Italy Northern Dialects

The northern dialects include the Lombard, Piedmontese, Ligurian, Emilia-Romagna, Venetian and Istrian varieties. Before the Latin conquest, Ligurians, Celts and Venetians had come into contact in this vast territory. And this, if it can explain the differences that intercede, for example, between Ligurian and Veneto, also allows us to group all these dialects together, bearing in mind that the regional boundaries are naturally not idiomatic ones. The  Lombard , for example, extends throughout the Ticino and partly in the Grisons and flows into the province of Novara on one side and the Trentino valleys on the other (see Lombardy: Dialetti). Of the western section (from Milan to the Leventina) the Ambrosian phenomenon of rotaxism of -the intervocalic (eg,  ara  “ala”), now largely vanished; characteristic of the oriental is the fall of  n  in certain positions ( pa  “pane”  vi  e  i  “vino”,  det  “tooth”, etc.). With  the Piedmontese  and the  Ligurians , the Lombard has a common palatalization of  u  ( ü ) (see map). It also participates, for large areas, in the palatalization of  a , a phenomenon that we find in Piedmont (where, however, it is limited to the inf. – are) and in Emilia and Romagna, where it is characteristic (see map). Agreeing with these dialects, drop any final vowel that is not – a . Not so in Veneto and especially in Liguria.

Common to all these northern dialects are certain phenomena of great significance: the waning of long consonants (as in French), the gradation of labial and dental intervocalic consonants, the assibilization of  c  and  g  in front of palatal vowels ( e ,  i ), the turning to  ć  and  ǵ  of  chj  and  ghj  ( ćamà  “to call”), with various further developments. In Piedmontese and Veneto, that is, in the western and eastern sections of this domain, not only is the decay of a – t – between vowels, but even the disappearance. While the group – ct- takes place for – jt – ( fait  da  factu ) in Piedmont and Liguria ( fœtu ), in Lombardy in the items not reworked due to literary influence, s) is obtained – ć – ( fać ), while Emilia, Romagna and the Veneto have – t -. For more minute information, we refer to the detailed descriptions of each single dialect (see Emilia; Liguria; Lombardy, etc.). We exclude from this classification, for the reasons given above, the dialects of the Ladin type (v.). Istrian, which is still a somewhat different dialect from Venetian (see Istria), was once extended to Istria (Trieste was Ladin, now Venetian) and halved between Venetian and Dalmatic which has now disappeared.

The Alpine dialects that surround Ligurian, Piedmontese, Lombard and Venetian are of the Franco-Provençal type (Alps of Liguria and Piedmont) and Ladin (Lombard and Tridentine-Veneto Alps). Valsesia divides between Piedmontese and Lombardy, with a prevalence of Piedmontese characters. Friulian is Ladin. But at the edges of the Franco-Provençal and Ladin dialectal crown, idiomatic traits of Franco-Provençal and Ladin are inserted in the Italian dialectal system (for example,  ka – in the initial and in a strong position in  kja -,  ća -).

Morphological and syntactic characteristics. – In the syntactic order it can be observed that the so-called pronominal reinforcement (  ego dico ,  je dis , a dég ), extends to all the northern dialects, while the Tuscan and central-southern dialects do not have this phenomenon . Another trait that differentiates the dialects of the north from the others of the peninsula is the extension of the gerund in – ando  of the first conjugation to the other conjugations (eg,  kurand  “running”, as  amand  “amando”). Analogous conditions occur in the use of the analytic perfect ( I sang ) and synthetic ( sang), as the first is becoming more and more common in the higher dialects, the second in the central-southern dialects. The Tuscan uses the two forms with exquisite semantic distinction. Many southern dialects use, in Latin, the imperfect subjunctive with the sense of the conditional (sic.  Fussi megghiu  “it would be better”; abr.  M ə  sapess ə  dir ə, etc.). This phenomenon, not unknown to many northern dialects (today it is alive in the dialect of Val Bregaglia), is common to Ladin, but in northern Italy it can be said to have faded. Instead the South maintains it; but in the extreme Apulian the imperfect subjunctive, also in this meaning, has been replaced by the indicative imperfect ( facia  “farei”; ci putia ,  enia  “if I could, I would come”). It is not the case here to highlight characters belonging to one or another area of ​​northern dialects and southern dialects. We will say, however, that the use of the superlative of the Lombard type  nöf novent  (novissimo “) which runs from Piedmont to Veneto and embraces Emilia with some branches in Tuscany belongs to northern Italy. Also the use of the 3rd pers. sing. with the plural subject it is, above all in ancient texts, high-Italian, from which it spreads, through Romagna, in the Marche.

Among the characters that are valid to characterize this or that section of the southern dialects, we will indicate the following. The object complement (animated) preceded by  ad  is found in Sicily, Calabria, Puglia, nor is it unknown to Corsica. For example, sic. aviti vistu a me frati ?, Corsican  aghju seen a bàbitu . In the Judeo-Roman dialect this  a  could be of Spanish origin, but it could also reflect indigenous conditions that have waned, because the area of ​​the phenomenon must have been more extensive in the past (there are also offshoots in Abruzzo). In part of Sicily, in Calabria and in southern Puglia we have a syntactic characteristic that finds correspondences in the Balkans. The infinitive proposition of a construct such as: I want to do ,  I must go , etc., binds to the main one by means of  quomodo  (gr. ἴνα, Romanian  să ) and the indicative, eg. lecc. ulia ku fazzu  “I would like to do”). In north-eastern Sicily and Calabria the ligament is made with  mu ,  mi ,  ma . Another trait is related to the Sardinian and consists in the survival of  ipse  as an article. Ipse  is widely used in the South of the peninsula with the sense of “codesto”, but there are also examples of decay to article in Sicily, Abruzzo, Lucania.

Italy Northern Dialects

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