Lombard/Orthography and pronunciation rules

(Redirected from Lombard/New Lombard Orthography)
Lombard language course
Phonology of Lombard language


Orthography and pronunciation rulesMilanese dialect - Laghee dialect - Bergamasque dialect - Pavese dialect

Orthographies overview edit

Since Lombard language consists of different varieties with a separate literary tradition, it has no spoken standard. In times past, different local spellings were used, especially for the main dialects. A first attempt to give a written standard to the Lombard language was that of the singer-songwriter Lissander Brasca in 2014 with his orthography “Scriver Lombard” (literally “Lombard Writing”). This was followed in 2020, with the establishment of the Academia Bonvesin de la Riva, by a new pan-Lombard writing system, the New Lombard Orthography.

They range from local orthographies, specifically designed for dialects but often inconsistent with each other, to the Scriver Lombard (Write Lombard) which claims to write the same word in the same way in all dialectal variants, and it will then be the reader to read it differently based on his dialect , the New Lombard Orthography is a bit of a middle ground, which at the same time guarantees spelling comprehension and consistency between the different variants of the language. In this book the New Lombard Orthography will be used.

For the classical Milanese orthography refer instead to the book on Insubric language (also known as Western Lombard), which precisely it is the western branch of the Lombard language, with the Milanese dialect in the historical centre.

Pan-Lombard orthographies
Name of the orthography Year when the orthography was born Importance
of the orthography
in the past
(before 1950)
of the orthography
" New Lombard Orthography" 2020 -   FO
" Scriver Lombard" 2014 -   FO
" Modern Orthography " 1979 RAR -
Local orthographies
Name of the orthography dialects written with this orthography Year when the orthography was born Importance
of the orthography
in the past
(before 1950)
of the orthography
  "classical Milanese orthography " Western Lombard 1630   FO   FO
  "Ticinese orthography" CO TI CO 1907   FO   FO
  "unified Insubric orthography " Western Lombard 2003 - RAR
  "Oriental insubric orthography" Eastern Lombard ??? - RAR
  "Duchy orthoghraphy" BG ???   MED   MED
  " orthography of Brescia " BS ??? - RAR
  "Classical Cremish orthography" Cr ???   MED RAR
  "Lodesan orthography" LO ??? ???? RAR
  "Classical Cremonese orthography
by Angelo Peri"
CR ???   MED RAR


  FO = fundamental importance
  MED = medium importance
RAR = rarely used

New Lombard Orthography edit

The New Lombard Orthography (NOL) is an orthography derived from the graphic tradition of various Lombard variants and designed for the entirety of Lombard language

Features edit

NOL was born as a polynomial orthography, i.e. with the possibility of writing in the same way for everyone, with the specific aim of involving all local variants and at the same time maintaining and showing local differences. This is achieved thanks to the flexibility of the handwriting: in fact, it is possible to write in a more standard or local way depending on the need of the person using it.

The spelling choices were made on the basis of past spelling proposals and the local spellings of Lombard, to try to make them more consistent with each other and not stray too far from traditional orthographies.

Spelling choices edit

Grapheme Phonology
(pronounce IPA)
Examples Translation into English
a /a/, /ɐ/ articioch artichoke
b /b/ [2] basell step
c /t͡ʃ/ before e, i or at the end of the word after consonant

/k/ before a, o, oeu, u or any consonant





ch /k/ before e, i and at the end of the word chichera coffee cup
cc /t͡ʃ/ at the end of the word

(also after consonant for the eastern Lombard plurals of words that end in "t" or "d" in the singular)
rarely in the middle of the word for reasons of derivation

(derived from lacc)
d /d/, /ð/ [2]

∅ intervocalic in some word in some variant





e /e/, /ɛ/[3] temp time, weather
f /f/, /θ/ fioeul son
g /d͡ʒ/ before e, i

/g/ before a, o, oeu, u or any consonant





gh /g/ before e, i and a t the end of the word [2] ghell cent
gg /d͡ʒ/ alla fine della parola[2]
rarely in the middle of the word for reasons of derivation
(derived from vegg)
old (feminine)
gn /ɲ/ tegnì to keep, to hold
h gh'hoo have
i /i/
after consonant before vowel
∅ tra sc, sg, s'c, s'g, g, c e vocale
∅ in some dialects in plurals ending in <l> after "oeu"
entire, whole
to call, to ask
j /j/, /ʎ/ always intravocalic

(∅ tra "e" e "a" in the last syllable, in some eastern variant)



to cut


l /l/, /r/ [4] - long preceding vowel lassà to leave, to let
ll /l/ - short preceding vowel balla ball
m /m/ mur wall
n /n/ [5] [6]

(∅ in some variant before consonant)





nn /n/ (always) – at the end of the word
rarely in the middle of the word for reasons of derivation
(derived from "ann")
o /o/, /ɔ/, /u/ tosa girl
oeu /ø/, /œ/ poeu then, later
p /p/ pas peace
q /k/ before u + vowel quatà to cover
r /r/ [4][7] - long preceding vowel fera fiera
rr /r/ - short preceding vowel carr (vs. car) wagon
s /s/ at the beginning of the word [8]

/z/ intravocalic or at the end of the word [8]

(before consonant /ʃ/ o /ʒ/ depending on the consonant, in some variant)



stria (/ʃ/) | basla (/ʒ/)




sh [9] /ʃ/ marshalles Marshallese
ss /s/ fuss was[10]
sc /ʃ/, /s/, /t͡ʃ/ - before e, i [8] scernì choose
s'c /ʃt͡ʃ/ mes'c to mix
sg /d͡ʒ/, /z/, /ʒ/ - before e, i sgiornada daytime
s'g /ʃd͡ʒ/ s'giafon slap
t /t/ tolin crown cork
u /y/

/w/ after <q> e between vowel and consonant


aqua | Europa


water | Europe

v /v/ [2]

(∅intravocalic, in some variant)





z /t͡s/, /s/ at the beginning of the word and after a consonant [8]

/d͡z/, /z/ intravocalic or at the end of the word [8]




means, half, middle
green lizard

zz /t͡s/, /s/ [8] mazzà to kill

Compound words edit

For compound words, a dash is used between the two words that make up the compound: (per exemple: mazza-pioeugg, ...).

Verbs edit

Infinitive edit

desinence -er
pronounce [a(r)] [ɛ(r)], [e(:)(r)], [i(r)] [Ø], [er] [i(r)]

There are some verbs that have an irregular ending in the infinitive and that do not follow the rules just explained (for example: prodù, toeu, …).

The infinitive verbs of the 1st, 2nd and 4th conjugation used with an enclitic maintain the graphic accent, instead they lose the -r in the 3rd. Even verbs with an irregular ending in the infinitive have the same ending (and sometimes also the graphic accent).

conjugation irregular
examples compràll vedéll scrivell sentìll prodùll, toeull, ...

Participle edit

The participle suffix is orthographically fixed:

desinence -ad -ud -ud/-id -ud/-id
pronounce [a:], [at], [ai] [y:], [yt] [y:], [yt] / [i:], [it] [y:], [yt] / [i:], [it]
example parlad vedud scrivud/id sentud/id

For monosyllabic verbs of the first conjugation and the verb vesser there is the possibility of two endings:

forms 1° form 2° form
desinence -ad -ait
pronounce [a:], [at] [ai(t)]
examples stad stait

Imperative edit

The monosyllabic forms of the imperative of the second person singular are always written with the graphic accent (for example: fà, dà, stà, scrìv, bév, ...).

Note edit

  1. a b c d the importance of the orthography depends on the usage
  2. a b c d e Desonorization at the end of the word
  3. Ø only for western feminine plurals excluding Lodesan dialect
  4. a b May not be pronounced at the end of the word (senter [sen'te:], mal [ma:]).
  5. at the end of the word, in some variant nasalization of the vowel (can [kã]) or not-pronounce of the final "n". (can [ka]) o /ŋ/.
  6. /ŋ/ before a velar consonant /k/ e /g/.
  7. ∅ intravocalic in the suffixes of the verb “vesser” (to be) in the Legnano dialect; for example "sara"
  8. a b c d e f Aspiration /h/ in some variant
  9. ( possible only in words derived from English for reasons of etymology)
  10. past perfect subjunctive of the verb “vesser” third person singular in Milanese dialect

Local pronunciations and Wiktionary edit

As can be seen, the pronunciation of the New Lombard orthography is not unique for all the letters; the reader should know the correct pronunciation a priori, it may be useful to consult the Wiktionary. However, some more information can be obtained if one knows in which dialect the text was written, see for example:

In the year 2021 a Lombard-language wikictionary was born, available on the site https://lmo.wiktionary.org/ which contains:

  • definitions in Lombard;
  • ways of writing the same word in different dialects and orthographies;
  • etymology of the word;
  • pronunciation, as far as pronunciation is concerned, it has also been specially designed to provide the pronunciation IPA of the same word in different dialects.

This will be discussed in more detail in the module about dictionaries

References edit

External links edit