VIDEO. Can Monegasques still speak Monegasque?

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Monaco Tribune

Monaco Tribune interviewed passers-by in the Rocher’s narrow streets. 


Compulsory from primary school up to the third year of secondary school, Monegasque – spoken by around 5,000 people – is a precious heritage in Monaco. To keep traditions alive, a number of Monegasques had the idea of creating the Comité National des Traditions Monégasques (National Comittee of Monegasque Traditions). But in the 1970s, “munegascu” became increasingly rare.

It was given a new lease of life by Prince Rainier III, who inititally made it compulsory in the Principality’s public primary schools in 1976. A few years later, in 1982, the Sovereign inaugurated the Academy of Dialectal Languages.

Although the official language in Monaco is French, “a lenga d’i notre avi” (the language of our ancestors) is pretty much everywhere. Starting with the street name signs. They are displayed in both French and Monegasque. Spoken since the Middle Ages, this language, which has its origins in Genoa, has not said its last word. It is also accepted as an option in the Baccalaureate, and each year the Monegasque language competition is organised, with the Prince presenting the prizes.

In Monaco-Ville, the level is certainly not up to that of the competition participants, but some passers-by agreed to scour their memories for a few words.