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Romagnol dialect


Romagnol dialect

Native to Italy, San Marino
Native speakers
(no estimate available)
Language codes
ISO 639-3 rgn
Glottolog roma1328[1]
Linguasphere 51-AAA-oki ... okl

Romagnol is a dialect of Emiliano-Romagnolo, a Romance language mostly spoken in Romagna (Northern Italy, part of the Emilia-Romagna region in Italy), Republic of San Marino and Northern Marche.


  • History 1
  • Geographic distribution 2
    • Western border 2.1
    • Northern border 2.2
    • Southern border 2.3
  • Literature 3
    • 16th to 19th century 3.1
    • 20th century 3.2
  • Features 4
  • Bibliography 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Romagnol, like all Romance languages, is descended from the Vulgar Latin spoken in the Roman Empire. It evolved alongside the Tuscan language, which would form the basis of Standard Italian. Although Romagnol is often described as a dialect, it is not a variant of Italian nor descended from it.

What distinguishes Romagnol from other languages of Northern Italy is a complex set of historical, geographical and cultural factors:

Geographic distribution

Geographic distribution of Romagnol (shown in dark pink)

Western border

West of Romagna the Emilian language is spoken. The border with Emilian-speaking areas is the Sillaro river, which runs 25 km East from Bologna: to the west of (Castel San Pietro Terme) Emilian is spoken, to the East, in Imola, the language is Romagnol. In Emilia-Romagna, Emilian is spoken in all the rest of the region moving from the Sillaro river to the west, up to Piacenza.

Northern border

The Reno River is the border between Romagnol and the dialect of Ferrara. Romagnol is spoken also in some villages northwards of the Reno river, such as Argenta, Emilia–Romagna and Filo, where people of Romagnol origin live alongside people of Ferrarese origin. Ferrara goes into Emilian language territory.

Southern border

Outside Emilia-Romagna, Romagnol is spoken in the Republic of San Marino ("Sammarinese"), in the Marecchia Valley, in the Conca Valley (Montefeltro) and in all of the Pesaro e Urbino province.


16th to 19th century

The first appearance of a Romagnol literary work is "Sonetto romagnolo" by Bernardino Catti, from Ravenna, printed 1502. This is written in a mixture of Italian and Romagnol.

The first Romagnol poem dates back to the end of 16th century: E Pvlon matt. Cantlena aroica (Mad Nap), a mock-heroic poem based on Orlando Furioso and written by an anonymous author from San Vittore di Cesena. The original poem comprised twelve cantos, of which only the first four survived (1848 lines).

The first Romagnol poet to win fame was the cleric Pietro Santoni, (Fusignano, 1736–1823). He was the teacher of Vincenzo Monti, one of the most famous Italian poets of his time.

In 1840 the first Romagnol-Italian Dictionary was published by Antonio Morri, printed in Faenza.

20th century

The 20th century saw a flourishing of Romagnol literature. Theatrical plays, poems and books of a high quality were produced. Some of the best known Romagnol authors are:

The main contemporary Romagnol poet was Tonino Guerra (1920–2012).


The Romagnol language has lexical and syntactic uniformity throughout its spoken area. However, its pronunciation changes when moving from the Po Valley to the hills.

Romagnol has some features that make it different from other Gallo-Italic languages:

  • A very large number of vowels (about 20, in comparison with standard Italian vowels, which number only seven).
  • A strong importance of consonants in the word. Some words that in Latin were trisyllabic or tetrasyllabic (where 'u' is atonic: without stress) are reduced in Romagnol to monosyllables. The atonic syllable(s) is cut off:
Latin Romagnol Italian English Emilian
1) geniculum znoc ginocchio knee znoc
2) tepidus tevvd tiepido lukewarm tevad
3) oculus oc occhio eye oc
4) frigidus fredd freddo cold fredd


  • Anonimo, Pvlon Matt, Cantléna aroica, (1591) (edited by Gaspare Bagli), Bologna: Zanichelli, 1887
  • Ercolani, L., Vocabolario romagnolo-italiano (Ravenna, 1963).
  • Morri, A., Vocabolario romagnolo-italiano (Ravenna, 1970 - riprinted from the original, Faenza, 1840).
  • Polloni, A., Toponomastica romagnola (Olschki, 1966).
  • Gregor, D. B., Romagnol. Language and Literature (1971)
  • Schurr, F., Romagnolische Mundarten (Sitz.d.kais.Ak.d.W., Vienna, 1917).
  • Schurr, F., Romagnolische Dialektstudien, Lautlehre (1918); Lebende Mundarten (1919).
  • Schurr, F., «II Plaustro», December 31, 1911 (Anno 1, n. 6), Forlì.


  1. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Romagnol". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 

External links

  • Official website of Institute Friedrich Schurr
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