Mentonasc dialect

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Mentonasc (Mentonasco in Italian, Mentonnais in French), is a Romance dialect historically spoken in and around Menton, France. It is classified as Occitan, with some strong influence from the neighbouring Intemelian Ligurian dialect spoken from Ventimiglia to San Remo.[1]

Area of use[edit]

Languages in the Alpes-Maritimes, with the Mentonasc in the South-East
  Occitan: Mentonasc
  Occitan: intermediate Vivaro-Alpin
  Occitan: Mountain Vivaro-Alpin
  Occitan: Maritime Provençal
  Occitan: Niçard
  Figoun (Colonial Ligurian, extinct, replaced by Provençal)

Mentonasc is or was spoken in the city of Menton and in the following municipalities near the border with Italy: Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, Castellar, Castillon, Gorbio, Sainte-Agnès, Moulinet and Sospel.


Mentonasc shows some transitional features with the Ligurian language but is traditionally assigned to the Occitan language (often called Provençal).

In 1892, John Bruyn Andrews wrote: "it appears here also a sub-dialect of Provençal, considerably modified by Genoese infuence"[2]


When the area of Menton was part of the Republic of Genoa and later of the Kingdom of Sardinia, Mentonasc was used in all of the coastal area between Monaco and Ventimiglia, and in the hinterland.

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

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

When France annexed most of the County of Nice in 1860, Mentonasc began its decline, substituted by the French language.


  1. ^ Dalbéra (1984)
  2. ^ James Bruyn Andrews, « Il dialetto di Mentone, in quanto egli tramezzi ideologicamente tra il provenzale e il ligure », Archivio Glottologico Italiano XII, 1890/92, p. 97-106. Despite the Italian title, the article is written in English.
  3. ^ Ermanno Amicucci. Nizza e l'Italia. Mondadori editore. Milan, 1939.


  • Dalbéra (1984) = Dalbéra, Jean-Philippe. Les parlers des Alpes Maritimes : étude comparative, essai de reconstruction [thesis], Toulouse: Université de Toulouse 2, 1984 [éd. 1994, London: Association Internationale d’Études Occitanes]
  • Sumien (2009) = Sumien, Domergue. "Classificacion dei dialèctes occitans]", Lingüistica Occitana 7, Septembre de 2009, p. 1-44. ISSN
  • Venturini (1983) = Venturini, Alain. "Le parler mentonasque", Lou Sourgentin 56, April 1983

See also[edit]