Classical Milanese orthography

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The classical Milanese orthography is the orthography used for the Western Lombard language, in particular for the Milanese dialect, by the major poets and writers of this literature, such as Carlo Porta, Carlo Maria Maggi, Delio Tessa etc. It was first used in the sixteenth century by Carlo Maria Maggi; Maggi first introduced the trigram oeu, while previous authors, like Bonvesin de la Riva (thirteenth century), used Latinizing orthographies. In 1606 G.A. Biffi with his Prissian de Milan de la parnonzia milanesa began the first codification, incorporating vowel length and the use of ou to represent the sound /œ/. The classical orthography came as a compromise between the old Tuscan system and the French one; the characteristic that considerably differentiates this orthography from the effective pronunciation is the method for the distinction of long and short vowels. As of today, because it has become more archaic, it is often replaced by simpler methods that use signs ö, ü for front rounded vowels and the redoubling of vowels for long vowels. The classical orthography was regularized in the 1990s by the Circolo Filologico Milanese for modern use.

The classical Milanese orthography (as edited by Circolo Filologico Milanese) has the following conventions that differ from Italian alphabet.

General use of accents:

  • acute accent: indicates a closed sound in "e" or "o" ( /e/ and /o/ respectively) (as in Italian)
  • grave accent: indicates an open sound in "e" or "o" ( /ɛ/ and /ɔ/ respectively) (as in Italian)
  • circumflex accent: indicates a closed and long "o" ( /oː/ ) (the circumflex is not used in Italian)

Pronunciation of vowels and false diphthongs:

  • <a>, <e>, <i> represent open and short vowels when followed by doubled consonants or if accented at the end of a word, and close and long when followed by single consonant.
  • <o> represents /u/
  • <ò> represents /ɔ/
  • <oeu> represents /œ/
  • <u> represents /y/; may also represent /w/ after <q> or in the diphthong <au>.

Use of consonants:

  • doubling: makes the preceding vowel short and open
  • <s> represents either a voiced or voiceless sibilant; intervocalically, it is always voiced, and voiceless /s/ is represented with a double <ss>. Word-finally, it is always voiceless.
  • <z> represents /ts/
  • <n> after a vowel and followed by consonant (or word-final) represents the nasalization of the preceding vowel; before another vowel or when written doubled, it represents /n/.
  • <m> represents the nasalization of the preceding vowel when followed by consonant or word-final; otherwise it represents /m/.
  • <h> represents that the preceding <c> or <g> are velar before a front vowel.
  • <sg(i)> represents /ʒ/
  • <sc(i)> represents /ʃ/
  • <s'c(i)> represents /stʃ/

Table of pronunciation[edit]

! There is some imprecisions in this table !

  • The stress is normally on the penultimate syllable for words ending in vowel, on the last syllable for these ending in consonant.
Sign Context IPA Notes
a followed by double consonant or accented word-finally a stress is indicated with grave accent
a elsewhere stress is indicated with grave accent
aa word-finally always stressed
b always b
c followed by consonant or by a, o, u k
ci followed by a, o, u
c elsewhere
ch always k
d always d
e followed by double consonant or accented word-finally ɛ stress is indicated with grave accent
e elsewhere stress is indicated with acute accent
ee word-finally always stressed
f always f
g followed by consonant or by a, o, u ɡ
gi followed by a, o, u
g elsewhere devoiced word-finally
gh followed by i or e ɡ devoiced word-finally
i followed by double consonant or accented word-finally i stress is indicated with grave accent
i preceded by consonant and followed by vowel j
i elsewhere stress is indicated with grave accent
ii word-finally always stressed
j when not preceded by consonant j
l always l
m followed by consonant ◌̃
m elsewhere m
n when it doesn't form a vowel with the preceding vowel or word-finally when last syllable is unstressed n
n elsewhere ◌̃
nn always n
o always u never stressed
oo word-finally always stressed
ò always ɔ always stressed
ô always always stressed
oeu followed by double consonant or accented word-finally œ always stressed
oeu elsewhere œː always stressed
p always p
qu always kw
r always r
s word-finally, followed by voiceless consonant or word-initially s
s intervocalic or followed by voiced consonant z
sci always ʃ only "sc" when followed by e, i
s'ci always stʃ only "s'c" when followed by e, i
sgi always ʒ only "sg" when followed by e, i
ss always s
t always t
u followed by double consonant or accented word-finally y stress is indicated with grave accent
u preceded by q or g and followed by vowel, or as part of a diphthong w never stressed
u elsewhere stress is indicated with grave accent
uu word-finally always stressed
v always v
z always ts/dz/s

References[edit]