Venetian dialect is disappearing but it remains a primary language for many in the land of Prosecco.
“Da uncuó ve parle in daéto visto che noialtri veneti semo minoransa etnica,” wrote Bele Casel grape grower Luca Ferraro today on his Facebook.
From today on, I’m going to speak to you in [Venetian] dialect since we Veneti are an ethnic minority.
He’s joking, of course. But his humor betrays a little bit of sadness that the traditions of speaking in the local dialects of his region, Veneto, are starting to die out.
Veneto is arguably the region of Italy where, more than in any other region, local dialects are still spoken every day. And by “every day” I mean that they are still spoken in shops, markets, restaurants, cafés, bars, etc. etc.
Veneto is also one of Italy’s most prosperous regions and as a result the demographics of Veneto have changed radically over the last 20 years. Italians from other region, Europeans from other EU countries, north Africans, central Africans, Middle-Easterners and peoples from all over the world have immigrated to Veneto over that time in search of jobs and economic stability. And with their arrival, the number of dialect speakers has been reduced heavily.
Veneto is one of the last holdouts of dialectal tradition but other factors have also contributed to the fact that it is spoken less in public and in every day situations and transactions. The main difference is that fewer and fewer young people are learning and speaking dialect. That’s because as the post-war generation ages, there are fewer people to pass down the traditions of speaking in dialect.
None of this means that people will stop speaking in dialect. But it’s foreseeable that dialect will become more and more so reserved for intimate and private occasions. Or for celebrations of local traditions, like folkloric festivals and similar music and food and wine events.
Luca and his extended family are all progressive in their attitudes and they embrace the demographic changes that are taking shape around them. But they’re all a little sad to hear the sweet Veneto cadence less and less.