - this is a political, not a
                                Message 15 of 20 , Aug 11, 2009
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                                  Just to add my two hap’orth on a subject which never ceases to fascinate...  I absolutely concur that Corsican is a language - this is a political, not a linguistic judgement. But there is no mistaking its close relationship to Italian, and from a linguistic point of view it is instructive to see how it slots in alongside the dialects of Italian that are spoken all over the peninsula. This is a sample page from a very interesting website which does exactly that.
                                  http://www.dialettando.com/?-session=dialetti:5702CFF013cd521233nIU10C3B15
                                  When Pascal Paoli and those of his time studied in Italy, presumably they spoke whatever Italian (dialect) was prevalent where they were, be it Ligurian or Tuscan etc. Even within mainstream Italian there are still important differences between regions eg here in Milan they do not use the passé simple/past historic in spoken Italian, just as the French don’t, whereas in Tuscany and further south (and in Corsica) they do (or did – I wonder if that’s changing with 240 years of French influence?). But Italian was also the official written language in Corsica until the middle of the 19th century I believe, so which Italian was that? Tuscan presumably.
                                   As for Corsican being a ‘language of the home’ I have heard it used regularly in Algajola eg in bars and between workmen, particularly out of season, so it’s clearly not limited only to the home. But it is certainly in some senses a private language; the feeble attempts I have made to engage people in Corsican have all come to nothing, which is very frustrating when you’re trying to learn! But the fact is that I don’t participate in the private space where Corsican is spoken, only in the public domain, where French is the norm. And of course there are many non-Corsicans in Corsica, as well as Corsicans of an intermediate generation who didn’t learn it either at home or at school.
                                  Salute à tutti
                                  Alison
                                   



                                  -----Original Message-----
                                  From: Mac McKeone <mac@...>
                                  To: corsicalista@yahoogroups.com
                                  Sent: Tue, 11 Aug 2009 12:50
                                  Subject: [corsicalista] Re: books recommendations

                                   
                                  Greetings, everybody.

                                  This thread could run and run... The language versus dialect issue is a touchy one and is clearly bound up with the island's worthy struggle to keep and enhance its own identity. I'm firmly in the "language" camp.

                                  In Merimée's "Colomba" the author (OK, he was a Parisian writing in the 1840s) refers to the language throughout as a "dialect". This has always puzzled me because at the time the Italian language was yet to be born. Italy was home to a number of different languages then and Corsica was not included when the languages were rationalised later that century. How can Corsican possibly be a dialect of Italian when it predates the creation of the Italian language?

                                  As for Italians not understanding spoken Corsican, I have read in the pages of Corse Matin that the Corsican spoken in some parts is even hard to understand by people living in other parts of the island... One correspondent to the newspaper dismissed the idea of Corsica being a single language, claiming that Corsican is a collection of languages. Nothing here is that simple!

                                  Not so long ago, I saw a group of Italian youngsters reading an inscription in Corsican on a monument, and giggling at the strange words and spellings, but they understood it OK.
                                  0A
                                  While we are on the subject, I have been trying for over a year to find someone to write an article or two about the Corsican language for our newsletter Corsica Bullitinu. Nobody with the appropriate authority seems to want to write about it. Anybody got any suggestions? Mac

                                • William Edgar
                                  To: John From: Awilda (Villarini) I appreciate your information about the Corsican language predating Italian. I have heard Catalan spoken in Spain
                                  Message 16 of 20 , Aug 11, 2009
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                                    To:        John
                                    From:    Awilda (Villarini)
                                     
                                    I appreciate your information about the Corsican language predating Italian.  I have heard Catalan spoken in Spain and it too contains elements of
                                    Latin, French and other influences.  I imagine Corsican is a mixture as well.  The indigenous people of Spain were the Iberians hence Spain's original name--
                                    Iberia.  Then came the Celtic invasion and a mixture took place resulting in the Celt-Iberians.  This of course was followed by the Phoenicians, Visigoths, Greeks, Romans and lastly, the Moors and Jews.  I presume Corsica had invasions by other sea-faring cultures including Moorish pirates.
                                     
                                    What little Corsican I have heard sounds beautiful as well as the native music.  My Corsican ancestors were from the northern part of the island from around Bastia.  They traveled to Puerto Rico in the late 1880's and became coffee growers, grocery store owners, farmers and local politicians including several "mayors" of towns such as Cayey, Juncos and Yauco.  Now, the Corsican bloodline has intermixed with the Spanish in Puerto Rico.  I am Corsican from my maternal great-grandmother--Gabriela Villarini Colau.  I am researching the origin of the Villarini's and would be grateful for any information on their whereabouts in Corsica.  I plan to re-visit Corsica in the near future.  I only toured Ajaccio and the neighboring countryside while on a cruise several years ago.  I need to go back.
                                     
                                     
                                    ----- Original Message -----
                                    Sent: Tuesday, August 11, 2009 1:39 AM
                                    Subject: RE: [corsicalista] Re: books recommendations

                                     

                                    hi all,

                                    well, I didn't describe Corsican as a dialect (in fact I called it a language 3 times in my short email), so perhaps this comment from Will was directed elsewhere?
                                    Mirko is correct, though I think we also have to make a distinction between Corsican in written & spoken discourse. I have friends who speak Italian, but no Corsican, and they can read Corsican perfectly; in contrast, these same people can hardly understand a word when it is spoken, due to the phonetic shifts particular to Corsican.
                                    There is also a divergence between many Corsicans' fluency in speaking Corsican and their literacy - partly due to the exclusion of Corsican from the schooling system (I have interviewed many journalists who spoke of literally being beaten if they were overheard speaking Corsican) and partly due to the (in my view unsatisfactory) way the language was standardised in a way that bears little relation to spoken Corsican.
                                    Will is correct that it is spoken in particular situations - and some sociolinguists approach it as a language of the home. My point was that there is only one place, in almost 4 months of staying on the island, including a research trip, that I heard it spoken spontaneously in the public.

                                    best wishes
                                    John


                                    To: corsicalista@ yahoogroups. com
                                    From: mirko.viviani@ gmail.com
                                    Date: Mon, 10 Aug 2009 20:56:34 +0200
                                    Subject: Re: [corsicalista] Re: books recommendations

                                     

                                    On 10/ago/09, at 18:29, William Keyser wrote:

                                    I guess visitors will tend not to hear the Corsican language (it is not a dialect, by the way). But if you are interested there are plenty of Corsicans who speak their language (perhaps not on the beach). If you express an interest, Corsicans will be very helpful and draw you into situations where you can hear it. In my 16 years in Corsica I heard it all the time, but that was because I was in situations where it was natural to do so. One of my grandchildren in Corsica speaks Corsican as well as French and her native English. Bearing mind that staff may be French, the local tourist information center wherever you find yourself would probably be able to help. People love sharing their culture and too few visitors express an interest, but be sure NOT to ask about the Corsican dialect!

                                    Corsican is not a dialect but is quite like a mix, merge and variations of some italian dialects.
                                    An italian should mostly understand it, as Corsicans mostly understand italian.

                                    As a Bastiais man told me: "corse c'est presque l'italien" and since at the time I did understand only some
                                    french words he started speaking in corse!

                                    -- 
                                    Ciao,
                                    Mirko




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                                  • John E. Richardson
                                    hi Mac, you could always ask Alexandra Jaffe: http://www.csulb.edu/depts/ling/f_jaffe.php she is about as authoritative as they come on this subject. all the
                                    Message 17 of 20 , Aug 11, 2009
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                                      hi Mac,

                                      you could always ask Alexandra Jaffe:
                                      http://www.csulb.edu/depts/ling/f_jaffe.php
                                      she is about as authoritative as they come on this subject.

                                      all the best
                                      John




                                      To: corsicalista@yahoogroups.com
                                      From: mac@...
                                      Date: Tue, 11 Aug 2009 10:50:54 +0000
                                      Subject: [corsicalista] Re: books recommendations

                                       
                                      Greetings, everybody.

                                      This thread could run and run... The language versus dialect issue is a touchy one and is clearly bound up with the island's worthy struggle to keep and enhance its own identity. I'm firmly in the "language" camp.

                                      In Merimée's "Colomba" the author (OK, he was a Parisian writing in the 1840s) refers to the language throughout as a "dialect". This has always puzzled me because at the time the Italian language was yet to be born. Italy was home to a number of different languages then and Corsica was not included when the languages were rationalised later that century. How can Corsican possibly be a dialect of Italian when it predates the creation of the Italian language?

                                      As for Italians not understanding spoken Corsican, I have read in the pages of Corse Matin that the Corsican spoken in some parts is even hard to understand by people living in other parts of the island... One correspondent to the newspaper dismissed the idea of Corsica being a single language, claiming that Corsican is a collection of languages. Nothing here is that simple!

                                      Not so long ago, I saw a group of Italian youngsters reading an inscription in Corsican on a monument, and giggling at the strange words and spellings, but they understood it OK.

                                      While we are on the subject, I have been trying for over a year to find someone to write an article or two about the Corsican language for our newsletter Corsica Bullitinu. Nobody with the appropriate authority seems to want to write about it. Anybody got any suggestions? Mac




                                      Internet Explorer 8 - accelerate your Hotmail. Download Internet Explorer 8
                                    • William Keyser
                                      I can t resist carrying on the linguistic discussion, briefly - sorry Mac (and I will write separately about finding an author). For people who visit Corsica
                                      Message 18 of 20 , Aug 11, 2009
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                                        I can't resist carrying on the linguistic discussion, briefly - sorry Mac (and I will write separately about finding an author). For people who visit Corsica on vacation and want to hear Corsican: in addition to my previous suggestion about tourist offices, here are some others: (i) go to the village I used to live in (Calenzana) and hang out in the Bar Royale in the main square; (ii) catch Italian tourists speaking with locals, since the chances are high that the visitors will speak Italian while the locals reply in Corsican (given the Tuscan roots of Corsican, there is enough overlap for mutual comprehension); (iii) go to a Corsican polyphony concert - you may have difficulty following the words, but they'll all be Corsican, except when it's Latin or the group is singing a foreign (eg Georgian or Sardinian) song.

                                        Will (from Vermont, with wry amusement at having just ended a Skype conversation with my son on his iPhone on Calvi beach via the Licorne Cafe's WiFi!)

                                        -- In corsicalista@yahoogroups.com, "John E. Richardson" <John_E_Richardson@...> wrote:
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > hi Mac,
                                        >
                                        > you could always ask Alexandra Jaffe:
                                        > http://www.csulb.edu/depts/ling/f_jaffe.php
                                        > she is about as authoritative as they come on this subject.
                                        >
                                        > all the best
                                        > John
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > To: corsicalista@yahoogroups.com
                                        > From: mac@...
                                        > Date: Tue, 11 Aug 2009 10:50:54 +0000
                                        > Subject: [corsicalista] Re: books recommendations
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > Greetings, everybody.
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > This thread could run and run... The language versus dialect issue is a touchy one and is clearly bound up with the island's worthy struggle to keep and enhance its own identity. I'm firmly in the "language" camp.
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > In Merimée's "Colomba" the author (OK, he was a Parisian writing in the 1840s) refers to the language throughout as a "dialect". This has always puzzled me because at the time the Italian language was yet to be born. Italy was home to a number of different languages then and Corsica was not included when the languages were rationalised later that century. How can Corsican possibly be a dialect of Italian when it predates the creation of the Italian language?
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > As for Italians not understanding spoken Corsican, I have read in the pages of Corse Matin that the Corsican spoken in some parts is even hard to understand by people living in other parts of the island... One correspondent to the newspaper dismissed the idea of Corsica being a single language, claiming that Corsican is a collection of languages. Nothing here is that simple!
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > Not so long ago, I saw a group of Italian youngsters reading an inscription in Corsican on a monument, and giggling at the strange words and spellings, but they understood it OK.
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > While we are on the subject, I have been trying for over a year to find someone to write an article or two about the Corsican language for our newsletter Corsica Bullitinu. Nobody with the appropriate authority seems to want to write about it. Anybody got any suggestions? Mac
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
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                                        > _________________________________________________________________
                                        > Windows Live Messenger: Thanks for 10 great years—enjoy free winks and emoticons.
                                        > http://clk.atdmt.com/UKM/go/157562755/direct/01/
                                        >
                                      • Mirko Viviani
                                        ... It seems to me that your friends are not italians, am I right? I have some children books translated by Francescu Maria Perfettini and I can told you as
                                        Message 19 of 20 , Aug 11, 2009
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                                          On 11/ago/09, at 10:39, John E. Richardson wrote:

                                          Mirko is correct, though I think we also have to make a distinction between Corsican in written & spoken discourse. I have friends who speak Italian, but no Corsican, and they can read Corsican perfectly; in contrast, these same people can hardly understand a word when it is spoken, due to the phonetic shifts particular to Corsican. 

                                          It seems to me that your friends are not italians, am I right?

                                          I have some children books translated by Francescu Maria Perfettini and I can told you as Italian that I can't fully
                                          read them, but to understand I try to speak the unknown word or phrase to form the sound.

                                          Will is correct that it is spoken in particular situations - and some sociolinguists approach it as a language of the home. My point was that there is only one place, in almost 4 months of staying on the island, including a research trip, that I heard it spoken spontaneously in the public. 

                                          Italian language have many different dialects and many sub-dialects probably one for city, that the
                                          republic has not explicitly forbidden, but aren't spoken in school.
                                          The family doesn't incite its childs to learn the local dialect and to speak it in public because
                                          is like being ignorant/uneducated.

                                          Is not rare to hear by elderly people that they speak in dialect because they haven't learnt the mainstream language.
                                          (usually because their family didn't have the resources or they didn't like it)

                                          A good strategy by the italian republic to destroy the old culture...

                                          I have read something similar in the past about the Corsu, but I don't have references.
                                          Anyway this is a quite different story because the main language, French, is completely different from Corsican
                                          and in my view is a win.

                                          -- 
                                          Ciao,
                                          Mirko
                                        • Mirko Viviani
                                          ... Probably it goes in pair with this: how can Tuscany be considered an Italian dialect if it had originated the language? ... Frequently, I think newspapers
                                          Message 20 of 20 , Aug 11, 2009
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                                            On 11/ago/09, at 12:50, Mac McKeone wrote:

                                            How can Corsican possibly be a dialect of Italian when it predates the creation of the Italian language?

                                            Probably it goes in pair with this: how can Tuscany be considered an Italian dialect if it had originated the language?

                                            As for Italians not understanding spoken Corsican, I have read in the pages of Corse Matin that the Corsican spoken in some parts is even hard to understand by people living in other parts of the island... One correspondent to the newspaper dismissed the idea of Corsica being a single language, claiming that Corsican is a collection of languages. Nothing here is that simple!

                                            Frequently, I think newspapers are written on the moon... first of all italians should understand Corsican and I don't why
                                            and how they shouldn't. Maybe you need a bit of training, but it isn't difficult.

                                            Second it seems to me normal that in different parts of the island there are different phonetics, etc. if you look at the
                                            morphology of the Corse and his means of transports this shouldn't surprise.
                                            Here there are different phonetics in two cities separated by a river. And if you go in mountains is not so rare
                                            to understand nothing if they speak in pure dialect with local accent. Only 50-100 km!

                                            In Bonifacio the language should be genois as in Carloforte, sud Sardinia.

                                            Not so long ago, I saw a group of Italian youngsters reading an inscription in Corsican on a monument, and giggling at the strange words and spellings, but they understood it OK.

                                            I don't know exactly what you mean with giggling, but it's not always a lack of respect... often it is the exact opposite.

                                            -- 
                                            Ciao,
                                            Mirko
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