Old Italian language

John Cowan cowan at mercury.ccil.org
Fri Sep 18 17:08:17 CEST 2015

David Starner scripsit:

> This is far from a formal proposal, but editors on Wiktionary turned out
> to be labeling some entries "Old Italian", and a discussion there has
> ensued.  Do the experts here think that this is something for ISO 639-3
> or that there's a major (sub 639-3) division that's worth tagging here?

I am no expert, but Old Italian is definitely a thing.  The earliest
documents that can reasonably be called Italian and not (bad) Latin date
to the 10C, and Modern Italian doesn't begin until the 14C (Dante) or
even the 16C (with the establishment of the Accademia della Crusca).

Here's the oldest Old Italian we have, per the English Wikipedia:
"Sao ko kelle terre, per kelle fini que ki contene, trenta anni
le possette parte Sancti Benedicti" (the last two words are Latin).
In Contemporary Standard Italian, this would read "So che quelle terre
per quei confini che qui sono contenuti le possedette per trent'anni
anni la parte di San Benedetto."  (Literal English: "I know those lands,
whose borders are shown in the map, have been owned by St. Benedict's
region for thirty years.")  I don't think (again: not an expert) this
rises to the level of a different language.  For one thing, the Italian
Wikipedia article at <https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Placiti_cassinesi>
doesn't even bother to translate them.  I see no problem with tagging
it as a variant, though: it-vecchio, perhaps.

John Cowan          http://www.ccil.org/~cowan        cowan at ccil.org
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