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Sardinian or Sard (sardu  [ˈsaɾdu] / limba sarda  [ˈlimba ˈzaɾda] or lìngua sarda  [ˈliŋɡu.a ˈzaɾda]) is a Romance language spoken by the Sardinians on the Western Mediterranean island of Sardinia.

Many Romance linguists consider it the language that, together with Italian, is closest to Latin among all the genealogical descendants of Latin.[1][2] However, it has also incorporated elements of a Pre-Latin (mostly Paleo-Sardinian and, to a much lesser degree, Punic) substratum,[3] 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,[4] and in 1999, Sardinian and eleven other minoranze linguistiche storiche ("historical linguistic minorities") were similarly recognized by national law (specifically, Law No. 482/1999).[5] Among these, Sardinian is notable as having the largest number of speakers.[6][7][8][9]

However, the number of native speakers has been declining, threatening the vitality of the Sardinian-speaking community.[10] While it was estimated in 2007 that 68.4 percent of the inhabitants of Sardinia had a good oral command of Sardinian,[11] most of them were past retirement age. Only 13 percent of children were reported to have this level of competence in the language,[12][13] with Sardinian being kept as a heritage language.[14][15] UNESCO has classified the language as "definitely endangered".[16]

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,[2][3][4][5][6][7][8] 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,[9], 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.

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,[2][3][4][5][6][7] 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:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BIyj_ucI8A

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KoQYXP7XgE

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.

Learning apps[]

  • 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).

Conversation manuals[]

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.
  • Dischente - learning material made by the Sardinian Language Office of the Province of Aristanis/Oristano for an e-learning course, and later published in paper and pdf form. You can download the volumes by clicking on them on the right part of the page. Is organized in 3 levels: basic, medium and advanced, and includes grammar rules and exercises to learn them. It's only in Sardinian (no translations).
  • Pìndulas de grammàtica - Suggestions and basic rules for learning how to write.
  • Istòria e curiosidade - history and culture-related articles written by the Sardinian Language Office of the Province of Aristanis/Oristano.
  • 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).

Tools[]

  • 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 (from the links in the lower part of the page) and use it with MaryTTS (last release here). To install it, after extracting the MaryTTS folder, copy the three .jar files you downloaded from the SINTESA website into the "lib" folder. After that, to turn it on, open the "bin" folder and double click on marytts-server.bat and, after that, on marytts-client.bat (or, if you are using Linux, open two terminals and write ./marytts-server in one and ./marytts-client in the other one).

Games[]

  • 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 webTV that almost exclusively broadcasts shows of many knids (from historical and archaeological documentaries to literature-related or even cooking shows) in Sardinian. You can watch the episodes of some of their series on their website.
  • Radio Televisione Sarda: A TV channel that almost exclusively broadcasts shows in Sardinian (made by EjaTV but by other cultural associations too, like Torretonda or Babel). Can be watched live online as well, on their website or on their YouTube channel.
  • Logos de Logu (2019 and 2020): a TV show 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.
  • Noesis - Filosofia in Sardu: a show about the history of Philosophy.
  • S'Ou e sa Pudda (2021 and 2022): a cooking show (both Sardinian and not-Sardinian recipes)

Facebook pages[]

Blogs[]

  • Sardumàtica: blog on topics related to information technology. The same articles are published in both LSC and Campidanesu orthographies, in different sections of the website, so it can also be useful to see the differences between the two.

Courses and material in “Nugoresu” orthography[]

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.
  • Sardumàtica: blog on topics related to information technology. The same articles are published in both LSC and Campidanesu orthographies, in different sections of the website, so it can also be useful to see the differences between the two.

Courses and material in “Logudoresu” orthography[]

Other material (multiple orthographies or spoken-only Sardinian)[]

Dictionaries[]

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.

Other historical dictionaries, scanned and freely available but not searchable (no OCR), can be found in the second section of this page.

Music[]

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), lyrics here
  • Dr Drer & CRC Posse (hip-hop)
  • Randagiu Sardu (hip-hop)
  • Sa Razza (hip-hop)
  • Mandrone (trap)
  • Bumbe Orchestra (indie rock)
  • Shardana (folk/epic heavy/power/thrash metal), lyrics here
  • 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.

Some names:

  • 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

Brotips[]

  • 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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