Genoese dialect

Genoese dialect

region=Genoa, Liguria

Genoese ("Zeneize") is the most important dialect of the Ligurian language, the one spoken in Genoa (the principal city of the Liguria region in Italy).

Ligurian is listed by Ethnologue as a language in its own right, of the Romance branch, and not to be confused with the ancient Ligurian language. Like the languages of Lombardy, Piedmont, and surrounding regions, it is of Gallo-Italic derivation.

quote|"Son zeneize, riso ræo
"Strenzo i denti e parlo ciæo"
Genovese proverb

In its differences from standard Italian, Genoese is somewhat similar to French. The language is dying out. Most remaining speakers of it are elderly.

Written literature has been produced in Genoese since the thirteenth century, but the spelling has never been regularized. However, since 2008 there is an official orthography set up by the Académia Ligùstica do Brenno, which attempts to put its script in order based on citizen speech of the Portoria area. Their rules, which may be seen [ here] , are useful to write in all ligurian language varieties.

Genoese phonology includes a few likenesses with French. One similarity is heavily nasalized vowels before nasal consonants (i.e. in VN(C) sequences). This also occurs when Genoese speakers speak standard Italian. There used to be an alveolar approximant (English-like) /ɹ/ opposed to an alveolar trill /r/ (using the eighteenth century genoese spelling: "caro" ['kaːɹu] "dear" vs. "carro" ['kaːru] "cart"), but it is no longer heard in the city. It may still survive in some rural areas of Liguria, such as Calizzano and Sassello. Audio samples may be heard [ here] . By far the most widespread type of /r/ today is the alveolar tap [ɾ] (identical to unstressed Standard Italian /r/). There are several distinctive local accents of Genoese. Nervi, Quinto, and Quarto are heard to the east of Genoa. Voltri, Prà, Pegli, and Sestri are heard to the west. There are also accents of the central Polcevera Valley and Bisagno.

Genoese is also an influence on the Llanito vernacular of Gibraltar.

Tongue twisters

* "Sò asæ s'a sâ a sä asæ pe sâ a säsissa." = I don't have a clue whether the salt is going to be enough to salt the sausage.
*"Scia scîe scignôa, sciando scia xêua inscî scî." = Ski, madam, skying you fly on skis.
*"A-o mêu nêuo gh'è nêue nâe nêue; a ciû nêua de nêue nâe nêue a n'êu anâ." = At the new pier there are nine new ships; the newest of the nine new ships doesn't want to go.
*"Gi'angiai g'han gi'oggi gi'uegge gi'unge cume gi'atri?" = Do angels have eyes, ears, and (finger)nails like everyone else? (variant of the Cogorno "comune")


*"Son zeneize, rizo ræo, strenzo i denti e pârlo ciæo." = "I'm Genoese, I seldom laugh, I grind my teeth, and I say what I mean" (literally, "speak clearly").

* The child complains: "Ò famme." = I'm hungry. The mother answers: "Gràttite e zenogge e fatte e lasagne." = Scratch your knees and make lasagna.
* "Pòsci-to êse alûghetòu"
* "Chi veû vive da bon crestiàn, da-i begghìn o stagghe lontàn." = If you want to live as a good Christian, stay away from those who pretend to be devout; a traditional warning to beware of fanatics and hypocrites.
* "L'è megio e brâghe sgoaræ 'nt'o cû, che o cû sguaròu inte brâghe." = It is better to have trousers that are torn in the ass, than to have an ass that is torn in trousers.
* "Sciuscià e sciurbi, nu se poe" = Blow and Throw it's impossible hence you must take a decision or don't do anything, don't down to a compromises.


Genoese has eight vowels, twenty consonants, and three semivowels.

*/a/ barba /'barba/ (uncle, beard)
*/e/ tésta /'testa/ (head)
*/ɛ/ ægoa /'ɛgwa/ (water)
*/i/ bibin /bi'biŋ/ (turkey)
*/o/ cöse /'ko:se/ (what?)
*/ø/ anchêu /an'kø:/ (today)
*/u/ comme /'kumme/ (how?)
*/y/ fugassa /fy'gassa/ (bread)

External links

* [ Genoese/Ligurian at]
* [ Genoese phonology] it icon
* [ Do you want to learn Genoese??] it icon
* [ Asterix speaks Genoese]
* [ Audio samples of several Italian dialects]
* [ Official Orthography and Alphabet (in genoese)]
* [ A Compagna] it icon

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