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Laboratory - the "velme"

Where does the character known as "Vögl delle velme" take his name? "Vögl" clearly means "old man" (in the Ladinian dialect of Livinallongo, or "Fodom"), and this corresponds to Wolff's description. And the "velme"? Wolff translates them as "green alder-trees" (ted. Grün-Erlen), and, as a matter of fact, the correct meaning of the Fodom word results to be just this one. However, "old man of the green alder-trees" is apparently meaningless. As I describe elsewhere in the site, according to prof. Palmieri's wife it seems that at Selva di Cadore this word meant "sheaf" or "haystack": from this interpretation I derived a possible connection with the ancient smelting ovens, as their shapes are quite alike.


I asked for Alessandro Manfroi's help, who is well acquainted with the dialects of the Agordo area, and also took a part in compiling a small Bellunese-Italian dictionary, and here is what he has collected on the subject:

" Velma in the dialect of Cadore is a tow made of leafy branches (usually of fir-tree) used to carry logs or hay downslope, to the plain or to a “karegador” (that may be a sledge or a cart).

In the middle-southern dialects of the Agordo area, but also in those of Rocca, Laste and Colle St. Lucia, we find the same meaning of the word, but it is widened to consider the "velma" as a "conical stack of hay". Moreover, we find a few secondary semantic implications.

Velma acquires, in these geographical areas, the meaning of "big quantity of something" - hence locutions like “usuraria me n’ho karegà ‘na velma”, an exclamation meaning that you have got overloaded with something..

Since, in former times, field surface areas were also calculated according to the number of hay measures they yielded, velma also acquires the semantic acception of a unit of measurement of surface area. In this sense, it becomes a multiple of the “kalvìa”.

From all above, it can be derived that velma carries a semantic connotation somehow connected with a large quantity of hay, with a lot of it, or with a large-sized field. All considered, its interpretation may then be stretched to a meaning of "plenty", or, in a way, of wealth. "

Therefore the way is open towards a second interpretation of the Vögl, i.e. "old man of the wealths", like Marco Polo, who in his late life was nicknamed "mr. Marco Millions"; and we might attribute to the old man an origin even farther South than the Livinallongo. But we still should collect some more precise confirmations about the ancient dialect of the Fodomi and of their close neighbours in the val Fiorentina.