The Tuscan dialect (dialetto toscano) or the Tuscan language (lingua toscana) is an Italian dialect spoken in Tuscany, Italy. In many respects it wandered less than other Romance dialects from the Latin language and evolved linearly and homogeneously, without major influences from other foreign languages.
Italian is in practice a "literary version" of Tuscan. It became the language of culture for all the peoples of Italy, thanks to the prestige of the masterpieces of Dante Alighieri, Francesco Petrarca, Giovanni Boccaccio, Niccolò Machiavelli and Francesco Guicciardini. It would later become the official language of all the Italian states and of the Kingdom of Italy, when it was formed.
The Tuscan dialect is a dialect complex with many lesser local dialects, with minor differences among them.
The main subdivision is between Northern Tuscan dialects and Southern Tuscan dialects.
The Northern Tuscan dialects are (from east to west):
The Southern Tuscan dialects are (from east to west):
Between two vowels, the voiced post-alveolar affricate consonant is realized as voiced post-alveolar fricative:
This phenomenon is very evident in daily speech (common also in Umbria and elsewhere in Central Italy): the phrase la gente, 'the people', in standard Italian is spoken as // , but in Tuscan is pronounced .
Similarly, the voiceless post-alveolar affricate is pronounced as a voiceless post-alveolar fricative between two vowels:
The sequence // la cena, 'the dinner', in standard Italian is spoken as , but in Tuscan it is spoken as . As a result of this weakening rule, there are a few minimal pairs distinguished only by length of the voiceless fricative (e.g. [laʃe'rɔ] lacerò 'it/he/she ripped' vs. [laʃʃe'rɔ] lascerò 'I will leave/let').
For example, il sole (the sun), pronounced in standard Italian , will be pronounced by a Tuscan speaker ; this can be heard also word-internally, as in falso (false) /'falso/ → ['falʦo]. This is a common phenomenon in Central Italy, but it is not exclusive to that area; for example it also happens in Switzerland (Canton Ticino).
For the use of a personal pronoun as indirect object (to someone, to something), also called dative case, the standard Italian makes use of a construction preposition + pronoun a me (to me), or it makes use of a syntethic pronoun form, mi (to me). The Tuscan dialect makes use of both in the same sentence as a kind of intensification of the dative/indirect object:
This usage is widespread throughout the central regions of Italy, not only in Tuscany, and until recently, it was considered redundant and erroneous by Italian linguists. Nowadays linguists no longer inveigh against it. More on this issue (in Italian) can be found at article
In some dialects the double accusative pronoun (me mi vedi (lit: You see me me) can be heard, but it is considered an archaic form.
The singular and plural masculine definite articles are both phonetically [i] in Florentine varieties of Tuscan, but are distinguished by their phonological effect on following consonants. The singular provokes lengthening: [i kkaːne] 'the dog', whereas the plural permits consonant weakening: [i haːni] 'the dogs'. As in Italian, masc. sing. lo occurs before consonants long by nature or not permitting /l/ in clusters is normal (lo zio 'the uncle', lo studente 'the student'), although forms such as i zio can be heard in rustic varieties.
It's possible to use the construction Si + Third person in singular, which can be joined by the first plural person pronoun Noi, because the particle "si" is no longer perceived as an independent particle, but as a piece of verbal conjugation.
The phenomenon is found in all verb tenses, including compound tenses. In these tenses, the use of si requires a form of essere (to be) as auxiliary verb, even if the verb would normally have avere (to have) as auxiliary. The past participle must be marked to agree with the subject in gender and number if the verb usually would require essere as auxiliary, while it does not agree in gender and number if the verb usually requires avere.
Usually Si becomes S' before è.
These forms have two origins. Natural phonological change alone can account for loss of /d/ and reduction of /ao/ to /o/ in the case of /vado/ > */vao/ > /vo/. A case such as Latin: sapio > Italian so (I know), however, admits no such phonological account: the expected outcome of /sapio/ would be */sappjo/, with a normal lengthening of the consonant preceding yod.
What seems to have taken place is a realignment of the paradigm in accordance with the statistically minor but highly frequent paradigms of dare (give) and stare (be, stay). Thus so, sai, sa, sanno (all singulars and 3rd personal plural of 'know') come to fit the template of do, dai, dà, danno ('give'), sto, stai, sta, stanno ('be, stay'), and fo, fai, fa, fanno ('make, do') follows the same pattern. The form vo, while quite possibly a natural phonological development, seems to have been reinforced by analogy in this case.
An important feature of this loss is that main stress does not shift to the new penultimate syllable, as phonological rules of Italian might suggest. Thus infinitive forms can come to coincide with various conjugated singulars: pèrde 'to lose', pèrde 's/he loses'; finì 'to finish', finì 's/he finished'. In practice this homophony seldom, if ever, causes confusion.
The fixed stress can be explained by supposing an intermediate form in -r (as in the Spanish verbal infinitive).
While the infinitive without -re is universal in some subtypes such as Pisano-Livornese, in the vicinity of Florence alternations are regular, so that the full infinitive (e.g. vedere 'to see') appears when followed by a pause, and the clipped form (vedé) is found when phrase internal. The consonant of enclitics is lengthened if preceded by stressed vowel (vedéllo 'to see it', portácci 'to bring us'), but not when the preceding vowel of the infinitive is unstressed (lèggelo 'to read it', pèrdeti 'to lose you').
Characterisically Tuscan words: