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Native toItaly, San Marino
RegionPrimarily Emilia-Romagna, San Marino, Marche
Ethnicity1.1 million (2008)[1]
Native speakers
Unknown, c. 430,000, assuming Romagnol and Emilian retained at same rate (2006)[2]
Gallo-Picene (disputed)
Language codes
ISO 639-3rgn
Linguasphere51-AAA-oki ... okl
Linguistic map of Romagna and neighbouring regions[image reference needed]
Romagnol is classified as Definitely Endangered by the UNESCO Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

Romagnol (rumagnòl or rumagnôl; Italian: romagnolo) is a Romance language spoken in the historical region of Romagna, consisting mainly of the southeastern part of Emilia-Romagna, Italy. The name is derived from the Lombard name for the region, Romagna.[3] Romagnol is also spoken outside the region, particularly in the independent Republic of San Marino.[4] Romagnol is classified as endangered because older generations have "neglected to pass on the dialect as a native tongue to the next generation".[5]


Romagnol belongs to the Gallo-Italic family alongside Piedmontese, Ligurian and Lombard, forming with Emilian and as one of the two branches of the Emilian-Romagnol linguistic continuum.[6]

Further groupings of variants of Romagnol has not been set yet and both speakers and authors tend to refer to their own town or the nearest major province cities.

The variants of Romagnol form a dialect continuum with their neighbouring varieties, while the more distant dialects might be less mutually intelligible. Variants spoken north of the Santerno river are considered by speakers of Sammarinese as being less, but still, intelligible, while past the Sillaro such intelligibility is lost.

Geographic distribution[edit]

Western border[edit]

In the West, The Sillaro river marks the cultural and linguistic border between Emilian language speakers and Romagnol speakers; it runs 25 km east from Bologna to the west of Castel San Pietro Terme. Romagnol is spoken to the east of this river and to the south of the Reno river.
In the rest of Emilia-Romagna Region, Emilian is spoken in all the rest of the region moving from the Sillaro river to the west, up to Piacenza, and to the north of the Reno, up to the Po.

Northern border[edit]

The Reno river is the border between Romagnol and the dialect of Ferrara. Romagnol is spoken also in some villages northwards of the Reno river, such as Argenta and Filo, where people of Romagnol origin live alongside people of Ferrarese origin. Ferrara goes into Emilian language territory.

Southern border[edit]

Outside Emilia-Romagna, Romagnol is spoken in the Republic of San Marino ("Sammarinese"), and in two municipalities located in the province of Florence, Marradi and Palazzuolo sul Senio.

In the province of Pesaro and Urbino of Marche region, Gallo-Picene is spoken, but its status as sub-variant of Romagnol or as separate language is disputed.[citation needed]


Romagnol's first acknowledgement outside regional literature was in Dante Alighieri's treatise De vulgari eloquentia, wherein Dante compares "the language of Romagna" to his native Tuscan dialect.[7] Eventually, in 1629, the author Adriano Banchieri wrote the treatise Discorso della lingua Bolognese, which countered Dante's claim that the Tuscan dialect was better, arguing his belief that Bolognese (an Emilian dialect influenced by Romagnol that saw wide use in writing) was superior in "naturalness, softness, musicality, and usefulness." Romagnol received more recognition after Romagna gained independence from the Papal States.[8]


16th to 19th century[edit]

The first appearance of a distinct Romagnol literary work is "Sonetto romagnolo" by Bernardino Catti, from Ravenna, printed 1502. It is written in a mixture of Italian and Romagnol[citation needed].

The first Romagnol poem dates back to the end of the 16th century: E Pvlon matt. Cantlena aroica (Mad Nap), a mock-heroic poem based on Orlando Furioso and written by an anonymous author from San Vittore di Cesena [it]. The original poem comprised twelve cantos, of which only the first four survived (1848 lines).[8]

The first Romagnol poet to win fame was the cleric Pietro Santoni, (Fusignano, 1736–1823). He was the teacher of Vincenzo Monti, one of the most famous Italian poets of his time.

In 1840, the first Romagnol-Italian Dictionary was published by Antonio Morri [it]; it was printed in Faenza.

20th century[edit]

The 20th century saw a flourishing of Romagnol literature. Theatrical plays, poems and books of a high quality were produced. Some of the best known Romagnol authors are:

  • Raffaello Baldini, who won in 1988 the "Premio Viareggio" and in 1995 the "Premio Bagutta", known for long pessimistic poems and prose[8]
  • Tonino Guerra (1920–2012), wrote poems during his exile to WWII-era Germany, focusing on people of suffering and poverty[8]
  • Olindo Guerrini, with "Sonetti romagnoli" [citation needed]
  • Aldo Spallicci [it], an antifascist exiled from Romagna. He wrote poems such as "Rumâgna" that were often descriptive of Romagna[8]
  • Francesco "Checco" Guidi, with his activity as poet and recorder of local popular expressions and says. He is specialized in the variant of Sammarinese dialect spoken in Serravalle, which is close to Riminese.



Romagnol lacks a standardized orthography, leading to a huge varieties among authors.
The orthography adopted here is from Vitali, D. (2008). "L'ortografia Romagnola"


Unlike Standard Italian, not all nouns end in a theme vowel. Masculine nouns lack theme vowels, and feminine nouns typically (but not always) terminate in a. Masculine nouns and adjectives undergo lexically-specified umlaut to form the plural, and feminine nouns and adjectives form the plural by a becoming i or being deleted after a consonant cluster or a double consonant.[6]

Romagnol Italian
Singular Plural Singular Plural
Sacrêri (m. sg.) Sacréri (m. pl.) Sacrario Sacrari
grând (sg.) grènd (pl.) grande grandi

Both languages derive their lexicon from Vulgar Latin, but some words differ in gender.

Romagnol Italian Latin English
la risa il riso risus (masc.) rice
la sècia il secchio siclum (masc.) bucket


Italian and Romagnol share many of the same features when it comes to verbs. Both languages use subject–verb–object in simple sentences for their word order. Verbs are conjugated according to tense, mood, and person. Romagnol also has four conjugations, compared to Standard Italian's three: the first, -êr; the second, -ér; the third, -ar; and the fourth, -ìr. Marked differences in Romagnol from Standard Italian are that personal pronouns are required, and some verbs in Romagnol use a reflexive construction even if the speaker is not the second argument of the verb although Italian uses an intransitive construction.[9]

Romagnol Italian English
Me a'm so lavê (Io) mi sono lavato I washed myself
Me a sò (Io) sono I am
Me a j'ò (Io) ho I have

Impersonal verbs, which lack a canonical subject, in Romagnol use "avèr" but in Standard Italian use "essere." Even though the subject is null, an expletive pronoun is inserted in the specifier position, much like "it" in English.

  • Italian: è piovuto, It rained
  • Romagnol: l'à piuvù, It rained

Also, whereas Standard Italian and other northern dialects omit the definite article before "singular names and names of relatives", Romagnol keeps it.[10]


Romagnol has lexical and syntactic uniformity throughout its area. However, its pronunciation changes as one goes from the Po Valley to the hills.[citation needed]

It has an inventory of up to 20 vowels that contrast in the stressed position, compared to seven in Italian. They are marked in the orthography by using diacritics on a, e, i, o and u.[11][12]

The absence of an official institution regulating its orthography often leads to ambiguities in the transcription of vowel sounds.

Syllable structure[edit]

Some words that in Latin are trisyllabic or tetrasyllabic in which u is not stressed are reduced in Romagnol to being only monosyllabic. An atonic syllable is dropped.[citation needed]

Latin Romagnol Italian English Emilian
geniculum znöcc ginocchio knee znocc
tepidus tèvd tiepido tepid tevad
oculus öcc occhio eye occ
frigidus frèd freddo cold fredd


These three tables list the vowel inventory of the "classical" version of the northern macro-dialect of Romagnol.

Front Central Back
High i u
Mid e (ə~ɐ) o
ɛ ɔ
Low a
Symbol Value
ê [eə̯]
ô [oə̯]
ë [ɛə̯]
ö [ɔə̯]
Nasal Vowels
Symbol Value
ã/â [ə̃]
õ [õ]

The following table lists the vowels above alongside their relative orthography:[11]

Symbol in




Dialectal pronunciation

around Lugo (RA)[11]

Example in Romagnol Comparison with Italian English meaning
ë ɛə̯ ɛæ̯ bël bello "nice" (masculine singular)
è, e ɛ ɛ~ɜ bèl belli "nice" (masculine plural)
ê eə̯ eɜ̯~iɜ̯ fêr fare "to do"
é e ej méla mela "apple"
ö ɔə̯ ɔɒ̯ cöl collo "neck"
ô oə̯ oɞ̯ rôda ruota "wheel"
ò, o ɔ ɔ~ɞ òngg undici "eleven"
ó o ow sól sole "sun"
ɛ̃ æ̃ bẽ bene "fine" (adverb)
ã, â ə̃ ɤ̃ cane "dog"
õ õ õ buono "good"
a a ɐ~ə zèngia cinghia "belt"
à, a (when stressed) a äː fàza faccia "face"
u u u purtê portato "brought"
ù, u (when stressed) u ʊ dur duro "hard" (masculine singular)
i i i istê estate "summer"
ì, i (when stressed) i ~ɪ partìr partire "to leave"


Labial Inter-
Retroflex Palato-
Palatal Velar
Nasal m n ɲ (ŋ)
Stop pb td kɡ
Affricate t͡ʃd͡ʒ
Fricative fv θð (sz) ʂʐ
Lateral l ʎ
Trill r
Approximant j w

The letter z is always pronounced as either [θ] or [ð] and not [t͡s] or [d͡z][11] as in Standard Italian.

[ŋ] occurs only before velar stops.

Romagnol, in addition to its larger inventory of vowels, also has more consonants compared to Standard Italian. Additionally, consonants have these differences from Standard Italian:[4][13]

  • In central dialects, word-final n is deleted, and the preceding vowel is nasalised, as is shown above.
  • /dʒ/ and /tʃ/ can occur word-finally and are usually distinguished by the doubling of the final consonants (cc or gg).
  • /ʂ/ and /ʐ/ may be realised as alveolars [s] and [z] by some speakers from the influence of Standard Italian.
  • The voicing of those consonants is always contrastive.


  1. ^ Miani, Ivan (2008-04-12). "ISO 639-3 Registration Authority Request for New Language Code Element in ISO 639-3" (PDF). ISO 639-3.
  2. ^ "La lingua italiana, i dialetti e le lingue straniere Anno 2006" [The Italian language, dialects and foreign languages Year 2006] (PDF) (in Italian). 2006.
  3. ^ Larner, J. (1965). The Lords of Romagna: Romagnol Society and the Origins of the Signorie. Ithaca: New York.
  4. ^ a b Grementieri, S. (2012, January 7). The Romagnolo Dialect: A Short Study On its History, Grammar, and How it Survives [Scholarly project]. In Retrieved March 4, 2017, from
  5. ^ Cenni, I. (2013). Code-switching as an indicator of language shift: a case study of the Romagnolo dialect of Gatteo a Mare, Italy. 46th International Annual Meeting of the Societas Linguistica Europaea, Abstracts. Presented at the 46th International Annual Meeting of the Societas Linguistica Europaea.
  6. ^ a b Gregor, D. B. (1972). Romagnol Language and Literature. Stoughton Harrow: Oleander Press.
  7. ^ Alighieri, D. (1996). Dante: De vulgari eloquentia (S. Botterill, Trans.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  8. ^ a b c d e Haller, H. W. (1999). The Other Italy: The Literary Canon in Dialect (Toronto Italian Studies). University of Toronto Press.
  9. ^ Pelliciardi, F. (1997).Grammatica del dialetto romagnolo: la lengva dla mi tera. Ravenna: Longo Editore.
  10. ^ Ledgeway, A., & Maiden, M. (Eds.). (2016).The Oxford Guide to the Romance Languages(1st ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  11. ^ a b c d e f Vitali, D. (2008). L'ortografia romangnola [Scholarly project]. In Retrieved March 5, 2017, from
  12. ^ Vitali, Daniele; Pioggia, Davide (2010). Il dialetto di Rimini: Analisi fonologica e proposta ortografica.
  13. ^ Pelliciardi, Ferdinando (1977). Grammatica del dialetto romagnolo: la lèngva dla mi tëra. Ravenna: Longo.