These are two questions I asked on Quora, as examples of the kind of question I want to ask. I have considered cross-posting to SE (if there is an adequate site on the network), maybe after waiting some time. Here are the links to the Quora posts: 1 and 2.

In "quannu a nutturna portunu" in this Sicilian song (see source) is there an implied object (e.g. "a serenata") with "a nutturna" meaning "at night", or is "a nutturna" the object, with meaning "a nighttime serenata"? Third interpretation perhaps?

In this extract of a Sicilian song (see source), does "apru/a porta a vanidduzza" mean "open the door with a little slit" or "open the door unto the country road"?

What is the best SE site to ask this? The obvious answer would be Italian.SE, but I've already asked a dialect question there and the comments told me a meta discussion over there decided dialects were off-topic.

I tried Linguistics but I got no answers and a Tumbleweed badge (maybe that didn't fit the examples above too well though…).

So I was wondering: should I settle for Linguistics or is there a better choice for the above questions (and others on Italian dialects)?


It seems that Italian SE considering questions about dialects off-topic is not a general consensus, however there is no tag, which says a lot about what mods think. Let me research a bit. It seems the only discussion about this is the link given above, however this post seems to interpret that other post as a consensus on dialects being off-topic if the question is not related to Italian. I asked my questions there anyway, let's see what happens.

  • 3
    If it's neither Italian Language nor Linguistics, I can't see that there's any other Stack Exchange site which would be appropriate.
    – ale
    Aug 15, 2017 at 18:55
  • It's really strange. Their help center mentions dialect differences are on-topic (but that links to the Meta question you linked to). Most other language sites on Stack Exchange do allow questions about dialects.
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Aug 15, 2017 at 19:49
  • 1
    @Glorfindel I know a thing lr two about that :). Asked tons of questions on Cantonese, Min, and Hakka, always more or less well received, then I ask one about Calabrian, and suddenly "fuori tema". Da-eff...?
    – MickG
    Aug 15, 2017 at 19:52

1 Answer 1


I don't think that they are off topic on Italian - for a couple of reasons

  1. Your example question isn't closed.
    Even though a moderator has interacted with the question (to edit in a tag), it hasn't been put on hold. I can't see if there are any close votes on it (you have confirmed that there are none in a comment here) but it's certainly been there long enough to have been closed already if it were off topic. Additionally, assuming Google Translate does an OK job of translating the first comment, it sounds like the concern is that your question is about another language entirely, Calabrian, not about Italian at all... so if you have a new question that is about Italian (assuming Sicilian is "Italian enough") you should be OK.

    I find that this question is more [out of the question than not] (off topic?). Calabrian is another language than the standard Italian, although they are both derived from Latin: it is more or less how to ask a question about French. Had he talked about the Meta, here and elsewhere.

  2. The top answer (though not the accepted one) on that meta post says that they should be on topic, as does their help center.
    This, coupled with reason 1 seems to show that you're fine asking them there... in fact, this answer specifically welcomes questions about Sicilian.
    Even the accepted answer on the meta post leaves some leeway for it.

Remember, not all users are perfectly knowledgeable about what is and is not on topic on their site. I'm sure you could ask about this on their meta for clarification but until your question is actually closed, I don't think that's necessary

  • Trouble is, Sicilian is basically the same as Calabrian… Yes, "fuori tema" is the way that mod came up with to say "off-topic" in Italian. "It is more or less like asking a question about French. This has been talked about on Meta, here and elsewhere".
    – MickG
    Aug 15, 2017 at 20:15
  • @MickG DaG isn't a moderator. He's certainly a high-reputation user and has access to a lot of moderation tools but he's not a diamond mod.
    – Catija
    Aug 15, 2017 at 20:23
  • Didn't check at all. Just used "mod" because you said "moderator" in your answer :).
    – MickG
    Aug 15, 2017 at 20:25
  • I was talking about the person who edited the question, Charo.
    – Catija
    Aug 15, 2017 at 20:26
  • Oh. I didn't even remember that post had been edited :). OK, my bad then. Let me just see if there are CVs on it... ...nope, none.
    – MickG
    Aug 15, 2017 at 20:35

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