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.
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A disen: "La canzon la nass a Napoli",
e certament gh'hann minga tutt i tòrt,
Surriento, Margellina, tutt i pòpoli
i avrann cantaa almeen on milion de vòlt.
It is said: "Music is born in Neaples"
and they are surely partly right.
Sorrento, Mergellina have been sung
by everybody about a million times.
From (O mia bèla) Madunina by Giuvann D'Anzi
A popular song dedicated to the Madonnina, the golden Virgin Mary statue placed on top of the highest spire of the Milan Dome.
An introduction to the Lombard Language
Descriptive Grammar of the Lombard Language
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