Western Lombard dialect
||This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. (February 2011)|
|Milanes/Milanées, Insubrigh/Insübrich, lumbard ucidental|
|Native to||Italy (Province of Milan, Province of Monza, Province of Como, Province of Lecco, Province of Lodi, a small part of Province of Cremona, a small part of Province of Alessandria, Province of Novara, Province of Pavia, Province of Sondrio, Province of Varese, Province of Verbano Cusio Ossola, a small part of Province of Vercelli) and Switzerland (Canton Ticino and some valleys of Canton Grigioni)|
|Native speakers||(no estimate available)|
|Linguasphere||51-AAA-odd ... 51-AAA-odj|
Western Lombard is a Romance language spoken in Italy, in the Lombard provinces of Milan, Monza, Varese, Como, Lecco, Sondrio, a small part of Cremona (except Crema and its neighbours), Lodi and Pavia, and the Piedmont provinces of Novara, Verbano-Cusio-Ossola and a small part of Vercelli (Valsesia), and Switzerland (Canton Ticino and part of Grischun). After the name of the region involved, land of the former Duchy of Milan, this language is often referred to as Insubric (see Insubria and Insubres) or Milanese, or, after Clemente Merlo, Cisabduano (literally "of this side of Adda River").
Western Lombard and Italian
In Italian-speaking contexts, Western Lombard is often incorrectly called a dialect of Italian. Western Lombard and Standard Italian are very different. Some speakers of Lombard varieties may have difficulty understanding each other and require a standard to communicate, but all Western Lombard varieties are mutually intelligible. Western Lombard is relatively homogenous (much more so than Eastern Lombard language), though it does present a number of variations, mainly in relation to the vowels /o/, /ɔ/ and the development of /ts/ into /s/.
The general lines of diachronics of Western Lombard plural declension are drawn here, with reference to Milanese orthography:
The bulk of feminine words ends with the desinence -a; the feminine plural is adesinential. The last vowel finds its original length (in non-final syllable you can't ear the difference)[clarification needed] that's often long when followed by a voiced consonant, short when followed by a voiceless consonant. When the stem ends with a difficult group of consonants you can see an addition of a final -i or of a schwa between consonants (for example: in Milanese sing. scendra, plur. scendr>scender). So in adjectives, plural form and masculine form are often the same.
The bulk of masculine words end without desinences; plural masculine is adesinential. When the stem ends with a difficult group of consonants you can see, in singular and plural, an addition of a schwa between consonants. When the addition of schwa appears unnatural, they add a final -o (pron. /u/), that in the plural is -i.
The masculine words ending in -in, and some ending in -ett, have plural in itt. The masculine words ending in -ll have plural in -j (derived from addiction of -i and fall of -ll-; you can see the same phenomenon in the origin of determinate article: sing. ell>el, plur. elli>ej>i).
Masculine words ending in -a are unvarying (proper names, words from ancient Greek or idiomatic words to define a person; e. g. pirla = a stupid).
Western Lombard can be divided into four main varieties, referred by many Italian linguists[who?] as lombardo alpino (spoken in the provinces of Sondrio and of Verbania, Sopraceneri of Canton Ticino and Grigioni in Switzerland), lombardo-prealpino occidentale (spoken in the provinces of Como, Varese and Lecco, Lugano and its neighbors in Canton Ticino), basso-lombardo occidentale (Pavia and Lodi), and macromilanese (provinces of Milan, Monza, Novara and Valsesia of Vercelli). The boundaries are obviously schematic, since the political division in provinces and municipalities are usually independent from languages spoken.
Examples of Western Lombard language are:
- Milanese or Meneghin (macromilanese)
- Bustocco and Legnanese
- Brianzöö (lombardo-prealpino occidentale - macromilanese)
- Comasco-Lecchese (lombardo-prealpino occidentale)
- Ticinese (lombardo alpino)
- Varesino or Bosin (lombardo-prealpino occidentale)
- Alpine Lombard (lombardo alpino, strong influence from Eastern Lombard language)
- Southwestern Lombard (basso-lombardo occidentale)
The most important orthography in Western Lombard literature is the Classical Milanese orthography. It was used by Carlo Porta (1775–1821) and Delio Tessa (1886–1939). It was perfected by the Circolo Filologico di Milano. Other orthographies are the Ticinese, the Comasca, the Bosina, the Nuaresat, and the Lecchese.
- Although the upper bound to the number of speakers is around 2,500,000, this figure more closely represents the number of people who can understand Western Lombard. Because of immigration from other parts of Italy, the use of Lombard is very rare in Lombardy and most people are not able to speak it fluently.
- Ethnologue report for Lombard
- Gian Battista Pellegrini, Carta dei dialetti d'Italia, Pacini, Pisa, 1977.
- Andrea Rognoni, Grammatica dei dialetti della Lombardia, Oscar Mondadori, 2005.
- AA. VV., Parlate e dialetti della Lombardia. Lessico comparato, Mondadori, Milano 2003.