Lombard is spoken mainly in the north of Italy in all of Lombardy, except in
the province of Pavia. It is also spoken in the Swiss canton of Ticino and
three valleys of Graubünden/Grigioni. Western Lombard varieties are spoken
in Sicily (Piazza Armerina, Nicosia) and Lombard is also spoken in USA.
There are a number of dialects of Lombard with only limited mutual
intelligibility between them.
The word "Lombard" is derived from "Longobard(us)", the name
of a Germanic tribe which lived in central and northern Italy between
about 600-800 AD. It is also used to refer the to the inhabitants of
the central Padan Valley, a region known as Lombardy because it is based
around the Longobard kingdom. During the Middle Ages the Italian word
lombardo was used to refer to all inhabitants of northern Italy.
Lombard has never been an official language but in the last ten years
it has been recognized as a separate language by some linguists. Though
it is not currently taught in schools, some people are trying to have
it introduced into primary schools. Lombard is spoken mainly by older
people and is not popular with the young, particularly in the cities
and towns. As a result, it is in danger of becoming extinct within a
couple of generations. Lombard is the symbol of regional pride
particularly among supporters of regional autonomy / independence.
There are a few television broadcasts and theatrical plays in Lombard.
During the 19th century some great authors, notably Carlo Porta and
Carlo Bertolazzi, wrote some poems, romances and plays in Lombard.
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)