Association for the promotion of the Ligurian language
The Council for Ligurian Linguistic Heritage is an organisation of people committed to promoting the historical Romance varieties of Liguria. In particular, it aims to foster conditions to facilitate the learning of the linguistic heritage of the region, both at the level of scientific research and at the level of dissemination.
The Council, as a non-political organisation, also proposes to dialogue with the institutions to launch initiatives related to its objectives. For these purposes, it has an independent scientific committee.
Prof. Fiorenzo Toso, professor of general linguistics at the University of Sassari, but in Liguria known mainly for his innovative studies on Genoese, its lexicon, its literature and its presence overseas, passed away prematurely on September 24. He translated numerous works from French and Spanish into Italian and from Italian, English and Spanish into Genoese. He also worked on issues related to linguistic minorities in Italy and Europe, lexicography and etymological studies. It is particularly painful for the author of this note to write Fiorenzo’s obituary, both because we had known each other all our lives and because he was one of the staunchest supporters of my approach to poetry in Genoese. From the late 1970s, when we both participated in the “Lauro d’Oro” poetry contest, to when he included my works in his seminal anthology Letteratura genovese e ligure (Marietti, 1989-1991), to when he founded and directed the literature series A Parma for the publisher Le Mani, up to the grammar we coauthored, Il genovese in tasca (Assimil, 2010) and the recent collaborations for the book series E restan forme by the publisher Zona, our choices in linguistic and also aesthetic matters proceeded hand in hand. Both in poetry and prose, Toso was in fact the first, in modern times, to become an advocate of a literary form of the Genoese language – in a sense a dignified version, but also rooted in contemporary use, based on in-depth studies of classical Genoese and lexical salvage from the works of the past, especially from the Baroque period, as well as from the peripheral Genoese still spoken today. His battle for the recognition of both the socio-historical and literary importance of Genoese cost him, especially at the beginning of his academic career, mistrust and misunderstanding, but he achieved an important success with the exhibition Genoese - History of a language”, which he organized at the State Archives in September 2017 – an event that represented an achievement already from its title alone, since the term “language” and not “dialect” was used with reference to Genoese in an institutional setting and with great prominence. In a life entirely dedicated to this precise purpose – in addition to his family, another staple in his life – Toso produced an astonishingly thick and accurate quantity of scientific and literary texts, as if he knew that the time allotted to him was not much, and he followed the advice that the Anonimo Genovese – the medieval father of our literature – which Fiorenzo placed as the epigraph of his Linguistic History of Liguria (Recco-Genoa, 1995): “Lavore, quando è saxon / l’omo, avanti che passe l’ora: / a compir un faito bon / non è mai da dar demora”. (Verse LXXVIII)