The official language of Monaco is French. Yet the traditional language is munegascu: “a lenga d’i nostri avi”, the tongue of our ancestors.
Historically, the Monegasque language has its roots in Genoese. When the Genoese took possession of the Rock of Monaco in June 1191 and settled there in 1215, “they brought with them their native language, which would gain a lasting foothold on this piece of land”, explains historian Claude Passet, secretary-general of the Académie des langues dialectales, which promotes Monegasque language and culture. Over time, the language spoken in Monaco would gradually move away from Genoese, as it absorbed influences from new arrivals from the valleys of Nice, Italy, Piedmont, and Liguria, especially with the creation of Monte-Carlo in 1860. Each brought their own dialect, enriching the common language, which became a veritable “patois” associated with a clear identity.