Emilian dialect

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Native to Italy
Region Emilia-Romagna (Province of Piacenza, Province of Parma, Province of Reggio Emilia, Province of Ferrara, Province of Bologna, Province of Modena)
Lombardy (most of the Province of Mantua, part of the Province of Cremona and Province of Pavia)
Tuscany (most of Province of Massa-Carrara)
Liguria (part of the Province of La Spezia)
Ethnicity 3 million
Native speakers
(no estimate available)[1]
Dialects Bolognese, Ferrarese, Modenese, Reggiano, Parmigiano, Piacentino
Language codes
ISO 639-3 egl
Glottolog emil1241[2]
Linguasphere 51-AAA-oka ... -okh

Emilian is a group of dialects of Emiliano-Romagnolo language, spoken in the area historically called Emilia, western portion of today's Emilia-Romagna region.

Although commonly referred to as a dialect of Italian, it does not descend from it. It is part of the Gallo-Italic group of languages, which are Western Neo-Latin, conserving innovative phonetic and syntactic features as in French, Occitan and Catalan, while Italian is part of Eastern Neo-Latin. There is no standardised version of Emilian.

The default word order is subject–verb–object. There are two genders, two grammatical cases, and a distinction between plural and singular. Emilian has a strong T–V distinction to distinguish varying levels of politeness, social distance, courtesy, familiarity, or insult. It employs a considerable number of diacritics.


Main articles: Emiliano-Romagnolo and Gallo-Italic

Emilian is a dialect of the Emiliano-Romagnolo language, one of the Gallo-Italic languages. There is a high degree of mutual intelligibility between the various varieties of Emilian, as well as with the other Emiliano-Romagnolo dialect: Romagnolo. The Gallo-Italic family comprises Emiliano-Romagnolo, Piedmontese, Ligurian and Lombard language.


Linguasphere Observatory recognises the following dialects:[3]

Other definitions include the following:[citation needed]

  • Carrarese and the Lunigiano dialect, spoken in Carrara, Lunigiana, in almost all of Massa-Carrara and a good portion of the La Spezia province, i.e. west-northern Tuscany. Historically, this region has been part of both Tuscany and the Duchy of Parma at different times, so has a close economic relationship with the Emilian area and is geographically proximate due to the Magra and Vara rivers.
  • Massese (mixed with some Tuscanian features)
  • Casalasco, spoken in Southern Province of Cremona, Lombardy.

Writing system[edit]

Main article: Latin script

Emilian is written using a Latin alphabet that has never been standardised. As a result, spelling varies widely across the dialects. The language is largely learnt orally and not taught in written form; however, the Bible was published in an Emiliano-Romagnolo dialect in 1865, although the work has since been lost.[4]


  1. ^ Emilian at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Emiliano". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ "51-AAA-ok. emiliano + romagnolo". Linguasphere. 
  4. ^ "Emiliano-Romagnolo [eml]". forum-intl.net. 


  • Colombini, F. 2007. La negazione nei dialetti emiliani: microvariazione nell’area modenese. University of Padua, MA Thesis.

Further reading[edit]

  • Pietro Mainoldi, Manuale dell'odierno dialetto bolognese, Suoni e segni, Grammatica - Vocabolario, Bologna, Società tipografica Mareggiani 1950 (Rist. anast.: Sala Bolognese, A. Forni 2000)
  • Fabio Foresti, Bibliografia dialettale dell'Emilia-Romagna e della Repubblica di San Marino (BDER), Bologna, IBACN Emilia-Romagna / Compositori 1997
  • E. F. Tuttle, Nasalization in Northern Italy: Syllabic Constraints and Strength Scales as Developmental Parameters, Rivista di Linguistica, III: 23-92 (1991)
  • Luigi Lepri e Daniele Vitali, Dizionario Bolognese-Italiano Italiano-Bolognese, ed. Pendragon 2007

External links[edit]