Emilian dialect

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Native to Italy
Region Emilia-Romagna, Lombardy, Tuscany, Liguria
Ethnicity 3.3 million (2008)[1]
Native speakers
ca. 1.3 million (2006)[2]
Dialects Bolognese, Ferrarese, Modenese, Reggiano, Parmigiano, Piacentino
Language codes
ISO 639-3 egl
Glottolog emil1241[3]
Linguasphere 51-AAA-oka ... -okh

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

There is no standardised version of Emilian.

The default word order is subject–verb–object. There are two genders as well as 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. Its alphabet uses a considerable number of diacritics.


Emilian is a dialect of the Emilian-Romagnol language, one of the Gallo-Italic languages. There is a high degree of mutual intelligibility between the various varieties of Emilian and the other dialect, Romagnol. The Gallo-Italic family has Emilian-Romagnol, Piedmontese, Ligurian and Lombard.


Linguasphere Observatory recognises the following dialects:[4]

  • Mantovano, spoken in all but the very north of the Province of Mantua in Lombardy. It has a strong Lombard influence.
  • Vogherese (Pavese-Vogherese), spoken in the Province of Pavia in Lombardy. It is closely related phonetically and morphologically to Piacentino. It is also akin to Tortonese.[clarification needed]
  • Piacentino, spoken west of the River Taro in the Province of Piacenza and on the border with the province of Parma. The variants of Piacentino are strongly influenced by Lombard, Piedmontese, and Ligurian.
  • Parmigiano, spoken in the Province of Parma. Those from the area refer to the Parmigiano spoken outside of Parma as Arioso or Parmense, although today's urban and rural dialects are so mixed that only a few speak the original. The language spoken in Casalmaggiore in the Province of Cremona to the north of Parma is closely related to Parmigiano.
  • Reggiano, spoken in the Province of Reggio Emilia, although the northern parts (such as Guastalla, Luzzara and Reggiolo) of the province are not part of this group and closer to Mantovano.
  • Modenese, spoken in the Province of Modena, although Bolognese is more widespread in the Castelfranco area. In the northern part of the province of Modena, the lowlands around the town of Mirandola, a Mirandolese sub-dialect of Modenese is spoken.
  • Bolognese, spoken in the Province of Bologna and in around Castelfranco Emilia, Modena.
  • Ferrarese, spoken in the Province of Ferrara, southern Veneto, and Comacchio.

Other definitions include the following:[citation needed]

Writing system[edit]

Main article: Latin script

Emilian is written using a Latin script that has never been standardised. As a result, spelling varies widely across the dialects. The dialects are largely oral and are rarely written; however, the Bible was published in Emilian-Romagnol in 1865; the work has since been lost.[5]


  1. ^ ISO change request
  2. ^ La lingua italiana, i dialetti e le lingue straniere Anno 2006
  3. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Emiliano". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  4. ^ "51-AAA-ok. emiliano + romagnolo". Linguasphere. 
  5. ^ "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]