Genoese dialect

Native toItaly
RegionGenoa, Liguria
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Linguasphere51-AAA-ohd ... -ojb
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Genoese (locally called zeneize) is the main dialect of the Ligurian language, spoken in Genoa (the principal city of Liguria in Northern Italy).

Ligurian, like the languages of Lombardy, Piedmont, and surrounding regions, is listed by Ethnologue as a language in its own right, of the Romance Gallo-Italic branch (not to be confused with the ancient Ligurian language). Ligurian is far from dying out:[citation needed] while most remaining speakers of it are elderly, many young people still speak the language, and there are several associations dedicated to keeping the language alive, such as O Castello in Chiavari and A Compagna in Genoa.

Written literature has been produced in Genoese since the 13th century, but the spelling has never been completely regularized. However, since 2008, there is an official orthography set up by the Academia Ligustica do Brenno, which attempts to put its script in order based on citizen speech of the Portoria area. Their rules[2] are useful to write in all Ligurian language varieties.

Genoese has had an influence on the Llanito vernacular of Gibraltar.

Tongue twisters[]



One of the most famous folk songs written in the Genoese dialect is called Ma se ghe penso (or 'Ma se ghe pensu') written by Mario Cappello.

Towards the end of the 20th century, artist Fabrizio De André wrote an entire album called Crêuza de mä in the Genoese dialect.


Genoese phonology includes a number of similarities with French, one being the heavily nasalized vowels before nasal consonants (in VN(C) sequences), also occurring when Genoese speakers speak standard Italian. There used to be an alveolar approximant (English-like) /ɹ/ opposed to an alveolar trill /r/ (using the 18th century spelling: caro [ˈkaːɹu] "dear" vs. carro [ˈkaːru] "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.[3] By far the most widespread type of /r/ today is the alveolar tap [ɾ] (very similar, or identical, to unstressed Standard Italian /r/). There are several distinctive local accents of Genoese: those of Nervi, Quinto and Quarto to the east of Genoa, Voltri, Prà, Pegli and Sestri to the west. There are also accents of the central Polcevera Valley and Bisagno.

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




  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Genoese". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. ^ "Grafîa ofiçiâ" [Official orthography] (in Ligurian). Academia Ligustica do Brenno. Archived from the original on 4 October 2018. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  3. ^ Audio samples may be heard here.
  4. ^ Marzari, Giuseppe. "La Grafîa ofiçiâ dell'Académia Ligùstica do Brénno. Guida alla lettura dei testi di Giuseppe Marzari (1900-1974) Come i genovesi di Genova-centro parlano in Genovese". La Grafîa ofiçiâ dell’Académia Ligùstica do Brénno.

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