dalmacija

Adriatic gothic
  • it is bura outside. you are not able to open the door. the three rows of houses next to the sea are under a flood.
  • snow is falling for the first time in the last ten years. there is people playing picigin in the sea. someone had a heart attack. you join in.
  • tourists come from the north. the entire beach heavily smells of sun screen. you can’t relate. you never used sun screen in your life.
  • the tourists are french. you didn’t speak french in two years. your dide makes you speak to them. the only thing you say is je ne sais pas
  • your baba’s are polite to everyone. they lead a secret life and know everyone’s secrets. you can not hide from them.
  • your six year old cousin learned to swear like a sailor by your dide. your dide is in a bratovština and attends church every sunday.
  • you speak with your friends from the north. they don’t understand what you’re saying, nor do you understand them. it is manistra, not tjestenina.
  • you try to explain croatian dialects to foreigners. you confused yourself.
  • the salt dried on your skin and in your hair. your curls have returned. you take as many pictures as you can before you must wash away the salt.
  • the tourists try to steal figs. you see them and you don’t stop them. they do not know the figs have been sulfured yesterday. you see them running back, embarrassed, after five minutes.
  • it is raining. you run to the sea. the temperature is the best when it is raining. it starts thundering. you couldn’t care less.
  • italians come to the apartments. are they cousins? baba says they still want italia irredenta. she speaks italian with them, fuently. she has never learned italian in her life.
  • russians come. the neighbour says they are here to buy the most beautiful beach. baba speaks fluent russian with them. she learned russian in school.
  • there is a historical site in a village of two hundred people. it is either roman or venetian. you aren’t allowed to go there.

Tuone Udaina was the last person to have any active knowledge of the Dalmatian language that became extinct after his death in an explosion during road work on June 10, 1898. 

Dalmatian or Dalmatic was a Romance language spoken on the Adriatic coast in the Dalmatia region of Croatia and as far south as Kotor in Montenegro. 

Speakers lived mainly in the coastal towns of Jadera (Zadar), Tragurium (Trogir), Spalatum (Split), Ragusa (Dubrovnik) and Acruvium (Kotor), and also on the islands of Curicta (Krk), Crepsa (Cres) and Arba (Rab). Almost every city developed its own dialect, but the most important dialects we know of were Vegliot, a northern dialect spoken on the island of Curicta, and Ragusan, a southern dialect spoken in and around Ragusa (Dubrovnik).

Ragusan probably disappeared in the 17th century, while the Vegliot dialect became extinct in the 19th century.

Tuone Udaina had learned Vegliot Dalmatian by listening to his parent’s private conversations. The language was studied by the scholar Matteo Bartoli who visited Udaina in 1897 and wrote down approximately 2,800 words, stories, and accounts of his life, which were published in a book that has provided much information on the vocabulary, phonology, and grammar of the language.