Brda dialect
Gorizia Hills dialect
ˈbrìːško naˈrìeːči̯e
Pronunciationˈbɾíːʃkɔ naˈɾíɛːt͡ʃi̯ɛ
Native toSlovenia, Italy
RegionGorizia Hills
Early forms
Northwestern Slovene dialect
  • Western Slovene dialect
    • Venetian–Karst dialect base
Language codes
ISO 639-3
     The Brda dialect

This article uses Logar transcription.

The Brda dialect (Slovene: briško narečje [ˈbɾíːʃkɔ naˈɾéːt͡ʃjɛ],[1] briščina[2]), or Gorizia Hills dialect, is a Slovene dialect spoken in the Gorizia Hills in Slovenia and Italy. It is known for extreme vowel reduction in final position. It borders the Natisone Valley dialect to the north and the Karst dialect to the east, and Friulian to the west. The dialect belongs to the Littoral dialect group, and it evolved from Venetian–Karst dialect base.[3][4]

It is spoken in a territory with around 6,000 Slovene speakers, most of whom have a degree of knowledge of the dialect.

Geographical distribution

The dialect is spoken west of the Soča River in the Gorizia Hills, extending from Lig in the north, along the Soča River in the east, up to Oslavia (Slovene: Oslavje) and Gradiscutta (Gradiščula) in the south and to Dolegna del Collio (Dolenje) in the west.

In Slovenia, the dialect is spoken in most of the territory of the Municipality of Brda (except for its northwesternmost strip, where the Natisone Valley dialect is spoken) and in the westernmost part of the Municipality of Kanal ob Soči. Notable settlements include Hum, Kojsko, Kozana, Šmartno, Medana, Dobrovo, Plave, and Anhovo.[3]

In Italy, it is spoken in the northeastern area of the Province of Gorizia, in the municipalities of San Floriano del Collio (Števerjan), and in part of the municipalities of Cormons (Krmin) and Dolegna del Collio (Dolenje). It is also spoken in the western suburbs of the town of Gorizia: in Piedimonte del Calvario (Podgora), Piuma (Pevma), and Oslavia.[3]

Accentual changes

The Brda dialect lost pitch accent, unlike the nearby Natisone Valley and Torre Valley dialects; however, some southeastern microdialects (especially around Kojsko) have developed new tonal oppositions, which are morphologically correlated. These dialects distinguish between circumflex and acute accent on long vowels; short ones always have the same pitch. The dialect is in the late stages of losing length oppositions.[5] It has undergone two accent shifts—the *ženȁ*žèna and *məglȁ*mə̀gla accent shift in most of its territory—but some locales retain the initial accentuation.[6][7]


The Brda dialect has mostly uniform sounds for long vowels; however, for short vowels, sounds can vary drastically. The vowel *ě̄ turned into iːe. The vowels *ę̄ and *ā are now both pronounced as , the first one in Kozana as if not followed or preceded by a nasal consonant. The vowel *ē turned into . The vowel *ǭ turned into in most microdialects; some speakers near the Karst dialect pronounce it as uːo, and *ō is a diphthong uːo in most microdialects. Alpine Slavic *ī is still pronounced as and *ū is still pronounced as *. Syllabic *ł̥̄ turned into and *r̥̄ turned into ər. Newly accented *ə is pronounced as *əː, and long *ə̄ is pronounced as .[8]

In closed syllables, short *è turned into , *ò into , and *ì, *ù, and *ę̀ into əː, lengthening in the process. The only unlengthened vowel is *à, which turned into around Kojsko, but may have also turned into a long vowel in other microdialects. The vowel *o before a stressed syllable usually turned into u, although it also changes into . The vowels *a and *i before the stress turn into e. Vowel *ě after the stress turned into i. Final *i, *u, *ę, and *ǫ are not pronounced anymore; the only exception is the third-person singular ending -i (e.g., (on) vȋdivìːdẹ).[9]

Consonant changes are rather common in the Littoral dialects. Palatal *ń and *ĺ are pronounced the same in most microdialects; the latter turned into in Kozana and west of that. The consonant *g turned into ɣ and into x at the end of a word. Final m turned into n in the west. The clusters čr-, čl-, and pš- turned into čer-, čel-, and peš-, respectively.[10][11]


The Brda dialect has separate dual forms only in masculine o-stems in the nominative, vocative, and accusative cases; elsewhere they merged with the plural forms. A special case is the second-person plural, where the ending is -ta (from the dual form) and the ending -te is used only for vikanje. The dialect uses the long infinitive, although final -i is dropped, but the accent remains the same. Neuter nouns are feminized in the plural.[5]

The dialect also has different endings for the third-person plural form in the present tense. It is -i̯o in the west, but -i̯ in the east.

The greatest changes to morphology occurred around Kojsko, where the declension fundamentally changed. Because of vowel reduction, most endings were lost, and so different cases have different tones—either circumflex or acute—which helps determine the case.[5]

Masculine o-stem declension
Singular Dual Plural
Nominatve -̑a
Genitive -̑a -̑u
Dative -̑em ~ -̑əm
Accusative nom or gen -̑a
Locative -̑ix
Instrumental -̑əm -̑əm ~ -áːm
Vocative -̑a
Neuter o-stem declension
Singular Dual Plural
Nominatve -̑o
Genitive -̑a
Dative -̑em ~ -̑əm
Accusative -̑o
Locative -̑ix
Instrumental -̑əm -̑əm ~ -áːm
Vocative -̑o
Feminine a-stem declension
Singular Dual Plural
Nominatve -̑a
Dative -̑em
Locative -̑ix
Instrumental -áːm
Vocative -̑a

A similar thing also happens with i-stem nouns when the ending is -i.


  1. ^ Smole, Vera. 1998. "Slovenska narečja." Enciklopedija Slovenije vol. 12, pp. 1–5. Ljubljana: Mladinska knjiga, p. 2.
  2. ^ Rigler, Jakob. 1986. Razprave o slovenskem jeziku. Ljubljana: Slovenska matica, p. 175.
  3. ^ a b c "Karta slovenskih narečij z večjimi naselji" (PDF). Inštitut za slovenski jezik Frana Ramovša ZRC SAZU. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  4. ^ Šekli (2018:327–328)
  5. ^ a b c Logar (1996:74–77)
  6. ^ Šekli (2018:310–314)
  7. ^ Logar (1996:9–10)
  8. ^ Logar (1996:72–74)
  9. ^ Logar (1996:74–75)
  10. ^ Logar (1996:74)
  11. ^ Toporišič, Jože. 1992. Enciklopedija slovenskega jezika. Ljubljana: Cankarjeva založba, p. 12.