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Identità e tutela Val Resia

How did the first Resian dictionary originate

Rośajanskë – Laškë Bisidnjäk
Resian – Italian dictionary

versione italiana

In 1977 I began to collect Resian words because, as president of the choir Monte Canin Val Resia, I assumed the task of transcribing the songs lyrics that, at that time, began to be part of the repertoire of the group.

The difficulty of recovering the exact terminology, often altered by the records handed down, led me to go and verify on the territory, mainly through the comparison with the interviews of elderly people in the valley who had memories on the examined topic.

In the course of time, spread papers on which I used to take notes and annotations increased more and more. For order reasons, it was therefore necessary to control them, transcribe them.

The first obstacle had been the writing system, a problem that until that time only a few people had faced, since the transmission of Resian culture was essentially oral. I adapted signs to the graphologic knowledge (Italian) of the population, making efforts to transcribe the phonemes as precisely as possible. I noticed that the reading was understandable and above all faithful even to those who were not familiar with the Slovenian alphabet, which Resian language might require, but that does not always allow an exact and full phonetic realization.

The words

Approximately 6,500 Resian words compose this work.

Among a large number of words still commonly used, there are also ancient terms found in documents written in the past centuries, words fallen into disuse that could be retrieved for recent writings, as it has happened for some terms.

More and more abundant are neologisms adapted to Resian language and required by the language of politics, science, technology, economics and present social life.

The thorniest aspect is the translation, which does not always reflect easily and mechanically the Resian concept and the knowledge of the valley inhabitants. The Resian language, archaic and rich, contains beautiful, onomatopoeic and effective words to express the corresponding concept, but those words are not always well known and, even if they were known, they does not always come into mind in the appropriate moment. This work required, in fact, a continuous check on the ground and a frequent comparison of opinions and suggestions. Certainly there is no perfection, but who will use this collection of words, also comparing it with the work of other researchers, can understand the commitment and seriousness that inspired this research.

Proper names and family names

In a small community names are often similar and it could be difficult to identify the person, whom the speech is addressed to. Therefore, even in remote times supplementary names were attributed to the families, they were often linked to the rank, to the activity, to the places of origin, to fantasies or to events occurred. Many of these nicknames, after the compulsory Italianization process, in turn became surnames.

During the research and transcription of Resian nicknames often emerged approximate forms. To understand the sense of belonging to a specific family, it seemed appropriate to use the morpheme öu, typical of the possessive adjective, for all the items collected.

However, only personal proper names different from Italian names have been included in the dictionary.


SI hope I made a useful contribution to the culture I belong to, providing an easy reference-tool for those who still speak this language and a starting point for scholars of Resian language. It has been a long and costly commitment that I have willingly carried out for the love of my origin, my world and my loved ones.

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