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The dialect of Castelmezzano is a Romance variety spoken in Castelmezzano in the Province of Potenza in Italy. It differs from surrounding Neapolitan language and Gallo-Italic languages as it has an Eastern Romance vocalism (the same merger of Latin vowels that the Dalmatian[clarification needed] and Romanian languages do).
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. 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.
More specifically, in this vocalic system, Latin short ĭ and long ī have different outcomes (pépë, Latin pĭper; filë, Latin fīlat), but not short ŏ and long ō, which merge (córë, Latin cŏr; sólë, Latin sōl), while Latin u, either long or short, has the single outcome /u/ (fùrchë, Latin fŭrca; lùnë, Latin lūna).
- Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Castelmezzano". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
- Loporcaro, Michele (2011). "Phonological Processes". In Maiden; et al. (eds.). The Cambridge History of the Romance Languages: Volume 1, Structures.