Language of Corsica | Corsica.forHikers.com

Language of Corsica

All Corsicans can speak French, as this is the official language of Corsica. Many Corsicans also speak Corsican (Corsu) that is quite similar to Italian, while just a few of them can speak or at least understand English or German.

All Corsicans can speak French, as this is the official language of Corsica. Many Corsicans also speak Corsican (Corsu) that is quite similar to Italian, while just a few of them can speak or at least understand English or German.

If you don't speak French at all, it may be rather difficult to make yourself understood in Corsica. Try to learn at least few French phrases before your journey and don't be afraid to use them when talking to Corsicans -- they'll appreciate your effort. On the other hand, trying to speak Corsican is not recommended to foreigners, because Corsicans value their language as a national treasure. If you speak Italian or even Spanish, many Corsicans will understand.

Understanding maps and local names

All towns and villages have both French and Corsican names, as well as major mountains, rivers, lakes, mountain passes etc., but many local names are in Corsican only. Most maps are available in French, but they still mix French with Corsican, sometimes in rather bizarre way. Some places are written there either in French only (e.g. Col de la Croix) or in Corsican only (Bocca a Croce), but other ones makes a strange mixture of the two languages (e.g. Col de Battaglia instead of Bocca di Battaglia).

The two tables below should help you understand such French-Corsican maps better.

Common geographical objects

FrenchCorsicanEnglish
aiguilleacuneedle (rock)
auberge inn
auberge de jeunesse youth hostel
baie bay
barrage dam
bergeriestazzusheep pen
capcapu, capocape
carrefour crossroads
cascade waterfall, cascade
colboccamountain pass
commune district, commune, borough
couvent convent; monastery
crete mountain ridge
défilé gorge, defile, narrow pass
désert desert
église church
étang pond
fleuvefiumeriver
foretfurestaforest
gite d'etape hostel, dormitory for hikers
golfe gulf, smaller bay
chapelle chapel
ile island
laclavulake
maison house
mermaresea
montmonte (pl. monti)mount
phare lighthouse
place square, town square
plage beach
plateaupianuplateau
pointepuntapoint, peak
port harbour
refuge refuge
ruisseauvaglinellustream
source underground spring
tourtorre, (pl. torri)tower
valléefiuminalevalley

French and Corsican names of major places

FrenchCorsican
AjaccioAiacciu
BonifacioBunifaziu
CorteCorti
L'île-RousseIsula Rossa
PatrimonioPatrimoniu
Porto-VecchioPurti Vechju
Saint-FlorentSan Fiurenzu
SarteneSarte

Useful resources for the languages spoken in Corsica

Last modified on Sun, 2013-04-28 19:30