Talk:Piedmontese language

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Languages (Rated Start-class)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Languages, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of standardized, informative and easy-to-use resources about languages on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 ???  This article has not yet received a rating on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Italy (Rated Start-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Italy, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of articles on Italy on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.

What's the procedure?[edit]

This disputed template appears to be here from long time already. There is clear data to use for a decision (whatever it will be), so what is the procedure? I won't remove the template myself since it looks like a rough way to solve the dispute, but I'd really like to know who, when and how (i.e., according to which policy) is going to take a final action. Thanks. --Bèrto 'd Sèra 10:05, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

Perhaps someone should contact an administrator? The confusion related to the number of speakers is, IMHO, due to a difficult definition of whether someone "speaks" the language. I would say that any person originally from Piedmont and over 40 of age is either a native speaker or can understand it well. With younger people, that might be true only outside of the main cities. However, most people will refrain from using it spontaneously if not with close relatives or in small villages, because of 80 years of propaganda that it is just a language for cattle herders. In any case, it does have a great number of linguistic features that are peculiar or unique, and make most linguists consider it a language. Anyway, the current wording of the page seems acceptable to me, so perhaps we should just remove the tag and close the case. Vbertola 01:07, 18 August 2007 (UTC)


Why was this blanked? Ardric47 04:21, 13 February 2006 (UTC)

For Italian pride, perhaps? It seems they don't want this language to exist.
Last time I checked there was a difference between "language" and "dialect". Check out sardinian or friulian for instance ...
The policy in is to deem as a language whatever has an official international recognition at ISO 639-3 level. Check any of the it articles about local languages. That is, it wisely decided to use an external scientific authority instead of the flamable local political moods --Bèrto 'd Sèra 09:56, 16 June 2007 (UTC)


As so often in this area claims conflict wildly and Wikipedia's article ends up looking pretty ridiculous. Are there 3 million speakers or 80,000? It needs to be sorted out and sourced. Osomec 00:29, 26 February 2006 (UTC)

Ethnologue supports the three million figure [1]. — Gareth Hughes 00:49, 26 February 2006 (UTC)
I do not trust Ethnologue too much, they seem to take figures out of thin air. This one is particularly outrageous, Piedmont has a population of 4.3 millions. According to Ethnologue, almost two thirds would be able to speak Piedmontese: well I am from Piedmont, not from a minority background, and I think I never heard anyone speaking it unless for instances of particularly bad swearing. According a source in the article (see Google translation), says that, for the province of Turin, 16% thinks they can read Piedmontese. Of this 16%, a 13% thinks they can write it. As the article explicitly says, it means "less than 2%" of the population. Even assuming that the whole of Piedmont has the same conditions of Turin (provinces of Novara and Verbania have large influences from Lombard, and they can hardly be counted in), that would make 4,300,000×0.16×0.13 = 89.440 people who think they can handle Piedmontese. Take out something for those two provinces where Piedmontese is not spoken (what would be spoken cannot be classified such), and it's about 80.000. We can put in 90.000 if you want, but three millions is plain laughable. I mean, I hardly ever heard Piedmontese, and I grew up there. The only time I met someone who could speak better dialect (I am not really sure which variety...) than Italian was an outside-of-civilization cattle herder at 2,000 meters of altitude in the Gran Paradiso national park. --Orzetto 22:39, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
FYI this is an official publication from ISTAT. I suppose they also are cattle-herders and/or full blown idiots, right? :) For english speakers, at page 5 you have a table whose major colums mean 'within the family', 'with friends', 'with unknown people'. Each such column is broken in four figures, left to right you have 'only or mostly italian', 'only or mostly in dialet', both and 'another language'. It is in itself interesting to notice that the italian government is not yet even capable to use simple international standards like ISO and still prefers fascist labels like "dialects", but since this is a pervasive feature of all the italian culture (and it's by no means limited to linguistics) this is hardly a surprise. Now, do we go and label as "not factual" this report at the ISTAT site? I'm curious :) Italian fascism is sooooooooo creative :)))))))))) Write us from the Roman Empire, Orzetto and pleeease... kiss your Duce for me :))))))))))) BTW, since ISTAT is an official govt datasource it can hopefully be used to clear us all from italian fascist trolls once and for all. This is DATA, time we get rid of people putting in their own bloody ideological "feelings" as if they could be used to write an encyclopedia. If they have officially endorsed DATA to present they are welcome at any time, if they don't... sorry, this happens to be wikipedia, not a forum about somebody's feelings. --Bèrto 'd Sèra 07:04, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
Orzetto, I hardly can believe that you never heard anyone speak in Piedmontese. I come from Turin and i hear people speaking it in town. Of course is not very diffused in Turin, but you must consider that it is much more diffused in the region than in Turin.--Bertulot 20:28, 20 October 2007 (UTC)


The 2% figure Orzetto mentions from the survey refers to the people that can write the language, whereas Ethnologue's 3 million quote refers to people who can speak it. This is hardly surprising, since Piedmontese is taught in schools (haphazardly) only since a few years. However, among the survey results that Orzetto has forgotten to mention (but that are clearly mentioned in the online survey report) one finds that 40% of the respondents speak Piedmontese, and 16% can read it. Considering that the survey was taken in the province of Turin, which has the highest percentage of the population of non-Piedmontese origin, Ethnologue's figure of 3m speakers (not writers) does not seem particularly off the mark - not by two orders of magnitude anyway. Of course everybody in Piedmont is fluent in Italian, too, but people can be fluent in more than one language.

Ethnologue is widely regarded as an authoritative organisation, and a source of hard facts. The survey about the knowledge of the Piedmontese language in the Turin province referenced in the article (the link is in Italian), has been paid for by a political party that has no Piedmontese nationalist agenda whatsoever, and carried out by a commercial market research organisation. I would dare say there is sufficient evidence to support the content of the article, since it is confirmed by two scientific and independent sources.

I am also from Piedmont. I was born in the capital, Turin (1m inhabitants), and I live in its outskirts, hardly a outside-of-civilization place. I am in my 30s, I am not a cattle herder (as a matter of fact I am a space engineer) and I do not swear. I have lived in France, Germany, S America and California. And I speak, read and write Piedmontese. My children speak Piedmontese (as well as Italian, French and German). My parents and relatives speak Piedmontese and so do at least half of my friends. So I find it slightly offensive that somebody feels s/he can disparage a language or a culture just because s/he can hide behind the anonimity of the Internet. Piedmont is a multi-ethnic, multicultural community, but obviously some have a problem with that. Racism, though thinly veiled as Orzetto's, should have no place in Wikipedia. Savantspassial 19:25, 26 March 2006 (UTC)


Following the discussion about the number of Piedmontese speakers, I was able to find another independent, authoritative source: the Piedmontese conversation guide (now referenced in the article) published by Assimil, a household name in language courses in Europe. The status is as follows: Ethnologue: 3 million speakers Assimil: over 2 million speakers Recent survey (referenced in the article): over 50% of the Turin province population. Extrapolated to Piedmont (a pessimistic assumption, as Turin is the area with the largest Italian-only speaking population), this means over 2 million speakers Orzetto: 80,000 speakers, based on unverified data.

Therefore I have updated the article putting the figure for Piedmontese speakers to 2 million, down from 3 million, for conservatism. I have added all the authoritative sources listed above, and I also corrected a small inaccuracy: it is the regional parliament (i.e. the legislative) and not the administration (i.e. the executive) that has declared Piedmontese the regional language of Piedmont.

Since the data seems sufficiently backed up by independent and credible sources, I took the liberty of removing the "verify" tag.

Silvio sandron 20:39, 29 April 2006 (UTC)Silvio sandron


We say that “over the last 150 years the number of people with a written knowledge of the language has shrunk to about 2% of native speakers”. The survey does indeed make that estimate for the percentage of the current population able to write the language. But it doesn’t seem to give any estimate for the [Piedmontese]-language literacy rate in the region for the 1850s. Are we certain that ‘shrink’ (for ability to write) is correct? It would also be interesting to know about the teaching practices of the period—what kinds of schools used Piedmontese as a language of instruction, and whether kids were encouraged in those days to concentrate on their native tongue, or whether French (or Italian) had a higher status. —Ian Spackman 11:55, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

You don't have any official data but the amount of published periodic literature. In the beginning of the century the Birichin (a satirical paper) sold in the capital up to 12.000 copies. if you compare it to the 200k copies as a record sale for a nation-wide newspaper in 1911 (il Corriere) it makes for a pretty good availability of education in the language. All papers in local languages were to be killed by fascism as antinational later on. --Bèrto 'd Sèra 12:12, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

Western Romance, Gallo romance, gallo italic[edit]

Why do the article says Piemontese, "Lombardo", "Emiliano-Romagnolo", Veneto are closer to French than to Italian? It's ridicolous (and wrong). Ah, I was forgotting Ethnologue, the modern bible. Just a question; who started give so mach importance to what Ethnologue said? Well, since we just have to agree to what the divine ethnologue says, why to write articles like this upon a language? Is better to put just a link to the ethnologue website.

What source can you provide for stating it is wrong? --Fertuno 01:07, 8 November 2006 (UTC)

For anyone who thinks that this is a matter under debate forget it, Romance languages are loosely based on a continuum, the person that originally posted this is under the misled understanding that if a language is spoken in Italy it must be related more closely to Italian than French (say). I doubt the poster would also claim that Griko (a greek language spoken in Italy was more closely related to Florentine than greek, anyway, enough on this silly topic, the classification is based on grammatical and morphological features, don't believe it, look at the languages yourself and consult the literature... Ulfsbjorninn

Double R[edit]

No double consonants besides /ss/, eh? Does Piedmontese too lack a double R (like the one Spanish has)?

yes, we have no doubles at all, apart from any intervocalic consonant following an Ë sound (but not if the Ë is prosthetic). The -SS- group actually is but a graphich trick to express the difference between a Z and an S where the usual rules fail, so it cannot be said to be a double, since it's pronounced as a single. Anyway, hearing is better than reading :) Here you can hear what it sounds like, just follow the graphic link to any of the articles that have a Podcast version for the much too many users who cannot read. Most of them come with an audio version to bridge the alphabetic divide --Bèrto 'd Sèra 12:05, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

This article is totally misleading[edit]

The main problem with this article (especially the introduction) is that it may lead a casual reader to believe that this is language actively spoken by most people in the area, which is simply not true - as any honest person living there will testify. One could even argue that defining this a language is wrong, or we can discuss the number of people who understand it (see discussions below). But certainly, besides these discussions, the factual truth is that there are very few people who use it in their everyday life - mostly elderly people in rural areas, and even then likely as a second language for conversations with close relatives. Having lived in various areas of Piedmont for twenty years, I can tell you the great majority of people won't even understand if you talk them in Piedmontese, let alone feel confident in speaking or writing (?) it. By reading this article, especially the introduction, I would expect a completely different scenario. It has nothing to do with pride, as someone states below- I am a reasonably proud Piemontese, nevertheless I don't think it's a good idea to let readers believe something wrong.--#fhmit# 13:43, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

See ISTAT data. --Bèrto 'd Sèra 18:37, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

Just a little piece of wood for the fire[edit]

I was briefly living in the Turin (Torino) area during the 1980s and I am now in my 30s, so you can appreciate that I was young and politics would have sailed over my head. I picked up the local language and thought nothing of it, later losing fluency. Much later in my life I decided to re-learn Italian and found it to be quite different from I had spoken as a child; consulting my father about this, he told flat out that I had learnt Piedmontese, not Italian, as that was the primary spoken dialect (his words) in Turin and the surrounding area and that I would find standard Italian quite different. Now, it seems to me that if this language were in fact rarely spoken or else the province of rural cattle herders, I was unlikely, as the child of a resonably prominent foreigner, in polite, often very monied, society, to have heard it, much less learnt it as the primary means of communicating outside my family. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:44, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

Sources, sources[edit]

I think it is unfair to consider the figures in this article to be "debatable". One one hand you have several, independent sources: - either quoted in the article that are either accessible on the web or from major publishers; - or quoted in this talk session (e.g. data published by the Italian national statistics office, ISTAT)

that agree that the number of Piedmontese speakers is at least two millions (Piedmont's population is 4.2m).

On the other hand we have one or two aggressive people who claim otherwise. They do not provide any sources for their claims, other than themselves. Evidence seems to be a bit thin to continue flagging this article as "disputed". If we allow anybody with a pet peeve to dispute anything out of the blue, without a shred of evidence, Wikipedia is not going to go very far.

Last but not least, by the disparaging nature of their comments, the two people who dispute the figures seem to be simply motivated by racial hatred.

Figures, figures[edit]

There is an additional source online new confirming the 2-million figures for people having an "active" knowledge of the Piedmontese language (i.e. who are able to communicate in Piedmontese). It is a thorough study on the languages spoken in Piedmont published in October 2007 by IRES Piemonte (the Institute for economic and social research), and carried out by researchers of the Turin University. The entire study can be downloaded from (sorry, in Italian only). On page 71, figures about knowledge of the Piedmontese language are provided:

1. people who can communicate in Piedmontese: 2 000 000

2. additional people who understand Piedmontese but not speak it: 1 140 000

3. people who can't understand Piedmontese: 550 000

I guess that settles it. We have at least five independent, quotable sources (of which three are based on scientific research by universities and professional opinion research institutes) that confirm the number of at least 2m speakers for Piedmontese. Therefore I removed the "The neutrality and factual accuracy of this article are disputed" tag, as this is clearly now simply not true.

Savantspassial (talk)

Lies Damned Lies and statistics. Simply I cannot believe that more people can communicate in Piedmontese than can understand it. Sheer nonsense. —Ian Spackman (talk) 14:16, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

Figures, figures[edit]

Sorry, I meant that 2 million people can communicate in Piedmontese, and that an additional 1.14m can understand it. I will updated my posting accordingly. Savantspassial (talk)

Languages, Dialects and "old" languages[edit]

The debate about "how many Piedmontese speakers" seems to be arising from the misconception that "modern regional varieties of Italian" and "languages spoken in Italy before the Unification" are the same thing.

Most Italian people actually deal with three languages: -Standard Italian: the official language, almost free of regional accents, as spoken by actors, news announcers, the equivalent of Received Pronunciation in England -regional Italian: that is, the dialect of Italian as currently spoken in his city/region/whatever -the "old" language (in this case, Piedmontese) spoken by the inhabitants of his city/region/whatever before television and internal immigration spread Italian (in his regional varieties).

Standard Italian and his dialects (modern, regional varieties) are very similar and mutually intelligible, the main difference being accent (although many words can be different or differently used). "Old" languages and Italian typically aren't mutually intelligible; neither are "old" languages and regional dialects (although the modern regional dialect may have borrowed accents and words from the "old" language).

A typical Italian from Piedmont will:

1) 99% of the times, speak regional Italian, that is, "the dialect of Italian as is currently spoken in Piedmont"

2) with some relatives and friends, he MAY speak Piedmontese, IF he knows it (most old people, especially in the countryside, do; many young people, especially in big cities, don't)

3) in formal, official speech, he will try to use an "as Standard as possible" Italian (many educated people can do so, although retaining the accent; only actors in movies and TV will actually use the "Received pronunciation")

The distinction between "dialects" and "old languages" may not be clear to she speaker; that is, a young Italian may speak "actual" Piedmontese only with his grand-grandfather, and simply "Italian with Piedmontese accent" with parents and friends.

An Italian born in Turin, whose parents were not Piedmontese but, let's say, Sicilian, may speak with a "Piedmontese accent", but not "actual" Piedmontese (nor "actual" Sicilian unless he spends a lot of time with his grand-grandmother). His parents may or may not know "actual" Sicilian, but will probably speak with a Sicilian accent.

It's worth noting that "old" languages are fading in ordinary usage, and they may one day become "extinct"; on the other hand, there will always be "regional dialects" in different parts of Italy (although they may be different from the ones we use today). Francesco.-- (talk) 01:08, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

Thank you. Nice insight. -- (talk) 05:34, 10 September 2011 (UTC)

Regional recognition[edit]

- Francis Tyers · 19:08, 30 April 2008 (UTC)

"Lexical comparison with other Romance languages"[edit]

Hows about a Latin column, bitches!?! This may give a better idea of how geographic/cultural influences have had an impact on the examples listed.

Acute accent[edit]

What's the function of the acute accent? The Alphabet section doesn't seem to explain it. Is it to indicate the height of the vowel, as in French, or to indicate stress, as in Spanish, or to disambiguate between words? An explanation should be included in the article. — Eru·tuon 16:39, 28 June 2012 (UTC)

The acute accent isn't part of the alphabet per se, but it is used to indicate an unexpectedly (according to the usual stress patterns of the language) stressed syllable as in Spanish.--William Thweatt TalkContribs 17:37, 28 June 2012 (UTC)


Vocabolario Piemontese-Italiano Michele Ponza - Stamperia Reale, Torino - 1830 (pdf-573 pagine)

Other books from the same site

Storia della real Casa di Savoia Davide Bertolotti - Antonio Fontana, Milano - 1830 (pdf-319 pagine)

Catalogo illustrato dei monumenti egizii del Regio Museo di Torino Pier Camillo Orcuti - Tipografia Nazionale, Torno - 1852 (115 pagine)

Delitti di Libidine Cesare Lombroso - Fratelli Bocca, Torino - 1886 (pdf-60 pagine)

Modello della chiesa di San Filippo Giampier Baroni di Tavigliano - Stamperia Reale, Torino - 1758 (10p)

Memorie degli Scrittori Filippini Stamperia Reale - Napoli - 1837 (pdf-382 pagine)

Origine e progressi dell'arte tipografica in Torino dal 1474 al 1861 Maurizio Marocco - Eredi Botta, Torino - 1861 (pdf - 183 pagine)

Descrizione di Torino Davide Bertolotti - Eredi Pomba, Torino - 1840 (pdf - 494 pagine)

Rajmaan (talk) 10:34, 9 October 2014 (UTC)

9.The existence of the third Piedmontese vowel Ë, which is very short (close to the vowel in English sir).[edit]

In my opinion this vowel is actually a Shwa and Piedmontese would be one of the few languages using a stressed Shwa (e.g. cesëtta, a small church). I think I did read something in this direction but I don't know where any more. Has anyone a source for or against this please? Thanks (talk) 15:26, 2 June 2016 (UTC) Marco Pagliero Berlin

Lexical comparison section[edit]

How were these words chosen? Without some principle (e.g., the most common, or some standard list), it is not clear how to interpret this list. Are the similarities between language A and language B systematic? ... or do they just happen to be more prominent in this particular list? etc. --Macrakis (talk) 18:32, 24 July 2016 (UTC)