“Australoveneto is like having two souls as in “Croce e Delizia,” quoting Verdi’s La Traviata. Florio Pozza has two souls. He was born in Australia to Italian parents and only at 12 years he arrived in Veneto: in his heart there is room for both countries. He is Australoveneto.
This dual identity means that Florio dreams of Australia when he is in Veneto and vice versa. As in the short story “Blue Flowers” by Raymond Queneau taken from the famous Chinese fable: “Chuang-Tze dreams of being a butterfly, but who says that is not the butterfly dreaming of being Chuang Tze?”.
The result of this apparent paradox is an eclectic artist who straddles two continents and is able to take the best from both “contaminating” the two cultures. For example, in music, his style is the Didgeriblues, a neologism to indicate the use of the Didgeridoo, musical instrument of the Australian Aborigines, according to the Western blues style – true Australoveneto.
In his original way to straddle two worlds, Florio grew up with a strange language that was not Italian but not English. He was born into a house talking an invented language where words were Australian “declined according to the Italian grammatical forms (indeed Venetian)” by its parent. “Drive the car”, for example, could be translated “Draiva-re el caro” or “Park the car = Parka el Caro”.
Regional Veneto is not listed among the official languages, those that have their own grammar and vocabulary and is rather defined as regional language. In its variants is spoken by approximately 10 million people in 6 different states of the world (Istria, Dalmatia, Romania, Brazil and Mexico. Particularly in Brazil, in the states of Rio Grande do Sur, Santa Caterina and Parana, there are about 5 million people who normally speak an ancient dialect coming from the areas of Treviso and Vicenza. Some of these people are also in Australia.
Listening to other people like him, Florio has realized that these neo-mixed languages are much more common than you might imagine among immigrants, especially in Australia, the crossroads of millions of people from different countries all over the world. Then two years ago the idea of the group’s Australoveneto Dictionary on Facebook.
In the group you can create together and invent new combinations of words and idioms that Florio has patiently cataloged and classified to give rise to a real book. “From Social to Social Group Book” is their motto, and now this book has come out in bookstores as the Australoveneto dictionary that contains about 1,200 entries and idioms.
We should not take too seriously the vocabulary, the translations are not literal and the spirit is to look around and spend pleasant moments with friends by bringing together two cultures so geographically far apart.
If you are interested to know more about Australia, a magical place definitely in Dreamtime of Florio and many other young Italians, please contact Florio who organizes seminars and is regularly invited by universities to discuss the two cultures and Australoveneto.