Resian language orthography

versione italiana

Resian idiom was handed down orally until the end of 1700 century, when the local priest gave the Polish Count Jan Potocki a manuscript in Resian parlance entitled "Cratca dottrina cristiansca", subsequently in 1797 the priest Francesco Domenico Micelli from Gniva gave the Christian doctrine manual "Libri od luzi nebesche" to the scholar J. Baudouin de Courtenay. From that period, studies and collections of various written material had started mainly by eminent scholars who tried to reproduce faithfully the sounds of Resian alphabet.

In 1977, when the choir Monte Canin decided to include in its repertoire also Resian songs, the problem of how to transcribe the songs and what kind of writing system to use arose. The only known texts recovered up to that moment came from the collection made by the musicologist Ella von Schultz Adajewski, reviewed by the scholar De Courtenay and published by Arturo Longhino Archetou. At that time, a new literary cultural ferment began in Resia, investing finally also part of the population. The international congress, held in Prato di Resia and organized by the Columbia University of New York for the 50th anniversary from the death of Jan Baudouin de Courtenay, contributed significantly to awaken consciences asleep for too long. During that seminar, the world greatest Slavonic scholars scheduled this appointment to deal with the problems ofy of Resian orthography. There were many speeches and many attempts to create a new writing system and common alphabet. I remember the proposals made by Professor Eric P. Hamp form Chicago University, by Professor Milko Maticetow from Ljubljana University, by Professor G.B. Pellegrini and by the Resian aficionados Arturo Longhino Arktu, Giovanni Clemente Tomaeć and Aldo Madotto Ćakarynu. At the end of the three days of meeting not only the guidelines for a common writing system werent been established, even further confusion had been created. The following year was pursued another attempt, again with negative results. Even if the two seminars failed to establish a common line, they promoted however consciousness raising among Resians, who from that moment realized the importance of transmitting in writing their language. During the two quoted meetings, some scholars had proposed Slovenian writing system, others suggested to coin a new orthographic system, everyone, however, strengthened the awareness that the Slovenian alphabet was insufficient to reproduce all Resian sounds. When those responsible for the choir, which at the beginning of the eighties had already included at least eight Resian songs in the repertoire, had to face the necessity of writing songs lyrics and titles for the events they were invited to, the problem of writing became urgent and difficult because it was necessary to make the text easily readable. Indeed, in order to reproduce all the phonetic nuances of a word, it is required fidelity, accuracy and at the same time simplicity for Resians to be able to use the new writing system; clarity, immediacy and convenience must be achieved as well, therefore, symbols daily used in Italian orthography could favour easy mechanic reading.

The biggest problem was and still is constituted by the use of letter "c" to reproduce the sound "z".

The majority of Resian population disagrees with the imposition of that letter and the feedback is evident in the animated discussions and in the manual corrections made to toponomastic bilingual road signs adopted recently. Assuming therefore that letter z were to match the sound currently and historically known by the Resians, basing the choices on the suggestions arisen from the conclusive acts of the meeting of 21 August 1980 and drawing on the proposals made by Arturo Longhino, Rino Chinese, Aldo Madotto, Antonio Longhino and professor Hamp, the writer has decided do create a new alphabet, which from that moment became the official writing system for Coro Monte Canin written acts. After putting this first cornerstone, other choices were consequential, e.g. the way to reproduce the three "s" alveolar voiceless, voiced and palatal voiceless. I used the Croatian alphabet to solve the problem of sounds "ć" and "ģ", but the real obstacle was the sound "" because, in my opinion, it represents the only letter difficult to be understood by Italian readers. Another graphic problem was represented by the vowels that are very closed, especially in the dialect of Lypvz. It was necessary to use the sign of umlaut to diversify the soft vowels from the hard ones. The so-adapted alphabet allowed the choir to publish in 1991 a collection of Resian song papers, "Lipe roize", which became, in a very short period of time, clear and immediate reading tool of quick reference for many conductors that, thanks to that brochure, began to include Resian songs in their repertoire. In Resia, however, non-Resian scholars imposed a Slovenian writing system, this has the merit of making visible the Slavonic matrix of our language, but at the same time it makes impossible to understand exactly sounds and nuances of Resian language. My contribution is what can be offered by a modest self-taught aficionado of the culture of his land, which strives to hand down to posterity an aspect of lexical richness of a people threatened with extinction.

Resian language alphabet
 Resian alphabet Matching sound in italian Resian example Translation
asoft aalbdawn
hard adrtto keep
čci, cečenče, čylo without, forehead
ćcj, tjĆanenMount Canin
esweet etetto go
hard ettto want
gg, ge, giglyng, gjhto ring, game
ģgj, tjģj, ģjt yes, to say
hh, hhhr, hhlotmountain, wood
isoft iisthis
yhard ivydtto see
jsemiconsonant ijdpeople
kca, co, cu, che, chi, qukak, kust how, bone
llln, litmoon, years
osoft oovnram
hard oblkcloud
ss like in "sweet"strold
śs like in "rose"śvyśd star
tttu traveon the grass
usoft uukwolf
hard ulbull
zz, dzzstroad
j (in French)nwoman