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Language and Speakers of the Kvarner Area in the Investigations of Alberto Fortis

Smiljka Malinar

Puni tekst: engleski pdf 292 Kb

str. 3-13

preuzimanja: 666



In this article reference will be made to the contribution of Italian natural historian,
journalist and travel writer Alberto Fortis (1741-1802) to the understanding of linguistic
conditions in the area of the Kvarner (Quarnero).1 At least at the beginning of his
research, Fortis was primarily interested in natural science, particularly in mineralogy
and palaeontology. But because he was a true man of the Enlightenment period, his
attention was also caught by the anthropological characteristics of the regions through
which he travelled. In addition, he took with him an interest in archaeology and
philology as part of the intellectual background and cultural heritage of the milieu in
which he was formed, while the eastern part of the Adriatic provided an abundance
of material and numerous opportunities for new knowledge and discoveries in both
of these fields. Fortis the philologist was interested in the places that he visited in
languages unknown to him; he embarked on etymological ‘reconstructions’, partially
under the influence of local intellectuals. A good many of his linguistic considerations
have no basis in the real circumstances, and are simply a reflection of the pre-scientific
fallacies of his time.2 However, his field observations and notations of local names are
much more reliable. Among other things, they were intended to provide a realistic
and credible backing for the reports of his travelogues. Fortis’ field reports are not
particularly numerous, nor are they characterised by system. Still, Romance philology
does own to him some important information about two extinct languages – Krk-
Romance and Krk-Romanian, although his informants, and so he too, incorrectly
identified them. 3 Some parts of Fortis’ records from Kvarner refer also to socio-ethnic
aspects of linguistic practice in the area, although mostly indirectly and fragmentarily.
We believe that the topic deserves more minute examination, irrespective of our not
having at our disposal an ideal corpus.

Ključne riječi

Alberto Fortis, Matej Sović, Cres, Osor, Croatian Littoral, Glagolitic script, Old Slavonic, Slavonic, Croatian, Krk-Romance, Krk-Romanian

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