Algherese / Alguerese
Native toItaly
Early forms
Catalan alphabet
Language codes
ISO 639-3
ELPAlgherese Catalan
A satellite photo of the island of Sardinia with the location of the Algherese-speaking area being marked in yellow.

Algherese or Alguerese (Algherese: alguerés [aɫɣaˈɾes])[a] is the variant of Catalan spoken in the city of Alghero (L'Alguer in Catalan), in the northwest of Sardinia, Italy.

The dialect has its roots in 1372, when Catalan-speaking colonists were allowed to repopulate Alghero and expel the native population, after several revolts.[1] Catalan was replaced as the official language by Spanish, then by Italian in the mid-18th century. Today the language has semi-official recognition alongside Italian.

Studies give an approximate number of 20,000 to 30,000 native speakers of the language worldwide. In communities where Algherese is spoken, Italian and Logudorese Sardinian are often used as well.[2]


Algherese is a regional dialect spoken by anywhere from 20,000 to 30,000 individuals, most of whom reside in the town of Alghero, located in the northwest of Sardinia.[3][2] The language, though distinct, is initially derived from, and thus considered a variant of, the Catalan language.[2] The origins of the language can be traced back to 1372, when Catalan invaders repopulated the city of Alghero after exiling the indigenous populations in Sardinia.[2] Despite the city's increasing Italianization, the use of this Catalan dialect remained widespread until at least the 1970s.[4]

Present status

As a result of the city's extensive Italianization, Italian is now the predominant language in Alghero,[5] being estimated by a 2004 survey to be first language of close to 60% of those surveyed.[6][5] The use of the dialect in schools and media, to name a few, remains sparse. Teaching of the dialect in school is also rare. However, in an attempt to reverse the trend, the Regional Council of Sardinia officially recognized "Algherese Catalan" as a separate language in 1997, in order to promote its use and circulation.[5] According to the 2004 survey, Algherese was used by approximately 14% of the population for daily interactions.[7] The dialect is mostly a local language, often used to supplement Italian and/or Sardinian in relatively small circles.[8]

The following figures were obtained from the Enquesta d’usos lingüístics a l’Alguer ("Survey of linguistic usage in Alghero", EULAL) of 2004[9] and the Els usos lingüístics a l’Alguer of 2015 (EULA 2015),[10] both of which were studies conducted in the town of Alghero about the general use of Algherese in several media.

Language status
2004 2015
Oral Comprehension 90.1% (Sardinian oral comprehension: 69.7%) 88.2%
Oral Expression 61.3% (Sardinian oral expression: 33.9%) 50.5%
Written Comprehension 46.6% (Sardinian written comprehension: 35.4%) 35.6%
Written Expression 13.6% (Sardinian written expression: 15.4%) 8.1%
First Language 22.4% (59.2% Italian) 17.5%
Habitual Language 13.9% 9.1%

Official recognition

In 1999, Catalan and Sardinian were among the twelve minority languages officially recognized as Italy's "historical linguistic minorities" by the Italian State under Law No. 482/1999.[11] Prior to this, the Regional Council of Sardinia had passed the Regional Law No. 26 of 15 October 1997 which, aside from promoting the equality in dignity of the Sardinian language with the Italian language throughout the island, provided that the other languages of smaller scope be afforded the same treatment as the aforementioned languages, among which Catalan is cited, in the city of Alghero.[12] The city council, for its part, promulgated its protection and standardization in its city statute.[13]


See also: Catalan phonology and Help:IPA/Insular Catalan

A narrow transcription is provided here to clarify the sounds of Algherese. Note that transcriptions elsewhere should use a broader transcription.

Algherese has these phonetic features:


Differences from Standard Catalan

The Algherese variant is Eastern Catalan, but it has many differences from Central Catalan, with some of the most obvious ones as follows:


The following abbreviations are used: m. (masculine), f. (feminine), pl. (plural), f. pl. (feminine plural), inf. (informal), f. (formal).

The following phrases were gathered from a Catalan translation set, but the common phrases in Algherese are similar:[15]

English Catalan Algherese
Welcome Benvingut (m.)

Benvinguda (f.)

Benvinguts (pl.) Benvingudes (f. pl.)

Benvingut (m.)

Benvinguda (f.)

Benvinguts (pl.) Benvingudes (f. pl.)

Hello Hola

Bon dia


Bon dia

My name is ... Em dic ... Me aquirr ...

Me dic ...

Where are you from? D'on ets? (inf.)

D'on és vostè? (f.)

De ont ses? (inf.)

De ont és vostè? (f.)

Good morning Bon dia Bon dia


Poster for the Premi Rafael Sari 2008
Monument to the unitat de la llengua in Alghero

The Premi Rafael Sari, organised by the Obra Cultural de l'Alguer,[16] is a series of prizes awarded in September each year to the best literary works of poetry and prose written in Algherese Catalan.

Notable poets include Rafael Sari, Pasquale Scanu and Maria Chessa Lai. There is also a long tradition of writing and performing songs in Algherese Catalan and the Premi Pino Piras[17] is awarded for new songs written in the language. Notable singer-songwriters include Pino Piras and Franca Masu.

In 2015 Carla Valentino published an Algherese translation of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince.[18]


  1. ^ Standard Catalan: alguerès [əlɣəˈɾɛs]; Algherese: alguerés [alɣaˈɾes]


  1. ^ "L'Alguer and Alguerese Catalan – Oral Corpus of Alguerese". Retrieved 1 September 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d "Did you know Algherese Catalan is vulnerable?". Endangered Languages. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
  3. ^ Salminen, Tapani (2007). "Europe and North Asia". In Moseley, Christopher (ed.). Encyclopedia of the World's Endangered Languages. London: Routledge. p. 235. ISBN 978-0-7007-1197-0.
  4. ^ Minder, Raphael (21 November 2016). "Italy's Last Bastion of Catalan Language Struggles to Keep It Alive". The New York Times.
  5. ^ a b c "Corpus Oral de l'Alguerès". Retrieved 9 March 2017.
  6. ^ Generalitat de Catalunya, Secretaria de Política Lingüística (2004), p. 24
  7. ^ Generalitat de Catalunya, Secretaria de Política Lingüística (2004), p. 25
  8. ^ Argenter (2008)
  9. ^ Generalitat de Catalunya, Secretaria de Política Lingüística (2004). Enquesta d'usos lingüístics a l'Alguer [Survey of linguistic usage in Alghero] (PDF) (Report) (in Catalan). Generalitat de Catalunya, Secretaria de Política Lingüística.
  10. ^ Els usos lingüístics a l'Alguer, 2015 [Linguistic usage in Alghero, 2015] (PDF) (Report) (in Catalan). Generalitat de Catalunya. 2017.
  11. ^ Law No. 482 of 15 December 1999. "Rules on the protection of historical linguistic minorities". Article 2. Gazzetta Ufficiale n. 297. 20 December 1999
  12. ^ Regional Law No. 26 of 15 October 1997. "Promozione e valorizzazione della culture e della lingua della Sardegna" Archived 26 February 2021 at the Wayback Machine. Articles 2.1 and 2.4 . Consiglio Regionale della Sardegna
  13. ^ Communal Statute Archived 22 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Article 9. City of Alghero.
  14. ^ Corbera Pou, Jaume (2000). Caracterització del lèxic alguerès. Palma (Balears): University of the Balearic Islands. OCLC 807849256.
  15. ^ "Useful Catalan phrases". Retrieved 25 April 2017.
  16. ^ "Qui sem – Obra Cultural de l'Alguer". Obra Cultural de l'Alguer (in Catalan). Retrieved 1 September 2018.
  17. ^ "Al Civico di Alghero il "Premio Pino Piras"". Notizie (in Italian). 23 October 2008.
  18. ^ "Little Prince nr. PP-3547 / Catalan Algherese".