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The dialect has its roots in 1372, when Catalan-speaking colonists were allowed to repopulate Alghero and expel the native population, after several revolts. Catalan was replaced as the official language by Spanish, then by Italian in the mid-18th century. Today the language has semi-official recognition alongside Italian.
Studies give an approximatle number of 20,000 to 30,000 native speakers of the language worldwide. In communities where Algherese is spoken, Italian and LogudoreseSardinian are often used as well.
Algherese is a regional dialect spoken by anywhere from 20,000 to 30,000 individuals, most of which reside in the town of Alghero, located in the northwest of Sardinia. The language, though distinct is initially derived from, and thus considered a variant of, the Catalan language. The origins of the language can be traced back to 1372, when Catalan invaders repopulated the city of Alghero after exiling the indigenous populations in Sardinia. Despite the city's increasing Italianization, the use of this Catalan dialect remained widespread until at least the 1970s.
As a result of the city's extensive Italianization, Italian is now the predominant language in Alghero, being estimated by a 2004 survey to be first language of close to 60% of those surveyed. The use of the dialect in schools and media, to name a few, remains sparse. Teaching of the dialect in school is also rare. However, in an attempt to reverse the trend, the Regional Council of Sardinia officially recognized "Algherese Catalan" as a separate language in 1997, in order to promote its use and circulation. According to the 2004 survey, Algherese was used by approximately 14% of the population for daily interactions. The dialect is mostly a local language, often used to supplement Italian and/or Sardinian in relatively small circles.
The following figures were obtained from the Enquesta d'usos lingüístics a l'Alguer ("Survey of linguistic usage in Alghero", EULAL) of 2004 and the "Els usos lingüístics a l'Alguer" of 2015 (EULA 2015), both of which were studies conducted in the town of Alghero about the general use of Algherese in several media.
90.1% (Sardinian oral comprehension: 69.7%)
61.3% (Sardinian oral expression: 33.9%)
46.6% (Sardinian written comprehension: 35.4%)
13.6% (Sardinian written expression: 15.4%)
22.4% (59.2% Italian)
In 1999, Catalan and Sardinian were among the twelve minority languages officially recognized as Italy's "historical linguistic minorities" by the Italian State under Law No. 482/1999. Prior to this, the Regional Council of Sardinia had passed the Regional Law No. 26 of 15 October 1997 which, aside from promoting the equality in dignity of the Sardinian language with the Italian language throughout the island, provided that the other languages of smaller scope be afforded the same treatment as the aforementioned languages, among which Catalan is cited, in the city of Alghero. The city council, for its part, promulgated its protection and standardization in its city statute.
Like in other languages of Sardinia /?/ and /e/ as well as /?/ and /o/ may merge into mid vowels and , respectively.
Coalescing of unstressed vowels /a/, /?/ and /e/ to (unlike the rest of Eastern Catalan, which uses ).
Algherese preserves /v/ as a distinct phoneme from /b/, like Balearic and most of Valencian.
Mutation of intervocalic /d/ or /l/ to : 'Barceloneta' (little Barcelona): Eastern Standard [b?rsu'n?t?], Algherese [balsaru'ne?ta]; and vila ('town') and vida ('life') are homophones in Algherese ['vira].
Mutation of syllable final /r/ to lateral , and the possible resulting group /r/ + consonant is further simplified to : forn ('furnace, oven'): Standard ['fo?rn], Algherese ['fo?l].
Depalatalization of syllable final sonorants: lateral /?/ to , nasal /?/ to ; e.g. any ('year'): Standard ['a?], Algherese ['an].
Unlike most Catalan dialects, /l/ is never velarized in Algherese: sol ('sun'): Standard ['s], Algherese ['so?l].
The simple past is replaced by the present perfect (present of haver "to have" + past participle), possibly by Italian influence.
The imperfect past preserves etymological -v- in all conjugations: 1st -ava, 2nd -iva, 3rd -iva (unlike modern Eastern and Western Standard Catalan, which use 1st -ava, 2nd -ia, 3rd -ia, a feature shared with the Ribagorçan dialect.
^Generalitat de Catalunya, Secretaria de Política Lingüística (2004). Enquesta d'usos lingüístics a l'Alguer [Survey of linguistic usage in Alghero] (PDF) (Report) (in Catalan). Generalitat de Catalunya, Secretaria de Política Lingüística.
Marongiu, Antonietta Maria (2007). Language Maintenance and Shift in Sardinia: A Case Study of Sardinian and Italian in Cagliari (PhD thesis). University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. hdl:2142/86151.
Corbera Pou, Jaume (2000). Caracterització del lèxic alguerès. Palma (Balears): Universitat de les Illes Balears.
Scala, Luca (2003). Català de l'Alguer. Criteris de llengua escrita (1st ed.). Barcelona: Publicacions de l'Abadia de Montserrat. ISBN978-84-8415-463-1.
Tufi, Stefania (2013). "Language Ideology and Language Maintenance: The Case of Sardinia". International Journal of the Sociology of Language. 2013 (219): 145-160. doi:10.1515/ijsl-2013-0009. S2CID143748495.