Mòcheno is a Germanic variety spoken in Trentino, in the Fersina Valley, ca. 20 km east of the city of Trento. Speakers, in addition to the term Mòcheno also use de inger sproch (‘our language’) to refer to their own variety. The first German settlers established themselves in the Fersina Valley around the 13th century and were originally from Tyrol and from areas next to the Fersina Valley that were already colonized by German-speaking communities.

Today Mòcheno is a Germanic language island comprising the three municipalities of Palù del Fersina (Palai en Bersntol), Fierozzo (Vlarotz) and Frassilongo/Roveda (Garait/Oachlait). The speakers of Mòcheno are usually at least trilingual: in addition to Mòcheno and standard Italian (the language of schooling) they also speak the local Trentino dialect. Until recently, Mòcheno was only used orally. In 2003, the Mòcheno Cultural Institute (BKI) published a normative grammar of the language that also contains an orthography proposal (Rowley 2003, based on Rowley 1986, 2010).

 In recent years, the BKI has also coordinated various activities to protect this endangered minority language, such as publishing a dictionary (s’kloa be.be, also available in an online version at http://kib.ladintal.it/) and the standardization of the orthography used for place names which, in accordance with provincial law, must be rendered in Mòcheno. In the dialectological classification Mòcheno belongs to the group of the Southern Bavarian dialects (see articles in Bideses and Cognola 2013 as well as Rabanus 2017). Along with Ladin and Cimbrian, it is part of the minority languages protected by the legislation of the Autonomous Province of Trento as well as by State law 482/1999.


  • Rabanus, Stefan (2017): Die Grenze zwischen Südbairisch und Zimbrisch. In Alexandra Lenz et al. (eds.): Bayerisch-Österreichische Varietäten zu Beginn des 21. Jahrhunderts – Dynamik, Struktur, Funktion. Akten der 12. Bayerische-Österreichischen Dialektologentagung. Stuttgart: Steiner, pp. 407-422.
  • Rowley, Anthony (1986): Fersental (val Fèrsina bei Trient/Oberitalien). Untersuchung einer Sprachinselmundart. Tübingen: Niemeyer.
  • S kloa’be.be = S kloa’ bersntoler Beirterpuach. Piccolo vocabolario mòcheno. Das kleine Fersentaler Wörterbuch (2009). Palù del Fèrsina: Istituto Culturale Mòcheno.

Codice: ISO 639-3 mhn

Further reading

Additional online resources

  • Bersntoler Beirterpònk (Dictionary Mòcheno – Italian/German)
  • CLAM 2021 (Cimbro Ladino Mocheno 2021: investigates language use and attitudes of minority language speakers in the provinces of Trento, Bolzano and Belluno)

Website of the Mòcheno community