Piedmontese is nowadays spoken in a regime of subset bilingualism with Italian, i.e., all Piedmontese speakers - in Piedmont and in Italy - are also speakers of Italian , while the opposite is not true. In the last decades, langauge use has dramatically diminished in face-to-face interactions. Self-declarations of language use within the family dropped from 38% to less than 35% between 2000 and 2006 (source: National censuses, quoted and discussed by Riccardo Regis, "Su pianificazione, standardizzazione, polinomia: due esempi”, in Zeitschrift für romanische Philologie 128/1 (2012), p. 91 and Gaetano Berruto, "Sulla vitalità sociolinguistica del dialetto, oggi", In Gianmario Raimondi/Luisa Revelli (eds.), La dialectologie aujourd’hui, Alessandria: Edizioni dell’Orso, 2007, p.135-ff). A 2012 Istat report (http://www.istat.it/it/files/2014/10/Lingua-italiana-e-dialetti_PC.pdf?t...) reported that less than 27% of informants use, within their family, a regional language of North-Western Italy (summing up the data for Piedmont, Lombardy, Liguria, and Aosta Valley). Figures are even worse in relation to the use of Piedmontese in formal and public domains. All Arpitan [frp], Occitan [oci] and Walser [wae] speakers, so-called alloglot, living in Piedmont speak Piedmontese, too. Arguably, elder alloglot speakers learnt Piedmontese as an L1 (or learnt it along with the alloglot language). Younger alloglot speakers' L1 is Italian. Since 1850 onward, no alloglot speaker in Piedmont is monolingual (Gianrenzo P. Clivio, “Il Piemonte”, in Manlio Cortelazzo et al. (eds.), I dialetti italiani. Storia, struttura, uso, Torino: UTET, 2002, pp. 151-2).
We will add a statement for Language Use in the Piedmontese [pms] entry for the next edition of the Ethnologue.
Scholars' opinions differ as regards Piedmontese's vitality. According to Gaetano Berruto ("Sulla vitalità sociolinguistica del dialetto, oggi", In Gianmario Raimondi/Luisa Revelli (eds.), La dialectologie aujourd’hui, Alessandria: Edizioni dell’Orso, 2007, p. 139), Piedmontese scores an average 2.4/2.8 points out of 5 on the UNESCO Vitality Index Grid (with 3 being the minimum score for 'safe' languages, and 2 being the score for 'endangered' ones). Tapani Salminen ("Endangered Languages in Europe", in Matthias Brenzinger (ed.), Language Diversity Endangered, Berlin-New York, Mouton de Gruyter, 2007, p. 224), on the other hand, defines Piedmontese language as 'definitively endangered', that is, the language is no longer leant as a mother-tongue by children and the youngest speakers are of the parental generation. As of today, the Ethnologue site positions Piedmontese on level 5 (Developing) of the EGID scale. However, it should be in fact positioned on level 6b-7 (In trouble), since even though all its users are socially integrated, they are usually beyond child-bearing age. Moreover, intergenerational oral transmission of the language is in the process of being broken (along with Salminen 2007, see also Riccardo Regis, "Su pianificazione, standardizzazione, polinomia: due esempi”, in Zeitschrift für romanische Philologie 128/1 (2012), p. 93), and the goal of literacy in their language for Piedmontese speakers (i.e., stage 5) is very far from being reached. Nonetheless, all Piedmontese speakers can write Italian [ita].
Based on this evidence, we will give Piedmontese [pms] in Italy an EGIDS value of 6b in the current Ethnologue database.
As far as the Piedmontese-speaking community’s population is concerned, scholars must rely only on estimates, since official censuses do not clearly state which languages other than Italian one can speak or understand. At January 1st, 2015, the resident population of Piedmont and Valle d’Aosta combined amounted to 4,552,765 (4,424,467 and 128,298 respectively). Of these, 371,418 live in the Novara province, which is not completely Piedmontese-speaking (see the feedback on ‘Location’; all data from Istat, http://dati.istat.it/Index.aspx?DataSetCode=DCIS_POPRES1). Figures for active Piedmontese speakers living in Italy vary from 1,500,000-1,450,000 (Gaetano Berruto, “Sulla vitalità sociolinguistica del dialetto, oggi”, in Gianmario Raimondi/Luisa Revelli (eds.), La dialectologie aujourd’hui, Alessandria: Edizioni dell’Orso, 2007, p. 137; Emanuele Miola, "A Sociolinguistic Account of WikiPiedmontese and WikiLombard", in Sociolinguistica 27 (2013), p. 119) to 700,000 (Riccardo Regis, “Su pianificazione, standardizzazione, polinomia: due esempi”, in Zeitschrift für romanische Philologie 128/1 (2012), p. 93). The latter estimate seems more realistic. As for piamontés, approx. 370,000 Piedmontese speakers went to Argentina between 1876 and 1925 (Mario Nascimbene, "Storia della collettività italiana in Argentina (1835-1965)", in Francis Korn & Mario Nascimbene (eds.), Euroamericani. La popolazione di origine italiana in Argentina, Torino: Fondazione Agnelli, 1987, p. 283, quoted in Marco Giolitto, La communauté piémontaise d'Argentine, München: Martin Medienbauer Verlagsbuchhandlung, 2010, p. 26). Today's proficient or semi-speakers of piamontés can be estimated in the order of hundreds, or perhaps thousands. Gallo-Italian dialects of Sicily and Basilicata (which belong to a Piedmontese-Ligurian transitional type, see feeback on Location) are allegedly spoken by 60,000 people (cf. Fiorenzo Toso, “gallo-italica, comunità”, in Raffaele Simone (dir.), Enciclopedia dell’Italiano, Roma: Treccani, http://tinyurl.com/j84necd).
We will add this speaker population information on Piedmontese [pms] to the 20th edition Ethnologue database.
[pms] - location
Piedmontese is spoken in virtually all Valle d’Aosta towns and in the whole Piedmont region, excluding the Novara province, in the north-east of Piedmont (cf. Tullio Telmon, “Italienisch: Areallinguistik II. Piemont”, in Günter Holtus/Michael Metzeltin/Christian Schmitt (eds.), Lexikon der Romanistischen Linguistik, vol. IV, Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1988, p. 474). The Novara province is generally considered to be Lombard [lmo]-speaking (cf. Mair Parry, “Piedmont”, in Martin Maiden/Mair Parry (eds.), The dialects of Italy, London: Routledge, 1997, p. 237), although mutual intelligibility with neighbouring Piedmontese dialects is high. Occitan [oci]-, Arpitan [frp]-, and Walser [wae]-speaking inhabitants of the valleys also speak Piedmontese, along with Italian [ita] (cf. ibid.; Gianrenzo P. Clivio, “Il Piemonte”, in Manlio Cortelazzo et al. (eds.), I dialetti italiani. Storia, struttura, uso, Torino: UTET, 2002, p. 152; Silvia Giordano/Aline Pons, 2014, “Repertori linguistici a confronto: una ricerca in alcune scuole di area occitana”, in Valentina Porcellana/Federica Diémoz (eds.), Minoranze in mutamento. Etnicità, lingue e processi demografici nelle valli alpine italiane, Alessandria: Edizioni dell’Orso, 73-92). Small communities near the Piedmont-Liguria regional border (Ormea, Garessio, Saliceto, Seorle, Spigno, Orba valley, Scrivia valley) allegedly speak Ligurian [lij] dialects, while Emilian [egl] dialects are allegedly spoken in the Curone valley (cf. Tullio Telmon, “Italienisch: Areallinguistik II. Piemont”, in Günter Holtus/Michael Metzeltin/Christian Schmitt (eds.), Lexikon der Romanistischen Linguistik, vol. IV, Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1988, p. 474). All these dialects are nonetheless highly intercomprehensible with the neighbouring Piedmontese dialects. Two dozens villages in the regions of Sicily and Basilicata speak transitional Piedmontese-Ligurian varieties, due to massive immigration from the Monferrato (southeast Piedmont) during the Middle Age (cf. Max Pfister, Galloromanische Sprachkolonien in Italien und Nordspanien, Mainz: Akademie der Wissenschaften und Literatur Stuttgart, F. Steiner, 1988). The glottonym ‘lombardo’ (‘Lombard’), sometimes used to name these dialects, is due to the fact that during the Middle Age the ethnonym ‘Lombard’ designated all people coming from the North of the Italian peninsula. Synchronically, these dialects resemble Ligurian’s [lij] typology much more than contemporary Piedmontese’s (see the section ‘Dialects’ below). As regards immigration to the Americas, no data are allowable for US, Venezuela, and Brazil. As for Argentina, Piedmonteses are by far the most numerous ethnic group in the provinces of Santa Fe and Córdoba (cf. Marco Giolitto, “Pratiche linguistiche e rappresentazioni della comunità piemontese d’Argentina”, in Education et Sociétés Plurilingues 9 (December 2000), p. 13).
We will update the information on the location of Piedmontese [pms] speakers in the 20th edition database of the Ethnologue.
Glottonyms and Alternate Names for [pms]
Some inconsistencies are found as far as glottonyms for [pms] are concerned. As of today, the page is entitled ‘Piemontese’, albeit Ethnologue's entries generally display English glottonyms in their titles (see e.g. ‘Sorbian, Upper’ for [hsb]). ‘Piemontese’, instead, is the name Italian [ita] speakers give to [pms] (by way of comparison, the page for Upper Sorbian does not have a title written in Sorbian, nor in German [deu]: Obersorbisch is listed under ‘Alternate Names’). The English glottonym for [pms] is Piedmontese (cf. among many others Mair Parry, “Piedmont”, in Martin Maiden/Mair Parry (eds.), The dialects of Italy, London: Routledge, 1997, p. 237). Thus, the entry should be renamed Piedmontese. Alternate names that deserve a mention, other than ‘piemontese’, are: a. ‘piemontèis’ (IPA: [pjemʊŋ'tɛi̯z]): it is the glottonym Piedmontesophones in Italy and elsewhere consistently give to the variety they speak (cf. Gianrenzo P. Clivio, “Il Piemonte”, in Manlio Cortelazzo et al. (eds.), I dialetti italiani. Storia, struttura, uso, Torino: UTET, 2002, p. 151; Riccardo Regis, “Su pianificazione, standardizzazione, polinomia: due esempi”, in Zeitschrift für romanische Philologie 128/1 (2012), p. 97). b. ‘piamontés’: it is the Spanish [spa] glottonym utilized in Argentina, where emigrants from the Cuneo and Turin areas setteled especially during the late-19th/early-20th century (cf. Marco Giolitto, Palabras de gringos. El uso del piamontés en la vida cotidiana de los habitantes de la Pampa Gringa, Rosario: Prohistoria Ediciones, 2016, pp. 17-18). Additional note: in the Standard Italian orthography, as well as in the Piedmontese and Spanish ones, glottonyms need not to start with a capital letter.
We will make the necessary changes to our listing of names for Piedmontese [pms] in the 20th edition database of the Ethnologue.