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Niçard dialect

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Title: Niçard dialect  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Occitan language, Limousin dialect, Auvergnat dialect, Judæo-Catalan, Provençal dialect
Collection: Languages of France, Ligurian Language (Romance), Occitan Language
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Niçard dialect

Native to France, Monaco
Region County of Nice, Monaco
Native speakers
(this article does not contain any information regarding the number of speakers)
Official status
Regulated by Conselh de la Lenga Occitana (norme classique) / Félibrige (norme mistralienne)
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Glottolog nica1249[1]
Linguasphere 51-AAA-gd

Niçard (Classical orthography), Nissart/Niçart (Mistralian orthography), Niçois (French, IPA: ), or Nizzardo (Italian, IPA: ) is considered a distinct subdialect of the Occitan language (Provençal dialect) spoken in the city of Nice (Niçard: Niça/Nissa) and in the historical County of Nice (since 1860 the main part of the current French département of Alpes-Maritimes). In addition to Monégasque, Niçard is also spoken by some in Monaco. However some authors, like Francesco Barberis, believe original Nissart was more closely related to the Gallo-Italian languages (Ligurian) than to the Occitan, until it was annexed to France in 1860.[2]

Most residents of Nice and its region no longer speak Niçard, and those who do are bilingual in French. Nonetheless, today there is a developing revival of the use of the language. Some local television news is presented in Niçard (with French subtitles) and street signs in the old town of Nice are written in the dialect as well as in French. The Niçard song Nissa La Bella is often regarded as the "anthem" of Nice.


  • Writing system 1
  • Occitan and Ligurian influences 2
  • Differences between Niçard and standard Occitan 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • Bibliography 6

Writing system

Niçard is written using two forms:

  • Classical orthography. Preferring the native traditions of the language, this form was developed by Robert Lafont (Phonétique et graphie du provençal, 1951; L'ortografia occitana, lo provençau, 1972) and Jean-Pierre Baquié (Empari lo niçard, 1984). It is regulated by the Conselh de la Lenga Occitana.
  • Mistralian orthography. Closer to written French, it was invented by the Félibrige (although there also exists an Acadèmia Nissarda).

An Italian orthography also existed but was abandoned when Nice joined the French empire in 1861 (but was reinstated briefly in 1942/3 when Italy occupied and administered the city).

Orthography Comparison (from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
English Classical Mistralian
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. Toti li personas naisson liuri e egali en dignitat e en drech. Son dotadi de rason e de consciéncia e li cau agir entre eli emb un esperit de frairesa. Touti li persouna naisson lib(e)ri e egali en dignità e en drech. Soun doutadi de rasoun e de counsciència e li cau agì entre eli em' un esperit de fratelança.

Example of Nissart and similarity with Italian, according to Barberis:

  • dintre lou mieu sprit, es mai que Agamennon, (Italian: "dentro lo mio spirito, è maggiore che Agamennone")
  • Coura dì sì, es si; coura di non, es non. (Italian: "quando dir sì, è sì; quando dir no, è no")

Occitan and Ligurian influences

The Pan-bagnat is a popular lunchtime dish of the region of Nice. The sandwich is composed of a circle formed white bread around the classic Salade niçoise. The name of the sandwich comes from Niçard Occitan, in which Pan-bagnat means "wet bread". It is often misspelled "pain bagnat" which, while correct in French, is not the spelling used in Niçard.

Standard Occitan recognises regional differences. It has been written that Niçard has kept some of the oldest forms of Occitan, other dialects (such as Provençal) having been more "frenchified" by their history.

Giuseppe Garibaldi, born in Nice in 1807, defined his "Nizzardo" as an Italian dialect with some influences from Occitan and French, and for this reason promoted the union of Nice to the Kingdom of Italy. Italian Giulio Vignoli wrote in his book about the "Nizzardo Italian" minority that, after Garibaldi's failed attempt, 11,000 of his supporters (nearly 1/3 of the population of Nice in the 1860s) were forced to move to Italy from Nice and were substituted by the French government with people from nearby Occitan areas; this changed the characteristic of Nissart, which started to have many loanwords from Occitan (a language that is now predominant in the Nissart dialect).[3]

Even today some scholars (like the German Werner Forner, the French Jean-Philippe Dalbera and the Italian Giulia Petracco Sicardi) agree that Niçard has some characteristics (phonetical, lexical and morphological) that are typical of the western Ligurian language.[4]

The French scholar Jean-Philippe Dalbera (in Bernard Cerquiglini's report) pinpoints in his Les langues de France[5] the actual existence of a Ligurian dialect, called Royasque, in the Roya Valley (near Tende), in the westernmost part of the County of Nice. Royasque, which is a Ligurian variety, should not be confused with Niçard.

However many French experts in Romance linguistics see Niçard as a variety of Occitan. Statements saying that Niçard is a Ligurian or Italian dialect[6] are not supported by these experts (see especially Dalbera 1984).[7] Indeed, French scholar Bernard Cerquiglini wrote in his book on the languages of France about the actual existence of a Ligurian minority in Tende, Roquebrune and Menton, a remnant of a bigger medieval "Ligurian" area that included Nice and most of the coastal County of Nice.

Differences between Niçard and standard Occitan

  1. Niçard does not make the plural by adding the letter "s", but instead changes the last vowel
  2. Niçard uses "non" before the verb to make a negative of it, whereas Occitan uses "pas" after the verb.
  3. Niçard has some proparoxytonic words (such as lagrima) like Italian, while Occitan has no proxitonical words (lagrema).
  4. Niçard has conserved the Latin "d" between vowels (as in creder, veder)
  5. Niçard uses the definite article before the possessive, as in Italian and Portuguese
  6. Niçard in creating the future tense of verbs ending in "-ar" changes "a" to "e" (for example, parlar becomes parlerai, not parlarai as in Occitan)
  7. Niçard retains a different sound for the letters B and V, whereas in Occitan both sound like B.
  8. Niçard used "Ahì" to say yes, not "O" or "Oc", as in Occitan dialects.
  9. Niçard still ends feminine words in A, as in Latin, Italian, or Spanish, whereas Occitan has endings in O
  10. Niçard shares many words with Italian and its dialects (anquei lig. ancoi, brut, capir; plu and not mai or mes to say "more", as in Occitan, pilhar, bastiancountrari, va cagà, fancoulo, ficanas, madona, MièdjaSéga, minga, porcamiseria, grattakeca, calà, chapà, chapacan, issa, rumenta, ritournella, testada, testard, chouc) that are absent in other Occitan dialects.

See also


  1. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Niçard".  
  2. ^ (Italian) Nizza Italiana' by Francesco Barberis
  3. ^ Vignoli, Giulio Gli Italiani Dimenticati. Minoranze Italiane In Europa. p. 85-98
  4. ^ Petracco Sicardi, Giulia. L'amfizona Liguria-Provenza. p 107
  5. ^ DALBERA Jean-Philippe (2003) “Les îlots liguriens de France” [in: CERQUIGLINI Bernard (2003) (dir.) Les langues de France, Paris: Presses Universitaires de France / Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication-DGLFLF, p. 125-136]
  6. ^ Beyond Boundaries: Language and Identity in Contemporary Europe, Chapter Seven. Retrieved 2013-10-01. 
  7. ^ DALBERA Jean-Philippe (1984) Les parlers des Alpes Maritimes: étude comparative, essai de reconstruction [PhD thesis], Toulouse: Université de Toulouse 2 [ed. 1994, London: Association Internationale d’Études Occitanes]


  • ANDREWS James Bruyn (1875) Essai de grammaire du dialecte mentonnais avec quelques contes, chansons et musique du pays, Nice: no name [re-ed. 1978, 1981, Menton: Société d’Art et d’Histoire du Mentonnais]
  • ANDREWS James Bruyn (1877) Vocabulaire français-mentonnais, Nice: no name [re-ed. 1977, Marseilles: Lafitte Reprints]
  • BAQUIÉ Joan-Pèire (1987) (collab. Andrieu SAISSI) Empari lo niçard / Apreni lo provençau, Nice: CRDP Nice / CDDP Alpes Maritimes
  • BARBERIS Francesco. Nizza italiana: raccolta di varie poesie italiane e nizzarde, corredate di note. Editore Tip. Sborgi e Guarnieri (Nizza, 1871). University of California, 2007
  • BEC Pierre (1970–71) (collab. Octave NANDRIS, Žarko MULJAČIĆ), Manuel pratique de philologie romane, Paris: Picard, 2 vol.
  • BLAQUIÈRA J. (1985) Dictionnaire français-nissart, langue d'oc, dialecte niçois, self-edited
  • CALVINO Jean-Baptiste (1905) Nouveau dictionnaire niçois-français, Nice: Imprimerie des Alpes Maritimes [re-ed. 1993 with the following title: Dictionnaire niçois-français, français-niçois, Nîmes: Lacour]
  • CARLES (Père) Pietro (1866) Piccolo vocabolario nizzardo-italiano, Nice
  • CARLES (Père) Pietro (1868) Piccolo vocabolario italiano-nizzardo, Nice
  • CASTELLANA Georges (1947) Dictionnaire niçois-français [re-ed. 2001, Nice: Serre]
  • CASTELLANA Georges (1952) Dictionnaire français-niçois [re-ed. 2001, Nice: Serre]
  • CERQUIGLINI Bernard (2003) (dir.) Les langues de France, Paris: Presses Universitaires de France / Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication-DGLFLF: 125-136]
  • CERQUIGLINI Bernard (2000) Histoire de la langue française 1945-2000. Co-edited with Gérald Antoine. Paris: CNRS Editions, 2000.
  • CLAPIÉ Jaume, & BAQUIÉ Joan Pèire (2003) Pichin lèxico ilustrat, petit lexique illustré, niçard-françés, français-niçois, Nice: Serre
  • COMPAN André (1965) Grammaire niçoise [re-ed. 1981, Nice: Serre]
  • COMPAN André (1971) Anthologie de la littérature niçoise, coll. Biblioutèco d’istòri literàri e de critico, Toulon: L’Astrado
  • DALBERA Jean-Philippe (1984) Les parlers des Alpes Maritimes: étude comparative, essai de reconstruction [PhD thesis], Toulouse: Université de Toulouse 2 [ed. 1994, London: Association Internationale d’Études Occitanes]
  • DALBERA Jean-Philippe (2003) “Les îlots liguriens de France” [CERQUIGLINI Bernard (2003) (dir.) Les langues de France, Paris: Presses Universitaires de France / Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication-DGLFLF: 125-136]
  • ESCOLA DE BELLANDA (2002) Diciounari nissart-francés, Nice: Fédération des Associations du Comté de Nice / Serre
  • EYNAUDI Jules, & CAPPATI Louis (1931–1938) Dictionnaire de la langue niçoise, Niça: sn.
  • FORNER Werner A propos du ligur intemelien - La cote, l'arrier-pays Traveaux du cercle linguistique de Nice 1996
  • FORNER Werner La dialettologia ligure. Problemi e prospettive in La dialettologia italiana oggi in G. Holtus, Tübingen 1985-1990
  • GASIGLIA Rémy (1984) Grammaire du nissart, sl.: Institut d’Études Niçoises
  • GAUBERTI Pierre (1994) Dictionnaire encyclopédique de la langue de Peille [Pays Niçois], Nice: Serre
  • GIOFFREDO Pietro Storia dele Alpi marittime libri XXIV, in HPM 1839, Torino (originally published in 1662)
  • GIORDAN Joseph (1968) Dictionnaire français-niçois: lexique complémentaire du parler de la ville de Nice et des pays environnants, sl.: sn.
  • GOURDON Marie-Louise (1997) Contribution à l’histoire de la langue occitane. Étude des systèmes graphiques pour écrire l’occitan (niçois, provençal, languedocien) de 1881 à 1919: itinéraires et travaux de A.L. Sardou, J.B. Calvino, L. Funel, A. Perbosc, P. Estieu [PdD thesis], Nice
  • LIAUTAUD René (1985) Essai de lexique français-entraunois avec correspondences en niçois, Nice: CRDP
  • MICEU Giausep (1840) Grammatica nissarda: per emparà en pòou de temp lo patouas dòou paìs, Nice: Imprimarìa de la Sossietà tipografica [re-ed. Marie-Louise GOURDON (1975) La Grammatica nissarda de Joseph Micèu: biographie, étude sur les dialectes, commentaires philologiques, Nice: imprimerie Pierotti]
  • PELLEGRINI (Abbé) (1894) Lexique niçois-français, Nice: no name
  • PETRACCO SICCARDI, Giulia L'amfizona Liguria Provenza Alessandria 1989
  • PETRACCO SICCARDI, Giulia e CAPRINI, Rita Toponomastica storica della Liguria, Genova, SAGEP, 1981
  • PETRACCO SICCARDI, Giulia Ligurien Lexicon der Romanistischen Linguistik II, 2, Tübingen, 1995
  • SARDOU Antoine Léandre, & CALVINO Jean-Baptiste (1881) Grammaire de l’idiome niçois, Nice: Visconti [re-ed. 1978, Marseilles: Laffitte Reprints]
  • SCALIERO Giuseppe (1830) Vocabolario nizzardo, Nice: no name
  • TOSCANO Reinat (1998) Gramàtica niçarda, no place: Princi Néguer
  • VIGNOLI Giulio (2000) Gli Italiani Dimenticati. Minoranze Italiane In Europa. Milano: Editore Giuffrè ISBN 978-88-14-08145-3
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