Many Romance linguists consider it the language that, together with Italian, is closest to Latin among all the genealogical descendants of Latin. However, it has also incorporated elements of a Pre-Latin (mostly Paleo-Sardinian and, to a much lesser degree, Punic) substratum, as well as a Byzantine Greek, Catalan, Spanish and Italian superstratum. These elements of the language originate in the political history of the island of Sardinia: before the Middle Ages, it was for a time a Byzantine possession; then, after a significant period of self-rule with the judicates (Sardinian Medieval Kingdoms) , it came during the late Middle Ages into the Iberian sphere of influence; and finally, from the 18th century onward, under the Italian one.
In 1997, Sardinian, along with other languages spoken on the island, was recognized by regional law as an official language of Sardinia, and in 1999, Sardinian and eleven other minoranze linguistiche storiche ("historical linguistic minorities") were similarly recognized by national law (specifically, Law No. 482/1999). Among these, Sardinian is notable as having the largest number of speakers.
However, the number of native speakers has been declining, threatening the vitality of the Sardinian-speaking community. While it was estimated in 2007 that 68.4 percent of the inhabitants of Sardinia had a good oral command of Sardinian, most of them were past retirement age. Only 13 percent of children were reported to have this level of competence in the language, with Sardinian being kept as a heritage language. UNESCO has classified the language as "definitely endangered".
Similarly to languages such as Norwegian, with its many spoken dialects, Sardinian doesn’t have any officially sanctioned spoken standard, and Sardinian speakers usually use their own dialects. For this reason, spoken and written Sardinian can sometimes look different to an external eye.
Since the 18th century, not because of real linguistic reasons but for political ones, the Sardinian language has been presented by many as having two standardized orthographies, conventionally named "Logudorese" and "Campidanese". However, some attempts have been made to introduce a single orthographic form for administrative purposes over the recent decades; said form would not refer to morphology and syntax, which is already fairly homogeneous,, but would rather concern itself primarily with spelling.
Until 2006 there was not a single orthographic standard available that was representative of all the dialects of Sardinian and was recognized by Sardinian institutions, neither for writing it nor to speak it (the latter does not exist even today). After years of work and many proposals (more information about that can be found here) the LSC (Limba Sarda Comuna, Sardinian Common Language) was created by the Sardinian Autonomous Regional Government, that started using it for its own documents. Since then, it was increasingly used in literature (with books both written and translated from other languages using it), news sources, TV, on the internet and so on, becoming by far the most commonly used orthographic norm for this language, and the only one with so much material available in it. The only automatic translator from Catalan and Italian to Sardinian (Apertium) uses it, and most of the software available in Sardinian, and learning material for it, does it as well.
- 1 Resourses - IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER
- 2 Courses and material in LSC orthography
- 3 Courses and material in “Nugoresu” orthography
- 4 Courses and material in “Campidanesu” orthography
- 5 Courses and material in “Logudoresu” orthography
- 6 Other material (multiple orthographies or spoken-only Sardinian)
- 7 Brotips
Resourses - IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER
As written above, from the XIX century onward, because of political reasons (Sardinia, at the time, was divided into two provinces by the government) people started spreading the myth of Sardinian being divided in two or more macro-varieties (“Logudoresu” and “Campidanesu”, sometimes “Nugoresu” and others as well) that needed separate orthographic standards. That's bullshit, as it was shown from a lot of different studies since the ‘80s up until today, but there is still people convinced of that. For that reason, and also because the LSC is fairly recent (2006) a lot of people still don’t know how to use it, or even don’t want to, and you can find books and a lot of other stuff written by either using one or more of the old local orthographies or even by trying to write dialects how they are pronounced (terrible idea, but unfortunately a lot of Sardinians were influenced by Italian, since they learn it in school, a language that works very differently if compared to Sardinian since it was already standardized). Anyway, most of the stuff to learn Sardinian is still in LSC, so if you want to learn it the best way to do it is definitely to start using that material, and to only look at the other resources later, when you already have a good grasp on the language. After all, you will already learn the varieties of Sardinian from the spoken parts of the LSC courses, since (as already said), the LSC orthography only applies to writing, not speaking (of course you can use it as a base for speaking too, if you are learning the language and you don’t live in Sardinia or want to learn a local dialect, it’s just a thing that locals don’t usually do).
A couple of videos that better explain the speaking/writing situation, from the point of view of someone that learned Sardinian as a foreigner:
Courses and material in LSC orthography
Video lesson courses
- A iscola de sardu: a fairly large video lesson course. It's full-immersion, so it can be tricky for those unfamiliar with another Romance language, but it starts with the basics.
- Chistiona su sardu: a somewhat shorter video lesson course, but it also has written exercises and material available for download. Full-immersion as well.
- Liberation Philology Sardinian: application to learn Sardinian from English for Android and iOS. It’s not free (it’s about 3 bucks) but it’s quite good. It allows you to learn the grammar, a good part of the vocabulary, and to also see and compare the LSC and other local and historical orthography norms, learning the differences. It’s only written, though, so you will have to find pronunciation examples somewhere else (you can also use the MaryTTS Sardinian voices, see the “Tools” section).
- In iscola (At school): manual with videos and Italian translations
- In sotziedade (In society): same as above
- In domo (At home): same as above
Other online learning material
- Limba e Logos de Sardigna: by clicking on the two sections on the home page ("Limba” and "Logos") you can learn Sardinian (with sections dedicated to all aspects of the language, from morphology and phonology to syntax, lexicon, semantics and logical analysis, and exercises too) and the geography of the world in general and of Sardinia in particular.
- Limba e Contos de Sardigna: similarly to the above one, by clicking on the two sections ("Limba" e "Contos") you can learn Sardinian and the history of Sardinia.
- Sa limba sarda: didactic materials and quizzes in Sardinian created by the students of the Master of Translation and Communication in Sardinian language made in Nuoro by the University Consortium of Central Sardinia and the Autonomous University of Barcelona.
- Limba Sarda Comuna - Norme: grammatical norms of the LSC, with explanations in Italian.
- Limba Sarda Comuna - Normas: same as above, but the same explanations are in Sardinian.
- Sardigna e Mediterràneu: Sardinian and international history, literature and architecture + grammar theory and exercises.
- Sardegnacultura: texts about Sardinian history, literature, traditions and culture.
- Ufìtziu Limba Sarda Unione Comunes: here you can find a few videos about idiomatic expressions and other texts in Sardinian.
- Ajò a iscola: learning material designed for Sardinian kindergarten, primary or middle school students.
- Bauladu in sardu: administrative translation glossary and translation memory (Italian-Sardinian) made by the Autonomous University of Barcelona in collaboration with the municipality of Bauladu.
- Sardware: software, translation memories, glossaries and other material in Sardinian (mostly from English).
- Apertium: automatic translator from Catalan and Italian to Sardinian.
- CROS: Online Sardinian spell checker. You can also download it to use it on LibreOffice or OpenOffice, and install it on Firefox.
- SINTESA: Experimental Text-To-Speech synthesizer. You can download it here and use it with MaryTTS (last release here)
- Gherradores: strategic game + quiz on Sardinia-related topics.
- Iscola Wiz: general knowledge quiz in Sardinian.
- Giogus de peraulas: game to practice Sardinian. The interface is in Italian and the title is not in LSC but in “Campidanesu” norm, but the vocabulary used in the games is written with the LSC.
- Mistèrios de Grogu: science fiction themed game
- Sardoo: Taboo-like game for Android e iOS
News and magazines
- Istòrias: local newspaper, with articles that can speak of many topics (it’s not limited to local ones). They also have a podcast, that can be really useful to hear some spoken Sardinian while reading the written text, available for each episode.
- Limba Sarda 2.0: website that publishes culture-related articles.
TV channels and programs
- EjaTV: A TV channel that almost exclusively broadcasts programs in Sardinian. Can be watched live online on their website as well, where you can find episodes of their programs as well.
- Logos de Logu (2019 and 2020): a TV program that deals with current affairs, culture, history and other in-depth topics using Sardinian. All the episodes can be found on YouTube.
- Tiri Tiri: another TV program about news and culture-related topics
- Benidore: same as above
- Addobbios de Sardigna: a program about Sardinian culture.
- Règulas de su Sardu iscritu: they publish a lot of stuff in Sardinian and help people correct their writing (not only in LSC, but even those who use local standards).
- Isportellu Linguìsticu Subracomunale: every now and then they publish little bits of grammar and other little Sardinian lessons (“Pipinidas de limba sarda”)
- Ufìtziu de sa Limba Sarda “Meilogu”: same as above, but they also publish articles in Sardinian about various stuff.
- Camillo Bellieni Institute: organizes a lot of free Sardinian courses, and they've recently started doing them online too.
Courses and material in “Nugoresu” orthography
- Grammar and vocabulary of “Nugoresu” Sardinian orthography (to learn it from English)
- Grammar and vocabulary of “Nugoresu” Sardinian orthography (to learn it from Italian)
- Grammar and vocabulary of “Nugoresu” Sardinian orthography (in Sardinian)
- Su Sardu Jocande: stories and exercises to learn Sardinian from Italian (created for little children)
- Su sardu jocande pro mannittos: stories and exercises to learn Sardinian from Italian (created for slightly older children)
- Impara su sardu - Nugoresu: language course designed for elementary and middle schools, with translations in Italian
- Numbers in Sardinian
Courses and material in “Campidanesu” orthography
- Sardinian grammar (explanations in Italian)
- Campidanesu orthography norms: (text in Sardinian and Italian)
- Su Sardu Gioghendi: stories and exercises to learn Sardinian from Italian (created for little children)
- Su sardu gioghendi po matucus: stories and exercises to learn Sardinian from Italian (created for slightly older children)
- GigaSardinian: Android app to learn the Campidanesu local orthography and the spoken dialect from Cagliari and PDF files to learn grammar from English and from Italian, both with a vocabulary of Sardinian words and translations in many languages (Italian, English, German, French, Spanish, Chinese, Dutch, Tagalog, Russian, Ukrainian and Portuguese).
- Impara su sardu - Campidanesu: language course designed for elementary and middle schools, with translations in Italian
- Phrases in Sardinian: a list of phrases with English translations.
Courses and material in “Logudoresu” orthography
- Su Sardu Gioghende: stories and exercises to learn Sardinian from Italian (created for little children)
- Su sardu jocande pro mannittos: stories and exercises to learn Sardinian from Italian (created for slightly older children)
- Impara su sardu - Logudoresu: language course designed for elementary and middle schools, with translations in Italian
- Phrases in Sardinian: a list of phrases with English translations.
Other material (multiple orthographies or spoken-only Sardinian)
- Sardinian Wikipedia: while it only uses LSC for the interface and templates, the articles can be written in LSC, Logudoresu, Nugoresu or Campidanesu. But it’s quite easy to know what is what because there are templates in almost all of them marking them and putting them in the respective categories.
- Memòrias in limba sarda (Memories in Sardinian language): interviews recorded in Sardinian and subtitled in Sardinian (local spelling norms) and Italian, recorded in many Sardinian towns.
- Sentidu: Interviews with elderly Sardinian people from many towns of the island (any episode is a different town), that talk about their life story.
- Sentidu – 2020 edition - Su tempus benidori: similar to the first edition, but this time to be interviewed are the young people from the many towns.
- Sardinia Post – Lapis: articles in either LSC or Campidanesu.
- Didactic texts of many kinds in Sardinian (mostly made for children)
- Sardinian translations of classics of international literature: freely downloadable books in PDF. They are mostly in LSC (all of those published by Condaghes, Papiros and Grafica del Parteolla)
- Ichnussa, the digital library of Sardinian poetry: a list of Sardinian poets, from centuries ago up until today, with some or, in some cases, all of their available works. The spelling norms can obviously change quite a bit.
- CROS- Curretore regionale ortogràficu sardu in lìnia: Online spell checker for local orthographies.
- Topo Ninu: Sardinian course for children
- Bakis: little story for children with puppets
- Nanni Margiani: game where you play as a journalist
- GigaSardinian Orgosolo: material for the GigaSardinian app and in PDF to learn the Orgolese variant of the Sardinian language from some languages (Italian, English, French and German).
- Aplicatziones in sardu: a blog where you can find a list of all software available in Sardinian.
Since most of the dictionaries were written before 2006, majority of them don’t use the LSC. You can use a trick, though: search the word you need, paste the result in the CROS and you will probably get the correct spelling in that orthography.
- Antoninu Rubattu - "Dizionario Universale della Lingua di Sardegna": one of the biggest dictionaries available right now. It has translations in other 5 languages (English, Italian, French, Spanish and German). You can consult it either online, on the author’s website, or you can download it in two PDF searchable files (Vol. 1 e Vol. 2).
- Antoninu Rubattu - "Il dizionario degli esseri viventi": dictionary of living beings, with translations in 5 languages (English, Italian, French, Spanish and German). You can download it in multiple PDF searchable files (Botany a-p, Botany p-z, Ittiology, Ornithology, Zoology).
- Mario Puddu - "Ditzionàriu de sa limba e de sa cultura sarda": a 22.100-words online dictionary with Sardinian descriptions and examples and translations of words in 5 languages (English, Italian, French, Spanish and German).
- Diegu Corràine - "Ditzionàriu in lìnea de su Tempus Nostru": a dictionary where the same word can be found in LSC, local standards and with Italian translations.
- Regione Autònoma de sa Sardigna - "Glossàriu Isperimentale": the first experimental glossary for the LSC standard, made by the Sardinian Regional Government.
- vdru - "English Sardinian Dictionary": android app with a Sardinian-English and English-Sardinian dictionary. There is also a paid version available for people that don’t want to see ads.
- Pedru Casu - "Vocabolario Sardo Logudorese – Italiano": dictionary written in 1947, with Italian translations.
- Luigi Farina - "Bocabolariu sardu nugoresu - italianu": dictionary with Italian translations (“Nugoresu” orthography).
- Vincenzo Raimondo Porru - "Nou dizionariu universali Sardu - Italianu" (Vol. 1, Vol. 2 e Vol. 3): dictionary with Italian translations (“Campidanesu” orthography).
- Steinhäuser Verlag - GigaSardinian Words: “Campidanesu” orthography dictionary with translations in English, German, French and Spanish.
Other historical dictionaries, scanned and freely available but not searchable (no OCR), can be found in the second section of this page.
There is a lot of music in Sardinian, both traditional and not. These are just a few names to start:
- Tazenda (ethno-pop)
- Cordas et Cannas (world music)
- Claudia Aru (world music)
- Piero Marras (pop, folk)
- Maria Carta (pop, folk)
- Elena Ledda (folk)
- Kenze Neke (etno rock, funk rock, ska, reggae, punk rock)
- Askra (folk punk, folk rock, ska, punk rock)
- Menhir (hip-hop)
- Dr Drer & CRC Posse (hip-hop)
- Randagiu Sardu (hip-hop)
- Sa Razza (hip-hop)
- Mandrone (trap)
- Shardens (epic metal, symphonic metal)
Sardinia is also the birthplace of an unique style of polyphonic throat singing called “Cantu a tenore”, an UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. All of the lyrics of this genre are always in Sardinian, so if you like it check them out. You can find a lot of groups just by searching “cantu a tenore” or “canto a tenore” on Youtube. There is one group in most of the towns of some parts of Sardinia (Barbagia, Logudoro, Sassarese, Anglona, Gallura, Ogliastra and the Baronie) and there are a lot of different “schools” of it.
- Tenore “Mialinu Pira” of Bitti
- Tenore de Neoneli
- Tenore de Oniferi
- Cuncordu seneghesu
- Tenore Supramonte of Orgosolo
- Su Hussertu of Mamoiada
- Tenore Su Remediu de Orosei
- Tenore of Sarule
- Don’t fret about the differences between the dialects. They look worse than they actually are, and after studying the language for a while you will realize it pretty soon as well. Most of it it’s just pronunciation. When it comes to local standards, just imagine Australians, Americans, Englishmen and Scots trying to write their relative English pronunciations instead of doing it the same way.
- As already said, there are people that because of that old subdivision meme are still against the LSC or even the idea itself of a spelling norm. Most of them are fine, either it just looks “weird” to them because they didn’t get to study Sardinian in school and they look at languages the Italian way, or they think that the LSC should be emended to make it better, but there are even some “activists” that refuse to accept the idea of a single standard and can sometimes be pretty annoying about that. If you ever come in contact with them and they start acting retarded and sperging about “muh logudoresu” or “muh campidanesu” and “muh evul LSC”, either ignore them or just tell them to go eat a bag of dicks.
- There are a lot of associations that organize Sardinian courses, even free and online (for ex. "Istituto Camillo Bellieni" or "Andala Noa"). Maybe check them out.
- There is a lot of poetry in Sardinian. A LOT. There are dozens of poetry contests all around the island every year, and most of famous Sardinian authors (ex. Antioco “Montanaru” Casula, Melchiorre Murenu, Peppinu Mereu) are poets. There is also a kind of traditional improvised poetry called “Poesia a bolu” where two contestants would debate using poetry in front of a public (the argument was given to them by a jury that would decide the victor). It’s really cool, so if you like poetry look it up (you can find some “a bolu” contests here, with both audio and PDF files with the transcripts), but remember to only do it after already getting a good grasp of the language, otherwise it could be complicated to understand all the words and idiomatic expressions used there.
- If some of the links provided seem to no longer work or you are unable to download a file, try copying and pasting the link into the Internet archive. Most often there is a backup there.
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