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The most striking characteristic of the Sardinian language is that, while throughout the peninsula of Italy the article is derived from the Latin pronoun ille ( il, lo, la, 'o, 'u ), in Sardinian it is derived from ipse ( su , masculine; sa , feminine).In the neighbourhood of Alghero, Catalan is spoken.The island is formed chiefly of granite, trachyte, basalt, other volcanic rocks, and of chalk deposits.The climate is temperate, but malaria prevails in the plains in summer, which accounts for the small population. In 1901 the population was 791,754; at present (1911) it is estimated to be about 850,000 (90 to the square mile).Copper, manganese, antimony, and zinc are mined in certain districts.Lignite occurs in fairly extensive beds near Gonnesa, Iglesias, and Sulcis; anthracite and graphite in smaller quantities.In addition there are many marshes now being reclaimed for agricultural purposes.
The domesticated horses are remarkably sturdy; a species of small horse is largely exported to Algeria.
In historic times the people of Sardinia have undergone less amalgamation than any other Italian population.
According to the ancient geographers, the primitive population of Sardinia was akin to the Libyans; Iberians, Greeks, Phoenicians, Carthaginians, and Italians came later.
One of the worst agricultural pests in Sardina is the locusts which come over from Africa in large swarms.
The total produce for 1903 was wheat, 4,824,090 bushels; Indian corn, 178,775 bushels, wine, 63,664,970 gallons; oil, 221,110 gallons; the salt pans of Cagliari are the most productive in Italy, the output for the year 1905 being 1,403,372 pounds.