Lombard language

From Academic Kids

The term Lombard (or Lombardic) language refers to a group of related dialects spoken in Southern Switzerland (Ticino and the Grisons), Northern Italy (most of Lombardy and some areas of neighbouring regions) and Sicily. Lombard is a Western Romance language related to French, Romansh, Italian, etc. Although Italian is generally used as a written language in Lombard-speaking areas, Lombard is not mutually intelligible with Italian and the two languages belong to different branches of the Romance language family tree (respectively Western Romance and Italo-Dalmatian). Unlike most Romance languages, many Western Lombard dialects have vowel quantity oppositions, e.g. [pa:s] 'peace' vs. [pas] 'step', [tSa'pa:] 'taken m.' vs. [tSa'pa] 'to take'. The use of Lombard is usually stigmatized in the Lombard-speaking areas politically belonging to Italy, while it is generally not so in the Swiss areas, where the local Lombard language varieties are generally better preserved and more vital. Some radio and television programmes in Lombard are occasionally broadcast by the Swiss Italian-speaking broadcasting company. The major research institution working on Lombard dialects is located in Bellinzona, Switzerland (CDE - Centro di dialettologia e di etnografia, a governmental (cantonal) institution). In December 2004 the CDE released the LSI, a dictionary in 5 volumes covering all the Lombard varieties spoken in the Swiss areas. This is so far the most comprehensive Lombard resource ever published (more than 4,500 pages and about 57,000 lexemes with over 190,000 spoken variants).

Sometimes the word "Lombard" is used referring to an actually not yet existent common language. It should also be noted that in some cases different Lombard varieties may not be fully mutually intelligible.

A major distinction is usually made between Western and Eastern Lombard varieties. All the varieties spoken in the Swiss areas and Sicily are Western, while both Western and Eastern varieties are found in the Italian areas. The Lombard variety with the oldest literary tradition (dating back to the 13th century) is that of Milan, where nowadays Milanese, the native Lombard variety of the area, has almost completely been superseded by Italian.

External links

  • Ethnologue report for Lombard (http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=lmo) (it should be noted that the Ethnologue report for Lombard in Switzerland contains a patent error: Ticinese cannot be "the form of Lombard used in the home in Italy" as it is spoken only in Switzerland!)
  • il galloitalico di sicilia (http://www.iti-itas.com/galloitalico/) Western Lombard dialects spoken in 5 provinces and 24 villages in Sicily
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