Langobard language

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Lombard is an extinct and only as debris language preserved Germanic language used by the Lombards was spoken and no later than 1000 n. Chr extinct.. Historically, the Lombards and their language did not become tangible until the 6th century when they gave up their homes in Pannonia and immigrated to northern Italy . Longobard never developed into a written language because its speakers quickly adopted the Romansh dialect of the locals and how they used Latin as their written language .

It is not entirely clear which language group in the Germanic languages ​​Langobard belonged to. However, many word references show a phonological appearance that is consistent with the High German phonetic shift . In research, the thesis has long been discussed that the sound shift that radiated from south to north was triggered by the influence of the Lombard language, which came into contact with the German dialects in the Alpine region.


The sources are not particularly rich. These are mostly personal names, place names and individual words that appear in the early days as runic inscriptions , later in documents such as the Codex diplomaticus Langobardorum , the Edictum Rothari and the Edictum Langobardorum as well as historical works such as the Historia gentis Langobardorum by the historian Paulus Diaconus .

A number of very probably Lombard words have survived in Italian and its dialects, see:

  • bica 'Garbe' (from * bīga 'stack, shock'; cf. South German beige , Swiss Biig (i) , Byge )
  • bussars ' knock, pound '(see southern German boßen , threschen , beat up')
  • guancia 'cheek'
  • guercio 'cross-eyed' (cf. Old High German dwerh , twerh 'quer', Upper German zwerch )
  • meffio 'Wittum' (see German rent )
  • muffa 'mold' (cf. German muff , musty )
  • nocca 'knuckle' (cf. German bone )
  • panca '(seat) bench' (with typical southern Bavarian sound shift from b- > p- )
  • pazzo 'crazy' (cf. Swiss. Bärz , Pärz 'shock sigh, moaning of an exhausted man', südbair. parz'n , perz'n 'irrereden')
  • pizzo 'bite (s)' (cf. German bite )
  • staffa 'stirrup' (cf. German Stapfe )
  • taccola 'Dohle' (cf. Middle High German tāchele , Upper German (scenic) Tach )
  • tecchio 'thick' (see swiss. tick )
  • zazzera 'shoulder length hair; (Lion) mane '(see. Dt. Villus , bair. Zotzen , long, unkempt hair', OHG. Zaturra , Mane ')
  • Zolla '(Erd-) Scholle' (cf. German inch (measure of length), Swabian Zolle 'Butterballen', bair. Zollen 'lump')

Phonetic system and language affinity

Together with Bavarian and Alemannic , Longobard is counted among the Upper German dialects . The high German sound shift can already be clearly demonstrated on the basis of the traditional linguistic monuments . For historical linguistics , Langobard is particularly interesting because the earliest evidence of the High German sound shift can be found here at the end of the 6th and beginning of the 7th century.

While the great majority of linguists assigned Langobardic to West Germanic and, within this, to the Upper German dialects, the Italian linguist Federico Albano Leoni took the view in 1991 that “the hypothesis was recently put forward that the original physiognomy of Langobardic was more ' Gothic ': Its final form is the result of a relatively late Germanization process ”.


Based on the sources, it is hardly possible to make more than guesses.


  • Federico Albano Leoni: Longobard . In: Lexicon of the Middle Ages (LexMA). Volume 5, Artemis & Winkler, Munich / Zurich 1991, ISBN 3-7608-8905-0 , Sp. 1698 f.
  • Wilhelm Bruckner: The language of the Lombards . 1896 [reprint 1969] ( digitized version )
  • Karl Remigius Meyer: Language and language monuments of the Longobards . 1877 ( digitized version )
  • Florus van der Rhee: The Germanic words in the Lombard laws . Rotterdam, Bronder, 1970
  • Max Pfister: Longobard Superstrat Words in Italian . In: Yearbook for International German Studies 11, 1979, pp. 100–110
  • Piergiuseppe Scardigli: Goti e Longobardi . Studi e ricerche. Istituto Italiano di Studi Germanici, Rome, 1987
  • Johann Tischler: To Langobardischen . In: Heinrich Beck (Ed.): Germanic residual and debris languages. Pp. 195-209. Berlin, de Gruyter, 1989, ISBN 3-11-011948-X

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Federico Albano Leoni: Langobardisch . In: Lexicon of the Middle Ages (LexMA). Volume 5, Artemis & Winkler, Munich / Zurich 1991, ISBN 3-7608-8905-0 , Sp. 1698 f.