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the European Union
A CLIL-based laboratory in a
middle school in OroseiFederico Gobbo
(Amsterdam / Milano-Bicocca / Torino)
CLOW2 Turin 5-6 May 2016
According to UNESCO, Sardinian is an
endangered language. During the last two
generations, the vitality and vigour of Limba
(the Sardinian language) has gone drastically
•Youngsters tend to abandon Sardinian when
the literacy process towards Italian starts in
•Italian has been increasingly invading the
domains traditionally associated with the use of
Sardinian (e.g. family, peers).
LIMBA SARDA COMUNA (LSC) is the official
standard writing system of Limba used by the
local government since 2006.
LSC: a contested standard
Some of the epithets cast against the LSC by the
•‘Frankenstein monster idiom’;
1) precise orthographic regularity but with a
2) the LSC orthography is a sort of common
denominator of the Sardinian varieties and it
uses only a graphic form apart from the
phonosyntactic modifications of the spoken
language. It was studied to cover all local
varieties, e.g. :
3) it corresponds to the Mesania variety that is a
natural meeting point between the different
varieties, that have a lot of variation at phonetic
and phonological level.
The process of normalization of written
Sardinian is not simple: the first model of
written standard (LSU: Limba Sarda Unificada)
was refused by the speakers because:
a)it was modeled on the prestigious Logudorese
b)it contemplated the standardization of lexicon
• Normally the school system in Sardinia is
(still) essentially monolingual in Italian.
• According to Skutnabb-Kangas, only strong
models of multilingual schools obtain additive
multilingualism in learners (e.g. immersion
programmes for majorities).
• Our CLIL-based laboratory is obviously limited,
but it is also the first such laboratory using LSC
in public schools in Sardinia, as far as we
The laboratory in Orosei
• Research hypothesis: to test the use of the
LSC as a written code in middle-school
classrooms (possible refusal feelings).
• Testing the hypothesis: using the LSC in a
didactic field with lessons about the history of
Sardinia from a Mediterranean and European
• Testing field: the CLIL method was used in 3
different classes at the secondary school «G.A.
Muggianu» in Orosei (Nuoro).
Research question: "Could the phonetic distance
between the LSC and the Orosei local variety
(between 13, 57% and 15, 53% ) be an obstacle
to didactic aims? "
• Preparation of the didactic material in the LSC
according to the students' competences and
to the historical facts of the ministerial
• Sardinian history language laboratories (4
hours in each class): the Sardinian language
was used both orally (local variety) and in
written form (LSC, for the didactic material);
A specimen of the didactic materials
Su giudicadu de Càlari, chi fiat cumpostu dae sos territòrios de su Sulcis e de s'Ogiastra, fiat su prus
mannu e si basaiat subra sa messarìtzia; su rennu de Arborea, cun sos pranos mannos suos, fiat
adatu a s'agricultura e a sa pastorìtzia. Su giudicadu de Torres fiat de importu pro su cummèrtziu:
in su portu turritanu colaiant difatis sos produtos de s’internu de s’ìsula pro nche los leare a Còrsica
e a Frantza; su de Gaddura, imbetzes, fiat adatu de prus a sa pastorìtzia.
Istemmas de sos giudicados:
1) Preliminary research to understand learners'
linguistic and sociolinguistic background
2) elaboration and organization of the didactic
3) effective phase in which LSC was used in the
4) follow up phase and evaluation to look into
the students' reaction and satisfaction
compared with the developed activity
The population of the sociolinguistic research
3C 2B 1B TOT.
Girls 4 7 6 17
Boys 8 9 13 30
TOT. 12 16 19 47
The sample was composed of 47 students of which 8
• Several semi-speakers;
• strong lexical italianization with new
• boys tend to use Sardinian more frequently
• at least a superficial knowledge of lexemes
and sentences by foreign students.
Observation on the didactic
activity in the classroom
• Sardinian native speaking students, with low
marks at school, got better results, above
• Linguistic activation: many speakers, who had
stated that they understood Sardinian but did
not speak it, used Limba in a quite fluent and
Introducing the teaching of Sardinian at
school would allow the systematization of
linguistic input – to which students in the
community context are exposed – and to turn
it into output.
Observations on the
• Even though the final evaluative questionnaire
was written in Italian, a lot of students chose
to complete it in Sardinian: this is positive in
terms of output;
• for students who had at least a fairly good
knowledge of Sardinian, the dichotomy
between written and spoken was not an
obstacle for their comprehension.
• Successful pilot experiment: the spoken
Sardinian language and LSC can be used to
communicate disciplinary subjects;
• don't consider learners' first language has a
negative influence on their educational
• no refusal feeling towards LSC, that also
proved to be a valid instrument of
metalinguistic reflection (e.g. comparison
between Romance languages);
• Limba is seen as a symbolic function of
identity and this was a very important factor
in the laboratory.
This pilot experiment shows that a concrete
application of the LSC in schools is possible
and desirable but it is important to consider
that the competence and the use of the
Sardinian language vary across the regional
territory, with differences between urban
and rural settings.
The standardization of the Sardinian language
can’t only come from above but it is necessary to
consider its end language users:
•to test systematically the LSC in schools;
•to extend the research in the South of Sardinia;
possible southern student’s negative reactions, far
from compromising the introduction of LSC at
school, could be an opportunity to introduce some
changes and to make the written language fit
the European Union
Bos torro gràtzias
Thank you for
Co-authored with Laura Vardeu. Presented at the CLOW2, Turin, May 2016.