Arvanitika studies: A brief introduction


It is no exaggeration to say that the study of Arvanitika today is characterized by a lack of up-to-date dialectological approaches to the subject, either synchronically or diachronically orientated, including a comprehensive and analytic description of the linguistic systems involved, and clarifying the relationship of the various Arvanitika dialects with one another, as well as their place within the wider picture of Albanian dialectology. Any exceptions to this involve small-scale analysis and comparative examination of scattered characteristics in a limited number of neighbouring dialects (usually those of Attica and Boeotia; e.g. Hamp 1961), ignoring the data from less-studied dialects which may be linguistically and geographically further removed. Of course, some grammars and modern linguistic analyses do exist (see, among others, Haebler 1965 (Salamis), Sasse 1991 (Attica and Boeotia) etc.) but still these efforts are more or less concentrated on individual dialects and their local characteristics. Today, with the publication of rich linguistic material from many Arvanitika-speaking areas (transcriptions of sound recordings of spoken texts, dialogues, narratives, folk tales, songs, glossaries etc.), much of which is the result of the tireless efforts of Titos Jochalas, it is possible to fill at least some of these gaps (see, for example, his works on the dialects of Andros (2000), Euboea (2002), Hydra (2006) and the Peloponnese (2011)). Some things are still missing; for example, there is very little information available on the dialects of Phthiotida, the mountains of Achaia, and the island of Spetses; and, given the almost total language shift of Arvanitika speakers to Greek, there is little hope that this situation will change. However, the importance of Arvanitika for the field of Albanian dialectology has often been noted; having been cut off at a very early date from the main body of Southern Tosk, many archaic characteristics have been preserved in this dialect, which have also gradually developed some exclusive innovations, either language-internally or contact-induced.

Nikos Liosis, Comparative remarks on the verb morphology of the Arvanitika dialects.

                        In: Albanohellenica. 5 (2013). 129-144



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