Language Shift among the Arbereshe of Italy
Keywords:language, migration, policy, minorities, arbëresh.
AbstractThroughout history the world has faced migration, occupations, assimilations and explorations that have significantly influenced the way that the world functions today. Humankind has it in its nature to extend and confirm its knowledge. The world has undergone many political and cultural changes through the ages. It has witnessed different world orders, changes of borders and maps, colonization, globalization and similar significant processes. Among the many changes, language is a particular phenomenon that has faced shift, change and many times death. These are common language phenomena that require attention from scholars, researchers and most importantly from decision makers. But how much is being done for the preservation of minority languages? Not enough. Because first of all a language needs institutional and legal protection. This can be done by governments and their linguistic policies. Taking into account actions taken to date, this paper aims to study the under-researched area of Italy’s policy towards Arbëresh, a variety of Albanian language spoken by the Albanians of Italy or the Arbëreshë. Arbëresh presents an archaic variant of Albanian, spoken five centuries ago in Albania and has managed to survive in the Albanian communities in Italy, mostly spoken in Calabria and Sicily.
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