AskDefine | Define milanese

Dictionary Definition

Milanese adj : of or relating to or characteristic of Milan or its people

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. A native or inhabitant of Milan


  1. Of or relating to Milan or the Milanese people; Milanese.

See also

Extensive Definition

Milanese (milanes, milanées, meneghin, meneghìn) is the central variety of Western Lombard language spoken in the city of Milan and in its province.
In Italian-speaking contexts, Milanese (like most of the other non-Italian language varietes spoken within the borders of the Italian Republic) is often generically called a "dialect". This is often incorrectly understood as to mean a dialect of Italian, which actually is not the case. Milanese and Italian are different languages and are not mutually intelligible. Milanese is a particular (and prestigious) Western Lombard variety and is intelligible to speakers of other neighbouring Western Lombard varieties. It should not be confused with Milanese dialect of Italian language, one of the most important with Florentine one. It should also not be confused with the entire Western Lombard language, sometimes called as "Milanese".
Like all other dialects of Western Lombard, Milanese is a Western Romance language related to French, Romansh and Italian.
However, the use of Milanese is mostly limited to familiar terms and sentences, and is rare amongst Milan inhabitants.
Various dictionaries, a few grammar books, an extensive literature and a recent translation of the Gospels are available.


Partly because of the unofficial status of Milanese, several different orthographic conventions have developed.
The oldest still in use, and probably the most widely used, is the convention adopted by the Milanese writer Carlo Porta. Typical of this system is the trigraph oeu for the vowels /ø/ and /œ/. See: Classical Milanese orthography.
More recent conventions often try to
  • simplify the rules (which are sometimes not very immediate in the Porta system)
  • make correct reading of Milanese easier for native Italian speakers
  • reduce the gap between the written forms of Milanese and of other Lombard dialects
A lot of the alternative systems use ü and ö instead of u and oeu, in order to avoid confusion between Milanese and Italian vowels. They also generally reduce the number of accents involved, often removing ^.

A comparison with Italian

There are few differences between standard Italian and Milanese syntaxes that have to be considered. The comparison is made quite natural by the fact that Milanese speakers are usually also speakers of Italian.
  • More vowels are found in Milanese than there are in Italian. In particular, Milanese adds /ø/, /y/ and others; moreover, vowel length plays a role in Milanese.
  • While almost every Italian word of more than one syllable ends in a vowel, consonant endings are extremely common in Milanese. A consequence is that many words that are paroxytone in Italian become oxytone in Milanese. A classical example is the infinitive of the verbs: in Italian it's chiamare (with the accent on the second "a"), meaning to call; in Milanese it's ciamà.
  • While most Italian subject pronouns derive directly from their Latin counterparts, subject pronouns in Milanese derive from Latin dative pronouns. This makes Milanese subject pronouns resemble Italian object/dative pronouns: mi (Italian mi), ti (Italian ti), lu (Italian lui), lee (Italian lei), numm (Italian noi), viálter (Italian voi), lór (Italian loro).
  • Subject pronouns are doubled in the 2nd and 3rd persons singular. Singular "you are" (Italian tu sei) becomes ti te seet in Milanese; here the first ti is the actual subject pronoun (which is optional), while the second te, normally a dative pronoun, is used to reinforce the subject and is compulsory (it's interesting to mention that the -t suffix of the 2nd person of verbs also derives from Latin "te", for a notable total of three subject pronouns per verb).
  • The negation is postponed after the verb. This means that where Italian has non sei for "you are not", Milanese allows either of ti te seet no or ti te seet minga. Minga is an alternative negational adverb (probably derived from the Latin word mica, meaning "crumb"), various forms of which are common in other Italian dialects and even Italian itself, where non mica is common slang for reinforcing negations. Also consider French pas and Tuscan punto for examples of negations made by using words that all designate "something small" generically. Statistically, minga and no are about equally as common in Milanese, and they are usually interchangeable, although a Milanese speaker will sometimes find that one "sounds better" in a sentence than the other. A little rule for using minga rather than no may be that minga can be used to deny the presence of countable things and no as a simple negation. Example: mi vegni no, meaning I won't come: mi vegni minga it's a bit stronger negation, meaning I really don't want to come, and I won't. Ghe n'ho minga, meaning I have none (no money) means I'm poor: ghe n'ho no should mean a temporary lack (I've no money with me, sorry).

Sample texts

In the word calson /kal'sữː/ 'trousers', phonetically speaking, you can see the adesinential plural, the use of u and not of o, the nazalization and lengthening of u, the transformation of z into s, the not-mutation of a in front of l.
From the Bible, Luke 2, 1-7 (for an English version see
You can listen to a rendition of this text as recorded by an Italian native speaker from Milan (compare to the same text in Italian).
Original orthography
Very close to the traditional orthography.
2:1 In chi dì là, on decrett de Céser Augùst l'ordinava che se fasess on censiment de tutta la terra. 2 Sto primm censiment l'è staa faa quand Quirini l'era governador de la Siria. 3 Tucc andaven a fass registrà, ciaschedun in la soa città. 4 Anca Giusepp, che l'era de la cà e de la famiglia de David, da la città de Nazareth e da la Galilea l'è andaa sù in Giudea a la città de David, ciamada Betlemm, 5 per fass registrà insèma a Maria, soa sposa, che l'era incinta. 6 Ben, pròppi intanta che se trovaven in quell sit, s'hinn compii per lee i dì de partorì. 7 L'ha mettuu al mond el sò primm, l'ha faa sù in di fass e l'ha miss giò in d'ona gruppia perchè gh'era minga de post per lor in la locanda. (Circolo Filologico Milanese, I Quatter Vangeli de Mattee, March, Luca e Gioann in dialett milanes, Milan 1995)
Alternative orthography
''The same text in an alternative orthography, which could be used to render all Lombard varieties. Long vowels (both phonologically and phonetically long) are written double, word-internal consonants are never doubled (in accordance with pronunciation), and final devoicing of obstruents is rendered orthographically.''
2:1 In chi dí lá, un decrètt de Céser August l'urdinava che se fasèss un censiméent de tüta la tèra. 2 Stu primm censiméent l'è staa faa quaant Quirini l'éra guvernaduur de la Siria. 3 Tücc andaven a fass registrá, ciaschedün in la súa citá. 4 Anca Giüsèpp, che l'éra de la cá e de la famíglia de Davit, da la citá de Názareth e da la Galilèa l'è andaa sü in Giüdèa a la citá de Davit, ciamada Betlèmm, 5 per fass registrá insèma a María, súa spusa, che l'éra incinta. 6 Bén, pròpi intanta che se truvaven in quèll siit, s'inn cumpii per lée i dí de parturí. 7 L'a mettüü al muunt el sò primm, l'a faa sü in di fass e l'a miss giò in d'una grüppia perchè gh'éra minga de pòst per luur in la lucanda.


External links

milanese in Italian: Dialetto milanese
milanese in Latin: Mediolanensis dialectus
milanese in Lombard: Milanes
milanese in Polish: Dialekt mediolański
milanese in Sicilian: Dialettu milanisi
milanese in Swedish: Milanesiska
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