Fiorenzo Toso

The word «tabarchino»: lexicographic and historical-linguistics aspects

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The article was triggered by the recent inclusion of the word "tabarchino" in Italian dictionaries. The aim of the paper is to provide an overview of the adjective's history starting from its origin as a word employed with reference to the Genoese community which was set up in the 16th century on the island of Tabarka (Tunisia). Special emphasis is given to the fact that the term's history offers significant insights into the processes of coining and adopting ethnic adjectives. Another focus is the semantic ambivalence of a term whose significance expanded gradually until it came to indicate the complex ethno-cultural reality of the 'indigenous' catholic community which was present during the Regency in Tunisia in the precolonial era.


  • linguistic minorities
  • Italy's languages in Tunisia
  • ethnic adjectives
  • language names


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