Languages Spoken in Italy: Part II

By: Harriet Cook

This post follows on from one we published last week on the different languages spoken in Italy which you can find here. We have already spoken a bit about the history of these languages, how there is a strong debate as to whether to classify them as dialects or languages and how they are viewed in terms of the law. We have also delved into more detail on three of the languages - Cimbrian (a Germanic language spoken in northeastern Italy), Friulian (a Romance language spoken in the northeast of Italy) and Piedmontese (a Romance language spoken in the northwest of the country). Today's blog post will look at Lombard, Romagnol and Venetian and we hope to cover more of Italy's 34 native individual languages (according to data published on Ethnologue) as we continue this series.


Lombard is a Romance language of which there are many different varieties spoken across Northern Italy and Southern Switzerland. The language tends to be split into Eastern Lombard and Western Lombard. Within these two groups and spread across the area where the language is spoken, there are a range of different dialects which you can read more about here. According to Omniglot, it has never been considered an official language, but this has started to change in the past ten years as linguists begin to view it as a separate language. Ethnologue note that in 2002 the language had some 3,600,000 users.

You can hear Roberta speaking Lombard below:


Romagnol is spoken in Italy's Emilia-Romagna region, an area which includes the towns and cities of Cesna, Imola, Faenza, Forlì, Ravenna and Rimini according to Ethnologue. It designates a group of closely related dialects from the Emilian-Romagnol language and boasts a great deal of literature. Important twentieth century authors to have written in the language are Raffaello Baldini and Olindo Guerrini.

If you would like to hear someone speaking Romagnol, you can listen to Giacomo below:


Venetian is a Romance language spoken in the northeast of Italy, particularly in the Veneto region. In April 2007 the regional council of Veneto passed a law which officially recognised the Venetian language and assured it was protected, valued and promoted. You can see the exact legislation passed here. If you're interested in hearing what Venetian sounds like, click on the video below to see Franco use the language:

As we mentioned at the start of today's blog post, this is our second in a series on the different languages spoken in Italy. If you'd like to read the first, you can do so here and if you'd like to continue following our series, keep checking our blog here.

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