Grant #540


July 3, 2023

How Do You Say “Awesome” in Arbëresh?

Centuries ago, during the Middle Ages, the Arbëreshë people settled in what was then the Kingdom of Naples—now southern Italy. They were Albanian refugees, fleeing the Ottoman conquest of the Balkans. It’s been hundreds of years, but the Arbëreshë still live in Italy and speak Arbëresh, which is a unique mix of Albanian and Italian languages. Arbëresh has survived so much turmoil and war, but its community is small and it faces the same risks that so many special languages do.  

Martin Di Maggio, a second generation Anglo-Arbëresh speaker, is deeply committed to his language’s preservation in Sicily. With a team of two other speakers, he’s hoping to produce a deck of cards of everyday vocabulary (translated into Italian on the back) with corresponding descriptions and pictures. The cards will also have QR codes on them so that interested learners can keep up their study via additional resources and hear words and descriptions spoken aloud. 

Our grant will help pay for the design and printing of these cards so that Arbëresh can continue to be spoken and appreciated. Now we just need to know: How do you say “awesome” in Arbëresh? 

Category: Civic Engagement, Community, Culture



After 11+ years, we’re signing off and closing applications for good. We’ve supported 571 projects with $571,000 in grant dollars. We’re so proud to have celebrated such incredible work. Please visit for more information on other AWESOME chapters! And thanks for sharing so much awesomeness with us.

Team Awesome Without Borders