Ticinese (ticines, ticinées) is a comprehensive denomination for the varieties of Western Lombard language spoken in Canton Ticino (Tessin).The term Ticinesi refers to the citizens of Ticino or speakers of the language.

The Ticinese koiné (Italian: koinè ticinese) is the Western Lombard koiné used by speakers of local dialects (particularly those diverging from the koinè itself, as e.g. Leventinese, etc.) when communicating with speakers of other Western Lombard dialects of Ticino, the Grisons or Italian Lombardy.

Differences between Ticinese and Italian

The Ticinese dialect has adopted many terms from the French,Swiss German, and Rumantsch regions of Switzerland and often bears Swiss German spelling. Consequently, Swiss cities, regions, food and cultural icons have an Italian translation unlike many other languages not recognized by the Swiss government eg. Canton Zug is known as Zoug in French and Zugo in Italian, but remains Zug in Spanish, English, and Portuguese. Speakers of Lombard and Italian will often have trouble understanding these adopted words as they are of other linguistic origins. Many Italian native speakers of non-Ticino or Graubünden/Grisons origin often find themselves ostracized at social events as they cannot understand Ticinese. Many Ticinese speakers will use the dialect as a means to keep the message hidden.

Examples of Ticinese:

German Origins= G.O. French Origins= F.O.

English Ticinese Italian
Good Morning/Good Afternoon Bon Di! Buon Giorno
To be (verb) èssa Essere
Chair Cadrega Sedia
Pencil Lapis Matita
Cell phone Natel, Händi (G.O.) Telefonino
Cinema Kino (German) Cinema
Before, First Evant (F.O.) Prima
Strawberry Magiosc'tra Fragola
Egg Euu Uovo
Eye glasses Ogeii Occhiali
Chestnut Caesc'tegna Castagna
Stop! Halt! (G.O.) Ferma! Fermati!
Today Inchöö Oggi
Honey Mel Miele
Cologne Aqua d'uduu Profumo, Acqua di Colonia
Sankt Gallen Resident San Gallo San Gallese
Fennel Erba Buna Finocchio

Expressions and Idioms

English Ticinese Italian
Sausages of known quality Lüganich da scépa Salsicce di infima qualità
To be naive Beev l'acua dal cudee Credere a tutto ed a tutti
One makes nothing out of nothing chi gha al goss al gha quaicoss, se l gha nagoott al gha al goss da carez Con niente si fa nulla

External links

Some video and audio documents (interviews, recordings, etc. of writers from Ticino) in Ticinese varieties can be found at the following site: RTSI: Acquarelli popolari (please notice that the metalanguage of this site is Italian, and that some of the interviews are in Italian rather than in Ticinese Lombard).

Examples of Italian and Ticinese idioms with meanings:


  • Centro di dialettologia e di etnografia, LSI Lessico dialettale della Svizzera italiana, Bellinzona 2004.
  • Comrie, Bernard, Matthews, Stephen and Polinsky, Maria: The Atlas of Languages: The Origin and Development of Languages Throughout the World. Rev. ed., New York 2003.
  • Grimes, Barbara F. (ed.): Ethnologue: Languages of the World. Vol. 1, 2000.
  • Lurà, Franco: Il dialetto del Mendrisiotto, Mendrisio–Chiasso 1987.
  • Lurati, Ottavio: Dialetto e italiano regionale nella Svizzera italiana, Lugano 1976.
  • Petrini, Dario: La koinè ticinese (Romanica Helvetica vol. 105), Bern 1988.
  • VSI – Vocabolario dei dialetti della Svizzera italiana'', Lugano / Bellinzona 1952–.

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