The Istriot dialect of Šišan, as well as that of Rovinj, Vodnjan, Bale, Fažana and Galižana, represents the last remnant of the pre-Venetian Romanesque layer in Istria.

The Istriot language is a Romance language. It has been preserved in southern Istria between Rovinj and Šišan, in the Romanesque-Slavic area. The speakers distinguish the Istriot dialects from the Istrian-Venetian dialects and the Croatian population calls the speakers of the Istriot dialect Latins. Although there are differences between individual dialects, their origin is undoubtedly the same and they represent the last aspect of the Istrian Romanesque culture.

The Istriot autochthonous pre-Venetian Romance language of southwestern Istria is included in the list of the 24 most endangered European languages. It is critically endangered and on the verge of extinction because it is mainly used by older speakers. The young Italian population understands most of it, but does not use it. Therefore, the Italian Community of Šišan has taken many active steps to preserve the language like the Festival dell'istrioto, which takes place every year in the autumn.


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