Travels

Sardinia: The Catalan of Alguero

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From Bosa to Alguero there is a scenic road that caresses the west coast of the island of Sardinia.


We arrived at Alguero and the first thing that surprised us is to find the street signs written in Catalan and Italian. Not surprisingly, Alguero was called Barceloneta centuries ago. It was invaded by the Catalans who remained on the island for centuries. Nowadays, Catalan still resists at home, although one can hear very little in the street. It is especially maintained among the elderly population and as a tourist attraction.

We arrive at sunset and we stroll through the center of Alguero looking for a place to have dinner. We met a couple of old women sitting on a bench and observed that they were talking in Catalan. I did not want to miss the occasion. We approached them and asked them in Catalan if they knew any place to eat well and cheaply. Soon they became interested in us (a Catalan and a couple of Sicilians) and began asking us questions. We immediately engaged in a good conversation.

I could understand approximately 60% of what they counted. Alguero Catalan mixes some Italian words (alhora, c'è) and collects forms and vocabulary of ancient Catalan. It is a very curious mix with Sardinian, Castilian and Italian touches that intersect on a Catalan linguistic basis. While the Sardinian retains the salty article of the Balearic Islands (sa casa, ses filles), in the Alguero they maintain the medieval form as in the south of Catalonia (the cotxe).

Well, it is not my intention to bore anyone with my philological passion. We chat with our new friends for a long time. One of them told us that in 1962, in the dictatorship of Franco, he walked through the center of Barcelona with a clock adorned with a Catalan flag. After some adventures ended up being beaten in the middle of the Plaza del Pí by the auorities. During that same trip to Catalonia, the woman went up to the monastery of Montserrat and began to pray the Pare Nostre aloud and in Catalan astonishing the frightened priests who were in the church. A true warrior. We said goodbye and gave us a warm welcome to our land.

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