Friulian (ISO 639-3: fur) is a Romance language belonging to the Rhaeto-Romance family. It is one of the minority languages spoken in the region Friuli Venezia Giulia (north east Italy); the others are German and Slovenian. Friulian is historically spoken in the province of Gorizia, Porednone and Udine. Friulian has around 500,000 speakers, more or less 60% of the population. Friulian is sometimes called Eastern Ladin, since it shares the same roots as Ladin, although over the centuries it has diverged under the influence of surrounding languages.

The official recognition of the Friulian linguistic minority is very recent and is established by three laws:

  • regional law n. 15 of 1996 of the Autonomous Region Friuli Venezia Giulia “Norms for the protection and promotion of the Friulian language and culture and the establishment of the Service for regional and minority languages”;
  • Law 482 of 1999 of the Italian Republic “Norms concerning the protection of historical minority languages;
  • regional law n. 29 of 2007 “Norms for the protection and promotion of the Friulian language”

The R.L. 29/07 can be considered as a linguistic policy law, because is establishes linguistic rights in favour of citizens speaking Friulian language. The law establishes measures of promotion of the Friulian language, respectively, in public administration, schools, mass media, topography, and cultural field.

Documents in Friulian are attested from the 11th century, and poetry and literature dating as far back as 1300. The first texts in Friulian date back to the 13th century and are mainly commercial or juridical acts. We can see in these examples that Friulian was used together with Latin, which was still the administrative language. The prime examples of literature that have survived, much from this period has been lost, are poems from the 14th century.

By the 20th century, there was a revival of interest in the language, which has continued to this day. Nowadays the cultural field is very lively. Friulian music, literature and cinema are living a new “cultural renaissance”.

[Description delivered by the Friulian community for the Language Fair]