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The Libro Mastro of Pasquale di Santuccio

The Libro Mastro of Pasquale di Santuccio, merchant from L’Aquila, probably self written in 1471-1473 by the accounting method of the double entry, and kept in the State Archive in L’Aquila, is a document of great interest, not only linguistic, and it should also be taken into account by historians of medieval economy. The Editor Marini is now preparing a complete glossed edition of the text for one of the series supported by the Abruzzo's Deputation of Farherland's History.
It is easy to recognize the character of linguistic “medianity” of the text in spite of the absence of -u (that appears almost only in article lu, but is attested by several Aquilan documents of the same age), however less clearer in revealing the belonging to linguistic area of L'Aquila (in fact some typical features, as type au, fau, stau, etc., are absent).
Nevertheless I will not dwell in resuming a phonetic and morphologic analysis that makes up the subject of the study of Marini and that appears also on a first, meticolous and skilful-hand leaded inquiry (among other things, the studious makes fruitful use of a wide updated critical bibliography and engages in a personal rich scrutiny of texts). I will just limit to focus on what appeared to me as one of the most relevant data emerging from the study of Libro Mastro (beyond some demotic features: type faczo, palatalization of sibilant before vocalic -i, palatalization of lateral before -o): alternation of metaphonetic and non-metaphonetic forms in nouns, depending on geographical origin and social standing of a designated person. That is, if the nominated person came or did not from areas in which metaphony was active, or if his professional qualification was prestigious, non-metaphonetic form was prevalent or at least present (and viceversa). In short: notaro Domenicho de Pizulo, but also Jacomo Francisco vitturale. On the other hand, among proper nouns, those connected with sheep-breeding economy show more frequently metaphonetic forms: ritj (reti) 'nets' (for sheeps), pollitrj (puledri) 'colts', tonneturj (tosatori) 'shearers', and others - as numerals dudicj, sidicj, tridicj, (dodici, sedici, tredici) 'twelve', 'sixteen', 'thirteen', in which phoenomena of vocalic harmonization and compactness of the series "dodici", "tredici", etc. could have also worked. A likewise persuasive explanation Marini gives about systematic distribution of the type Pietro (to designate people from Milan, Venice, Perugia, Florence, etc.) in comparison with Petrj (used for people from L'Aquila or from neighbouring country).

Leonardo Rossi

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