Speak the Lingo
Sure the Italian is spoken everywhere on the island but Sardinia also have their unique native tongue known as Sardu. Like Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, and Catalan, Sardinian is a Romance language, which means that it developed from Latin. Some may think that Sardu is a dialect of Italian but it’s a distinctive language of its own. In fact, it is the most characteristic of Latin languages as they preserved the original traits of the language in its isolation.
There are two macro varieties spoken depending on the region, Logudorese is spoken in the centre and north and Campidanese is spoken in the south of the island. There is no known standard spelling system for the language so there are quite a few variations, but as far as the pronunciation goes, it tends to be spelled the way it sounds and pronounced most similar to Italian.
Besides Sardu and Italian that are used on the island, Catalan also remains in the influence in the north-western city of Alghero where quite a few locals still speak Algherese, which is a dialect of Catalan.
Sadly, Sardu is listed in UNESCO’s Endangered Languages. Mainly because there are many dialects and the fact that it does not have an agreed codified standard version hold back its use in education. Both Sardu and Catalan languages are only taught at primary level as an optional extra subject outside school hours. There is also a lack of teachers for Sardu due to a lack of textbooks so the use of Sardu by young people has been in decline for many years. Nowadays, more and more efforts are being made to keep the island’s ancient language alive; many cultural associations organize Sardu courses and there are an increasing number of courses offered online.
Generally, Italian will get you everywhere in Sardinia but here are few phrases in Sardu (Logudorese) to get you in with the locals.
English – Logudorese – Italian
- Good day = Bonas dies = Buon giorno
- Please = Pro Piaghere (po pra-gε-rε) = Per piacere
- Thank you = Gratzias = Grazie
- Thanks a lot = Gratzias meda [gra-tsiar mε-ða] = Grazie mille
- You’re welcome = De nudda = Prego
- Good Afternoon = Bona tarde = Buon pomeriggio
- Good evening/night = Bona note = Buona sera
- Goodbye = Adiosu = Arrivederci
- a bit = unu pagu = un po
- a bit of = unu pagu de = un po ’di
- a lot = meda = un sacco
- What’s your name? = Ite ti nas? = Come ti chiami?
- My name is __ = Mi naro __ = Il mio nome è __
- Nice to meet you = Praghere = Piacere di conoscerti
- Where is…? = Inuve est…? = Dov’è…?
- the restaurant = su ristorante = il ristorante
- the hotel = s’albergu = l’albergo
- the café = su caffè = il caffè
- Is there…? = A b’est…? = È lì…?
- There is… = B’est… = C’è…
- water = s’abba = acqua
- wine = su binu = vino
History of Sardu
“The year 1700 marks the passage of Sardinia from the Spanish dominion to the Piedmonts and in the first half of the century persists a bilingual situation: people speak Sardinian and Spanish. Later people are obliged to use Italian as the official language and simultaneously the use of Latin diminuished. The interest for the Sardinian language continues also in the 18th century while Italian spread all over the country. The real inversion of tendency begins after 1861 with the Italian unity. Meanwhile Italian becomes more and more ufficial. The dialect, however, was still diffused. Sardinian means various dialectal forms excluding the dialects of Alghero, Catalan linguistics ilse, and of Carloforte and Calasetta, Genoan linguistics isle.”