The Patois

The beautiful village of Nex, Valsavarenche,
The beautiful village of Nex, Valsavarenche, Valle d’Aosta. – Photo © Donato Arcaro, touristic and naturalistic guide of the Aosta Valley

The dialect, Patois is a Francoprovençal language that can boast dictionaries and literary works. There are many differences in spoken of several valleys, sometimes even between neighboring municipalities. It ‘a living language, still spoken by a good portion of the population, especially in the valleys where the higher the percentage of the native population. The Francoprovençal was once spoken in Savoy and Valais where, however, today’s use of the younger generation is now very limited.

The first compositions written by Francoprovençal are in the mid nineteenth century, the priest Jean Baptiste Cerlogne, founder of the literary patois, which we also have a grammar and a dictionary. Even contemporary literary authors have chosen to speak in dialect. Different spellings have been adopted to make the sounds of our language which includes sounds do not exist in French or in Italian. Active are also several local theater groups offering new works each year in patois, as well as some songwriters who speak in dialect. In primary school and childhood, investigations and other optional activities in patois.

alpeggio- Photo © Donato Arcaro, touristic and naturalistic guide of the Aosta Valley

We propose two compositions J.B. Cerlogne, including the famous bataille of Vatse to Vertosan, and some works of a contemporary author, poet Marco Gal. Have been translated into patois also some books of the Bible.

The Charaban is the best-known theater group in the patois of the region. Every year tickets for the week of performances are sold in a few minutes, with people to find a place line up two days before!

Link to the popular theater The Charaban with history, texts and videos.

Finally, we report some links on the patois and other Franco-dialects:

In the Valley of Gressoney, ethnic Walser, we talk instead töitschu, a Germanic language, much like the Swiss German dialect which preserves archaic forms.
Text courtesy and © Donato Arcaro, touristic and naturalistic guide of the Aosta Valley – Translation Enrico Massetti

Map of the Franco-Provençal Language Area:
Dark Blue: Protected. — Medium Blue: General regions.
Light Blue: Historical transition zone. – from Wikipedia

Franco-Provençal language

Franco-Provençal (Francoprovençal), Arpitan, or Romand (in Switzerland) (Vernacular: francoprovençâl, arpetan, patoué; Italian: francoprovenzale, arpitano; French: francoprovençal, arpitan, patois) is a Gallo-Romance language spoken in east-central France, western Switzerland, and the Italian Aosta Valley. Franco-Provençal has several distinct dialects and is separate from but closely related to neighboring Romance languages: Oïl languages, Occitan, Gallo-Italian, and Romansh. The name Franco-Provençal was given to the language by G.I. Ascoli in the 19th century because it shared features with French and Provençal without belonging to either. Arpitan, a neologism, is becoming a popular name for the language and the people who speak it.[2]

Today, the largest number of Franco-Provençal speakers reside in the Aosta Valley, an autonomous region of Italy. The language is also spoken in alpine valleys in the province of Turin, two isolated towns in Foggia, and rural areas of the Romandie region of Switzerland. It is one of the three Gallo-Romance language families of France and is officially recognized as a regional language of France, though its use is marginal. Organizations are attempting to preserve it through cultural events, education, scholarly research, and publishing.

Aside from regional French dialects (the Langues d’oïl), it is the most closely related language to French. The number of speakers of Franco-Provençal has been declining significantly. According to UNESCO (1995), Franco-Provençal is a “potentially endangered language” in Italy and an “endangered language” in Switzerland and France.
Text from Wikipedia