Vivaro-Alpine dialect

Native to France, Italy
Region Southern France, Occitan Valleys
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Glottolog gard1245  Gardiol[1]
Linguasphere 51-AAA-gf & 51-AAA-gg

Vivaro-Alpine (Occitan: vivaroalpenc, vivaroaupenc) is a variety of Occitan spoken in southeastern France (namely, around the Dauphiné area) and northwestern Italy (the Occitan Valleys of Piedmont and Liguria).[2][3] There is also a small Vivaro-Alpine enclave in the Guardia Piemontese, Calabria, where the language is known as gardiòl. It belongs to the Northern Occitan dialect bloc, along with Auvergnat and Limousin.The name “vivaro-alpine” was coined by Pierre Bec in the 1970's[4][5]. The Vivaro-Alpine dialects are traditionally called “gavot” from the Maritime Alps to the Hautes-Alpes.

Naming and classification

Vivaro-Alpine had been considered as a sub-dialect of Provençal, and named provençal alpin (Alpine Provençal) or Northern Provençal.[6]

Its use in the Dauphiné area has also led to the use of dauphinois or dauphinois alpin to name it.[7] Along with Ronjat[7] and Bec,[8] it is now clearly recognized as a dialect of its own.

The UNESCO Atlas of World's languages in danger[9] uses the Alpine Provençal name, and considers it as seriously endangered.



Vivaro-Alpine is classified as an Indo-European, Italic, Romance, or Western-Romance language. [10]

Vivaro-Alpine shares the palatization of consonants k and g in front of a with the other varieties of North Occitan (Limosino, Alverniate), in particular with words such as chantar("cantare," to sing) and jai ("ghiandaia," jay). Southern Occitan has, respectively, cantar and gai.

Its principal characteristic is the dropping of simple Latin dental intervocalics:

  • chantaa or chantaia for chantada ("cantata," sung),
  • monea for moneda ("moneta," coin),]
  • bastia or bastiá for bastida ("imbastitura, tack),
  • maür for madur ("maturo," mature).

The verbal ending of the first person is -o (like in Italian, Catalan, Castilian, and Portuguese, but also in Piemontese, which is neighboring): parlo per parli or parle ("io parlo"), parlavoper parlavi or parlave ("io parlavo"), parlèro for parlèri or parlère ("io ho parlato, io parlavo").

A common trait is the rotacismo of l (passage from l to r):

  • barma for balma or bauma ("grotta," cave),
  • escòra for escòla ("scuola," school),
  • saraa or sarai for salada ("insalata," salad).

In the dialects of the Alps, Vivaro-Alpine maintained the pronunciation of the r of the infinitive verbs (excepting modern Occitan)[11].

An estimated 70% of languages are estimated to have "interrogative intonation contours which end with rising pitch." However, Vivaro Alpine follows the opposite pattern with yes/no questions--an initial high tone followed by a fall. Questions that end in a rising pitch are so common that they are often considered "natural." One reason that questions begin with a high tone in some languages is that the listener is immediately being alerted to the fact that they are being asked a question.


Vivaro-Alpine is an endangered language. There are approximately 200,000 native speakers of the language worldwide. Transmission of the language is very low. Speakers of Vivaro-Alpine typically also speak either French or Italian.


These are the lyrics to a traditional Occitan song, called "Se chanta."


1st verse
Se canto, que canto,Canto pas per iéu,Canto per ma mioQu’es aluen de iéu. If it sings, let it sing

It’s not singing for me It sings for my love Who’s far away from me.

2nd verse
E souto ma fenestroI a un auceloun,Touto la nuech canto,Canto sa cansoun. And outside my window

There is a little bird, Singing all night, Singing its song.


(First verse may serve as chorus.)

3rd verse
A la fouònt de NimeI a un amandiéQue fa de flour blancoCoume de papié. At the fountain of Nîmes

There is an almond tree Who produces flowers as white As paper.

4th verse
Aquelei mountagno,Que tant auto soun,M’empachon de vèireMeis amour ounte soun. Those mountains

That are so high Keep me from seeing Where my love is gone.

5th verse
Bassas-vous mountagno,Plano aussas-vous,Per que pouosqui vèireMeis amour ounte soun. Lay down, o mountains,

And rise up, o plains, So I may see Where my love is gone.

6th verse
Aquelei mountagno,Tant s’abaissaranQue meis amouretoApareisseran. Those mountains

Will lay down so low That my lost love Will get closer.



  1. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Gardiol". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. (in French) Jean-Marie Klinkenberg, Des langues romanes. Introduction aux études de linguistique romane, De Boeck, 2e édition, 1999,
  3. La langue se divise en trois grandes aires dialectales : le nord-occitan (limousin, auvergnat, vivaro-alpin), l'occitan moyen, qui est le plus proche de la langue médiévale (languedocien et provençal au sens restreint), et le gascon (à l'ouest de la Garonne). in (in French) Encyclopédie Larousse
  4. Bec, Pierre (1995). La langue occitane. Paris.
  5. Belasco, Simon (1990). France's Rich Relation: The Oc Connection. The French Review. pp. 996–1013.
  6. (in French) Jean-Claude Bouvier, "L'occitan en Provence : limites, dialectes et variété" in Revue de linguistique romane 43, pp 46-62
  7. 1 2 (in French) Jules Ronjat, Grammaire istorique des parlers provençaux modernes, vol. IV Les dialectes, Montpellier, 1941
  8. (in French) Pierre Bec, La langue occitane, Paris, 1995
  9. UNESCO Interactive Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger Archived February 22, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  10. "The Endangered Languages Project".
  11. "Dizionario Italiano-Occitano".
  12. "Traditional Music From Country of Nice (France)".

See also

This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.