The best books to learn the Monegasque language


A selection of books is offered by the Monaco Media Library, where the Monegasque language competition has just ended.

It is a well-known fact that Monegasque is essentially a spoken language. It was not until the 1920s that the National Committee for Monegasque Traditions and the poet Louis Notari had the idea of ​​codifying the language with grammar, spelling and conjugation. But apart from traditional dictionaries and textbooks, how can you learn Monegasque, its expressions and intonations?

Today Céline Sabine, assistant curator at the Monaco Media Library, offers a few books to learn while having fun.

SEE ALSO: VIDEO. Learn the basics of the Monegasque language in three minutes

1. A Legend of Saint Devote

  • A Legenda de Santa Devota: The Legend of Saint Devota, Louis Notari – ed. Editions du Rocher, 1927.

It all started, of course, with this unique work. In 1927, Louis Notari decided to produce a work written entirely in Monegasque and he did so with A Legenda de Santa Devota: The Legend of Saint Devota. It is a very long poem, prefaced by Prince Albert II and also available in French. With the bilingual version, you can check the simultaneous translation.

But for Céline Sabine, the real strength of the poem lies elsewhere: “Louis Notari uses the celebration of Saint Devote, patroness of Monaco and the Grimaldi family, to talk about the history, daily life and customs of traditional society. local. It’s a wealth of information. It is thanks to this book that the Monegasque language was able to establish itself. (…) It allows the reader to learn more about the society of a certain period, seen by an important character.

SEE ALSO: Express yourself! Your opinions and memories of the Monegasque language

2. I Diti: The Sayings of Mar

  • I Diti: The Sayings of MarMarc Marius Curti – 1991

Let’s take a look at Marc-Marius Curti now. This Monegasque businessman regularly published poetic, philosophical, humorous or even satirical texts in the regional press of the 1930s. After his death, his nephew, in the 1990s, wanted to bring them together in a collection.

“Some had been published in the press, but others had remained in a drawer at home”, says Céline Sabine. “There are some rather amusing texts, always in a bilingual format. (…) The material is varied and, once again, the collection allows us to see writings from a local, this time in the 1930s.”

SEE ALSO: The Monaco Media Library receives a work by Francis Bacon

3. The “Tintin” series in Monegasque

  • I Iori d’A Castafiore, U Secretu d’A Unicorna and U Tesoru by Rakamu U Russu, original works by Hergé translated by Eliane Mollo and Dominique Salvo-Cellario – 2011 and 2012, ed. Casterman Editions.

We cannot talk about works in Monegasque without mentioning the adaptations of the famous reporter with the powder puff. The Emerald of Castafiore, The Secret of the Unicorn and Red Rackham’s Treasure become I Iori d’A Castafiore, U Secretu d’A Licorna and U Tesoru by Rakamu U Russu.

These are not bilingual versions, but there is a small glossary: ​​“It’s a local pride, plus the advantage is that it’s fun, transgenerational, intended for a family readership. The expressions have been adjusted to the context and the Principality: Captain Haddock is Captain Stocafi for example. (…) Tintin kept his name but it is pronounced Teen-Teen. »


As for Thomson and Thompson, the two mustachioed police officers have the same name but with a different spelling, here the translation has been adapted to circumvent the problem: “The transcription in Monegasque should have been Dupont et Dupond, as in the original in French, but that would not have made any sense because we pronounce all the letters in Monegasque. (…) The vaulted passages that connect the parallel streets are well known in Monaco-Ville. They are called “Ponte” (bridges, like DuPONT) if viewed from above and “Vouta” if viewed from below. So, very cleverly, the police were renamed “Duponte” and “Davouta”. »

These three limited edition albums can of course be borrowed from the Media Library.

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4. Collection of traditional Monegasque songs

  • Collection of traditional Monegasque songs, Italo Bazzoli, Lucia Cappa, Hervé Laurent, Alain Bernard, Domenica Musolino and Olivia Celest – 2007, ed. Epi Editions

To complete the selection, here is an original idea: learn by singing! Because nothing beats the spoken word for capturing sounds and pronunciations. This is why a collection of songs has been created, with the help of the Soroptimist Club of Monaco.

It includes of course the Monegasque national anthem, with its translation, but also many traditional or religious songs with beautiful illustrations. Some scores have even been preserved!


“Echoing this, I remind your readers that a few years ago, the Philharmonic Orchestra accompanied the children’s choir of the Rainier III Academy to record Aiço D’Aiçì on a CD, which can also be borrowed from the Media Library. adds Celine.

All these works are therefore available at the Media Library. At the same time, take a look at the MC collection, which is full of books that will immerse you in Monegasque history and heritage!

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