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Subject: Sicilian Language
Question: Researching Sicilian language (not dialects), I have found two
''sub-groups'': 1) Sicilian of the Italo-Dalmatian parent sub-group
(also referred to as Calabro-Sicilian or Sicilianu or Siculu) and 2)
Sicilian of the Ligurian-Sicilian sub-group. Both are from the
Indo-European or Indo-Hittite family.


1. What is meant by ''parent sub-group''?
2. Is Indo-European the same as Indo-Hittite?
3. Elsewhere, I've found ''Gallo-Sicilian'' listed as a language. Is Gallo-
Sicilian the same as Ligurian-Sicilian?

Reply: I'm afraid I know nothing about Sicilian languages. But I can answer one or two of your questions. "Indo-European" is the name commonly used for the language family to which English and Italian and many others belong, and it was investigated rather thoroughly in the 19th century. But then I think early in the 20th century (I would need to check the date) it was argued, persuasively, that a long-extinct language of Asia Minor, Hittite, was related to the Indo-European languages but related as a cousin rather than as a daughter, if I could put it that way; so that arguably "Indo-European" is not the name of a "most inclusive" family, and it was suggested that "Indo-Hittite" would be a better name. So effectively, yes, these are two names for the same language family, but one of them emphasizes a recently-discovered family member.

"Parent sub-group" seems transparent to me so I am not sure what your question is really asking. Languages form groups that are closely related, i.e. had relatively recent common ancestors, and they in turn form groups at a higher level, i.e. their common ancestors are further back in time, and so on. So for instance the Romance languages and the Celtic languages are two groups of the Indo-European family, but I believe they are believed to belong together as more closely related than other Indo-European groups of languages such as Germanic, Slavonic, etc.; hence the group of languages called Italo-Celtic would be the parent sub-group of the Italic languages (including Latin and its descendant Romance languages) and the Celtic languages.

Q. 3 is one where I fear I am completely ignorant.


Geoffrey Sampson

Reply From: Geoffrey Richard Sampson      click here to access email
Date: 13-Aug-2012
Other Replies:
  1. Re: Sicilian Language    Elizabeth J Pyatt     (18-Sep-2012)

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