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|Region||Lombardy (Metropolitan City of Milan, northern part of the Province of Pavia)|
Milanese (endonym in traditional orthography Milanes, Meneghin) is the central dialect of the Western variety of the Lombard language spoken in Milan, the rest of its metropolitan city, and the northernmost part of the province of Pavia. Milanese, due to the importance of Milan, the largest city in Lombardy, is considered one of the most prestigious Lombard variants and the most prestigious one in the Western Lombard area.
In Italian-language contexts, Milanese is often (like most non-standard Italian varieties spoken in Italy) called a "dialect" of Italian. However, linguistically, Milanese is a Western Romance language and is more closely related to French, Romansh, Occitan and to other Gallo-Italian languages.
Milanese has an extensive literature, reaching as far back as the 13th century and including the works of important writers such as Bonvesin de la Riva (mid 13th century-1313), Carlo Maria Maggi (1630-1699) Carlo Porta (1775-1821). In addition to the large literary corpus, various dictionaries, a few grammar books and a recent translation of the Gospels are available in the language.
The Milanese dialect as commonly defined today is essentially concentrated around Milan and its metropolitan city, reaching into the northernmost part of the province of Pavia. Subdialects of Milanese - also known as dialètt arios - are spoken in the western part of the province (Castano Primo, Turbigo, Abbiategrasso, Magenta), the eastern part (Gorgonzola, Cassina de' Pecchi, Cernusco sul Naviglio, Segrate, Bellinzago), the parts to the north of the Naviglio Martesana (Carugate, Cassano d'Adda, Inzago, Gessate), certain areas where the dialect becomes transitional (between Saronno and Rho), the southern parts (Binasco and Melegnano), and the northern parts of the Province of Pavia (north of the line between Bereguardo and Landriano, which includes places such as Trovo and Casorate Primo).
Historically, up to the late 19th century, "Milanese" was also used to define the dialects spoken in Brianza and in the areas of Varese (Varesòtt) and Lecco (Lecches); less commonly it was also used to cover the whole Western Lombard dialect area, which had in Milanese its most prestigious variety.
As Milanese, like the Lombard language as a whole, is not an officially recognized language anywhere, there have been many different orthographic conventions, including pan-Lombard proposals (like the Scriver Lombard orthography), and conventions limited to Western Lombard (the Unified Insubric Orthography). The de facto standard for Milanese, though, is the literary Classical Milanese orthography (Ortografia Milanesa Classega).
Classical Milanese orthography is the oldest orthographic convention still in use and it is the one used by all writers of Milanese literature, most famously by Carlo Porta. The trigraph <oeu> (sometimes written <œu>), used to represent the /ø/ phoneme, is considered the most distinctive feature of this standard. Since the latter half of the 20th century, as a consequence of the Italianization of Lombardy with the Lombard language ceasing to be the main language of daily use in Milan, the Classical orthography has been contested and lost ground as Italian speakers often find it counterintuitive. Classical Milanese orthography, which often reflects etymology, has indeed lots of words which closely resemble their Italian cognates, but pronunciation is often different, one of the most striking examples being orthographic doubled consonants which represent geminates in Italian but a short preceding vowel (if stressed syllable) in Milanese: compare Italian <caro> /ˈkaro/ (dear) and <carro> /ˈkarro/ (cart) with its Milanese cognates <car> /ˈkaːr/ and <carr> /ˈkar/.
This article contains material translated from Italian Wikipedia's version of this page.
- Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Milanese". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.