Brent J. Ermlick brent at
Tue Apr 10 10:39:33 UTC 2001

On Sat, Apr 07, 2001 at 11:44:43PM -0000, Douglas G Kilday wrote:
> Ever played "Telephone"? The notion that standard (Roman-Latian) Italian
> comes from Tuscan sounds like the result of cumulative distortion through
> successive oral transmission. If memory serves, Dante chose to compose
> poetry in the Tuscan dialect (with the addition of some forms from northern
> dialects) because the heavy stress and distinct stress-timing allowed
> phonetic parallelism on the basis of polysyllabic homoioteleuton, or
> "rhyming". Dante has been called "the father of Italian poetry" which is
> subjective but not really "wrong", and also "the father of modern Italian"
> which is nonsense. Not even Bill Clinton could "father" a language. Some
> cavalier statement like that probably got mixed in with the facts about
> Dante's writing.

There used to be other Italian literary standards. I recall that
there was a charming Franco-Italian that was used for some poetry in
the early Middle Ages. The use of a conservative Tuscan literary
standard was a conscious choice, and was also probably a reasonable
middle ground among all the different dialects in the peninsula.

Brent J. Ermlick		Veritas liberabit uos
brent at

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