‘Teli na cusi tin glossa grika?’


With its sugarcube houses, labyrinthine streets and hyper-Baroque churches, Corigliano d'Otranto seems at first like any other village in Italy's southern Salento region. But as you wander around and explore, an entirely different world begins to reveal itself. 

"Teli na cusi tin glossa grika?" asks a sign on the main square. "Cai 'na percorso amesa tus monumentu pleon orriu so chorio paleo pu Coriana?"

If you're an Italian speaker, you might be feeling a little lost. But if you're a Greek speaker, then these words will evoke an odd sense of familiarity. That's because this is Griko - a language closely related to Greek and spoken in a small microregion of Salento known as Grecia Salentina.

My guide to this world-within-a-world is Dr Manuela Pellegrino, a native of the region and author of "Greek Language, Italian Landscape: Griko and the Re-storying of a...

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