zeneize (Ligurian)
Native toItaly
Early forms
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Linguasphere51-AAA-ohd ... -ojb
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Genoese, locally called zeneise or zeneize (Ligurian: [zeˈnejze]), is the prestige dialect of Ligurian, spoken in and around the Italian city of Genoa, the capital of Liguria.

A majority of remaining speakers of Genoese are elderly. Several associations are dedicated to keeping the dialect alive, examples of which are A Compagna in Genoa and O Castello in Chiavari.[1][2]

Written literature has been produced in Genoese since the 13th century, and the orthography has evolved in-step with the language. There are currently two spelling systems in common use, with varying degrees of standardisation. One, proposed in 2008 by the cultural association A Compagna, attempts to closely match in writing the pronunciation of the now-extinct variant of Genoese which used to be spoken in the Portoria neighbourhood of Genoa.[3] Another spelling system was proposed by a group of writers, journalists and academics by standardising the traditional orthography of 19th- and 20th-century Genoese newspapers.[4] This is the spelling used, amongst others, by the academic world[5][6] as well as by Il Secolo XIX, the largest print newspaper in the region.[7]

Genoese has had an influence on the Llanito vernacular of Gibraltar.


Genoese phonology includes a number of similarities with French, one being the heavily nasalized vowels before nasal consonants (in VN(C) sequences), also occurring when Genoese speakers speak standard Italian. There used to be an alveolar approximant (English-like) /ɹ/ opposed to an alveolar trill /r/ (using the 18th century spelling: caro [ˈkaːɹu] "dear" vs. carro [ˈkaːru] "cart"), but it is no longer heard in the city. It may still survive in some rural areas of Liguria, such as Calizzano and Sassello.[8] By far the most widespread type of /r/ today is the alveolar tap [ɾ] (very similar, or identical, to unstressed Standard Italian /r/). There are several distinctive local accents of Genoese: those of Nervi, Quinto and Quarto to the east of Genoa, Voltri, Prà, Pegli and Sestri to the west. There are also accents of the central Polcevera Valley and Bisagno.

Genoese has eight vowels, twenty consonants, and three semivowels.

A man speaking Genoese (Zeneize), recorded in Italy.


Tongue twisters



One of the most famous folk songs written in the Genoese dialect is called Ma se ghe penso (or Ma se ghe pensu) written by Mario Cappello.

Towards the end of the 20th century, artist Fabrizio De André wrote an entire album called Crêuza de mä in the Genoese dialect.


  1. ^ "Statuto del 2019 – VIGENTE". Archived from the original on 2020-04-08. Retrieved 2020-11-14.
  2. ^ "Home – Associazione Culturale O Castello". Archived from the original on 2020-12-02. Retrieved 2020-11-14.
  3. ^ "Grafia ofiçiâ" [Official orthography] (in Ligurian). Academia Ligustica do Brenno. Archived from the original on 4 October 2018. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  4. ^ Parlo Ciæo. La lingua della Liguria. Grammatica, letteratura, storia, tradizioni (in Italian). De Ferrari. 2015. ISBN 978-88-6405-908-2.
  5. ^ "GEPHRAS: Genoese-Italian phraseological dictionary". University of Innsbruck. Archived from the original on 2020-08-14. Retrieved 2021-10-26.
  6. ^ Autelli, Erica (2021). "La langue génoise, expression de la terre et de la mer, langue d'ici et langue d'ailleurs". In Passet, Claude (ed.). Le nouveau dictionnaire phraséologique génois-italien online. Actes du 16e colloque international de langues dialectales.
  7. ^ Acquarone, Andrea (2015-12-13). "O sciòrte o libbro de Parlo Ciæo, pe chi gh'è cao a nòstra lengua". Il Secolo XIX (in Ligurian). Archived from the original on 2020-08-12. Retrieved 2021-10-26.
  8. ^ Audio samples may be heard here Archived 2007-05-16 at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ Marzari, Giuseppe. "La Grafîa ofiçiâ dell'Académia Ligùstica do Brénno. Guida alla lettura dei testi di Giuseppe Marzari (1900–1974) Come i genovesi di Genova-centro parlano in Genovese". La Grafîa ofiçiâ dell’Académia Ligùstica do Brénno. Archived from the original on 2019-01-17. Retrieved 2019-01-16.