Catalan in Sardinia

I have a mild interest in the minority languages of Italy (all of them, basically, including standard Italian are minority languages in their own way) so I was entertained by this:

Contains the quote

“You can organize conferences, publish books and do many other things,
but speaking is the only thing that really keeps a language alive,”

which pretty much nails it.

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I have a great love of Sardegna as the result of many work and pleasure visits and have been intrigued by the incredible number of dialects of Sardo which co-exist in such a small island, I’ve spent some time in Alghero where Catalan is indeed widely spoken there and mutually comprehensible I understand with the Catalan of the Balearic Islands.

I’ve arranged and taken part in a number of cultural exchanges between Cagliari and Aberystwyth with the help and guidance of a particularly energetic Sardo. From these I have learned that there are many parallels between Cymru and Sardegna including our respective linguistic relationship with English and Italian.

It’s a wonderful island to visit, BTW, with an incredibly diverse history. Just look where it sits in the Southern Med to understand this.


Did you know that an Aber girl (via Llandrindod and Brecon) was recently playing Futsal professionally (Wales’s only professional Futsal player, I think) in Sardinia?'s%20Italian%20dreams%20come%20true&sectionIs=sport&searchyear=2015

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No I didn’t Rob. Thanks for drawing it to my intention. I must admit, I’d never heard of Futsal till I googled it 2 mins ago. More surprisingly, I’d never heard of the commune of Sinnai till I looked it up at the same time. I must have driven through it, though.

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Some years ago I attended the Catalan Summer University held every year in Prades, since it was set up as a clandestine thing in France during the Franco period, and heard a talk by the then mayor or ex-mayor of Alghero/Alguer. Catalan from Alguer does have some dialectal traits of its own – borrowings from Sard and Italian, plus some cross-linguistically fairly common shticks like -r- swapping places with other letters in a word etc. – but a speaker who is presumably well-educated and/or making a bit of an effort was certainly easily comprehensible to other Catalan speakers. (Actually, a damn’ sight more so than Balearic speakers, who I usually see as the Catalan equivalent of Geordies – i.e. it’s officially the same language, but you wouldn’t know it to listen to them…)
The most striking thing about the mayor of Alguer, though, was how bouncy his Catalan was: Catalan speakers, especially male ones, usually tend to an unexpressive, gravelly monotone, but he spoke with a clearly Italian, much more musical prosody. There was an Italian fellow-student in the talk with me, who said to me afterwards that he reckoned his Catalan tutor would have killed him if he’d spoken with the same accent!
(Incidentally, my Catalan tutor at the time said to me that when he’d been to Italy, he hadn’t bothered trying to learn more than a few words of Italian: he just spoke Catalan more musically, and he got by fine!)


I am a fluent Welsh speaker who teaches Welsh -second language but my birth father and my ancestors are from Sardinia, a place where I’ve never been to and now nothing about. As this is part of my family’s history it upsets me. Is there any way I can join you and a group on a future visit? Grazie.

I think you’re very lucky to have Welsh and Sardo ancestry. I really hope you can get to the isalnd of your paternal forebears.

Unfortunately, I have been retired for many years and the visits I made to Sardegna were organised by the British Council or my office at Prifysgol Aberystwyth for academic exchanges.

However :smile:… I am still in Christmas-card-contact with my energetic friend in Cagliari whose efforts for Sardo-British liaison and cultural exchanges earned him an MBE from Principe/Tywysog Carlo. We have visited each other socially and “officially” on a number of occasions and I still count him as il mio buon amico Sardo

If you are thinking of visiting, I would be delighted to put you in contact. Like you, he is a teacher of second language and I feel sure he would be interested to hear from you. If you tell him a little about your father, he may even be able to suggest good places to visit.

I think Easyjet and Ryanair both have direct flights to Sardegna from UK or, if you like a little more comfort, there are many options via Rome and other European airports.

If and when you intend to go, please send me a private message via this forum (in Welsh, if you want) and I’ll be delighted to contact Franco on your behalf.


Diolch yn fawr iawn. Ydy’ch ffrind ar Facebook? Mae’r teulu’n dod o Cagliari ond ddechreuon nhw allan yn byw yn Alghero. Yr enw teuluol ydy Carboni ac enw fy mamgu oedd Pizzalis. Symudon nhw i Rhufain ac i Napoli rhai blynyddoedd yn ôl ond dw i ddim yn Diolch yn fawr iawn. Ydy’ch ffrind ar Facebook? Mae’r teulu’n dod o Cagliari ond ddechreuon nhw allan yn byw yn Alghero. Yr enw teuluol ydy Carboni ac enw fy mamgu oedd Pizzalis. Symudon nhw i Rhufain ac i Napoli rhai blynyddoedd yn ôl ond dw i ddim yn siwr pryd. Roedd fy nhad yn forwr am gyfnod ac wedyn wedi priodi menyw o Abertawe. Dw i’n byw yn Ystalyfera ond mae caravan gyda ni yn Aberystwyth ar Glan y Môr. Lle bendigedig a hoffwn i ymddeol yno a gore’ pwy gynta’.
Diolch am eich hateb.

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To send a private message to someone, you click on their name and then (in the pop-up window that opens) on ‘Message’.

In the open forum, apart from the ‘Be dach chi’n gwneud?’ practice thread, we try to keep posts in English or in Welsh with a courtesy translation - we’ve discovered over the years that posts entirely in Welsh can be demotivating for the many early stage learners we welcome here… :slight_smile:

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Diolch am 'ch ateb mor glou - dwywaith! :wink:
Ar y fforwm cyhoeddus, dwi meddwl y dylen ni siarad Saesneg, ond os chi moyn anfon PM, bydd Cymraeg yn iawn, wrth gwrs - ond cofiwch - dysgwr ydw i. :smile: (In the forum’s practice, what I hope I said was "Thanks for your reply… then, what Aran said about the use of English :smile: )

If Franco (Staffa) is like me, he will not use Facebook, but his organisation’s website is here. [] ( **
Feel free to contact him directly, if you like. I’m sure he’ll be interested in your family links. He is fluent in Sard, Italian and English but, alas, not Welsh.

** Don’t be put off by “Italia-Inghilterra”. Franco is also very interested in Wales. :smile:

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Beat me to it. :laughing:

Aaaah, sori!


I’m sure Aran would agree “Dim prob o gwbl / No problem at all”
I hope you achieve your aim of getting to Sardinia and do let me know if and when you’d like me to contact Franco.

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Fel ddudodd Huw - no problem at all… :slight_smile:

Can you give some more info on the Satalan Summer Course at Prades?
I organized a summer course in Catalan and later yearly courses in my university. We also celebrated Sant Jordie and Catalan Culture Day but unfortunately this programme has temporarily stopped(you can easily imagine ‘pressures’).

Hi Ajay

It’s not really a summer course in Catalan – what happened was that because education in Catalan was somewhere between non-existent and illegal under Franco, a number of refugees from Spain living in the (historically) Catalan part of France organised an underground summer school in Prades. It was initially a covert thing, an act of resistance; but since the end of Francoism it has become just a summer school for Catalan students (and others), doing classes and workshops on all sorts of different subjects in Catalan. It’s a social and cultural event, and if you’re a student at university the classes are acredited for transferable credits in some way, but it’s no longer an act of resistance in the same way that it once was (although in the current climate I suppose it may once again be felt to be a bit subversive).

When I went there it was the first year that they offered bursaries (of a sort) for foreign Catalan learners to attend: basically we agreed to work a morning or an afternoon every day as part of the organisational team – fetching and carrying, making sure there was an overhead projector in whichever classroom, etc. – in return for free bed and board and the right to attend any of the other activities and classes in our free time. It worked quite well, in that almost all of the other learners spoke Spanish as well – but a couple of us had come to Catalan via French and Occitan, and didn’t – and many of them spoke good English (but not all), and we had a wide variety of first languages (Polish, Italian, English, Hungarian…) – so the only really common language was Catalan, and we all spoke it all the time. I don’t know if they still do the same scheme now.

There’s plenty of information about it on the web, but almost all of it is entirely in Catalan (unsurprisingly): I hope that’s OK. There’s a Wikipedia entry in Catalan and in Spanish, and the official website is here.