Castelmezzano dialect

Native toItaly
Regionwestern Basilicata
Language codes
ISO 639-3None (mis)

The dialect of Castelmezzano is a Romance variety spoken in Castelmezzano in the Province of Potenza in Italy. It differs from the surrounding Neapolitan language and Gallo-Italic languages as it has an Eastern Romance vocalism.

Castelmezzano is but the kernel of an entire area, known as Vorposten (German for '"outpost"'), sharing the same vocalic system. This area also includes Castronuovo di Sant'Andrea, Sant'Arcangelo, Roccanova, San Martino d'Agri, Aliano (and Alianello), Gallicchio, Missanello, Armento, Pietrapertosa, Anzi, Campomaggiore, Albano di Lucania, Trivigno, Brindisi di Montagna, Corleto Perticara and Guardia Perticara.

There is evidence that this type of vocalism was once characteristic of most of southern Italy.[2] This vocalic system can be viewed as a compromise between the Sardinian system of the Lausberg area, in the southern Basilicata, and the Western Romance vocalic system of the neighboring Neapolitan language and other Southern Italian languages.

Comparison of vowel changes[edit]

Latin Root form Vowel Castelmezzano dialect Dalmatian Romanian Notes
piper *pipum, *piprum /ɪ/ pépë pepro -
digitus digitum /ɪ/ [?] detco deget
fīlum - /iː/ filë fil fir
cor *corum /ɔ/ córë cur -
bonus bonum /ɔ/ [?] bun bun The vowel was shifted from /o/ to /u/, yielding "bun" in Romanian, as part of vowel reduction.
focus focum /ɔ/ [?] fuc foc
somnus somnum /ɔ/ [?] samno somn The Dalmatian result may be tied to the consonantal cluster /mn/.
sōl sōlem /oː/ sólë saul soare The Dalmatian and Romanian terms are only diphthongized due to not having been followed by /u/ or /i/.
vōx vōcem /oː/ [?] baud boace The Dalmatian and Romanian terms are only diphthongized due to not having been followed by /u/ or /i/.
bōs *bōvum /oː/ [?] bu bou
tōtus tōtum /oː/ [?] tut, tot tot The function as pronoun may be the reason for the Dalmatian alternative form.
furca furcam /ʊ/ fùrchë fuarca furcă
surdus surdum /ʊ/ [?] suard surd
nux *nucem, *nucum /ʊ/ [?] nauc nuc
lūna lūnam /uː/ lùnë loina lună
mūrus mūrum /uː/ [?] moir, mor mur The Dalmatian variant does not seem to reflect the most usual outcomes.
crūdus crūdum /uː/ [?] croit crud

A comparison of vowel changes shows only limited relatability of the languages and the dialect yet Dalmatian sound changes may sometimes differ from the usual phonological development that can be ascertained.


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Castelmezzano". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. ^ Loporcaro, Michele (2011). "Phonological Processes". In Maiden; et al. (eds.). The Cambridge History of the Romance Languages: Volume 1, Structures.