Genoese is part of the Ligurian group of Romance dialects spoken
by about 1.9 million people in the northwest of Italy, particularly
in Liguria. These dialects are also spoken in the Italian regions of
Tuscany, Piedmont, Emilia-Romagna, in the towns of Carloforte and
Calasetta in Sardinia, in southern France, parts of Corsica, and in
Monaco, where the language is official and known as Monégasque or
Munegascu. There are also Ligurian speakers in such countries as
Argentina, Uruguay, Australia, Canada and the USA.
Genoese is spoken mainly in Genoa (Zena), though neighbouring
varieties of the Ligurian language are similar. Belonging to the
Gallo-Italian family, Genoese and Ligurian in general have more
similarities with French, Piedmontese, Occitan and Catalan than
with Italian. The majority of Genoese speakers are now elderly.
There has been literature in Genoese since the 13th century,
though the spelling was not standardised until recently. In 2008
the Académia Ligùstica do Brénno published
an official orthography (Grafîa ofiçiâ)
for Genoese based on the speech of the Portoria area, and this is
now being taught in a number of schools.
Sample texts in Genoese
Tytti i ommi nàscian libberi e yguâli in dignitæ
e drîti. Sun dutæ de raxun e de cunscensa e dêvan
agî i-yn versu i-âtri inte'n spirritu de fraternitæ.
Tutti i òmmi nascian liberi e egoali in dignitæ e
driti. Son dotæ de raxon e de coscensa e devan agî
i ùn verso i atri int'un spirito de fraternitæ.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They
are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another
in a spirit of brotherhood. (Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)