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Monaco or officially the Principality of Monaco (French: Principauté de Monaco, Ligurian: Principatu de Múnegu, Occitan: Principat de Mónegue) is a city and a sovereign state in southwestern Europe, on the northern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, on the Côte d'Azur. It is enclosed by France. It has 32,671 inhabitants in an area of 1.95 km². Because of its long-time status as a tax-haven and gambling center, it has been described by the English novelist Somerset Maugham as "a sunny place for shady people."


The state of Monaco matches with the single city (and the single commune) of Monaco. Within Monaco, the area of Monte Carlo is known all over the World. The Prince's Palace lies in the area of Monaco-Ville or The Rock, a protruding promontory. The third, traditional area is La Condamine. The new areas are Fontvieille, created from land reclaimed from the sea, Moneghetti and Larvotto.[1]


The administrative and dominant language of Monaco is French. Until the mid-19th century, it was Italian.[2] English is also used by a large part of the inhabitants.

Nonetheless, the traditional, popular languages of Monaco are Occitan and Ligurian, which used to be spoken in different proportions according the areas of the city and which are still practised nowadays by a minority of the citizens, in spite of the advance of French.[3][4][5] Since 1976, Ligurian (locally named Munegascu, Monégasque) has been taught in elementary schools but has not been recognized as an official language. The state of Monaco backs also an Academy of Dialectal Languages (Académie des langues dialectales) which organizes courses in Ligurian and publishes studies on Romance endangered languages, especially Ligurian and Occitan.[6][7]


  1. Website of the Monaco Government Tourist Office.
  2. PICOCHE Jacqueline, & MARCHELLO-NIZIA Christiane (1996) Histoire de la langue française, coll. Nathan Université / Linguistique, Paris: Nathan
  3. ARVEILLER Raymond (1967) Étude sur le parler de Monaco, Monaco: Comité National des Traditions Monégasques, §1.
  4. TOURTOULON Charles de (1890) “Classification des dialectes” [paper at the Congress of Romance Philology in Montpellier, in 1890], Revue des langues romanes t. XXXIV: pages 130-176.
  5. Paper of Laurenç Revest on Occitan near Monaco, Nice and the Southern Alps.
  6. Presentation of the Academy of Dialectal Languages.
  7. Program of the 2009 Symposium of the Academy of Dialectal Languages.