The Dialect Families

PROGETTO DIALETTOThe Italian dialects represent the most unique aspect of the Italian language situation as they are neither Italian dialects nor dialects of Italian. The so-called “Italian dialects” are actually languages in their own right that were labeled as dialects following Italian unification when Florentine (Tuscan) was promoted as the national language. In reality, these dialects are sister languages of Florentine, and the 20 Regional Italians, which represent the mixing of the dialects with Standard Italian, are the true Italian dialects. The following list presents the Italian dialect families, more appropriately known as the “Gallo-Italic Dialect Families,” as categorized by Maiden & Parry (1997):

I. Northern Varieties

A. Northern Italo-Romance:

1. “Gallo-Italian” (Piedmont, Lombardy, Liguria, Emilia-Romagna)

2. Venetan

B. Ladin

C. Friulian

II. Central and Southern Varieties

A. Tuscan (with Corsican)

B. “Middle-Italian” dialects (Marche, Umbria, Lazio)

C. Upper Southern dialects (Abruzzo, Northern Puglia, Molise, Campania, Basilicata)

D. Extreme Southern dialects (Salento, Southern Calabria, Sicily)

III. Sardinian


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