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Emilian dialect


Emilian dialect

Native to Italy
Native speakers
(no estimate available)
Dialects Bolognese, Ferrarese, Modenese, Reggiano, Parmigiano, Piacentino
Language codes
ISO 639-3 egl
Linguasphere 51-AAA-oka ... -okh

Emilian is a group of dialects of Emiliano-Romagnolo language, spoken in the area historically called Emilia, western portion of today's Emilia-Romagna region.

Although commonly referred to as a dialect of Italian, it does not descend from it. It is part of the Gallo-Italic group of languages, which are Western Neo-Latin, conserving innovative phonetic and syntactic features as in French, Occitan and Catalan, while Italian is part of Eastern Neo-Latin. There is no standardised version of Emilian.

The default word order is subject–verb–object. There are two genders, two grammatical cases, and a distinction between plural and singular. Emilian has a strong T–V distinction to distinguish varying levels of politeness, social distance, courtesy, familiarity, or insult. It employs a considerable number of diacritics.


  • Classification 1
  • Dialects 2
  • Writing system 3
  • References 4
  • Bibliography 5
  • Further reading 6
  • External links 7


Emilian is a dialect of the Emiliano-Romagnolo language, one of the Gallo-Italic languages. There is a high degree of mutual intelligibility between the various varieties of Emilian, as well as with the other Emiliano-Romagnolo dialect: Romagnolo. The Gallo-Italic family comprises Emiliano-Romagnolo, Piedmontese, Ligurian and Lombard language.


Linguasphere Observatory recognises the following dialects:[1]

  • Mantovano, spoken in all but the very north of the Province of Mantua in Lombardy. It has a strong Lombard influence.
  • Vogherese (Pavese-Vogherese), spoken in the Province of Pavia in Lombardy. It is closely related phonetically and morphologically to Piacentino. It is also akin to Tortonese.
  • Piacentino, spoken west of the River Taro in the province of Piacenza and on the border with the province of Parma. The variants of Piacentino are strongly influenced by Lombard, Piedmontese, and Ligurian.
  • Parmigiano, spoken in the province of Parma. Those from the area refer to the Parmigiano spoken outside of Parma as Arioso or Parmense, although today's urban and rural dialects are so mixed that only a few speak the original. The language spoken in Casalmaggiore in the Province of Cremona to the north of Parma is closely related to Parmigiano.
  • Reggiano, spoken in the province of Reggio Emilia, although the northern parts (such as Guastalla, Luzzara and Reggiolo) of the province are not part of this group and closer to Mantovano.
  • Modenese, spoken in the province of Modena, although Bolognese is more widespread in the Castelfranco area. In the northern part of the province of Modena, the lowlands around the town of Mirandola, a Mirandolese sub-dialect of Modenese is spoken.
  • Bolognese, spoken in the province of Bologna and in around Castelfranco (Province of Modena).
  • Ferrarese, spoken in the province of Ferrara, southern Veneto, and Comacchio.

Other definitions include the following:

  • Carrarese and the Lunigiano dialect, spoken in Carrara, Lunigiana, in almost all of Massa-Carrara and a good portion of the La Spezia province, i.e. west-northern Tuscany. Historically, this region has been part of both Tuscany and the Duchy of Parma at different times, so has a close economic relationship with the Emilian area and is geographically proximate due to the Magra and Vara rivers.
  • Massese (mixed with some Tuscanian features)
  • Casalasco, spoken in Southern Province of Cremona, Lombardy.

Writing system

Emilian is written using a Latin alphabet that has never been standardised. As a result, spelling varies widely across the dialects. The language is largely learnt orally and not taught in written form; however, the Bible was published in an Emiliano-Romagnolo language in 1865, although the work has since been lost.[2]


  1. ^ "51-AAA-ok. emiliano + romagnolo". Linguasphere. 
  2. ^ "Emiliano-Romagnolo [eml]". 


  • Colombini, F. 2007. La negazione nei dialetti emiliani: microvariazione nell’area modenese. University of Padua, MA Thesis.

Further reading

  • Pietro Mainoldi, Manuale dell'odierno dialetto bolognese, Suoni e segni, Grammatica - Vocabolario, Bologna, Società tipografica Mareggiani 1950 (Rist. anast.: Sala Bolognese, A. Forni 2000)
  • Fabio Foresti, Bibliografia dialettale dell'Emilia-Romagna e della Repubblica di San Marino (BDER), Bologna, IBACN Emilia-Romagna / Compositori 1997
  • E. F. Tuttle, Nasalization in Northern Italy: Syllabic Constraints and Strength Scales as Developmental Parameters, Rivista di Linguistica, III: 23-92 (1991)
  • Luigi Lepri e Daniele Vitali, Dizionario Bolognese-Italiano Italiano-Bolognese, ed. Pendragon 2007

External links

  • A website in the Bolognese dialect
  • A website in the Parmigiano dialect
  • A website in the Piacentino dialect
  • A website in the Ferrarese dialect
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