Sao ko kelle terre…

placiti cassinesi su whatsapp

The picture you see is just a joke I made for my Italian friends.

The back-story is…

For every SMS texts, you have a limit of 160 characters before you have to pay for a second one. This was particularly true a few years ago, when phone companies didn’t offer flat rates. Therefore, my fellow Italians (and I was among them) started to find peculiar ways of shortening texts, as it was happening all over the world, in all languages.

One of the most popular was the use of K (a letter which is not part of the Italian alphabet) instead of CH. For instance, “ke” and “kiesa” instead of “che” and “chiesa”. You would never use this abbreviations in standard Italian or with people who are not your friends or relatives.

This habit quickly started to trespass the boundaries of SMS texting. Many people use it nowadays on every platform: emails, Whatsapp, Facebook, etc., even though the reason why this habit spread is not applicable in these contexts (you don’t pay more if you write a longer email or FB post!).

Many people get annoyed when they read a text stuffed with Ks, and every now and again you come across disdainful campaigns against this “barbaric” usage. Campaigns which I support, to be fully honest…

To get back to the picture…

The text I jokingly imagine to have been typed on Whatsapp is a fundamental text in the history of the Italian language. It’s the oldest of the so-called “placiti cassinesi”, and was written in the year 960 A.D. it was part of a declaration made by a witness on the borders of some properties, and is supposed to be the first written appearance of the Italian vulgar in an official context..

The Ks are clearly a residue of Latin, but I insinuate that they could be due to the laziness of a some chap who lived one thousand years ago. My friends who love to use abbreviations will rejoice for this important historical precedent 🙂

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7 responses to “Sao ko kelle terre…

  1. Luckily you have started writing again…
    And with the Placito Capuano…how could I ask for more? 🙂
    Nice post…
    have a good day 😉

      • ehh per cosí poco…magari 🙂
        Studio Legge, a Perugia…
        semplicemente appassionato di storia e di ‘parole’…

        • Hahahaha, ok. Ma allora la cosa ti fa ancora più onore… Nel caso specifico, poi, storia della lingua e diritto sono strettamente intrecciati 😉

          • You are right…un atto notarile come prima documento italiano, ma solo dopo il famigerato indovinello:
            Se pareba boves, alba pratalia araba, albo versorio teneba, negro semen seminaba ahah Qui peró mancano le Ks…:)

  2. Ciao Gianfranco,
    e questo non è l’unico caso. Se tornassimo indietro nel tempo scopriremmo che tanti di quelli che oggi definiamo errori (o orrori) dell’italiano una volta era perfettamente accettabili. Ma mi raccomando non divulghiamo la notizia…:D 😉

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