Mentonasc is considered to be a transitional language; it is an intermediate language between Occitan and Ligurian, which is why the classification of Mentonasc is often debated. However, it is traditionally assigned to the Occitan language by french scholars and to Ligurian dialects by Italian scholars. The Mentonasc dialect bears strong similarities with the common alpine dialects, such as, Royasque or Pignasque. It differs quite significantly especially in the ear from Ligurian coastal dialects (Northern Italian), like those of Ventimiglia (Intemelio dialect) or Monaco.
When the area of Menton was part of the Republic of Genoa and later of the Kingdom of Sardinia, Mentonasc was used in all of the coastal area between Monaco and Ventimiglia, and in the hinterland. thumbright250pxMap of the territory of the "Free cities of Menton & Roquebrune in 1848Ermanno Amicucci. Nizza e l'Italia. Mondadori editore. Milan, 1939. In the 19th century Mentonasc was used in the territories of the Free Cities of Menton & Roquebrune, an independent statelet created in connection with the Italian Risorgimento. When France annexed the Free Cities in 1861, Mentonasc began its decline, substituted by the French language.
The Mentonasc dialect is currently spoken by about 10% of the population in Menton, Roquebrune, and the surrounding villages (Castellar, Castillon, Gorbio, Sainte-AgnÃ¨s, Moulinet and Sospel). Now the language is being taught within the French educational system, as a variety of NiÃ§ard (i.e. ProvenÃ§al and Occitan), so this may change.
No countries currently have Mentonasc as an official language.