The Karst dialect (kraško narečje, kraščina), sometimes Gorizia–Karst dialect (goriškokraško narečje), is a Slovene dialect in the Littoral dialect group, spoken in western Slovenia and in parts of the Italian provinces of Trieste and Gorizia. It takes its name from the Karst Plateau (Slovene: Kras).
The name of the dialect is somewhat misleading because its use is not limited to the Karst Plateau, nor does it encompass the entire Karst Plateau. It is spoken only in the northwestern parts of the Karst Plateau, in a line from the villages of Prosecco and Contovello near Trieste, west of Sgonico and Dutovlje. East of that line, the Inner Carniolan dialect is spoken. In addition to the northwestern part of the Karst Plateau, the dialect is spoken in the lower Vipava Valley (west of Črniče), in the lower Soča Valley (south of Ročinj), and on the Banjšice Plateau and the Trnovo Forest Plateau (Slovene: Trnovski gozd).
It thus encompasses most of the territory of the Municipality of Kanal ob Soči, and the entire territory of the municipalities of Nova Gorica, Renče-Vogrsko, Šempeter-Vrtojba, Miren-Kostanjevica, and Komen, as well as some villages in the western part of the Municipality of Sežana. It is also spoken in the southern suburbs of the Italian town of Gorizia (most notably in the suburb of Sant'Andrea/Štandrež), and in the municipalities of Savogna d'Isonzo, Doberdò del Lago, and Duino-Aurisina. It is also spoken in some northwestern suburbs of Trieste (especially in Barcola, Prosecco, and Contovello).
Some 60,000 to 70,000 Slovene speakers live in the territory where the dialect is spoken, most of whom have some level of knowledge of the dialect.
Phonological and morphological characteristics
The Karst dialect does not have pitch accent. The dialect’s western territory is more conservative, with monophthongs, better preservation of soft consonants, broad reflexes of nasal ę and ǫ, and without the development long o > u. The rest of the dialect has the diphthongs ie and uo, lenition of g > [ɦ], the third accentual retraction, and an a-colored reflex of ə. The dialect has a short infinitive (without -i) and development of long syllabic l > u.
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- Logar, Tine. 1996. Dialektološke in jezikovnozgodovinske razprave. Ljubljana: SAZU, p. 66.
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- Toporišič, Jože. 1992. Enciklopedija slovenskega jezika. Ljubljana: Cankarjeva založba, p. 89.