Privitera, Bettina

Mystery of the Sicilian Sub-Dialect, Sanfratellan, Transformed in the Twelfth Century by the Normans, the ProvenÇals and the Gallo-Italians
2002 0-7734-7034-4
This is a philological study of Sanfratellan, whose origin has baffled scholars for centuries. It demonstrates, through language analysis, that when the Normans invaded Sicily in the 11th century, they left in San Fratello a large contingent of Frenchmen from the south of France. These soldier-settlers spoke Provençal, which over the years melded with the town’s proto-Sicilian to form an amalgam which now sounds as French as it does Sicilian. It is understood only by Sanfratellans and not by any other Sicilians. This study is one of the most outstanding contributions to Italian dialectology of the 20th century; yet it reads like an exciting historical whodunit. It will be of interest to language scholars and historians as well as anyone interested in Italy and its past.