The Venetan dialects cover a large area of Northeastern Italy, and are primarily spoken in the Veneto region, as well as large areas of Trentino and Friuli. Due to large-scale emigration from the regions in the 19th and 20th century, they also have a strong presence in the overseas Italian diasporas.

In the traditional dialectological classification they form a first-order grouping between Gallo-Italic in the west and south (Emilia and Lombard dialects), Ladin in the north and Friulan in the east. The internal differences are considerable, but usually the dialects are divided into (1) Venetian of Venice, (2) Central Venetan, (3) Western Venetan (Verona), (4) Northeastern Venetan and (5) Venetan Trentino.

For example, there are many different pronunciations of the <l> and <z> across the area.

The Venetan dialects also display strong lexical variation. For example, ‘children’ (bambini in standard Italian) can also be called butini, tósi, bòce, cèi, tosatei, putéi, or buteleti, , depending on the location.

Venetan dialects retain a remarkable degree of vitality, and they also have an important and uninterrupted written language tradition, since the 15th century, especially for the Venetian variety. For this reason there is a strong movement that advocates for the classification of Venetan as a language (to be treated equivalent to Italian) rather than a dialect. At the moment Venetan is not protected by the State law 482/1999.

ISO code: 639-3 vec

Further reading

Additional online resource