Italian Language Blog

Il Dialetto Pontremolese Posted by on Oct 12, 2010 in Italian Language

I have often mentioned in my blogs that here in Italy we have lots of different dialects, and that they vary not just from region to region, but from town to town, and even village to village!. When we first moved to our little village near Pontremoli in Tuscany, my poor husband, who had already been studying Italian for a few years, was shocked to discover that he couldn’t understand what the villagers were saying to him. I have to confess that even I was struggling to understand them!

A few days ago, when I went to the Panificio Colombo (Colombo Bakery) to buy some bread, I noticed a poster attached to the counter written in Pontremolese (the dialect of Pontremoli ), and in order to understand it I had to enlist the help of a true Pontremolese, Professor Bertocchi. Here below is the original version in Pontremolese dialect (in bold), followed by the Italian translation (in italic), and the English translation in normal script:

Puntrèmal 2010
Tûti a sena al Bambarùn e sperêma ch’a’n piêv!
Pontremoli 2010
Tutti a cena al Bambarone (1) e speriamo che non piova!
Pontremoli 2010
All come together for dinner at the Bambarone (1) and let’s hope it won’t rain!
Alùra, sì, che martedì sera, sèt dû stêmbar, a s’artruvrêma an mèŝ ala stra par magner e ber an cumpagnìa.
Allora, sì, che martedì sera, sette di settembre, ci ritroveremo in mezzo alla strada per mangiare e bere in compagnia.
So, yes, Tuesday evening, the seventh of September, we’ll get together in the middle of the road to eat and drink in company.
Se quarchiddûn i gh’ês dal vin bun e di dusi fati par ben, i i pê purtèr! Al rèst a g’pensêma nuiàutri.
Se qualcheduno c’ha del vino buono e dei dolci fatti per bene, li può portare! Al resto ci pensiamo noialtri.
If someone has some good wine and cakes well made, he/she can bring them! We’ll take care of the rest.
Se par caŝ duvês piêvar, sèt pû sèt i fan quatordûŝ!
Prenutév ala sveltina.
Se per caso dovesse piovere, sette più sette fan quattordici!
Prenotatevi alla svelta.
If by any chance it rains, seven plus seven is fourteen! (2) 
Book quickly.

(1) Bambarone is the name of an area in Pontremoli.

(2) i.e. If it rains, the dinner will be held next Tuesday, the fourteenth of September!

Grazie al Professor Bertocchi per il suo aiuto con la traduzione (Thanks to Professor Bertocchi for his help with the translation) 

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  1. Lee:

    Wow…after studying Italian for only 6 months, this makes me a bit uncomfortable about my upcoming visit to Italy.

  2. Vince Mooney:

    Salve Serena:

    I’ve read and listened to four different Italian dialects and they all seem to have one thing in common: they all have a tendency to drop the vowels at the end of many words. It’s almost as if they are trying not to sound Italian but to express their freedom from Italian. I just wonder what Italian would be like if Dante were a Venetian.


    • Serena:

      @Vince Mooney Salve Vince, I’m not a specialist on dialects, so I’m not sure about the tendency to drop vowels at the end of the words. This is probably more common in the northern regions were there is a strong influence from French. As for the fact what Italian would be like if Dante were Venetian, well, it would be still a very musical, gentle language, no doubt!

      Saluti da Serena

      P.S. which Italian dialects have you heard?

  3. Vince Mooney:

    Salve Serena:

    I can see the French influence in Pontremolese. However, when I went to Napoli, it sounded to me that the natives were doing to Italian what New Yorkers do to English: that is, talk fast and cut off the ends of words.

    I still remember asking a question about when a room would be ready and the porter said: “Dich Minewt”. I said did you mean “Dieci Minuti” and he said, “Si, Dich Minewt”.

    Maybe the man thought Italian would become English if you drop the vowels off the end of the words just like some Americans think English can become Italian by adding vowels to the end of the English words. I’m sure you’ve heard Americans do this. : )


    • Serena:

      @Vince Mooney Yessa Vince, I knowwa wadda ya meana.

      regardsa fromma Serena

  4. andreas:

    E’ davvero interessante. Sarebbe anche interessante sentire tutto questo. Dove potrei ascoltare questo dialetto nella rete?

    • Serena:

      @andreas Salve Andreas e scusami per il ritardo. Non so proprio se esista un sito web con il dialetto Pontremolese parlato.
      Auguri da Serena

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