Preface

I have been asked by many people over the years about the small village of Maschito (Ma-skeet-o) and the Maschitan dialect. Generally the questions come from two sources: first, younger family members aware of their Italian heritage but ignorant of its Albanian-Italian roots; and second, people who are mystified upon hearing the strange-sounding dialect spoken by Maschitans, clearly unrecognizable as Italian.

Why is this dialect so different from some of the other Italian dialects? The dialect of Venice, for example, is clearly different from the classic Italian dialect of Tuscany but is nevertheless clearly Italian. Maschitan, however, is almost totally different.

Why has this dialect survived over the centuries?

Is it dying? Will we be the last generation to use it?

In this booklet I shall not only attempt to answer these questions but also to give a very brief review of Italian history and geography that all will find interesting.

I was assisted greatly in writing this by family members. One of these, my late brother Anthony, gave an oral history which was recorded a few years ago and is included here. His son, Bruce, edited the booklet. Errors or omissions, however, are entirely my own.


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