Venetians in Arberia and the Role of Venetian Language in Everyday Communication

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Abstract

This paper aims at presenting a comprehensive overview of Venetian Albanians and the interplay of Venetian language in their everyday communication. In the everyday relations between authorities and the inhabitants of this province, language became a barrier to understanding at a basic level. The local Roman language spoken over e long period of time in Arbëria was slowly substituted by the Venetian dialect. Patricians had knowledge of it before the Venetian period, since otherwise they would haveb had to rely on translators or soldiers and common clerks who were bilingual. Other language problems Venetians faced with language concerned Serbian in translation offices, a language widely used in Arbëria. It is most likely that there was such an office in Shkodra where in 1409, Ginus Juban, aka Gjin Jubani, appears as a translator. Although he bears a typical Arbër name, it cannot absolutely be stated what his official language was. The superiority of the Venetian language in the judicial and commercial areas had an effect in the Arbëria language as well. Serbian, which had played an important role under the Balshajs among bishops as their official language, became exctinct with the fall of these states. Greek was marginalized from Durrës to further south, where there were found islands of Greek settlements around the city of Vlora.

Milan Shuflai Qytetet dhe kështjellat e Shqipërisë, kryesisht në me3sjetë, Onufri 2009, fq. 77.

Oliver.J. Schmitt , Das venezianische Albanien 1392-1479, Munchen: Oldenbourg 2001, f. 403.

SCHMITT, Actes Nr 68 “Juani Balsich alias Stexi”

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