- Lombard (Lombard) is a Western Romance language. It is spoken in the Lombardy region with some transitional areas in the Mantuan and Pavia Oltrepò (where a dialect is spoken halfway between the Lombard language and the Emilian language), throughout Italian-speaking Switzerland, in the provinces of Novara and Verbania, in some municipalities in the province of Alessandria and in the westernmost valleys of Trentino.
- It belongs to the Gallo-Italian group, and therefore has strong similarities with Piedmontese, with Emilian, with the more rustic and conservative dialects of the Venetian language of Trentino and Veneto. There are several transition areas (in Piedmont, in lower Lombardy, in Trentino), and therefore linguistic boundaries are not always unanimously accepted.
- Evolved from the Latin spoken in Lombardy at the time of the Roman Empire, it is believed to have a Celtic substratum: it is still recognizable in a small number of words, but relevant in local toponymy.
- The lexicon also presents an interesting series of Germanisms, imported from the Goths and above all from the Longobards (who gave their name to the region and then to the language). Other Germanisms date back to the 19th century, by virtue of Austrian domination.
- Other lexical borrowings derive from French (from the Napoleonic era) and from English (in the industrial and bourgeois society of the end of the 19th century). Nowadays, the influence of Italian is very strong.
- It boasts a literature that traces its origins back to the second half of the thirteenth century, and which continues uninterrupted from the seventeenth century to the present day. Lombard also boasts numerous lexicographic works.
- Traditionally, Lombard is divided into two main variants: Western Lombard and Eastern Lombard. The border between the two variants is placed on the Adda river.
- Also due to Lombardy's troubled history, the language still does not have a standard variant, nor a common spelling. Basically, every large city has a municipal literary production, and a system of handwriting. In this course we will refer to the unified spelling system, the New Lombard Orthography, designed in 2020.
Lombard is recognized as a language by various international bodies: by ISO (code 639-3 lmo), by UNESCO, by the Council of Europe and others. It is considered endangered.
This course Edit
The course aims to give an essential overview of the most important aspects of Lombard grammar and lexicon, with a quick excursus on the literature in this language. It proposes also to briefly illustrate a common spelling proposal for all the local variants, which originates from the ancient and recent written traditions.
The dialects of Lombard Edit
The Lombard language has numerous variants or dialects. Although theoretically each country has its own dialect, the dialects can be grouped into main groups. The subdivision is not always unique. In this book the subdivision into three main groups is proposed: Western Lombard, Eastern Lombard, Alpine Lombard, and these in turn are divided into subgroups (shown in the image below), many of which are determined by the influence of the dialect of the main cities on the surrounding area. For convenience in this book, dialects will be indicated by the abbreviations shown in the image below.