Published December 1, 2018
This video was recorded by Nick Panzarella in Genoa, Italy and features Ligurian speaker Alessandro. A Gallo-Italic language within the Italic branch of the Indo-European language family, Ligurian was spoken by about 500,000 people in Italy as of 2002. Ligurian and its closest dialects, together considered part of the Gallo-Italic and Western Romance dialect continuum, are in rapid decline. Unrecognized by any official language status, the language does not receive government protections or funding for school instruction, and according to ISTAT (the Italian central service of statistics) is increasingly spoken only by older generations. Ligurian is closely related to Lombard, Piedmontese, and Emilian-Romagnol. Genoese is a form of Ligurian originating from the city of Genoa and is the standard dialect and written koine of Liguria. Because of successful Genoese trade, Genoese was once spoken well beyond the borders of its province. Monaco is currently the only place where a variety of Ligurian is taught in school. Notable speakers of Liguria past and present include violinist and composer Niccolò Paganini and author Italo Calvino.