Pellittos Sardos – FOREWORD


At University, at the chairs of Glottology, Romance Linguistics and the like, we were indoctrinated in a way we all know. Fifty years after graduation, there is no further book I have read or article in a magazine or newspaper, written by those professors, that does not report – almost a drop that relentlessly digs a rock – the same theories for one hundred and fifty years.

For many decades I have been interested in the etymologies of Sardinian toponymy, and as a good learner I had strictly adhered to the university training received. In seeking or reformulating the etymologies I had never failed to refer to the masters, to take the utmost account of the etymological dictionaries of Latin, Greek, Italian, Spanish, nor did I fail to approach living professors or those who had taken their place for reasons of age. Knowing in person the new professors, my former classmates, I also felt emanating from them that usual reassuring air of wisdom that I had breathed for so long.

Unfortunately, the discipline which requires toponomastic study is not rose water, at least for a linguist who wants to work with the right tools: it is an experience that leaves nothing as it was before. I, a frequent visitor to Sardinian mountains, had also officially received the title of hiking guide from Italian Alpine Club. Geographical and glottological experiences had merged, and I had to personally learn that Sardinian toponymy, in whose mysteries I had immersed myself, produces unimaginable traumas, at least when it is approached with competence, with daily elucubrations, with balance, doctrine, intellectual seriousness. And one soon realizes – unless a spell does not occlude his investigation – that Sardinian toponyms have been around for several millennia, so they date back to long before the establishment of Latin language in Mediterranean Sea.

Intellectual seriousness continually leads us to a crossroads: if we abandon the old theories, the new path is unexplored; it can even disappear in the middle of forest; and if we want to advance, we must open a path with all the competence and determination of the case. In words, this even seems easy, but if we admit that Sardinian toponyms are pre-Latin, it is with pre-Latin dictionaries and grammars that we have to deal.

From toponyms to the remaining Sardinian knowledge, the step is short. And once you take a new path, it turns out that the entire Sardinian language is anchored to Mediterranean pre-Latin languages. To verify this, just we must study the pre-Latin grammars and leaf through thousands of pages of the relevant dictionaries. Open the windows to such a scenario, it is no longer possible to close again them and gaze at the old. Or rather, given the grandeur of the new scenarios, some are dismayed by the news, and some may withdraw because of the reassuring winks of old convenient practices. It is the overload of remorse and commitment that makes you go back to the comfortable use of a single dictionary, to the Latin one.

In any case, for me to go back to the crossroads turned out to be a senseless operation. Taking refuge in the old procedures causes me annihilation, deprivation, blindness, abandonment, loss, loss of identity. When I arrived at the fateful crossroads, I realized that I was about to make a decisive cultural choice. In fact, I felt the error of enclosing myself in a mono-use of Latin dictionary (anchored in turn to the Italian and Catalan-Spanish dictionary). Sardinian language could not have been generated by Romans with an act of empire. No language is born as an act of empire. Why should Latin have conquered and dissolved the Sardinian language at a predetermined date? The Sardinians cannot have lost the ancient knowledge with a mere overlap of Latinity. Is Sardinian language so weak? And why then did a handful of Malteses still speak a Semitic language three hundred years after Roman conquest? Why did the Western Semitic language from Sirte to the Pillars of Hercules never cease to prevail for so many centuries after the annihilation of Carthage? Why did ancient Egyptian language not disappear by Alexander the Great and resisted in the Coptic until the Middle Ages?

Latin is not the Mediterranean mother-tongue. Mediterranean roots are very deep. Stopping them at 2000 years ago is like sawing an individual in two: it is like removing the aerial part of a tree leaving the roots underground.

Only by committing ourselves with hard work and with a rigorous method can we fully understand how deeply rooted the relationship between current Sardinian language and all pre-Roman dictionaries. This kind of analysis has greatly enhanced my desire for research, because I finally have all possible sources and through them I discover that a primitive language was established and consolidated in the Mediterranean, and a slow differentiation produced the subsequent expression of Italian languages, Greek, Celtic, Corsican, Sicilian, Sardinian language.

Amicus Plato sed magis amica veritas. If all this is discovered, all moral obligation towards the old academic Nomenklatura ceases. However, this does not prevent us from crying bitterly (it has often happened to me), because friendships count, and you understand that in a flash the risk of that abandonment turns against you. It is a vengeful fury that does not forgive. Where the chairs are, there is the power.

Twenty years have gone by now, and an absolute and meticulous rigor opposes me more and more to every book written according to the old theories. They have collapsed, they have evaporated, as new methodologies have ridiculed and pulverized them. The value of this new frontier will only be recognized by the History of Culture.

After having written two Etymological Dictionaries and an Etymological Encyclopedia, as well as many other books relating to the whole Sardinian knowledge, many themes I have solved, which I have chosen or which I can still choose to publish. I expose my investigations and scientific discoveries only with books.

Today, among many themes I methodically highlighted, I want to denounce in this pamphlet four other deceptions that Academies have woven and kept alive since immemorial time, harnessing us and stifling any cultural advancement.

The current themes are 1. Sardinians Pelliti, 2. Vēr Sācrum, 3. Montes Insani (or Mainómenoi órē), 4. the infamous separation of the so-called “Indo-European languages” between centum and satǝm. These are immense and sensational themes for scholars from Sardinia, Italy and the world. Discovering the truths denied and promoting their knowledge is the only goal that can be pursued by those who value the morality of research and the wisdom of results.

Salvatore Dedola

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