The Mediterranean Linguistic Atlas (ALM) is the Institute’s most prestigious cultural endeavour. The field of linguistic geography studies the diffusion of words and their form by area and offers a synchronic vision through cartographic representations on specially created atlases. Here, the standard morphological criteria are substituted by those of a cultural nature. The study area is the Mediterranean, that vast basin of history and civilisation where the lexicon of the sea (geomorphology, meteorology, the stars, navigation and manoeuvres, vessels, ship life, commerce, fishing, flora and fauna) is expressed in ways that are quite different.
The geographical representation was made plotting 165 points in various countries bordering on or contiguous to the Mediterranean. The survey had 810 questions, the answer to which was a word or a phrase. Every word has its own map and the form of the word can be read in the various points (the name ‘sàrago’ [a kind of fish], for example, or the denomination ‘vela latina’ [lateen sail]).
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