The Monegasque dialect is a Ligurian dialect spoken in Monaco. Ligurian is classified as a Gallo-Roman language, which means that its roots are in northern Italy. The Ligurian is widely spoken in Liguria, which is a coastal region of north-western Italy, even in major urban centers such as Genoa. The Ligurian dialect of Monaco, however, is specific to Monaco and scarcely found in some parts of the Mediterranean coastal area of France. Although French is the official language of Monaco, the Monegasque is also called “a lenga of our ancestors” or the language of our ancestors.
This language has its roots in Genoese, but has evolved over time according to the influence of neighboring languages. While the development of language was still in its early stages, a dialect appeared in the 1860s as a result of the demographic extension that was instigated by the Monte-Carlo institution. The newcomers from the valleys of Nice, Italy, Piedmont and Liguria have each brought their own dialect. United around the ancestral language of Monaco, with which these dialects had much in common, each dialect has enriched a common language, which has become a true and unique distinctive aspect that unifies and identifies Monaco.
The Munich nationalists were eager to preserve their unique linguistic identity. This led to the establishment of the National Committee for Monegasque traditions in 1925. The main objective of this move was to begin the mission of putting on paper a language that was then only strictly oral, completely devoid of grammar or literature.
Monégasque was threatened with extinction in the 1970s. However, now the language is taught in school and is no longer in danger. In the ancient parts of Monaco, road signs are marked with Monégasque in addition to French.
Forming a part of the dialectal continuum of Western novels, Monégasque shares many features with the Genoese Ligurian dialect. However, it still has some clear differences compared to the dialects of the neighboring regions. He was also influenced by the Niçard dialect, which is still spoken in some parts of Monaco. The Monegasque, along with all the Ligurian languages, derives directly from the languages of northern Italy in the Middle Ages and has a certain influence on vocabulary, grammar and syntax from French and the related Gallo-Roman languages.
Monegasque spelling generally follows Italian principles, with the following exceptions:
- the ü is pronounced [ʏ], as in German, or as the French u.
- the œ is pronounced [e] as French is, and not as the French œu as in bœuf, which is like œ is pronounced in Ligurian, which also uses the character ö to represent this sound.
- the ç is pronounced as in the French ç [s]: tradiçiùn derives from the Latin traditionem, and not from the Italian tradition.
The Monegasque dialect testifies to the dedication of the natives to keep their language and heritage alive. The language was vulnerable to extinction and with various efforts managed to recover. Despite only 10,000 actively speaking in the dialect, the Monaco locales that communicate in the language are proud of it and continued efforts for its preservation and development ensure that this language continues to thrive