Talian dialect

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Not to be confused with talion law (lex talionis).
Native to  Brazil (co-official language in Serafina Corrêa)
Native speakers
possibly 1 million  (2006)[1]
(estimate since abandoned)
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Glottolog None

Talian (or Brazilian Venetian)[2] is a dialect of the Venetian language, spoken primarily in the Serra Gaúcha region in the northeast of the state of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil. It is also spoken in other parts of Rio Grande do Sul, as well as in parts of Espirito Santo[3][4][5][6][7] and of Santa Catarina.

Despite the similar names, Talian is not derived from standard Italian (actually called grammatical Italian in Brazil), but is mainly a mix of Venetian dialects influenced by other dialects of Northern Italy as well as local Portuguese.


Italian settlers first began arriving into these regions in a wave of immigration lasting from approximately 1875 to 1914.[8][9] These settlers were mainly from Veneto, a region in Northern Italy, where Venetian was spoken, but also from Trentino and Friuli-Venezia Giulia.[8][9] In the south of Brazil these immigrants settled as smallholders in the region of Encosta da Serra. There they created three settlements: Conde D'Eu (now, Garibaldi, Rio Grande do Sul), Dona Isabel (now Bento Gonçalves, Rio Grande do Sul), and Campo dos Bugres (now Caxias do Sul).[10] As more people arrived, the Italian settlement expanded beyond these localities.[10] Approximately 100,000 immigrants from Northern Italy arrived between 1875 and 1910. As time went by, a uniquely southern Brazilian dialect emerged. Veneto became the basis for Italian-Brazilian regionalism.

Talian was very much influenced not only by other Italian languages but by Portuguese, the national language of Brazil. However, because its grammar and lexicon remain predominantly Venetian, Talian is not considered a creole language, the preponderance of non-Venetian loanwords notwithstanding. It has been estimated that there have been 130 books published in Talian, including works of both poetry and prose.[11]

Like Riograndenser Hunsrückisch (hunsriqueano riograndense), the main German dialect spoken by southern Brazilians of German origin, Talian has suffered great deprecation since the 1940s. At that time, then-President Getúlio Vargas started a campaign of nationalization (similar to the Nacionalismo of neighboring Argentina) to try to force non-Portuguese speakers of Brazil to "better integrate" into the national mainstream culture. Speaking Talian or German in public, especially in education and press, was forbidden.

Current status[edit]

Talian is mainly spoken in the southern Brazilian states of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and Paraná, as well as in Espirito Santo.[3][4][5][6][7] Nowadays, there are approximately 3 million people of Italian ancestry in Rio Grande do Sul, about 30% of the local population,[10] and approximately 1.7 million people in Espirito Santo, which accounts for 65% of the local population.[12] According to some estimates, there are up to one million speakers of Talian today; Ethnologue reported 4,000,000 speakers in the year 2006.[1] As a result of the traumas of Vargas' policies, there is, even to this day, a stigma attached to speaking these languages. However, in 2009, the state of Rio Grande do Sul approved a law declaring the Talian language to be an integral part of the historical heritage of the state.[10] In 2009, the city of Serafina Corrêa, in the State of Rio Grande do Sul, elected Talian as co-official language, alongside Portuguese.[13][14]

Newspapers in the Talian-speaking region feature articles written in the language. There are approximately 500 radio programs broadcast in Talian.[11]

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