Corsican language: 5 words/expressions to use during your trip

Corsica’s official language is french. Our island has lost its short indépendance in 1769 and became soon after a part of France. Our traditions and culture are however very important to us, and so is our language. The Corsican language is still spoken, fiercely defended, and the center of many actions to gave it back its place in our society. I believe sustainable tourism for Corsica could help this language live on.

You can also read: The “Turismu in Corsu” project

A ludic way to do something good for Corsica

I believe that tourism is today a key aspect of preserving specificities of minorities in Europe and beyond. There are many examples where the interest of foreign visitors helped saving something that would have been doomed otherwise. With this first tiny list of 5 words/expressions in the Corsican language, you should use during your trip, we will try to act together in favor of this beautiful language.

You will have the opportunity to try out some of these words with many peoples, especially when entering some shops where is mentioned: “Compru in Corsu” (mean “I buy using Corsican”). Even if the company behind “Compru in Corsu” is no longer active, its concept lives on and it is still possible to find shops where the possibility to speak the Corsican language is mentioned. Of course, you can also try out some words in every kind of shop, restaurants… Even if some of the people you will encounter do not perfectly speak Corsican, they surely understand the basic words we are going to discover.

5 words/expressions you can easily use in the Corsican language

Learning those words will be easy if you have a little knowledge of Italian or Spanish. But even if you don’t, do not worry! It is just a matter of training. I tried to transcript the pronunciation using the International Phonetic Alphabet and will add some audio files in the future. If something bothers you or if you are not sure to understand, feel free to leave a message.

One more thing. 90% of the time, you have to stress the second to last syllable. Usually, words that require to stress the last one are marked on the vowel (à, è).

  • « Salute », a casual way to say “hello”. You should pronounce [sa’lʊdɛ]
  • « Pè piacè », a fomal way to say “please”. [‘Pɛ pja:’dʒɛ]
  • « Vi ringraziu », a formal way to say “thank you”. [‘bi riŋ’gra:dzjɛ]
  • « Scusate » (short form of “scusatemi”), casual way to initiate a talk with someone you don’t know. Literally “excuse me”. You should pronounce [skʊ’za:dɛ]
  • “Cercu”, stands for “I’m looking for ». [‘tʃɛrkʊ]

 From there, it is up to you to try some words! Don’t be shy, people will surely find it amazing that you try to speak the Corsican language, even with a single word.

Guillaume Bereni

Guillaume is the owner and editor of Sustainable Corsica. Outside of his author role in various websites -about various subjects- for more than 10 years, Guillaume runs a small consulting agency that aims at helping tourism companies in Corsica in their project for more conscious and sustainable activity (you can visit the website -in french- at Happy husband, happy father of three energic children, traveling lover, curious by nature and a bit nerdy too (nobody is perfect).