Inner Carniolan dialect

The Inner Carniolan dialect (notranjsko narečje,[1] notranjščina[2]) is a Slovene dialect in the Littoral dialect group. It is spoken in a relatively large area, extending from western Inner Carniola up to Trieste in Italy, also covering the upper Vipava Valley and the southern part of the Karst Plateau.

Geographic extension

The dialect is spoken in most of the municipalities of Postojna, Pivka, Ilirska Bistrica, Divača, Hrpelje-Kozina, Vipava, in most areas of the municipalities of Sežana and Ajdovščina, as well as the Municipalities of Monrupino and Sgonico in Italy, and in many Slovene-inhabited villages in the Municipality of Trieste (most notably in Opicina).

It is bounded to the east by the Lower Carniolan dialect, to north by the Črni Vrh dialect, to the northwest by the Karst dialect, and to the southeast by the Rižana subdialect and Čičarija dialect.[3]

Phonological and morphological characteristics

The Inner Carniolan dialect has a Lower Carniolan base. The dialect does not have pitch accent. Short syllables are frequently lengthened. Phonological developments include u > y, syllabic ł > ou, newly accented e > ie and o > uo/ua, and preservation of the cluster šč. There has been accentual simplification by replacing mobile accent with fixed accent position. Lexically, the dialect shows extensive influence from Romance languages.[3]

Sociolinguistic aspects

About 90,000 Slovene speakers live in the areas where the dialect is traditionally spoken. Although there are no precise statistics, it is likely that a large majority of them have some degree of knowledge of the dialect. This makes it the most widely spoken dialect in the Slovenian Littoral and among the 10 most spoken Slovene dialects.

In most rural areas, especially in the Vipava Valley and on the Karst Plateau, the dialect predominates over standard Slovene (or its regional variety). Differently from many other Slovene dialects, the Inner Carniolan dialect is commonly used in many urban areas, especially in the towns of Ajdovščina, Vipava, and Opicina (Italy). In the towns, where commuting to the capital, Ljubljana, is more common (Postojna), the dialect is being slowly replaced by a regional version of standard Slovene.


There is no distinctive literature in Inner Carniolan. However, features of the dialects are present in the texts of the Lutheran philologist Sebastjan Krelj (born in Vipava) and the Baroque preacher Tobia Lionelli (born in Vipavski Križ).

The folk rock group Ana Pupedan uses the dialect in most of its lyrics. The singer-songwriter Iztok Mlakar has also employed it in some of his chansons. The comedian and satirical writer Boris Kobal has used it in some of his performances, and so has the comedian Igor Malalan.


  1. Smole, Vera. 1998. "Slovenska narečja." Enciklopedija Slovenije vol. 12, pp. 1–5. Ljubljana: Mladinska knjiga, p. 2.
  2. Logar, Tine. 1996. Dialektološke in jezikovnozgodovinske razprave. Ljubljana: SAZU, p. 65.
  3. 1 2 Toporišič, Jože. 1992. Enciklopedija slovenskega jezika. Ljubljana: Cankarjeva založba, pp. 148–149.
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