Istrioto (also Istriot) is a Western Romance language indigenous to the coast of Istria. Historically, it has had some influence from superstrate languages, such as Venetian and Croatian. It is spoken today in several coastal towns. Ethnologue classifies the status of Istrioto as 7, shifting. There are some community-driven revitalization efforts, which tap into the oral tradition of the language (i.e. acting and singing). However, the population of native speakers is dwindling as most speakers shift to Standard Italian and/or Croatian.


I was invited by Professor Zvjezdana Vrzić (NYU/U. of Rijeka) to join her for the July 11-15, 2016 session of Documentazione e rivitalizzazione dei sei idiomi istrioti (DERSII) in Rovinj, Croatia. DERSII is a community-oriented workshop focused on teaching community members from several towns in Istria the skills and knowledge necessary to spearhead documentation efforts themselves.

Prof. Vrzić taught sessions on using Fieldworks Language Explorer (FLEx), WeSay, and ELAN, as well as audio/video recording techniques. She also oversaw interviews conducted by the workshop participants with speakers of Istrioto. My involvement was primarily to provide technical assistance and to transfer Leipzig-Jakarta lists and sound files into a FLEx project that I created for Istrioto.

DERSII is based in Rovinj, Croatia, a small, seaside town near Trieste, Italy and opposite Venice. The workshop participants came from several towns in Istria, including Dignano, Gallesano, Rovinj, Šišan, and Valle.