ƚengoa/ƚengua vèneta, vèneto
Native toItaly, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro
Native speakers
3.9 million (2002)[5]
Official status
Recognised minority
language in
Language codes
ISO 639-3vec
Venetian language distribution in Triveneto:
  Areas where Venetian is spoken
  Areas where Venetian is spoken alongside other languages (Bavarian, Emilian, Friulian, Slovene, Chakavian, Istriot and formerly Dalmatian) and areas of linguistic transition (with Lombard and with Emilian)
  Areas of influence of Venetian (over Lombard and over Ladin)
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A sign in Venetian reading "Here Venetian is also spoken"
Distribution of Romance languages in Europe. Venetian is number 15.

Venetian,[7][8] wider Venetian or Venetan[9][10] (łengua vèneta [ˈeŋɡwa ˈvɛneta] or vèneto [ˈvɛneto]) is a Romance language spoken natively in the northeast of Italy,[11] mostly in Veneto, where most of the five million inhabitants can understand it. It is sometimes spoken and often well understood outside Veneto: in Trentino, Friuli, the Julian March, Istria, and some towns of Slovenia, Dalmatia (Croatia) and Bay of Kotor (Montenegro)[12][13] by a surviving autochthonous Venetian population, and in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, the United States and the United Kingdom by Venetians in the diaspora.

Although referred to as an "Italian dialect" (Venetian: diałeto; Italian: dialetto) even by some of its speakers, the label is primarily geographic. Venetian is a separate language from Italian, with many local varieties. Its precise place within the Romance language family remains somewhat controversial. Both Ethnologue and Glottolog group it into the Gallo-Italic branch.[8][7] Devoto, Avolio and Ursini reject such classification,[14][15][16] and Tagliavini places it in the Italo-Dalmatian branch of Romance.[17]


See also: Venetian literature

Like all members of the Romance language family, Venetian evolved from Vulgar Latin, and is thus a sister language of Italian and other Romance languages. Venetian is first attested in writing in the 13th century.

The language enjoyed substantial prestige in the days of the Republic of Venice, when it attained the status of a lingua franca in the Mediterranean Sea. Notable Venetian-language authors include the playwrights Ruzante (1502–1542), Carlo Goldoni (1707–1793) and Carlo Gozzi (1720–1806). Following the old Italian theatre tradition (commedia dell'arte), they used Venetian in their comedies as the speech of the common folk. They are ranked among the foremost Italian theatrical authors of all time, and plays by Goldoni and Gozzi are still performed today all over the world.

Other notable works in Venetian are the translations of the Iliad by Giacomo Casanova (1725–1798) and Francesco Boaretti, the translation of the Divine Comedy (1875) by Giuseppe Cappelli and the poems of Biagio Marin (1891–1985). Notable too is a manuscript titled Dialogo de Cecco di Ronchitti da Bruzene in perpuosito de la stella Nuova attributed to Girolamo Spinelli, perhaps with some supervision by Galileo Galilei for scientific details.[18]

Several Venetian–Italian dictionaries are available in print and online, including those by Boerio,[19] Contarini,[20] Nazari[21] and Piccio.[22]

As a literary language, Venetian was overshadowed by Dante Alighieri's Tuscan dialect (the best known writers of the Renaissance, such as Petrarch, Boccaccio and Machiavelli, were Tuscan and wrote in the Tuscan language) and languages of France like the Occitano-Romance languages and the langues d'oïl including the mixed Franco-Venetian.

Even before the demise of the Republic, Venetian gradually ceased to be used for administrative purposes in favor of the Tuscan-derived Italian language that had been proposed and used as a vehicle for a common Italian culture, strongly supported by eminent Venetian humanists and poets, from Pietro Bembo (1470–1547), a crucial figure in the development of the Italian language itself, to Ugo Foscolo (1778–1827).

Venetian spread to other continents as a result of mass migration from the Veneto region between 1870 and 1905, and between 1945 and 1960. Venetian migrants created large Venetian-speaking communities in Argentina, Brazil (see Talian), and Mexico (see Chipilo Venetian dialect), where the language is still spoken today.

In the 19th century large-scale immigration towards Trieste and Muggia extended the presence of the Venetian language eastward. Previously the dialect of Trieste had been a Rhaeto Romance dialect known as Tergestino. This dialect became extinct as a result of Venetian migration, which gave rise to the Triestino dialect of Venetian spoken there today.

Internal migrations during the 20th century also saw many Venetian-speakers settle in other regions of Italy, especially in the Pontine Marshes of southern Lazio where they populated new towns such as Latina, Aprilia and Pomezia, forming there the so-called "Venetian-Pontine" community (comunità venetopontine).

Some firms have chosen to use Venetian language in advertising, as a beer did some years ago[clarification needed] (Xe foresto solo el nome, 'only the name is foreign').[23] In other cases advertisements in Veneto are given a "Venetian flavour" by adding a Venetian word to standard Italian: for instance an airline used the verb xe (Xe sempre più grande, "it is always bigger") into an Italian sentence (the correct Venetian being el xe senpre pì grando)[24] to advertise new flights from Marco Polo Airport.[citation needed]

In 2007, Venetian was given recognition by the Regional Council of Veneto with regional law no. 8 of 13 April 2007 "Protection, enhancement and promotion of the linguistic and cultural heritage of Veneto".[25] Though the law does not explicitly grant Venetian any official status, it provides for Venetian as object of protection and enhancement, as an essential component of the cultural, social, historical and civil identity of Veneto.

Geographic distribution

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Venetian is spoken mainly in the Italian regions of Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia and in both Slovenia and Croatia (Istria, Dalmatia and the Kvarner Gulf).[citation needed] Smaller communities are found in Lombardy (Mantua), Trentino, Emilia-Romagna (Rimini and Forlì), Sardinia (Arborea, Terralba, Fertilia), Lazio (Pontine Marshes), Tuscany (Grossetan Maremma)[26] and formerly in Romania (Tulcea).

Geographical distribution of Venetian language by official status

It is also spoken in North and South America by the descendants of Italian immigrants. Notable examples of this are Argentina and Brazil, particularly the city of São Paulo and the Talian dialect spoken in the Brazilian states of Espírito Santo, São Paulo, Paraná, Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina.

In Mexico, the Chipilo Venetian dialect is spoken in the state of Puebla and the town of Chipilo. The town was settled by immigrants from the Veneto region, and some of their descendants have preserved the language to this day. People from Chipilo have gone on to make satellite colonies in Mexico, especially in the states of Guanajuato, Querétaro, and State of Mexico. Venetian has also survived in the state of Veracruz, where other Italian migrants have settled since the late 19th century. The people of Chipilo preserve their dialect and call it chipileño, and it has been preserved as a variant since the 19th century. The variant of Venetian spoken by the Cipiłàn (Chipileños) is northern Trevisàn-Feltrìn-Belumàt.

In 2009, the Brazilian city of Serafina Corrêa, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, gave Talian a joint official status alongside Portuguese.[27][28] Until the middle of the 20th century, Venetian was also spoken on the Greek Island of Corfu, which had long been under the rule of the Republic of Venice. Moreover, Venetian had been adopted by a large proportion of the population of Cephalonia, one of the Ionian Islands, because the island was part of the Stato da Màr for almost three centuries.[29]


Chart of Romance languages based on structural and comparative criteria.

Venetian is a Romance language and thus descends from Vulgar Latin. Its classification has always been controversial: According to Tagliavini, for example, it is one of the Italo-Dalmatian languages and most closely related to Istriot on the one hand and TuscanItalian on the other.[17] Some authors include it among the Gallo-Italic languages,[30] and according to others, it is not related to either one.[31] Although both Ethnologue and Glottolog group Venetian into the Gallo-Italic languages,[8][7] the linguists Giacomo Devoto and Francesco Avolio and the Treccani encyclopedia reject the Gallo-Italic classification.[14][15][16]

Although the language region is surrounded by Gallo-Italic languages, Venetian does not share some traits with these immediate neighbors. Some scholars stress Venetian's characteristic lack of Gallo-Italic traits (agallicità)[32] or traits found further afield in Gallo-Romance languages (e.g. French, Franco-Provençal)[33] or the Rhaeto-Romance languages (e.g. Friulian, Romansh). For example, Venetian did not undergo vowel rounding or nasalization, palatalize /kt/ and /ks/, or develop rising diphthongs /ei/ and /ou/, and it preserved final syllables, whereas, as in Italian, Venetian diphthongization occurs in historically open syllables. On the other hand, Venetian does share many other traits with its surrounding Gallo-Italic languages, like interrogative clitics, mandatory unstressed subject pronouns (with some exceptions), the "to be behind to" verbal construction to express the continuous aspect ("El ze drio manjar" = He is eating, lit. he is behind to eat) and the absence of the absolute past tense as well as of geminated consonants.[34][pages needed] In addition, Venetian has some unique traits which are shared by neither Gallo-Italic, nor Italo-Dalmatian languages, such as the use of the impersonal passive forms and the use of the auxiliary verb "to have" for the reflexive voice (both traits shared with German).[35]

Modern Venetian is not a close relative of the extinct Venetic language spoken in Veneto before Roman expansion, although both are Indo-European, and Venetic may have been an Italic language, like Latin, the ancestor of Venetian and most other languages of Italy. The earlier Venetic people gave their name to the city and region, which is why the modern language has a similar name.

Regional variants

The main regional varieties and subvarieties of Venetian language:

All these variants are mutually intelligible, with a minimum 92% in common among the most diverging ones (Central and Western). Modern speakers reportedly can still understand Venetian texts from the 14th century to some extent.[citation needed]

Other noteworthy variants are:


Main article: Venetian grammar

A street sign (nizioléto) in Venice using Venetian calle, as opposed to the Italian via
Lasa pur dir (Let them speak), an inscription on the Venetian House in Piran, southwestern Slovenia

Like most Romance languages, Venetian has mostly abandoned the Latin case system, in favor of prepositions and a more rigid subject–verb–object sentence structure. It has thus become more analytic, if not quite as much as English. Venetian also has the Romance articles, both definite (derived from the Latin demonstrative ille) and indefinite (derived from the numeral unus).

Venetian also retained the Latin concepts of gender (masculine and feminine) and number (singular and plural). Unlike the Gallo-Iberian languages, which form plurals by adding -s, Venetian forms plurals in a manner similar to standard Italian. Nouns and adjectives can be modified by suffixes that indicate several qualities such as size, endearment, deprecation, etc. Adjectives (usually postfixed) and articles are inflected to agree with the noun in gender and number, but it is important to mention that the suffix might be deleted because the article is the part that suggests the number. However, Italian is influencing Venetian language:

Venetian Veneto dialects Italian English
el gato graso el gato graso il gatto grasso the fat (male) cat
la gata grasa ła gata grasa la gatta grassa the fat (female) cat
i gati grasi i gati grasi i gatti grassi the fat (male) cats
le gate grase łe gate grase le gatte grasse the fat (female) cats

In recent studies on Venetian variants in Veneto, there has been a tendency to write the so-called "evanescent L" as ⟨ł⟩. While it may help novice speakers, Venetian was never written with this letter. In this article, this symbol is used only in Veneto dialects of Venetian language. It will suffice to know that in Venetian language the letter L in word-initial and intervocalic positions usually becomes a "palatal allomorph", and is barely pronounced.[36]

No native Venetic words seem to have survived in present Venetian, but there may be some traces left in the morphology, such as the morpheme -esto/asto/isto for the past participle, which can be found in Venetic inscriptions from about 500 BC:

Redundant subject pronouns

A peculiarity of Venetian grammar is a "semi-analytical" verbal flexion, with a compulsory clitic subject pronoun before the verb in many sentences, echoing the subject as an ending or a weak pronoun. Independent/emphatic pronouns (e.g. ti), on the contrary, are optional. The clitic subject pronoun (te, el/ła, i/łe) is used with the 2nd and 3rd person singular, and with the 3rd person plural. This feature may have arisen as a compensation for the fact that the 2nd- and 3rd-person inflections for most verbs, which are still distinct in Italian and many other Romance languages, are identical in Venetian.

Venetian Italian English
Mi go Io ho I have
Ti ti ga Tu hai You have
Venetian Italian English
Mi so Io sono I am
Ti ti xe Tu sei You are

The Piedmontese language also has clitic subject pronouns, but the rules are somewhat different. The function of clitics is particularly visible in long sentences, which do not always have clear intonational breaks to easily tell apart vocative and imperative in sharp commands from exclamations with "shouted indicative". For instance, in Venetian the clitic el marks the indicative verb and its masculine singular subject, otherwise there is an imperative preceded by a vocative. Although some grammars regard these clitics as "redundant", they actually provide specific additional information as they mark number and gender, thus providing number-/gender- agreement between the subject(s) and the verb, which does not necessarily show this information on its endings.

Interrogative inflection

Venetian also has a special interrogative verbal flexion used for direct questions, which also incorporates a redundant pronoun:

Venetian Veneto dialects Italian English
Ti geristu sporco? (Ti) jèristu onto?
or (Ti) xèrito spazo?
(Tu) eri sporco? Were you dirty?
El can, gerilo sporco? El can jèreło onto?
or Jèreło onto el can ?
Il cane era sporco? Was the dog dirty?
Ti te gastu domandà? (Ti) te sito domandà? (Tu) ti sei domandato? Did you ask yourself?

Auxiliary verbs

Reflexive tenses use the auxiliary verb avér ("to have"), as in English, the North Germanic languages, Catalan, Spanish, Romanian and Neapolitan; instead of èssar ("to be"), which would be normal in Italian. The past participle is invariable, unlike Italian:

Venetian Veneto dialects Italian English
Ti ti te ga lavà (Ti) te te à/gà/ghè lavà (Tu) ti sei lavato You washed yourself
(Lori) i se ga desmissià (Lori) i se gà/à svejà (Loro) si sono svegliati They woke up

Continuing action

Another peculiarity of the language is the use of the phrase eser drìo (literally, "to be behind") to indicate continuing action:

Venetian Veneto dialects Italian English
Me pare, el ze drìo parlàr Mé pare 'l ze drìo(invià) parlàr Mio padre sta parlando My father is speaking

Another progressive form in some Venetian dialects uses the construction èsar łà che (lit. "to be there that"):

The use of progressive tenses is more pervasive than in Italian; e.g.

That construction does not occur in Italian: *Non sarebbe mica stato parlandoti is not syntactically valid.

Subordinate clauses

Subordinate clauses have double introduction ("whom that", "when that", "which that", "how that"), as in Old English:

Venetian Veneto dialects Italian English
Mi so de chi che ti parli So de chi che te parli So di chi parli I know who you are talking about

As in other Romance languages, the subjunctive mood is widely used in subordinate clauses.

Venetian Veneto dialects Italian English
Mi credeva che'l fuse ... Credéa/évo che'l fuse ... Credevo che fosse ... I thought he was ...



Venetian consonant phonemes
Labial Dental Alveolar Post-alv.
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
voiceless p t (t͡s) t͡ʃ k
voiced b d (d͡z) d͡ʒ ɡ
Fricative voiceless f (θ) s
voiced v (ð) z
Tap ɾ
Approximant w l j ()

Some dialects of Venetian have certain sounds not present in Italian, such as the interdental voiceless fricative [θ], often spelled with ⟨ç⟩, ⟨z⟩, ⟨zh⟩, or ⟨ž⟩, and similar to English th in thing and thought. This sound occurs, for example, in çéna ("supper", also written zhena, žena), which is pronounced the same as Castilian Spanish cena (which has the same meaning). The voiceless interdental fricative occurs in Bellunese, north-Trevisan, and in some Central Venetian rural areas around Padua, Vicenza and the mouth of the river Po.

Because the pronunciation variant [θ] is more typical of older speakers and speakers living outside of major cities, it has come to be socially stigmatized, and most speakers now use [s] or [ts] instead of [θ]. In those dialects with the pronunciation [s], the sound has fallen together with ordinary ⟨s⟩, and so it is not uncommon to simply write ⟨s⟩ (or ⟨ss⟩ between vowels) instead of ⟨ç⟩ or ⟨zh⟩ (such as sena).

Similarly some dialects of Venetian also have a voiced interdental fricative [ð], often written ⟨z⟩ (as in el pianze 'he cries'); but in most dialects this sound is now pronounced either as [dz] (Italian voiced-Z), or more typically as [z] (Italian voiced-S, written ⟨x⟩, as in el pianxe); in a few dialects the sound appears as [d] and may therefore be written instead with the letter ⟨d⟩, as in el piande.

Some varieties of Venetian also distinguish an ordinary [l] vs. a weakened or lenited ("evanescent") ⟨l⟩, which in some orthographic norms is indicated with the letter ł or ƚ;[37] in more conservative dialects, however, ⟨l⟩ and ⟨ł⟩ are merged as ordinary [l]. In those dialects that have both types, the precise phonetic realization of ⟨ł⟩ depends both on its phonological environment and on the dialect of the speaker. In Venice and its mainland as well as in most of central Veneto (excluding the peripheral provinces of Verona, Belluno and some islands of the lagoon) the realization is a non-syllabic [e̯][38] (usually described as nearly like an "e" and so often spelled as ⟨e⟩), when ⟨ł⟩ is adjacent (only) to back vowels (⟨a o u⟩), vs. a null realization when ⟨ł⟩ is adjacent to a front vowel (⟨i e⟩).

In dialects further inland ⟨ł⟩ may be realized as a partially vocalised ⟨l⟩. Thus, for example, góndoła 'gondola' may sound like góndoea [ˈɡoŋdoe̯a], góndola [ˈɡoŋdola], or góndoa [ˈɡoŋdoa]. In dialects having a null realization of intervocalic ⟨ł⟩, although pairs of words such as scóła, "school" and scóa, "broom" are homophonous (both being pronounced [ˈskoa]), they are still distinguished orthographically.

Venetian, like Spanish, does not have the geminate consonants characteristic of standard Italian, Tuscan, Neapolitan and other languages of southern Italy; thus Italian fette ("slices"), palla ("ball") and penna ("pen") correspond to féte, bała, and péna in Venetian. The masculine singular noun ending, corresponding to -o/-e in Italian, is often unpronounced in Venetian after continuants, particularly in rural varieties: Italian pieno ("full") corresponds to Venetian pien, Italian altare to Venetian altar. The extent to which final vowels are deleted varies by dialect: the central–southern varieties delete vowels only after /n/, whereas the northern variety deletes vowels also after dental stops and velars; the eastern and western varieties are in between these two extremes.

The velar nasal [ŋ] (the final sound in English "song") occurs frequently in Venetian. A word-final /n/ is always velarized, which is especially obvious in the pronunciation of many local Venetian surnames that end in ⟨n⟩, such as Marin [maˈɾiŋ] and Manin [maˈniŋ], as well as in common Venetian words such as man ([ˈmaŋ] "hand"), piron ([piˈɾoŋ] "fork"). Moreover, Venetian always uses [ŋ] in consonant clusters that start with a nasal, whereas Italian only uses [ŋ] before velar stops: e.g. [kaŋˈtaɾ] "to sing", [iŋˈvɛɾno] "winter", [ˈoŋzaɾ] "to anoint", [ɾaŋˈdʒaɾse] "to cope with".[39]

Speakers of Italian generally lack this sound and usually substitute a dental [n] for final Venetian [ŋ], changing for example [maˈniŋ] to [maˈnin] and [maˈɾiŋ] to [maˈrin].


Front Central Back
Close i u
Close-mid e o
Open-mid ɛ (ɐ) ɔ
Open a

An accented á is pronounced as [ɐ], (an intervocalic /u/ could be pronounced as a [w] sound).


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While written Venetian looks similar to Italian, it sounds very different, with a distinct lilting cadence, almost musical. Compared to Italian, in Venetian syllabic rhythms are more evenly timed, accents are less marked, but on the other hand tonal modulation is much wider and melodic curves are more intricate. Stressed and unstressed syllables sound almost the same; there are no long vowels, and there is no consonant lengthening. Compare the Italian sentence va laggiù con lui [val.ladˌd͡ʒuk.konˈluː.i] "go there with him" (all long/heavy syllables but final) with Venetian va là zo co lu [va.laˌzo.koˈlu] (all short/light syllables).[40]

Sample etymological lexicon

As a direct descent of regional spoken Latin, Venetian lexicon derives its vocabulary substantially from Latin and (in more recent times) from Tuscan, so that most of its words are cognate with the corresponding words of Italian. Venetian includes however many words derived from other sources (such as Greek, Gothic, and German), and has preserved some Latin words not used to the same extent in Italian, resulting in many words that are not cognate with their equivalent words in Italian, such as:

English Italian Venetian (DECA) Venetian word origin
today oggi uncò, 'ncò, incò, ancò, oncò, ancúo, incoi from Latin hunc + hodie
pharmacy farmacia apotèca from Ancient Greek ἀποθήκη (apothḗkē)
to drink bere trincàr from German trinken "to drink"
apricot albicocca armelín from Latin armenīnus
to bore dare noia, seccare astiàr from Gothic 𐌷𐌰𐌹𐍆𐍃𐍄𐍃, haifsts "contest"
peanuts arachidi bagígi from Arabic habb-ajiz
to be spicy hot essere piccante becàr from Italian beccare, literally "to peck"
spaghetti vermicello, spaghetti bígolo from Latin (bom)byculus
eel anguilla bizàto, bizàta from Latin bestia "beast", compare also Italian biscia, a kind of snake
snake serpente bísa, bíso from Latin bestia "beast", compare also Ital. biscia, a kind of snake
peas piselli bízi related to the Italian word
lizard lucertola izarda, rizardola from Latin lacertus, same origin as English lizard
to throw tirare trar via local cognate of Italian tirare
fog nebbia foschia calígo from Latin caligo
corner/side angolo/parte cantón from Latin cantus
find trovare catàr from Latin *adcaptare
chair sedia caréga, trón from Latin cathedra and thronus (borrowings from Greek)
hello, goodbye ciao ciao from Venetian s-ciao "slave", from Medieval Latin sclavus
to catch, to take prendere ciapàr from Latin capere
when (non-interr.) quando co from Latin cum
to kill uccidere copàr from Old Italian accoppare, originally "to behead"
miniskirt minigonna carpéta compare English carpet
skirt sottana còtoła from Latin cotta, "coat, dress"
T-shirt maglietta fanèla borrowing from Greek
drinking glass bicchiere gòto from Latin guttus, "cruet"
big grande grosi From German groß(e)
exit uscita insía from Latin in + exita
I io mi from Latin me "me" (accusative case); Italian io is derived from the Latin nominative form ego
too much troppo masa from Greek μᾶζα (mâza)
to bite mordere morsegàr, smorsegàr deverbal derivative, from Latin morsus "bitten", compare Italian morsicare
moustaches baffi mustaci from Greek μουστάκι (moustaki)
cat gatto munín, gato, gateo perhaps onomatopoeic, from the sound of a cat's meow
big sheaf grosso covone meda from Latin meta "cone, pyramid"; cf. Old French moie "haystack"
donkey asino muso from Latin mūsus, mūsum "snout" (compare French museau)
bat pipistrello nòtoła, notol, barbastrío, signàpoła derived from not "night" (compare Italian notte)
rat ratto pantegàna from Slovene podgana
beat, cheat, sexual intercourse imbrogliare, superare in gara, amplesso pinciàr from French pincer (compare English pinch)
fork forchetta pirón from Greek πιρούνι (piroúni)
dandelion tarassaco pisalet from French pissenlit
truant marinare scuola plao far from German blau machen
apple mela pomo/pón from Latin pōmum
to break, to shred strappare zbregàr from Gothic 𐌱𐍂𐌹𐌺𐌰𐌽 (brikan), related to English to break and German brechen
money denaro soldi schèi from German Scheidemünze
grasshopper cavalletta saltapaiusc from salta "hop" + paiusc "grass" (Italian paglia)
squirrel scoiattolo zgiràt, scirata, skirata Related to Italian word, probably from Greek σκίουρος (skíouros)
spirit from grapes, brandy grappa acquavite znjapa from German Schnaps
to shake scuotere zgorlàr, scorlàr from Latin ex + crollare
rail rotaia sina from German Schiene
tired stanco straco from Lombard strak
line, streak, stroke, strip linea, striscia strica from Gothic 𐍃𐍄𐍂𐌹𐌺𐍃, striks or German Strich 'stroke, line'. Example: Tirar na strica "to draw a line".
to press premere, schiacciare strucàr from Gothic or Lombard; cf. German drücken 'to press', Swedish trycka. Example: Struca un tasto / boton "Strike any key / Press any button".
to whistle fischiare supiàr, subiàr, sficiàr, sifolàr from Latin sub + flare, compare French siffler
to pick up raccogliere tòr su from Latin tollere
pan pentola técia, téia, tegia from Latin tecula
lad, boy ragazzo tozàt(o) (toxato), fio from Italian tosare, "to cut someone's hair"
lad, boy ragazzo puto, putèło, putełeto, butèl from Latin puer, putus
lad, boy ragazzo matelot from French matelot "sailor"
cow mucca, vacca vaca from Latin vacca
gun fucile-scoppiare sciop, sciòpo, sciopàr, sciopón from Latin scloppum (onomatopoeic)
path(way), trail sentiero troi from Friulian troi, from Gaulish *trogo; cf. Romansh trutg
to worry preoccuparsi, vaneggiare dzavariàr, dhavariàr, zavariàr from Latin variare

Spelling systems

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Traditional system

Venetian does not have an official writing system, but it is traditionally written using the Latin script — sometimes with certain additional letters or diacritics. The basis for some of these conventions can be traced to Old Venetian, while others are purely modern innovations.

Medieval texts, written in Old Venetian, include the letters ⟨x⟩, ⟨ç⟩ and ⟨z⟩ to represent sounds that do not exist or have a different distribution in Italian. Specifically:

The usage of letters in medieval and early modern texts was not, however, entirely consistent. In particular, as in other northern Italian languages, the letters ⟨z⟩ and ⟨ç⟩ were often used interchangeably for both voiced and voiceless sounds. Differences between earlier and modern pronunciation, divergences in pronunciation within the modern Venetian-speaking region, differing attitudes about how closely to model spelling on Italian norms, as well as personal preferences, some of which reflect sub-regional identities, have all hindered the adoption of a single unified spelling system.[41]

Nevertheless, in practice, most spelling conventions are the same as in Italian. In some early modern texts letter ⟨x⟩ becomes limited to word-initial position, as in xe ("is"), where its use was unavoidable because Italian spelling cannot represent /z/ there. In between vowels, the distinction between /s/ and /z/ was ordinarily indicated by doubled ⟨ss⟩ for the former and single ⟨s⟩ for the latter. For example, basa was used to represent /ˈbaza/ ("he/she kisses"), whereas bassa represented /ˈbasa/ ("low"). (Before consonants there is no contrast between /s/ and /z/, as in Italian, so a single ⟨s⟩ is always used in this circumstance, it being understood that the ⟨s⟩ will agree in voicing with the following consonant. For example, ⟨st⟩ represents only /st/, but ⟨sn⟩ represents /zn/.)

Traditionally the letter ⟨z⟩ was ambiguous, having the same values as in Italian (both voiced and voiceless affricates /dz/ and /ts/). Nevertheless, in some books the two pronunciations are sometimes distinguished (in between vowels at least) by using doubled ⟨zz⟩ to indicate /ts/ (or in some dialects /θ/) but a single ⟨z⟩ for /dz/ (or /ð/, /d/).

In more recent practice the use of ⟨x⟩ to represent /z/, both in word-initial as well as in intervocalic contexts, has become increasingly common, but no entirely uniform convention has emerged for the representation of the voiced vs. voiceless affricates (or interdental fricatives), although a return to using ⟨ç⟩ and ⟨z⟩ remains an option under consideration.

Regarding the spelling of the vowel sounds, because in Venetian, as in Italian, there is no contrast between tense and lax vowels in unstressed syllables, the orthographic grave and acute accents can be used to mark both stress and vowel quality at the same time: à /a/, á /ɐ/, è /ɛ/, é /e/, í /i/, ò /ɔ/, ó /o/, ú /u/. Different orthographic norms prescribe slightly different rules for when stressed vowels must be written with accents or may be left unmarked, and no single system has been accepted by all speakers.

Venetian allows the consonant cluster /stʃ/ (not present in Italian), which is sometimes written ⟨s-c⟩ or ⟨s'c⟩ before i or e, and ⟨s-ci⟩ or ⟨s'ci⟩ before other vowels. Examples include s-ciarir (Italian schiarire, "to clear up"), s-cèt (schietto, "plain clear"), s-ciòp (schioppo, "gun") and s-ciao (schiavo, "[your] servant", ciao, "hello", "goodbye"). The hyphen or apostrophe is used because the combination ⟨sc(i)⟩ is conventionally used for the /ʃ/ sound, as in Italian spelling; e.g. scèmo (scemo, "stupid"); whereas ⟨sc⟩ before a, o and u represents /sk/: scàtoła (scatola, "box"), scóndar (nascondere, "to hide"), scusàr (scusare, "to forgive").

Proposed systems

Recently there have been attempts to standardize and simplify the script by reusing older letters, e.g. by using ⟨x⟩ for [z] and a single ⟨s⟩ for [s]; then one would write baxa for [ˈbaza] ("[third person singular] kisses") and basa for [ˈbasa] ("low"). Some authors have continued or resumed the use of ⟨ç⟩, but only when the resulting word is not too different from the Italian orthography: in modern Venetian writings, it is then easier to find words as çima and çento, rather than força and sperança, even though all these four words display the same phonological variation in the position marked by the letter ⟨ç⟩. Another recent convention is to use ƚ (in place of older ł ) for the "soft" l, to allow a more unified orthography for all variants of the language. However, in spite of their theoretical advantages, these proposals have not been very successful outside of academic circles, because of regional variations in pronunciation and incompatibility with existing literature.

More recently, on December 14, 2017, the Modern International Manual of Venetian Spelling was approved by the new Commission for Spelling of 2010. It was translated into three languages (Italian, Venetian and English) and it exemplifies and explains every single letter and every sound of the Venetian language. The graphic accentuation and punctuation systems are added as corollaries. Overall, the system was greatly simplified from previous ones to allow both Italian and foreign speakers to learn and understand the Venetian spelling and alphabet in a more straightforward way.[42]

The Venetian speakers of Chipilo use a system based on Spanish orthography, even though it does not contain letters for [j] and [θ]. The American linguist Carolyn McKay proposed a writing system for that variant based entirely on the Italian alphabet. However, the system was not very popular.

Orthographies comparison

[IPA] DECA [43] classic Brunelli Chipilo Talian Latin origin [44] Examples
/ˈa/ à à à á à ă /a/, ā /aː/
/b/ b b b b, v b b- /b/, -p- /p/, bb /bː/ barba (beard, uncle) from barba
/k/ + a \ o \ u c c c c c c- /k/, cc /kː/, tc /tk/, xc /ksk/ poc (little) from paucus
  + i \ e \ y \ ø ch ch ch qu ch ch /kʰ/, qu /kʷ/ chiete (quiet) from quiētem
(between vowels) c(h) cc(h) c(h) c / qu c(h) cc /kː/, ch /kʰ/, qu /kʷ/ tacüin (notebook) from taccuinum
/ts/~/θ/~/s/ + a \ o \ u ts~th~s ç, [z] ç -~zh~s ti /tj/, th /tʰ/
+ i \ e \ y \ ø c, [z] c- /c/, cc /cː/, ti /tj/, th /tʰ/, tc /tk/, xc /ksk/
(between vowels) zz ti /tj/, th /tʰ/
/s/ (before a vowel) s s s s s s- /s/, ss /sː/, sc /sc/, ps /ps/, x /ks/ supiar (to whistle) from sub-flare
(between vowels) ss ss casa (cash des) from capsa
(before unvoiced consonant) s s
/tʃ/ + a \ o \ u ci chi ci ch ci cl- /cl/, ccl /cːl/ sciào (slave) from sclavus
  + i \ e \ y \ ø c c c ceza (church) from ecclēsia
(between vowels) c(i) cchi c(i) c(i)
(ending of word) c' cch' c' ch c' moc' (snot) from *mucceus
/d/ d d d d d /d/, -t- /t/, (g /ɟ/ , di /dj/, z /dz/) cadena (chain) from catēna
/ˈɛ/ è è è è è ĕ /ɛ/, ae /ae̯/
/ˈe/ é é é é é ē /ɛː/, ĭ /i/, oe /oe̯/ pévare (pepper) from piper
/f/ f f f f f f- /f/, ff /fː/, ph- /pʰ/ finco (finch) from fringilla
(between vowels) ff ff /fː/, pph /pːʰ/
/ɡ/ + a \ o \ u g g g g g g /ɡ/, -c- /k/, ch /kʰ ruga (bean weevil) from brūchus
+ i \ e \ y \ ø gh gh gh gu gh gu /ɡʷ/, ch /kʰ/
/dz/~/ð/~/z/ + a \ o \ u dz~dh~z z z -~d~z z /dz/, di /dj/ dzorno from diurnus
  + i \ e \ y \ ø z /dz/, g /ɟ/, di /dj/ dzendziva (gum) from gingiva
/z/ (before a vowel) z x x z z ?, (z /dz/, g /ɉ/, di /dj/) el ze (he is) from ipse est
(between vowels) s s -c- /c/ (before e/i), -s- /s/, x /ɡz/ paze (peace) from pāx, pācis
(before voiced consonant) s s s s- /s/, x /ɡz/ zgorlar (to shake) from ex-crollare
/dʒ/ + a \ o \ u gi ghi gi gi j gl /ɟl/, -cl- /cl/ giatso (ice) from glaciēs
  + i \ e \ y \ ø g g g gi giro (dormouse) from glīris
/j/~/dʒ/ j~g(i) g(i) j j i /j/, li /lj/ ajo / agio (garlic) from ālium
/j/ j, i j, i i y, i i i /j/
/ˈi/ í í í í í ī /iː/, ȳ /yː/ fio (son) from fīlius
h h h h h h /ʰ/ màchina (machine) from māchina
/l/ l l l l l l /l/
/e̯/[38] ł l ł l /l/
/l.j/~/j/~/l.dʒ/ li~j~g(i) li lj ly li li /li/, /lj/ Talia / Taja / Talgia (Italy) from Itālia
/m/ (before vowels) m m m m m m /m/
(at the end of the syllable) m' m' m' m' m /m/
/n/ (before vowels) n n n n n n /n/
(at the end of the syllable) n' / 'n n' n' n' n /n/ don' (we go) from *andamo
/ŋ/ (before vowels) n- n- n- n- m /m/, n /ɱ~n̪~n~ŋ/, g /ŋ/
(at the end of the syllable) n / n- m, n n n n m /m/, n /ɱ~n̪~n~ŋ/, g /ŋ/ don (we went) from andavamo
/n.j/~/n.dʒ/ n'j~n'g(i) (ni) n'j n'y ni ni /ni/, ni /nj/
/ŋ.j/~/ŋ.dʒ/ ni~ng(i) ni n-j ny n-j ni /n.j/
/ɲ/ nj gn gn ñ gn gn /ŋn/, ni /nj/ cunjà (brother-in-law) from cognātus
/ˈɔ/ ò ò ò ò ò ŏ /ɔ/
/ˈo/ ó ó ó ó ó ō /ɔː/, ŭ /u/
/p/ p p p p p p- /p/, pp /pː/
(between vowels) pp
/r/ r r r r r r /r/
/r.j/~/r.dʒ/ ri~rg(i) (ri) rj ry rj
/t/ t t t t t t- /t/, tt /tː/, ct /kt/, pt /pt/ te (seven) from septem
(between vowels) tt
/ˈu/ ú ú ú ú ú ū /uː/
/w/ (after /k/, /g/ or before o) u u u u u u /w/
/v/ v v v v v u /w/, -b- /b/, -f- /f/, -p- /p/
/ˈɐ/~/ˈʌ/~/ˈɨ/ (dialectal) â / á ē /ɛː/, an /ã/ stâla (star) from stēlla
/ˈø/ (ø) (oe) (o) o /o/ chør (heart) from Latin cor
/ˈy/ (y / ý) (ue) (u) ū /uː/ schyro (dark) from obscūrus
/h/ h / fh f /f/ hèr (iron) from ferrus
/ʎ/ lj li /lj/ batalja (battle) from battālia
/ʃ/ sj (sh) s /s/
/ʒ/ zj (xh) g /ɡ/ zjal (ruster) from gallus

Sample texts

Venetian sign in ticket office, Santa Lucia di Piave

Ruzante returning from war

The following sample, in the old dialect of Padua, comes from a play by Ruzante (Angelo Beolco), titled Parlamento de Ruzante che iera vegnù de campo ("Dialogue of Ruzante who came from the battlefield", 1529). The character, a peasant returning home from the war, is expressing to his friend Menato his relief at being still alive:

Discorso de Perasto

The following sample is taken from the Perasto Speech (Discorso de Perasto), given on August 23, 1797, at Perasto, by Venetian Captain Giuseppe Viscovich, at the last lowering of the flag of the Venetian Republic (nicknamed the "Republic of Saint Mark").

Francesco Artico

The following is a contemporary text by Francesco Artico. The elderly narrator is recalling the church choir singers of his youth, who, needless to say, sang much better than those of today (see the full original text with audio):


Due to the diacritic letter Ł being present in few languages besides Polish and Venetian, the latter of which does not have any official recognition by software producers like Microsoft and Apple, the Polish magazine KomputerSwiat noted that the Venice region has the highest usage of Polish keyboard settings outside of Poland on iPhones and Windows,[45][failed verification] although the same article found in an unrepresentative sample that when needing the letter without the keyboard, some Venetians google the Polish złoty or the exchange rate in order to copy paste the letter.

Venetian lexical exports to English

Many words were exported to English, either directly or via Italian or French.[46] The list below shows some examples of imported words, with the date of first appearance in English according to the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary.

Venetian (DECA) English Year Origin, notes
arsenal arsenal 1506 Arabic دار الصناعة dār al-ṣināʻah "house of manufacture, factory"
articiòco artichoke 1531 Arabic الخرشوف al-kharshūf; previously entered Castillian as alcachofa and then French as artichaut
balota ballot 1549 ball used in Venetian elections; cf. English to "black-ball"
cazin casino 1789 "little house"; adopted in Italianized form
contrabando contraband 1529 illegal traffic of goods
gadzeta gazette 1605 a small Venetian coin; from the price of early newssheets gazeta de la novità "a penny worth of news"
gheto ghetto 1611 from Gheto, the area of Cannaregio in Venice that became the first district confined to Jews; named after the foundry or gheto once sited there
njòchi gnocchi 1891 lumps, bumps, gnocchi; from Germanic knokk- 'knuckle, joint'
gondola gondola 1549 from Medieval Greek κονδοῦρα
laguna lagoon 1612 Latin lacunam "lake"
ladzareto lazaret 1611 through French; a quarantine station for maritime travellers, ultimately from the Biblical Lazarus of Bethany, who was raised from the dead; the first one was on the island of Lazareto Vechio in Venice[citation needed]
lido lido 1930 Latin litus "shore"; the name of one of the three islands enclosing the Venetian lagoon, now a beach resort
loto lotto 1778 Germanic lot- "destiny, fate"
malvazìa malmsey 1475 ultimately from the name μονοβασία Monemvasia, a small Greek island off the Peloponnese once owned by the Venetian Republic and a source of strong, sweet white wine from Greece and the eastern Mediterranean
marzapan marzipan 1891 from the name for the porcelain container in which marzipan was transported, from Arabic مَرْطَبَان marṭabān, or from Mataban in the Bay of Bengal where these were made (these are some of several proposed etymologies for the English word)
Montenegro Montenegro "black mountain"; country on the Eastern side of the Adriatic Sea
Negroponte Negroponte "black bridge"; Greek island called Euboea or Evvia in the Aegean Sea
Pantalon pantaloon 1590 a character in the Commedia dell'arte
pestacio pistachio 1533 ultimately from Middle Persian pistak
cuarantena quarantine 1609 forty day isolation period for a ship with infectious diseases like plague
regata regatta 1652 originally "fight, contest"
scanpi scampi 1930 Greek κάμπη "caterpillar", lit. "curved (animal)"
sciao ciao 1929 cognate with Italian schiavo "slave"; used originally in Venetian to mean "your servant", "at your service"; original word pronounced "s-ciao"
Dzani zany 1588 "Johnny"; a character in the Commedia dell'arte
dzechin sequin 1671 Venetian gold ducat; from Arabic سكّة sikkah "coin, minting die"
ziro giro 1896 "circle, turn, spin"; adopted in Italianized form; from the name of the bank Banco del Ziro or Bancoziro at Rialto

See also

Further reading

  • Guzzo, Natália Brambatti (2022). "Brazilian Veneto (Talian)". Illustrations of the IPA. Journal of the International Phonetic Association: 1–15. doi:10.1017/S002510032200010X, with supplementary sound recordings.


  1. ^ a b c Fifth United Nations Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names: Vol.2. Montreal: United Nations. 1991.
  2. ^ a b c Holmes, Douglas R. (1989). Cultural disenchantments: worker peasantries in northeast Italy. Princeton University Press.
  3. ^ a b Minahan, James (1998). Miniature empires: a historical dictionary of the newly independent states. Westport: Greenwood.
  4. ^ a b Kalsbeek, Janneke (1998). The Čakavian dialect of Orbanići near Žminj in Istria. Studies in Slavic and General Linguistics. Vol. 25. Atlanta.((cite book)): CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  5. ^ Venetian at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  6. ^ Tonial, Honório (26 June 2009). "Subsídios para o reconhecimento do Talian" [Subsidies for the recognition of Talian]. Instituto de Investigação e Desenvolvimento em Política Linguística (IPOL) (in Portuguese). Archived from the original on 27 January 2012. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
  7. ^ a b c "Venetian".
  8. ^ a b c "Venetian". Ethnologue.
  9. ^ "Venetan" (PDF). Linguasphere. Retrieved 2018-12-11.
  10. ^ "Indo-european phylosector" (PDF). Linguasphere. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-08-27.
  11. ^ Ethnologue
  12. ^ "Language".
  13. ^ "Italiani all'estero". Italian Network. Archived from the original on 22 July 2011. Retrieved 24 August 2015.
  14. ^ a b Devoto, Giacomo (1972). I dialetti delle regioni d'Italia. Sansoni. p. 30.
  15. ^ a b Avolio, Francesco (2009). Lingue e dialetti d'Italia. Carocci. p. 46.
  16. ^ a b Dialetti veneti,
  17. ^ a b Tagliavini, Carlo (1948). Le origini delle lingue Neolatine: corso introduttivo di filologia romanza. Bologna: Pàtron.
  18. ^ "Dialogo de Cecco Di Ronchitti da Bruzene in perpuosito de la stella nuova". Unione Astrofili Italiani.
  19. ^ Boerio, Giuseppe [in Venetian] (1856). Dizionario del dialetto veneziano [Dictionary of the Venetian dialect]. Venezia: Giovanni Cecchini.
  20. ^ Contarini, Pietro (1850). Dizionario tascabile delle voci e frasi particolari del dialetto veneziano [Pocket dictionary of the voices and particular phrases of the Venetian dialect]. Venezia: Giovanni Cecchini.
  21. ^ Nazari, Giulio (1876). Dizionario Veneziano-Italiano e regole di grammatica [Venetian-Italian dictionary and grammar rules]. Belluno: Arnaldo Forni.
  22. ^ Piccio, Giuseppe (1928). Dizionario Veneziano-Italiano [Venetian-Italian dictionary]. Venezia: Libreria Emiliana.
  23. ^ "Forum Nathion Veneta". Yahoo Groups. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 15 October 2015.
  24. ^ Right spelling, according to: Giuseppe Boerio, Dizionario del dialetto veneziano, Venezia, Giovanni Cecchini, 1856.
  25. ^ Regional Law no. 8 of 13 April 2007. "Protection, enhancement and promotion of the linguistic and cultural heritage of Veneto".
  26. ^ veneti nel mondo. I veneti della maremma
  27. ^ "Vereadores aprovam o talian como língua co-oficial do município" [Councilors approve talian as co-official language of the municipality]. (in Portuguese). Archived from the original on 30 March 2019. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
  28. ^ "Talian em busca de mais reconhecimento" [Talian in search of more recognition] (in Portuguese). Archived from the original on 1 August 2012. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
  29. ^ Kendrick, Tertius T. C. (1822). The Ionian islands: Manners and customs. London: J. Haldane. p. 106.
  30. ^ Haller, Hermann W. (1999). The other Italy: the literary canon in dialect. University of Toronto Press.
  31. ^ Renzi, Lorenzo (1994). Nuova introduzione alla filologia romanza. Bologna: Il Mulino. 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.
  32. ^ Alberto Zamboni (1988:522)
  33. ^ Giovan Battista Pellegrini (1976:425)
  34. ^ Belloni, Silvano (1991). "Grammatica veneta" [Venetian Grammar]. (in Italian). Retrieved 2020-08-24.
  35. ^ Brunelli, Michele (2007). Manual Gramaticałe Xenerałe de ła Łéngua Vèneta e łe só varianti. Basan / Bassano del Grappa. pp. 29, 34.((cite book)): CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  36. ^ Tomasin, Lorenzo (2010), La cosiddetta "elle evanescente" del veneziano: fra dialettologia e storia linguistica (PDF), Palermo: Centro di studi filologici e linguistici siciliani
  38. ^ a b Zamboni 1975, pp. 13–14, 38.
  39. ^ Zamboni, Alberto (1975). Cortelazzo, Manlio (ed.). Veneto [Venetian language]. Profilo dei dialetti italiani (in Italian). Vol. 5. Pisa: Pacini. p. 12. b) n a s a l i: esistono, come nello 'standard', 3 fonemi, /m/, /n/, /ń/, immediatamente identificabili da /mása/ 'troppo' ~ /nása/ 'nasca'; /manáse/ 'manacce' ~ /mańáse/ 'mangiasse', ecc., come, rispettivamente, bilabiale, apicodentale, palatale; per quanto riguarda gli allòfoni e la loro distribuzione, è da notare [] dorsovelare, cfr. [áṅka] 'anche', e, regolarmente in posizione finale: [parọ́ṅ] 'padrone', [britoíṅ] 'temperino': come questa, è caratteristica v e n e t a la realizzazione velare anche davanti a cons. d'altro tipo, cfr. [kaṅtár], it. [kantáre]; [iṅvę́rno], it. [iɱvę́rno]; [ọ́ṅʃar] 'ungere', [raṅǧárse], it. [arrańǧársi], ecc.
  40. ^ Ferguson 2007, p. 69-73.
  41. ^ Ursini, Flavia (2011). Dialetti veneti.'Italiano)/
  42. ^ "Grafia Veneta ufficiale – Lingua Veneta Modern International Manual of Venetian Spelling". Retrieved 2019-06-20.
  43. ^ "Grafia Veneta ufficiale – Lingua Veneta". Retrieved 2021-05-27.
  44. ^ "News/Articoli – Lingua Veneta". Retrieved 2021-05-27.
  45. ^ "18 tys. Zł za gogle do oglądania filmów. Tak Apple robi ludzi w balona [OPINIA]". 6 June 2023.
  46. ^ Ferguson 2007, p. 284-286.


  • Artico, Francesco (1976). Tornén un pas indrìo: raccolta di conversazioni in dialetto. Brescia: Paideia Editrice.
  • Ferguson, Ronnie (2007). A Linguistic History of Venice. Firenze: Leo S. Olschki. ISBN 978-88-222-5645-4.
  • McKay, Carolyn Joyce. Il dialetto veneto di Segusino e Chipilo: fonologia, grammatica, lessico veneto, spagnolo, italiano, inglese.
  • Belloni, Silvano (2006). Grammatica Veneta. Padova: Esedra.
  • Giuseppe Boerio [in Italian] (1900). Dizionario del dialetto veneziano (in Italian). Venice: Filippi, G. Cecchini. p. 937. OCLC 799065043. Archived from the original on August 28, 2019. Retrieved August 28, 2019. ((cite book)): |website= ignored (help)