The Angels’ Language
There is something about the definition of “the Angels’language” that fascinates me.
Apparently many poets, men and women of letters and artists spent quite some time on this topic and some are convinced that their own language must be the one spoken by the great winged souls of the universe.
The Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca used to say that Italian is the language one should use to talk about love, French is the language one should use in intimate moments and Spanish is the Angels’ language. The first time I heard this, I immediately tried to imagine an angelic message in this romance language with a distinct and stern modulation. Somehow I was willing to accept it.
Some days ago I learned that Gaelic is also considered the Angels’ language by the people who speak this mysterious language.
But the American writer Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “The angels are so enamored of the language that is spoken in heaven that they will not distort their lips with the hissing and unmusical dialects of men, but speak their own, whether there be any who understand it or not.”
What a lovely way to put it, don’t you think?
While collecting information on The Accademia della Crusca (see my previous blog post) I found out that last year this famous linguistic Italian academy published a new book for the series History of the Italian Language in the world – Studies and Texts: “La lingua degli angeli” (the angels’ language), by Harro Stammerjohan.
Imagine my joy when I finally found evidence that at least one scholar believes that Italian can also be considered the Angels’ language ????
The following is my rendition in English of the book’s presentation:
The author illustrates the presence of the Italian language abroad from three different perspectives: Italianism, Italianisms, Opinions on the Italian language. The first part, Italianism, concentrates on the contacts with the Italian civilization, considered a model in the rest of Europe and beyond for various centuries. Many are its subject matters: “the Lombards”, the reputation of the Italian universities, Italianism in the European courts, the tradition of the Grand Tour, Italian as the language spoken in the music world, the role of emigration in the diffusion of the Italian language. The various contacts with the Italian civilization are often demonstrated by Italian words and expressions used in foreign languages.
Examples and a classification of these words and expressions are the topic of the second part of the book: Italianisms.
The third part, Opinion on the Italian language, is dedicated to the way in which foreigners have been perceiving the Italian language, with opinions and points of view expressed by Frenchmen, Englishmen, Americans, Germans and others foreigners from the Middle Ages onward. A rich bibliography reflects the extent of the themes presented.
In an interview published by Rai in Comunità italofona Harro Stammerjohan states: …Even if the Italian language knew some detractors in the past, nowadays its beauty is a “mass centainty typical of a Guide bleu” (Tullio de Mauro). It is not only considered a foreign language easy to learn but also delicate, sweet, elegant, fluid, gentle, delightful, smooth, melodic, pleasant, enticing, harmonious and made for music, feminine and created to talk about love… It is so true that also foreigner scholars surrender to its charme: they even try to explain it scientifically.
Harro Stammerjohan, born in 1938 in Bad Segeberg (Germany) and emeritus professor of Romance Linguistic, taught in The United States, Frankfurt and Chemnitz. His main fields of interests are the Italian and French Linguistic. Since 1999 Harro Stemmerjohan is a foreign Academician of The Accademia della Crusca, which in 1970 published his doctoral thesis on the spoken Florentine language.
Notwithstanding my joy and pride for what I have just learned, I somewhat agree with Raph Waldo Emerson’s opinion on the Angels’ language ????
Sources: Edizioni di Crusca
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