Mentonasc dialect

Mentonnais, Mentonasque, Mentonasco,
Native to France, Italy
Region Menton, Roquebrune
Native speakers
Approximately 4,185 (2007)
2,868 in Menton & 1,317 in Roquebrune
  • Roquebrunasq
Language codes
ISO 639-3

  Occitan: mentonasc

Mentonasc (Mentonasco in Italian, Mentonnais or Mentonasque in French) is a Romance dialect historically spoken in and around Menton, France. It is classified as a dialect of Occitan and a sub-dialect of Vivaro-Alpine, with some strong influence from the neighbouring Intemelian Ligurian dialect spoken from Ventimiglia to San Remo.[1]


Mentonasc is considered to be a transitional language; it is an intermediate language between Occitan and Ligurian, which is why the classification of Mentonasc is often debated. However, it is traditionally assigned to the Occitan language.

The Mentonasc dialect bears strong similarities with the common alpine dialects, such as, Royasque or Pignasque. It differs quite significantly especially in the ear from Ligurian coastal dialects (Northern Italian), like those of Ventimiglia (Intemelio dialect) or Monaco.


When the area of Menton was part of the Republic of Genoa and later of the Kingdom of Sardinia, Mentonasc was used in all of the coastal area between Monaco and Ventimiglia, and in the hinterland.

Map of the territory of the "Free cities of Menton & Roquebrune in 1848[2]

In the 19th century Mentonasc was used in the territories of the Free Cities of Menton & Roquebrune, an independent statelet created in connection with the Italian Risorgimento.

When France annexed most of the County of Nice in 1860, Mentonasc began its decline, substituted by the French language.

Geographic distribution

The Mentonasc dialect is currently spoken by about 10% of the population in Menton, Roquebrune, and the surrounding villages (Castellar, Castillon, Gorbio, Sainte-Agnès, Moulinet and Sospel). Now the language is being taught within the French educational system, as a variety of Niçard (i.e. Provençal and Occitan), so this may change.

Official status

No countries currently have Mentonasc as an official language.


Below is a chart of some nouns and verbs found in French, translated into Mentonasc.

French Mentonasc
accôtement bor dou camen, riba (n.f.)
accouchement part (n.m.)
accoucher partouri (v.)
accoucheuse baila, couchusa, coumà (n.f.)
accouder acoudâ, pountelâ (v.)
accoudoir bras (n.m.)
accouplement acoubiament (n.m.)
accoupler acoubiâ (v.)
accourir veni vitou (v.)
accoutrer gimbrâ, arnesca (v.)
accoutumer acousturiâ, abituâ (v.)
accrediter acreditâ (v.)
accroc set (n.m.), sgarahura(n.f.) (de langage) :sgarran (n.m.)
accrocher acrouchâ, pendè, aganità (v.)
accroissement creishament (n.m.)
accroitre creishe (v.)
accroupir acougounâ, cougounà (v.)
accueil acueilh (n.m.)
accueillir aculhi (v.)
acculer aculà (v.)
accumulateur acumulatoù (n.m.)
accumulation amourounament, acumulacian (n.m.)
accumuler amourounà, acumulà (v.)
accuser acusà (v.)
acerbe pougnent, aspre (adj.)
aceré pounchû (adj.)
achalander ashalandà (v.)
acharnement acharnament (n.m.)
acharner encagnâ, acharnâ (v.)
achat acat (n.m.), coumpra (n.f.)
acheminer encaminà, stradâ, adraiâ, enstradà (v.)
acheter acatà, catà (v.)
achever feni (v.)
acide aigre (adj.) âchidou (n.m. ;adj)
acidité aigrou, aigrura, achidità (nf)
acolyte coumpars (n.m.)
acompte acuenti (n.m.)
acoquiner s’acouquinà (v.)
acoustique acoustica (n.f.), acousticou (adj.)
acquérir catâ, aquistà (v.)
acquisition aquîst (n.m.)
acquitter aquitâ, pagà (v.)
âcre àsperou (adj.)
acrobate acroubat (n.m.)
acropole acroupolà (n.f.)
acte atou (n.m.)
acteur (trice) atoû (n.m.), atrisse (n.f.)
actif ativou (adj.)
action assian (n.f.)
actionner assiounâ (v.)
activité atività (n.f.)
actualité atualitâ (n.f.)



There are some texts and songs that have been published recently in Menton (most from the twentieth century.)

Among the various publications: A Lambrusca de Paigran (la Vigne vierge de Grand-père) by Jean-Louis Caserio, illustrations by M. and F. Guglielmelli, SAHM, Menton, 1987. Brandi Mentounasc, Livret de Poésies Bilingue by Jean Ansaldi, 2010. Ou Mentounasc per ou Bachelerà, le Mentonasque au Baccalauréat, by JL Caserio, 5th edition, 2008., etc.


Video of the National Anthem of Menton being sung in Mentonasc



  1. Dalbéra (1984)
  2. Ermanno Amicucci. Nizza e l'Italia. Mondadori editore. Milan, 1939.
  3. "Lexiques Français Mentonnais et Mentonnais Français". (in French). 2005-04-24. Retrieved 2016-05-01.
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