A. Sujoldžić: Molise Croatian Idiom, Coll. Antropol. 28 Suppl. 1 (2004) 263-274



At phonetic and phonological level these changes can be easily observed pronunciation in changes of the inherited tonic (both ascending and descending Stokavian accents and intonation which display high variability under the influence of the Italian unique descending accent. Vowel reduction or loss both at initial and final position with respect toCroatian equivalents given in brackets is very common under the influence of neighboring dialects:


dovica (udovica - widow)

tvorit / tvori (otvoriti = to open)

sutr (sutra tomorrow)


The loss of consonants occurs frequently in all positions:


(još = and)

sa (sad = now)

sekar (svekar - father-in-law)


Although the basic Croatian phonemic inventory has been preserved, the adaptations to the Italian phonological system which are foreign to the Croatian system include:

  • the introduction of sound dz - in bor-
    rowings like minorandza (= minority)
    but also in words of Slavic origin like
    (= sun),


  • the insertion of the sound b between
    consonants m and l or r as in mblad
    (mlad = young) or umbri(t) (umriti = to


  • alteration of consonant cluster cv into
    sv or sf, cvitja < svitja (cvijet = flower),


  • and the use of geminates or double consonants in both borrowings and native words, otherwise non-existent in Croatian dialects:tunna (tutti), kravv (krava), jiđđeš (ideš).


Some of these changes have been recorded for other minority languages in southern Italy. The research on Faetar, an  isolated  dialect of Francoprovençal


spoken in an isolated mountain area of southern Italy where its speakers have lived for several centuries, presents such a case7. The geminates are found in native Faetar words as well as in borrowings from Italian, attesting to a thorough nativization of the phonological process.


The consequences of contact-induced phonological changes extended to morphological and even syntactic domains resulting in the reduction :of agreement morphology. At the level of morphology these changes can be seen in the following features

  • complete loss of neutral gender category - vino crni, m. (crno vino = red


  • loss of one noun declension, inlectional
    suffixes and categories like vocative and

nom. = voc, žen(-a)

dat. = acc. = loc., žen-u,

  • frequent use of prepositional phrases
    for genitive function - muž d'one žen
    (muž one žene = that woman's husband),


  • pervasive use of imperfect tense (obso-
    ete in Croatian dialects),


  • replacement of higher cardinal and al-
    ost ali ordinal numbers by Italian,


  • replacement of Slavic comparison: on je
    veće dobar (on je bolji = he is better).



At the syntactic level an intense intrasentential code-switching is common to the dialect. The two examples given in Table 1 clearly illustrate complex relationshipsbetween Standard Croatian, Italian and Na-našo. Although the morphology is similar to Croatian, the use of non-Slavic nouns and one verb, article and prepositional phrase, and forms of both verbs used makes the example A highly deviant from Standard Croatian. Though the deviance from Standard Cro­atian is smaller in the example B from everyday speech its specific pronuncia-






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