Transcription of Christmas in Sardinia. Click on the link to read the English translation
Dear readers and followers, as I promised, here you have the Christmas post created with my dad’s collaboration, the dear Zio Gino. In a sweet chat by the fire, he tells us how Christmas was celebrate in Sardinia in the 30s and 40s, the years of WWII. None of us paid attention to the recording Kindle, and we spontaneously talked, like we always do, mixing Sardinian and Italian, and with a lot of code-switching, particularly in my case (in Italian, I often use typical Sardinian structures.)
Three characteristics of the Sardinian language are present in this chat and that, even when not present in the translation, I want to explain, because are linguistic points that are interesting: the first one is the use of the word tesinanta, literally “what is it called”, used very often, even to create verbs; it is not even rare the case of full sentences made by different forms of this word: porta su tesinanta chi esti in cussu tesinanta, du deppu tesinantai. Literally, it means “bring me the what‑is‑it‑called from the what‑is‑it‑called because I have to what‑is‑it‑called it,” a sentence with no apparent meaning, but that can actually mean “bring me the scissors from that drawer so I can sharpen them,” or “bring me the book from the book shelf so I can cover it,” and so on and so forth. The true message is only clear from the context.
Second distinctive characteristic is the repetition of at nâu (he said, NT) when telling a story. It is a way of saying scarcely useful in the flow of communication. My dad uses it very often when talking about the Christmas he spent at his uncle’s, but it is not always present in my transcription. I put it there sometimes just to make it recognisable.
Another characteristic is the possibility of conjugate verbs in composed tenses with the auxiliary verb + stau, which is not a tense often used now. For example, talking about the Dawn Mass, my dad says dhòi seu stau andau (literally, “I had been gone there”, NT), but we would now simply say: dhòi seu andau (literally “I had gone there”, NT.)
Thank you all for your kindness and for following me. This post was originally a mix of Sardinian and Italian, and this version I present you has been partially revised by a native English speaker. Also, I am including some pictures of the toys and food that we name during the chat, so you can have a clearer idea of what we mean. Enjoy my belated Christmas present!