Mentonasc dialect

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Mentonasc (Mentonasco in Italian, Mentonnais in French), is a ligurian dialect historically in and around Menton, France. It is classified as Occitan, with some strong features from the neighbouring Intemelian Ligurian dialect spoken from Monaco to San Remo by French scholars for political purpose.[1]


The Mentonasc shows some transition features to the Occitan language (Provençal Niçard dialect), but is traditionally assigned to the Ligurian language.

In the Archivio Glottologico Italiano XII, 1890/92, pp. 97–106 John Bruyn Andrews wrote that the dialect of Menton is in the middle between the Ligurian and Provençal dialects.[2]

Area of use[edit]

When the area of Menton was part of the Republic of Genoa and later of the Kingdom of Sardinia, the Mentonasc was used in all the coastal area between Monaco and Ventimiglia. It was a local version of the historical Intemelio, a medieval western Ligurian dialect.

Map of the territory of the "Free cities of Menton & Roquebrune in 1848[3]

In the 19th century the Mentonasc was used in the territories of the Free cities of Menton & Roquebrune, an independent little State created in connection with the Italian Risorgimento.

When France annexed all the county of Nice in 1860, Mentonasc started to disappear, substituted by the French language and the Occitan dialect of French immigrants from Provence. It is still spoken by a minority (approximately 10%) in the city of Menton and in the following municipalities: Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, Castellar, Castillon, Gorbio, Sainte-Agnès and Sospel, near the border with Italy. Isolated communities of Nizzardo Italians still use the Mentonasc.

Furthermore, since the inclusion of the County of Nice in France in 1860, the Mentonasc has been influenced by the French language and it is nearly extinct.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Jean-Philippe Dalbera, Les parlers des Alpes Maritimes : étude comparative, essai de reconstruction [thèse], Toulouse: Université de Toulouse 2, 1984 [éd. 1994, Londres: Association Internationale d’Études Occitanes]
  2. ^ James Bruyn Andrews, " Il dialetto di Mentone, in quanto egli tramezzi ideologicamente tra il provenzale e il ligure", Archivio Glottologico Italiano XII:97–106, 1890/92. Despite the Italian title the article is written in English.
  3. ^ Ermanno Amicucci. Nizza e l'Italia. Mondadori editore. Milano, 1939.


  • Dalbera, Jean-Philippe. "Les Ilots Liguriens de France", in Les Langues de France, s. d. B. Cerquiglini (Délégation générale à la langue française et aux langues de France). Presses Universitaires de France. Paris, 2003. pp. 125–136
  • Toso, Fiorenzo. Liguria linguistica. Dialettologia, storia della lingua e letteratura nel Ponente. Philobiblon. Ventimiglia, 2006
  • Venturini, Alain. Le parler mentonasque Lou Sourgentin 56, avril 1983 [Caserio & al. 2001: 25-30]

See also[edit]