THE LADIN PEOPLE OF THE DOLOMITES
The Ladin people represent a community located in five valleys branching from the Sella massif, in the Dolomites, where a language that has ancient origins is still spoken. Despite their differences, the languages spoken in Gardena, Badia, Fassa, Livinallongo and Ampezzo represent local varieties of the same language, the Ladin language, which has its own independent position in the context of Romance or Neo-Latin languages.
Ladin Dolomitan (or Central Ladin; approx. 30,000 speakers) is the central part of a larger linguistic system that also includes the part of the Canton of Grisons (Switzerland), where the Romansh language (or Western Ladin: approx. 40,000 speakers) is spoken, and the Friuli region, with the Friulian language (or Eastern Ladin: over 700,000 speakers).
The three areas represent the remaining part of a much larger Romanic territory that once extended from the sources of the Rhine to the Adriatic. It was later reduced and divided due to the migration of populations and the linguistic influences coming from the Po Valley.
The laws of the Autonomous Region of Trentino - Alto Adige protects the Ladin people as the third linguistic group, alongside the German and Italian linguistic groups, while national legislation includes the Ladin community as one of the linguistic minorities recognized according to the principles established by article 3 of the Italian Constitution.
In “Ladinia dolomitica”, an Alpine region of the Dolomites, despite administrative division, the linguistic awareness and sense of identity are deeply rooted and supported by a dense network of associations, alongside which research centres and institutions have been working over the last decade.