De vulgari eloquentia (I, xi, 1-7)

(1) Quam multis varietatibus latio dissonante vulgari, decentiorem atque illustrem Ytalie venemur loquelam; et ut nostre venationi pervium callem habere possimus, perplexos frutices atque sentes prius eiciamus de silva. (1) Amid the cacophony of the many varieties of Italian speech, let us hunt for the most respectable and illustrious vernacular that exists in Italy; and, so that we may have an unobstructed pathway for our hunting, let us begin by clearing the tangled bushes and brambles out of the wood.
(2) Sicut ergo Romani se cunctis preponendos extimant, in hac eradicatione sive discerptione non inmerito eos aliis preponamus, protestantes eosdem in nulla vulgaris eloquentie ratione fore tangendos. Dicimus igitur Romanorum non vulgare, sed potius tristiloquium, ytalorum vulgarium omnium esse turpissimum; nec mirum, cum etiam morum habituumque deformitate pre cunctis videantur fetere. Dicunt enim: Mezzure, quinto dici? (2) Accordingly, since the Romans believe that they should always receive preferential treatment, I shall begin this work of pruning or uprooting, as is only right, with them; and I do so by declaring that they should not be taken into account in any didactic work about effective use of the vernacular. For what the Romans speak is not so much a vernacular as a vile jargon, the ugliest of all the languages spoken in Italy; and this should come as no surprise, for they also stand out among all Italians for the ugliness of their manners and their outward appearance. They say things like 'Messure, quinto dici?' [Sir, what do you say?]
(3) Post hos incolas Anconitane Marchie decerpamus, qui, Chignamente, frate, sc-tate locuntur: cum quibus et Spoletanos abicimus. (3) After these let us prune away the inhabitants of the Marches of Ancona, who say 'Chignamente state siaté'; [be as you are] and along with them we throw out the people of Spoleto.
(4) Nec pretereundum est quod in improperium istarum trium gentium cantiones quamplures invente sunt; inter quas unam vidimus recte atque perfecte ligatam, quam quidam florentinus nomine Castra posuerat. Incipiebat etenim: Una fermana scopai da Cascioli, Cita cita sen gia 'n grande aina. (4) Nor should I fail to mention that a number of poems have been composed in derision of these three peoples; I have seen one of these, constructed in perfect accordance with the rules, written by a Florentine of the name of Castra. It began like this: Una fermana scopai da Cascioli, cita cita se'n gìa'n grande aina. [I met a woman from Fermo near Cascioli; she hurried briskly away, in great haste]
(5) Post quos Mediolanenses atque Pergameos eorumque finitimos eruncemus, in quorum etiam improperium quendam cecinisse recolimus: Enti l'ora del vesper, ciò fu del mes d'ochiover. (5) After these let us root out the Milanese, the people of Bergamo, and their neighbours; I recall that somebody has written a derisive song about them too: Enti l'ora del vesper, ciò fu del mes d'ochiover. [Around the hour of vespers, it was in the month of October]
(6) Post hos Aquilegienses et Ystrianos cribremus, qui Ces fastu? crudeliter accentuando eructuant. Cumque hiis montaninas omnes et rusticanas loquelas eicimus, que semper mediastinis civibus accentus enormitate dissonare videntur, ut Casentinenses et Pratenses. (6) After these let us pass through our sieve the people of Aquileia and Istria, who belch forth 'Ces fas-to?' [What are you up to?] with a brutal intonation. And along with theirs I reject all languages spoken in the mountains and the countryside, by people like those of Casentino and Fratta, whose pronounced accent is always at such odds with that of city-dwellers.
(7) Sardos etiam, qui non Latii sunt, sed Latiis adsociandi videntur, eiciamus, quoniam soli sine proprio vulgari esse videntur, gramaticam tanquam simie homines imitantes: nam domus nova et dominus meus locuntur. (7) As for the Sardinians, who are not Italian but may be associated with Italians for our purposes, out they must go, because they alone seem to lack a vernacular of their own, instead imitating gramatica as apes do humans: for they say 'domus nova' [my house] and 'dominus meus'[my master].