Vivaro-Alpine dialect

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Native toFrance, Italy
RegionSouthern France, Occitan Valleys
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Linguasphere51-AAA-gf & 51-AAA-gg
Lang Status 60-DE.svg
Vivaro-Alpine is classified as Definitely Endangered by the UNESCO Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger (2010)
Map of Occitan dialects; Vivaro-Alpine dialect in the northeast.

Vivaro-Alpine (Occitan: vivaroalpenc, vivaroaupenc) is a variety of Occitan spoken in southeastern France (namely, around the Dauphiné area) and northwestern Italy (the Occitan Valleys of Piedmont and Liguria).[3][4] There is also a small Vivaro-Alpine enclave in the Guardia Piemontese, Calabria, where the language is known as gardiòl. It belongs to the Northern Occitan dialect bloc, along with Auvergnat and Limousin. The name “vivaro-alpine” was coined by Pierre Bec in the 1970s.[5][6] The Vivaro-Alpine dialects are traditionally called "gavot" from the Maritime Alps to the Hautes-Alpes.

Naming and classification[edit]

Vivaro-Alpine had been considered as a sub-dialect of Provençal, and named provençal alpin (Alpine Provençal) or Northern Provençal.[7]

Its use in the Dauphiné area has also led to the use of dauphinois or dauphinois alpin to name it.[8] Along with Ronjat[8] and Bec,[9] it is now clearly recognized as a dialect of its own.

The UNESCO Atlas of World's languages in danger[10] uses the Alpine Provençal name, and considers it as seriously endangered.

Glottolog recognizes the Gardiòl variety of the dialect as a distinct language within the Occitanic language family.[11]



Vivaro-Alpine is classified as an Indo-European, Italic, Romance, or Western-Romance language.[12]

Vivaro-Alpine shares the palatization of consonants k and g in front of a with the other varieties of North Occitan (Limosino, Alverniate), in particular with words such as chantar ("cantare," to sing) and jai ("ghiandaia," jay). Southern Occitan has, respectively, cantar and gai.

Its principal characteristic is the dropping of simple Latin dental intervocalics:

  • chantaa or chantaia for chantada ("cantata," sung),
  • monea for moneda ("moneta," coin),]
  • bastia or bastiá for bastida ("imbastitura, tack),
  • maür for madur ("maturo," mature).

The verbal ending of the first person is -o (like in Italian, Catalan, Castilian, and Portuguese, but also in Piemontese, which is neighboring): parlo for parli or parle ("io parlo"), parlavo for parlavi or parlave ("io parlavo"), parlèro for parlèri or parlère ("io ho parlato, io parlavo").

A common trait is the rhotacism of l (shift from l to r):

  • barma for balma or bauma ("grotta," cave),
  • escòra for escòla ("scuola," school),
  • saraa or sarai for salada ("insalata," salad).

In the dialects of the Alps, Vivaro-Alpine maintained the pronunciation of the r of the infinitive verbs (excepting modern Occitan).[13]

An estimated 70% of languages are estimated to have "interrogative intonation contours which end with rising pitch." However, Vivaro Alpine follows the opposite pattern with yes/no questions—an initial high tone followed by a fall. Questions that end in a rising pitch are so common that they are often considered "natural." One reason that questions begin with a high tone in some languages is that the listener is immediately being alerted to the fact that they are being asked a question.


Vivaro-Alpine is an endangered language. There are approximately 200,000 native speakers of the language worldwide. Transmission of the language is very low. Speakers of Vivaro-Alpine typically also speak either French or Italian.


  1. ^ "Occitan (post 1500)". IANA language subtag registry. 18 August 2008. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  2. ^ "Vivaro-Alpine"; IANA language subtag registry; subtitle: Occitan variant spoken in northeastern Occitania; retrieved: 11 February 2019; publication date: 22 April 2018.
  3. ^ (in French) Jean-Marie Klinkenberg, Des langues romanes. Introduction aux études de linguistique romane, De Boeck, 2e édition, 1999,
  4. ^ La langue se divise en trois grandes aires dialectales : le nord-occitan (limousin, auvergnat, vivaro-alpin), l'occitan moyen, qui est le plus proche de la langue médiévale (languedocien et provençal au sens restreint), et le gascon (à l'ouest de la Garonne). in (in French) Encyclopédie Larousse
  5. ^ Bec, Pierre (1995). La langue occitane. Paris.
  6. ^ Belasco, Simon (1990). France's Rich Relation: The Oc Connection. The French Review. pp. 996–1013.
  7. ^ (in French) Jean-Claude Bouvier, "L'occitan en Provence : limites, dialectes et variété" in Revue de linguistique romane 43, pp 46-62
  8. ^ a b (in French) Jules Ronjat, Grammaire istorique des parlers provençaux modernes, vol. IV Les dialectes, Montpellier, 1941
  9. ^ (in French) Pierre Bec, La langue occitane, Paris, 1995
  10. ^ UNESCO Interactive Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger Archived February 22, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Gardiol". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  12. ^ "The Endangered Languages Project".
  13. ^ "Dizionario Italiano-Occitano".

See also[edit]