Cimbrian languageHistorical (yellow) and current (orange) distribution of the Cimbrian and Mócheno dialects.
Cimbrian (also Tzimbrisch) refers to any of several local Upper German dialects spoken in northeastern Italy. This area was settled in about the year 1000 by people coming from an area between Bavaria and Tyrol, and since then it was isolated from other German speaking areas, politically and linguistically.
Cimbrian is a Germanic language which is related to Austro-Bavarian and is sometimes classified as a Southern Austro-Bavarian dialect. However, as there are many essential differences in grammar as well as in vocabulary and pronunciation, it is practically unintelligible for people speaking German or Austro-Bavarian, the latter being also spoken in Alto Adige/Südtirol.
The three major dialects of Cimbrian are spoken in:
- the "Sette Comuni" (Sieben Gemeinden) near Asiago (currently only the village of Roana-Robaan),
- Luserna (Lusern), in the province of Trento
- the "Tredici Comuni" (Dreizehn Gemeinden) near Verona (currently only the village of Giazza-Ljetzan)
- some villages in the Carnic Alps as Sappada, Sauris and Timau.
Cimbrian is in danger of extinction both from standard Italian, which is often used in public, and the neighboring regional Venetian language. It is estimated that about 2,220 people speak Cimbrian.
ExampleCimbrian German English
Christus ist au gestanden
Von der marter alle,
Daz sollen bier alle froalich sayn
Christus bil unser troast sayn.
Christ ist erstanden
Von der Marter alle,
Des solln wir alle froh sein,
Christ will unser Trost sein.
Christ is risen
from all tortures,
therefore let us rejoice
Christ shall be our solace
- The Cimbri in Lessinia
- Omniglot: Cimbrian Language, Alphabet, and Pronunciation
- Ethnologue report for Cimbrian
- Cimbrian tutorial