Ciao a tutti! In my last blog post I wrote about my personal project in the frame of the ESC-program and how I am working for the local minority language Romagnolo. Now I am going to tell you more in detail about one part of that project, that is about Aperitivi romagnoli.
Maybe I should explain first the Italian concept of aperitivo: pre-dinner drink with friends to have a good time and wait for the hunger to show up. Usually it doesn’t show up, because often with your drink you also get some small things to eat and at the end after two drinks and snacks, well, you are not hungry anymore. Anyway, with my previous fellow volunteers, we organized Aperitivi linguistici – linguistic aperitivos in several languages, not just Italian or English. And that’s where I got the idea.
Clearly, there is demand among the young locals for different types of events linked to Romagnolo. This is confirmed even by the research I made. And not just events in romagnolo, because so many don’t speak the language well enough to understand for example a whole play in Romagnolo. Or some understand a conversation when the elderly are talking but wouldn’t be able to take part in the conversation themselves. The young people’s desire and willingness to learn the language is prominent. Honestly, I find it very strange that no one, no party, has responded to this demand. Some language events have been organized for example here in Faenza but either the organizers are significantly older, the target group is for older people, or somehow the participants are mainly +60 years. This is why we put an age limit to 40 years. Still we got so many contacts demanding a similar event for over 40 that maybe the next step is to organize a new “workshop” for a target group between 40-60 years old.
The first meeting was held yesterday 14th of October at Cafe Solito Posto in Faenza. I was slightly anxious about how it was going to be: I had never organized anything similar before, the expectations were high, and not speaking Romagnolo myself I could not intervene in the content nor really in the teaching, I just had to trust my team that they would do their best. And they did. The evening was a success. It was fully booked, everyone participating, having a drink and repeating after the “teacher” the endlessly complicated vowels of Romagnolo. One had to book in order to participate, even though some people showed up also without a booking. Obviously we welcomed them, in the limits of the capacity of the bar. I didn’t expect that many people nor that we would get the maximum number of participants since the day before we only had 7 people who had booked. But it happened, and for me it was a miracle. Or maybe efficient advertising…
In the meeting we also had a special guest: Stefano Bernardeschi who is the admin and the founder of the group or brand “Romagnoli popolo eletto”. His brand is very known in the area and his Instagram page has almost 60 000 followers. Of course, this was publicity for him, but also vice versa, he shared the event on his social media. He talked briefly about his work, who he got driven into the world of Romagnolo etc. After that we got to the point. During the one and half hour, we went through some phonetic traits of the language as well as the present tense of verbs “to be” and “to have”. . Everyone had the chance to talk, alone or with the group. At the end it was possible to give us some feedback or even to book for the next week. The materials (slides) we had prepared, were published on our Instagram page @aperitivo_romagnolo so that they would be accessible and available for all during the event – but not just for the participants. If the point is to revitalize and promote a dying language, I will do everything I can to increase its visibility, including publishing any useful material I have regarding the language
Overall, I would say that everything went very well, people learned, very happy and hopefully they will tell about the event to their contacts as well. The real success will only be measured during the next meetings when we will see how many participants will return or how many new bookings we get. The next meetings will be on 21st and 28th of October, 4th and the last one on the 11th of October. If everything goes well, people are happy and there is demand, perhaps we will keep going and organize another series of Aperitivi Romagnoli.
The Finnish linguist aka fake romagnolo DOC,