Desiatova Mariia

The initial period of literary written tradition in Sicilian (XIV–XV cc.)

Desiatova Mariia (2014) "The initial period of literary written tradition in Sicilian (XIV–XV cc.) ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia III : Filologiia, 2014, vol. 37, pp. 36-54 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturIII201437.36-54


The article presents a review of the Sicilian written inheritance of the XIV–XV сс. It was that period when a great deal of ancient Sicilian texts appeared, just before the spread and maintenance of Tuscan in Italy and Sicily. It was time of trying to form literary styles in prose, to generalize several dialects and to lay the foundation on which, for certain reasons, no unified literary language would be created. The XIV и XV centuries were also the beginning of translation and lexicographic tradition, the documents of the period showed a great variety of genres, instability of the written language. There have been analyzed about 30 big and medium texts in prose, 154 small practical texts and 25 poetical texts which can serve for studying of the Sicilian language history and literature. All texts are being classified according to their genre and linguistic characteristics. For analysis the critical editions published by the Centre for Sicilian philological and linguistic studies were used. Most of the original texts were written for practical purposes while the majority of the translated texts (from Latin, Tuscan, Aramaic, French) belong to the religious literature. The translation favored much the elaboration of the literary style, many authors tried to generalize some written models and create a sort of the literary koine. One of the most particular characteristics of the period is the continuous contact between two or more languages (Sicilian included) and therefore, bi- or threelinguism of the text’s authors. As a result of the interference and the linguistic competence of the author there were produced many hybrid forms in the written language. Thus, the Latin infl uence in many documents can be noticed in graphics, in numerous calques of syntactic constructions, lexical borrowings, insertions of Latin words and expressions in the Sicilian text. The Tuscan elements are felt in phonetics and vocabulary. As far as defining of dialect types is concerned, the problem doesn’t seem easy to resolve. In some cases the dialect is obvious as it is mentioned in the title of the text. Messinese is one of the most important dialects of the ancient literary tradition because of the special position which took Messina being a sort of a cultural bridge between Italy and Sicily and a place of strait contacts between Tuscan and Sicilian.


Volgare, Latin, Sicilian, Tuscan, literary written tradition, translations, translation techniques, interference, dialects, dialectal, linguistic competence, theological tractates, ancient Sicilian texts in prose, instability, variability


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Desiatova Mariia