Chipilo Venetian dialect


Chipilo Venetian dialect

Chipilo Venetian or Chipileño is a diaspora language currently spoken by the descendants of some five hundred Venetian 19th century immigrants to Mexico. The Venetians settled in the State of Puebla, founding the city of Chipilo. This Venetian variety is also spoken in other communities in Veracruz and Querétaro, places where the chipileños settled as well.

Although the city of Puebla has grown so far as to almost absorb it, the town of Chipilo remained isolated for much of the 20th century. Thus, the Cipiłàn/chipileños, unlike other European immigrants that came to Mexico, did not blend into the Mexican culture and retained most of their traditions and their language. To this day, most of the people in Chipilo speak the venet or Venetian of their great-grandparents. The variant of the Venet language spoken by the Cipiłàn/chipileños is the northern Traixàn-Fheltrìn-Bełumàt. Surprisingly, it has been barely altered by Spanish, as compared to how the dialect of the northern Venetland-Veneto has been altered by Italian. Given the number of speakers of Venet, and even though the state government has not done so, the Venet language has to be considered a minority language in the State of Puebla.

There have been several attempts to establish a writing system for the Venetian form spoken in Chipilo. One such system was created by Carolyn McKay, an American linguist who conducted postgraduate research at the Universidad de las Américas. Her proposed system, entirely based on the Italian alphabet, was published in a book entitled Il dialetto veneto di Segusino e Chipilo. This system has been used in some publications made by Cipiłàn/chipileños, but it has not received wide acceptance, because of the striking differences between Venet and Italian phonemes. Most of the speakers use the Spanish system they learn at school, even though it does not have letters for specific sounds such as the voiced-S (written [x] in modern Venet), or the [θ] (written [th] in modern Venet), and [ð] (written [dh] in modern Venet). Nevertheless, Eduardo Montagner has suggested the standardization of a writing system based on the Spanish alphabet.

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