Northern Italian (traditional name in Romance linguistics), Padanian (recent name) or Cisalpine (rare name) is a linguistic set with different definitions. Gallo-Italian is the name used by Ethnologue. It can be viewed:
- as a group of Italian dialects, according to traditional Romance linguistics (see Pellegrini 1975, Rohlfs 1975).
- as a Romance language, according to linguist Geoffrey Hull (1982), who prefers the name "Padanian language".
- as a sub-family composed of several regional Romance languages (according to regional activists)
Traditionally spoken in Northern Italy, Southern Switzerland, San Marino and Monaco, most of the language has given way to Standard Italian and its regional variations. The area where Northern Italian is spoken roughly corresponds to Northern Italy (sometimes called Padania). The vast majority of current speakers are bilingual in Standard Italian.
The southern linguistic frontier, between Northern Italian and Italian proper, is called La Spezia-Rimini line.
- Gallo-Italic group (as a subset group)
- Venetian group (included as Gallo-Italian according to Ethnologue)
- Venetian proper
- Istriot (which classification is quite controversial and difficult)
Linguist Geoffrey Hull (1982) considers that Rhaeto-Romance
) would be also a branch of the "Padanian language". Thus, Hull suggests the following dialectal classification:
- Cisalpine (Gallo-Italic + Venetian)
- Rhaeto-Romance (Friulian + Ladin + Romansh)
Northern Italian and its subgroups is today spoken by far fewer people in its area than Italian
. Literature written in Northern Italian languages continues to prosper and these languages are still spoken by immigrants
in countries with Italian immigrant communities.
Ligurian is formalised in Monaco as Monegasque.
These languages are nowadays thought of as being part of the western branch of Romance languages.
Isolated varieties in Sicily
Varieties of Northern Italian are also found in parts of Sicily
, corresponding with the central-eastern parts of the island that received large numbers of immigrants from Northern Italy during the decades following the Norman
conquest of Sicily (around 1080
). Given the time that has lapsed and the cross-fertilisation that has occurred between these varieties and the Sicilian language
itself, these dialects are best described as gallo-siculo
. The major centres where these dialects can still be heard today (in ever decreasing numbers) include Piazza Armerina
, San Fratello
, and Novara di Sicilia
. Northern Italian dialects did not survive in some towns in the province of Catania
that developed large Lombard
communities during this period, namely Randazzo
. However, the Northern Italian influence in the local varieties of Sicilian are marked. In the case of San Fratello, some linguists have suggested that the siculo-gallic dialect present today has Provençal
as its basis, having been a fort manned by Provençal mercenaries in the early decades of the Norman conquest (bearing in mind that it took the Normans 30 years to conquer the whole of the island).
- Hull, Dr Geoffrey (1989) Polyglot Italy:Languages, Dialects, Peoples, CIS Educational, Melbourne
- Hull, Dr Geoffrey (1982) The linguistic unity of Northern Italy and Rhaetia, PhD thesis, university of Sydney west.
- Bernard Comrie, Stephen Matthews, Maria Polinsky (eds.), The Atlas of languages : the origin and development of languages throughout the world. New York 2003, Facts On File. p. 40.
- Stephen A. Wurm, Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger of Disappearing. Paris 2001, UNESCO Publishing, p. 29.
- Glauco Sanga: La lingua Lombarda, in Koiné in Italia, dalle origini al 500 (Koinés in Italy, from the origin to 1500), Lubrina publisher, Bèrghem
- Studi di lingua e letteratura lombarda offerti a Maurizio Vitale, (Studies in Lombard language and literature) Pisa : Giardini, 1983
- Brevini, Franco - Lo stile lombardo : la tradizione letteraria da Bonvesin da la Riva a Franco Loi / Franco Brevini - Pantarei, Lugan - 1984 (Lombard style: literary tradition from Bonvesin da la Riva to Franco Loi )
- Mussafia Adolfo, Beitrag zur kunde der Norditalienischen Mundarten im XV. Jahrhunderte (Wien, 1873)
- Pellegrini, G.B. "I cinque sistemi dell'italoromanzo", in Saggi di linguistica italiana (Turin: Boringhieri, 1975), pp. 55-87.
- Rohlfs, Gerhard, Rätoromanisch. Die Sonderstellung des Rätoromanischen zwischen Italienisch und Französisch. Eine kulturgeschichtliche und linguistische Einführung (Munich: C.H. Beek'sche, 1975), pp. 1-20.
- Canzoniere Lombardo - by Pierluigi Beltrami, Bruno Ferrari, Luciano Tibiletti, Giorgio D'Ilario - Varesina Grafica Editrice, 1970.