Gaì: la lingua perduta dei pastori

The present paper endeavour to explore the sociolinguistic charateristics of gaì, a local jargon spoken by some pastoral communities on Italian Alps, untill mid/late XX century. The article first tackles the classification of gaì as a class language, and identifies its affinity with other local and foreign jargons. After a brief description of gaì’s main linguistic features, the article proceeds by locating its socio-anthropological roots in the relations between shepherds, farmers and miners. Lastly, the article proposes a non-linguistic research on the origins of gaì, with a focus on the introduction of enclosures in Valcamonica.