In English followed by Sicilian:
This week is the end of my 90 Day Challenge to learn Sicilian. I already speak Italian and I have been to Sicily so I thought it would be interesting to try and learn Sicilian. After 90 days, I made a video speaking in Sicilian for 15 minutes with my tutor.
The language of Sicily is spoken by around 4 million people. Many people believe that Sicilian is a dialect of Italian. However, this is not true as Sicilian is actually older than Italian and was the first Romance language to develop from Latin with some words influenced by French, Arabic and Greek. Written documents in Sicilian have been found from the 13th century. However, Sicilian is still not an official language in Italy or Sicily.
Sicilian can also be divided into various dialects. Most resources are in the western dialects. However, I have been learning the dialect from Catania which is the one that my tutor speaks. I have therefore been able to use resources in the western dialects and easily change them to Catanian dialect with the help of my tutor. Most material is in Italian although there are some books published in English. There is no formal spelling system in Sicilian and the books I have listed here show the various ways to spell words if necessary.
Sta simana finisci a mo sfida pi mparari u sicilianu in 90 ionna. Pozzu ggià parrari italianu e iu ì in Sicilia, quindi pinsai ca puteva essiri ‘nteressanti pruvari a mparari u sicilianu. Dopu 90 ionna, fici ‘n video parrannu in sicilianu câ mo prufissurissa.
A lingua da Sicilia è parrata da 4 miliuni di cristiani. Assai cristiani crìdunu ca ‘u sicilianu è ‘n dialettu di l’italianu. Tuttavia, chistu non è veru picchì u sicilianu è cchiù vecchiu di l’ italianu e era a prima lingua romanza sviluppata do latinu. Ci su cetti paroli di origini greca, araba o francisi. Documenti scritti in sicilianu furunu truvati duranti u tridicesimu seculu. Tuttavia, u sicilianu non è àncora ‘na lingua ufficiali né in Italia né in Sicilia.
U sicilianu pò essiri suddivisu in divessi dialetti. A maggiuranza di materiali disponibili pi studiari si trova supra u dialettu occidentali. Tuttavia, staiu mparannu u dialettu di Catania, picchì a mo prufissurissa parra stu dialettu. Quindi, putevu usari u materiali cû dialettu occidentali e u modificai facimmenti cu l’aiutu dâ mo prufissurissa.
A maggioppatti do materiali è in italianu ma ci su cetti libbri pubblicati in inglisi. Non c’è ‘n sistema fommali d’ortografia in sicilianu e i libbri ca allegu mostrunu i divessi modi di scriviri i paroli.
This is my video speaking for 15 minutes in Sicilian with my tutor Eleonora after learning for 90 days.
Resources to learn Sicilian:
By far my favourite resource is Italki where I find my tutors for my Skype lessons. Some lessons can cost just $5 for 30 minutes. You can register on this link here and after taking your first paid lesson, you will receive $10 of credits to use towards another lesson.
Online Sicilian lessons (in progress) click here
Sicilian Grammar Site: click here
News Blog in Sicilian, Nzignàmunni ‘u sicilianu : click here
Facebook Group for Learners with access to native speakers: Cadèmia Siciliana
- Learn Sicilian – Mparamu Lu Sicilianu by Gaetano Cipolla. This is an excellent book and written in English. It has lots of texts to read as well as grammar, verb tables and exercises. It includes a DVD for audio and the level is around B2. It includes the imperfect and past perfect subjunctive tenses (the present subjunctive is now almost extinct in Sicilian).
- Sounds of Sicilian with CD
- Introduction to Sicilian Grammar by JK Bonner.
Note that the above books are mainly written in the Western Sicilian dialects, however they do mention the differences with Catania and the Eastern dialect and subdialects.