Italo-Western languages

Italo-Western is, in some classifications, the largest branch of the Romance languages. It comprises two of the branches of Romance languages: Italo-Dalmatian and Western Romance. It excludes the Sardinian language and Eastern Romance.

Italian Peninsula, Switzerland, France, Istria, Channel Islands, Iberia
Linguistic classificationIndo-European
Early forms

Italo-Dalmatian languages


Based on the criterion of mutual intelligibility, Dalby lists four languages: Italian (Tuscan), Corsican, NeapolitanSicilian-Central Italian, and Dalmatian.[1]

Dalmatian Romance



Venetian varieties[image reference needed]

The Venetian language is sometimes added to Italo-Dalmatian when excluded from Gallo-Italic, and then usually grouped with Istriot. However, Venetian is not grouped into the Italo-Dalmatian languages by Ethnologue[2] and Glottolog,[3] unlike Istriot.[4][5]


  • Tuscan-Corsican: group of dialects spoken in the Italian region of Tuscany, and the French island of Corsica.
    • Northern Tuscan dialects:
      • Florentine is spoken in the city of Florence, and was the basis for Standard Italian.
      • Other dialects: Pistoiese; Pesciatino or Valdinievolese; Lucchese; Versiliese; Viareggino; Pisano-Livornese.
    • Southern Tuscan dialects:
      • Dialects of Aretino-Chianaiolo, Senese, Grossetano.
    • Corsican, spoken on Corsica, is thought to be descended from Tuscan.[6]
      • Gallurese and Sassarese, spoken on the northern tip of Sardinia, can be considered either dialects of Corsican or Corso-Sardinian transitional varieties.



Italian is an official language in Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City and western Istria (in Slovenia and Croatia). It used to have official status in Albania, Malta and Monaco, where it is still widely spoken, as well as in former Italian East Africa and Italian North Africa regions where it plays a significant role in various sectors. Italian is also spoken by large expatriate communities in the Americas and Australia. The Italian language was initially and primarily based on Florentine: it has been then deeply influenced by almost all regional languages of Italy while its received pronunciation (known as Pronuncia Fiorentina Emendata, Amended Florentine Pronunciation) is based on the accent of the Roman dialect; these are the reasons why Italian differs significantly from Tuscan and its Florentine variety.[7]

Central Italian


Central Italian, or in Italian linguistics "Median Italian", is spoken in the regions of Lazio, Umbria, Central Marche, and in small parts of Abruzzo and Tuscany. It is mainly split across the Roma-Ancona line, which divides the Central dialects into a Northwestern Perimedian group and a Southeastern Median one. Romanesco, the historical dialect of Rome, has lost most of its Central peculiarities and is not a regular part of Central, as it historically is the product of the implantation of Florentine on Old Romanesco, the ancient Median dialect which was spoken in Rome prior to the 1500s.



The Neapolitan language, or known in Italian linguistics as the "intermediate southern dialect group", is spoken in: southern Marche; southernmost Lazio; Abruzzo; Molise; Campania (including Naples); Basilicata; and the north of both Apulia and Calabria.


  • The Sicilian language, known in Italian linguistics as the "extreme southern dialect group", is spoken on the island of Sicily; and in the south of both Calabria and Apulia; and in Cilento, in the southernmost of Campania.
    • Sicilian proper, spoken on the island of Sicily: Western Sicilian; Central Metafonetica; Southeast Metafonetica; Ennese; Eastern Nonmetafonetica; Messinese.
    • Sicilian dialects on other islands: Isole Eolie, on the Aeolian Islands; Pantesco, on the island of Pantelleria.
    • Calabro,[8] or Central-Southern Calabrian:[8] dialects are spoken in the central and southern areas of the region of Calabria.
    • Salentino, spoken in the Salento region of southern Apulia.
    • Southern Cilentan: spoken in Roccagloriosa and Rofrano in southern tip of Cilento, which is southern Province of Salerno, in the Campania region.
  • Cilentan: spoken in Cilento, influenced by both Neapolitan language and Sicilian language.

In addition, some Gallo-Italic languages are spoken in Central-Southern Italy.



The Judeo-Italian languages are varieties of Italian used by Jewish communities, between the 10th and the 20th centuries, in Italy and Greece (Corfu and Zakinthos).

Western Romance languages


Based on mutual intelligibility, Dalby lists a dozen languages: Portuguese, Spanish, Asturian-Leonese, Aragonese, Catalan, Gascon, Provençal, Gallo-Wallon, Piedmontese, Ligurian, Lombard, French, Arpitan (or Franco-Provençal), Romansh, and Ladin.[1]



Gallo-Romance includes:

Gallo-Romance can include:

The Oïl languages, Arpitan, Occitano-Romance and Rhaeto-Romance languages are sometimes called Gallo-Rhaetian.




  1. ^ a b David Dalby, 1999/2000, The Linguasphere register of the world's languages and speech communities. Observatoire Linguistique, Linguasphere Press. Volume 2. Oxford.[1][permanent dead link][2][3] Archived 2014-08-27 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Venetian". Ethnologue.
  3. ^ "Venetian". Glottolog.
  4. ^ "Istriot". Ethnologue.
  5. ^ "Istriot". Glottolog.
  6. ^ Harris, Martin; Vincent, Nigel (1997). Romance Languages. London: Routlegde. ISBN 0-415-16417-6.
  7. ^ La pronuncia italiana (Italian).
  8. ^ a b c Calabrian in Italian: Calabrese (pl. Calebresi). Synonyms: Calabro, Calabra, Calabri, calabre (m., f.,, Sicilian: calabbrìsi, calavrìsi.
  9. ^ Lorenzo Renzi, Nuova introduzione alla filologia romanza, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1994, p. 176 «I dialetti settentrionali formano un blocco abbastanza compatto con molti tratti comuni che li accostano, oltre che tra loro, qualche volta anche alla parlate cosiddette ladine e alle lingue galloromanze [...] Alcuni fenomeni morfologici innovativi sono pure abbastanza largamente comuni, come la doppia serie pronominale soggetto (non sempre in tutte le persone)[...] Ma più spesso il veneto si distacca dal gruppo, lasciando così da una parte tutti gli altri dialetti, detti gallo-italici.»