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Romanesco: Wikis


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Spoken in  Italy
Region  Lazio
Total speakers ~3,000,000
Language family Indo-European
Language codes
ISO 639-1 None
ISO 639-2
ISO 639-3
Dialetti italiani centrali.jpg
Advertisement in Romanesco at Roman subway station

Romanesco or Romanesque is a dialect of Italian spoken in Rome, Italy. It is one of the Central Italian dialects, but considered closer to Tuscan and Italian.

There exist a few notable grammatical and idiomatic differences. Rich in expressions and sayings, Romanesco is used informally by most natives of Rome, in a mix with Italian.



As shown by several medieval manuscripts, the medieval Roman dialect was more similar to southern dialect, such as those spoken in Naples. In the 16th century, it received a strong influence of the Tuscan dialect (from which modern Italian derives) after the immigration of people from that region in the wake of the Sack of Rome (1527). Therefore current Romanesco has grammar and roots rather different from other dialects in the Latium region; further, usually Romanesco is fully understandable for other Italian speakers.

Romanesco also influenced the dialect of the area of modern Latina, which was reclaimed in the early 1920 and mostly populated by immigrants from northern Italy: it became the local dialect as it was spoken by the small but influential clerk bourgesy coming from Rome.


Before Rome became the capital city of Italy, Romanesco was spoken only inside the walls of the city, while the little towns surrounding the Eternal City had their own dialects; nowadays these dialects have almost disappeared and they have been replaced with a kind of Romanesco, which therefore is now spoken in an area larger than the original one, as well as slightly pervading everyday language of most of the immigrants that live in the city.


Romanesco pronunciation is very similar to Standard Italian. In this dialect the letter "J" is still used and is pronounced as an "I". This letter appears between two vowels or at the beginning of a word followed by a vowel. It substitutes the Italian "gl-" sound [ʎ]. Examples: between two vowels figlio ['fiʎːo]) is fijo ['fijo], meaning "son".

The letter "C" followed by -e or -i makes a sound between [tʃ] and [ʃ]. For example, cielo is the same word in both Romanesco and Standard Italian, but in the first case it will be pronounced ['ʃɛlo] instead of ['tʃɛlo].

Geminate [r] does not exist. In Romanesco words like birra (Italian for "beer") or terra ("ground") respectively become bira and tera. This phenomenon has developed recently, as it was not present in the 19th century Romanesco.

Noteworthy figures

Today, Romanesco is generally considered more of a regional idiom than a true language or dialect. Classical Romanesco, that reached the greater literature by Giuseppe Gioachino Belli, is disappeared.

Romanesco Proper, spoken in the city of Rome and the immediate surrounding areas, is somewhat different from the rest of the Romanesco dialects.

External forces such as immigration and the dominance of Italian are playing a role in the transformation.

Ma nun c'è lingua come la romana

Pe' dì una cosa co' ttanto divario

Che ppare un magazzino de dogana.

"Le lingue der monno"

- G.G. Belli

But there is no language like the one of the Romans

To express a concept with so many variants

So that it seems a customs warehouse.

"Languages of the world"

- G.G. Belli


  • aò, anvedi chi stà a 'rivà! (italian: guarda chi sta arrivando!) english: look who's arriving!
  • stò a 'nnà ar cinema co' l'amichi mia (italian: sto andando al cinema con i miei amici) english: I'm going to the cinema with my friends
  • jeri me sò ppijato 'na bira ar bare (italian: ieri ho preso una birra al bar) english: yesterday I had a beer at the bar
  • ma nô sapevi che su' fija n' è 'nnata a scola? (italian: ma non lo sapevi che sua figlia non è andata a scuola?) english: didn't you know that her daughter hasn't gone to school?

Romanesco was the language of the satirical Pasquinades on the talking statues of Rome.

Famous Romanesco People

External links



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